22 Apr How to Get Past the DM: Influencer & Ambassador Discovery Tips for Brands
The benefits of influencer marketing to businesses have never been more apparent. These social media superstars can help you capture the eyeballs of potential customers effortlessly. They can expose your brand to thousands or even millions of people with just a single post, for example.
That’s super helpful when building brand awareness. Additionally, it can help you drive more leads to boost your revenue. The data speaks for itself:
Unfortunately, too many brand marketers struggle with influencer outreach, from identifying the right influencers to crafting irresistible pitches. It can be challenging to capture the attention and recruit the right influencers for your brand. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled six tips that will take your influencer outreach efforts to the next level. Let’s jump right into it:
1. Identify Influencers That Represent a Good Product-Audience Fit
First, identify the right influencers for your brand. What exactly does that mean? The right influencer is one whose audience overlaps with yours. Not only that, but they should also share some, if not all, your brand values.
The reason behind that is pretty simple. Any top influencer would want to safeguard their brand. That means they can’t go around promoting any and all products. Their followers will see right through it, which could damage their reputation. That’s why most of them will want to partner with brands they can associate with.
For example, a fitness influencer will have no problem partnering with a gym equipment business or a fitness supplements online store. It blends perfectly with their personal brand. That means they can promote those products authentically. Plus, those brands have something their audience would want.
It’s pretty similar to guest blogging. Let’s say a blogger wants to publish guest posts online, and they approach you for a collaboration. One of the items you would consider is whether they have something of value (a topic or expertise) your audience needs.
Now, back to influencer marketing. Here’s an example of an online store that secured a collaboration with an excellent product-audience fit. Transparent Labs (a supplements store) partnered with Thor Bjonsson (a 3X winner of Arnold Strongman Classic) for the post below. Tell me this is not a perfect partnership.
So, finding an influencer whose brand aligns with yours increases the chances of getting a reply. The bonus benefit is that working with such influencers also sets you up for a successful campaign. That’s because they will expose your products to a highly qualified target audience such as millennials, Gen Z, and the like.
2. Go With Micro-Influencers
Numbers don’t always tell the whole story. It’s very tempting to go with a big influencer simply because they have a massive audience. Naturally, you would expect such an influencer to bring more business.
But did you know that micro-influencers have the highest engagement rate of any influencer category? That’s true for all top social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, as explained by this report.
That means you should find and work with micro-influencers if your primary goal is to have more people engaging with your brand. They help you achieve the goals of your influencer marketing campaign while saving you money in the process.
Another interesting thing about micro-influencers is they could make your products look more affordable.
For example, when celebrity influencers like Kim Kardashian promote a product, a good portion of people would automatically assume the item is expensive even without checking the price. I know I would. But when the same item gets promoted by someone with less than 15k followers, more people would think it’s something they can afford.
It’s no wonder so many businesses are keen on working with micro-influencers:
Of course, there’s still a place for mega-influencers. For example, if you just want to increase brand awareness, an influencer with millions or hundreds of thousands of followers would be ideal. So, ideally, you should combine several types of influencers.
3. Start a Referral or Affiliate Program for Influencers
There are various ways to compensate influencers. Some influencers would want a contract with a specified cash payment. Others, especially micro to nano-influencers, can accept free products in exchange for covering your brand on their channels.
Referral and affiliate programs are the other options many brands overlook. Instead of suggesting a fixed contract, give influencers a unique referral link that assures them a commission for every product purchased through that link. It’s pretty much referral or affiliate marketing, except you’re creating the program for influencers and not marketers.
For example, KiwiCo is an online store that produces items for DIY science, arts, and other projects. These projects are geared towards children. The company partners with YouTuber Veritasium, sponsoring many of his videos. The collaboration feels just right considering Veritasium is a scientific YouTube channel.
And, of course, he adds a unique referral link in the description of those sponsored videos.
The strategy can significantly increase the response rate of your influencer outreach campaign. That’s because it gives influencers the opportunity to make more money if they can get more people to purchase your products. They may even go as far as covering your items extensively to increase their earnings.
That said, not every influencer would be open to such an arrangement. Bigger influencers would still prefer to have a guaranteed payment upfront. So, don’t rely on this strategy alone. Instead, compliment it with a regular contract.
4. Partner With Influencers Who Haven’t Already Worked With a Brand in Your Space
Another easy way to increase your response rate is to seek out influencers who are yet to work with a brand in your niche. This strategy works for various reasons.
For one, it gives the influencer an opportunity to explore new territory and grow their brand. The caveat here is that your business must have something that can help the influencer’s audience. In other words, there should be a product-audience fit as discussed above.
Second, top social influencers avoid promoting too many brands selling the same product. Think about it; a fitness influencer would lose their authenticity if they promoted protein shakes from different brands.
So, approaching a social media influencer who’s never worked with any brand in your niche makes it easier for them to respond to your pitch.
5. Create Personalized Collaboration Pitches
Personalization works exceptionally well in influencer outreach, like it usually does in regular marketing campaigns. You have to curate a pitch that’ll make the influencer feel you’re addressing them personally. Your messages should never sound like it’s mass-produced to be distributed to dozens of influencers.
How do you write such a pitch? Start by addressing the influencer by their names. That should be fairly easy if you have the right email marketing software as it can autofill the data. Second, explain why they’re a good fit for the collaboration. Reference some of their content to show you’re familiar with their work.
You should also tell the influencer how the collaboration will benefit them. For example, should they expect more traffic and followers? Are there any monetary incentives?
Here’s a functional influencer outreach email template from Upfluence to guide you:
If you’re reaching out to an influencer through a direct message, make sure it comes from your business social media account. Alternatively, you can use your business email address to send your pitches. Be sure to use a subject line tester to identify the best subject lines that will get your emails opened. An email tracking tool can also help to analyze which subject lines perform better.
6. Share Performance Feedback With Influencers
All the tips we’ve discussed so far will help you get a reply. That’s nice, but unfortunately, it’s not enough if you want to unlock the full potential of influencer marketing. For that, you would need to go beyond the DM and think long-term. You have to focus on building relationships with influencers.
To do that, you must treat influencers like your partners and invite them to participate in influencer marketing strategy meetings. Don’t put a leash on their creativity by trying to control the entire campaign. Remember, they are social media superstars for a reason. So, after collaborating to establish the basic campaign guidelines, let them utilize their creativity to promote your brand or products.
Next, share performance feedback to show them how the campaign is fairing. You can acknowledge the good work and discuss potential approaches that could be utilized to improve the results even further. That will make the influencer feel more valued. Consequently, you’ll have an easier time convincing them to partner with you in future influencer marketing campaigns.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you see that running influencer outreach campaigns is not that hard. You just need a strategic approach.
To recap, you need to identify relevant influencers, personalize your pitches, approach micro-influencers, and find influencers who’ve never partnered with other brands in your niche. You should also set up a referral program for influencers and share performance feedback.
Other bonus influencer outreach strategies to boost response rates include sending follow-up messages and approaching more potential influencers.
David Campbell is a digital marketing specialist at Ramp Ventures. He helps manage the content marketing team at Right Inbox. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling and trying to learn Spanish.