How to Work with Influencers

Best practices for building successful partnerships with social media influencers

It’s no secret that social media has become a vital part of any successful marketing strategy. In addition to housing millions of professional and brand accounts, there are several personal accounts that have, over time, become brands of their own. These accounts are run by real people and are known as influencers. While prominent influencers bost anywhere from 50,000-2 million followers, these accounts are different than celebrities, as influencers acquired fame through social media alone.

If you’re looking to grow your brand’s presence on social media, partnering with an influencer is a perfect place to start. However, you need to be thoughtful about who you choose to partner with. You spent a lot of time creating your brand’s voice and mission, and the influencer’s values should align with your own. Read on to learn the best practices for establishing a successful partnership with a social media influencer.

Why you should partner with an influencer

For starters, an influencer partnership can sometimes do more for your brand than a paid campaign. While a display ad or sponsored post may get the attention of a user passively scrolling through their feed, an influencer’s audience is comprised of engaged users who will take keen interest in your brand. Plus, the influencer took the time to build a relationship with his or her audience and earn their trust. A trusted third-party referral to a captivated audience is about as good as it gets.

How to identify the right influencer for your brand

First, evaluate your own brand.

Because the influencer has the trust of their audience, they’re going to be very selective about the brands they choose to partner with, and you should, too! Just like with any partnership program, you need to carefully consider your brand’s target audience and mission before you pursue a professional relationship. Ask yourself, “Who am I trying to reach?” Get specific about your audience––How old are they? Where do they live? What are their interests? The more detailed you can get, the easier it will be to identify an influencer in that space.

Then, think about what your brand is trying to accomplish. What are your values? How does your audience benefit from your brand? If you can’t confidently answer every question about your company, it’s not the right time to build a partnership.

Then, evaluate theirs.

Once you’ve zeroed in on your target audience and brand’s mission, you can start to evaluate potential influencers. Ask the same questions of their brand as you did of your own. You want to make sure their ideal customer matches yours, and your values and mission statements align.

Then, evaluate the influencer’s presence––ensure that their content is quality, their engagement is genuine and their audience is authentic. As Lee Vosburgh says, “Having 10,000 devoted followers is way better than 60,000 bots that were paid for.” In fact, Forbes predicts that the nano influencer, which is “an individual that has a few thousand followers in a well-defined sector,” will have a huge impact on influencer marketing in 2019. Don’t be afraid to market to a small segment at a time. If the audience is engaged, you’ll be more likely to connect with users who are genuinely interested in your brand.

How to reach out to an influencer

Whether you choose to email, cold call or direct message them on Instagram, treat the first point of contact like any other pitch! Your goal should be to make a strong first impression and sell your brand. Before you reach out, make sure to do your research. The influencer spends a ton of time planning their content, taking professional photos, engaging with their audience and managing their brand. Showing thatyou know your stuff and took the time to really look into their brand will go a long way.

However, because you’re reaching out to an individual, try to bring a little personality to the conversation. Connecting on a deeper level will help them to better understand how your brand would be a good fit with theirs and why their audience can benefit from your partnership.

How to determine your partnership plan

First, set your goals for the partnership. Do you want to grow your followers, or drive traffic to your website? Your goals will inform your marketing efforts. If you want to try to capitalize on the influencer’s audience and convert their followers into your own, consider hosting a giveaway with “tag, like, follow” entry rules. If you want to drive more traffic to your site, suggest a sponsored post on the influencer’s page and have them link to your website.

Like with all marketing strategies, be sure to evaluate the partnership, both during and after it ends. Track KPIs so you have accurate data to qualify your success. If you reached your goals, great! Keep in touch with the influencer so you have the option to reconnect further down the road. If the partnership didn’t go as planned, think about why. Was seasonality a factor, or did you perhaps not identify your target audience properly? Before you launch into an influencer partnership, give us a call! We can help you narrow in on your brand’s mission, find the right audience and determine the proper format for your partnership. Contact Yakkety Yak today.

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