So, you’ve done your influencer research. You have the influencer’s names, social handles, contact info, and you’ve even found out who these influencers influence most.
You are not alone. In fact, interest in influencer marketing has increased more than 90x since 2013 (Google Trends). And, according to eMarketer, 65% of brand marketers actively participate in influencer marketing.
But, with all the interest in influencer marketing, how do you reach out to influencers?
Well, it’s easy with the K.I.S.S. method — Keep It Simple Silly.
Influencers don’t share their expertise with brands. They share it with people. When researching an influencer, get to know them first.Find the commonalities between yourself and them. Then, when reaching out to an influencer, reach out to them as you, not the brand you work for.
- What are their interests?
- What do they do in their off-time?
- What have they recently talked about?
The thing that inspires me most isn’t the brand: It’s the people who are part of the brand.”
- Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
Think about an online interaction the same as you would an offline interaction. You wouldn’t walk up to a complete stranger and begin the conversation with a direct ask. You’d start by engaging them on a common topic or complimenting them on what they are wearing. The same is true for online engagement with influencers. Just like IRL marketing, put the people first with influencer marketing.
Start by engaging with influencers in a real way on social media, their blogs, webinars… Compliment them. Comment on their work. Show that you are a real person too.”
- Heather Hurst, Director of Corporate Marketing, Workfront
Keep The Ask Simple
As a marketer, the first influencer ask is always the hardest. It’s like asking your crush out on a first date. How do you start? Will they say yes? These questions keep many marketers up at night. The key to getting an influencer to say yes is keeping the ask personal, short, and simple.
“The goal should be to go from unknown follower and fan to advocate and amplifier. Once you achieve that status it's time to go in for the kill with a short and simple ask.”
- Jason Miller, Group Manager, Content and Social Media Marketing, LinkedIn
Be very conscious of an influencer’s time. Can they easily do what you’ve requested in a short amount of time? One simple way to keep the request easy is to ask them 1-3 open-ended questions.
- What do you think about ________?
- How do you do ______?
- In your opinion, what’s the best approach to do __________?
By asking simple open-ended questions, you allow the influencer to easily share their expertise with others.
Make Sharing Easy
After you’ve built and published your influencer co-created content, don’t forget about asking your influencers to share the content. By having them share the content, not only are they helping to share the content they have created, but they are increasing your brand’s awareness within their network.
Make it easy for your influencers to share by giving them a few suggested posts and images to share with their networks. A few type of posts that work are about the following:
- Excitement for their contributed content: “See my contribution to [brand’s content] about ____ <link to content>”
- Include other influencers in the content: “Honored to be included with [influencer 1] and [influencer 2] on [brand’s content] about ____ <link to content>”
Don’t let the sharing stop there! Keep up the relationship going by mentioning the influencers in your posts and thanking them for their shares.
Build the Relationship
Influencer marketing is not about a one-stop request — it’s about building relationships. Just like real-life corporate partnerships – or friendships – the most successful online influencer and brand relationships are those with true depth.
I feel more of a loyalty to a company that shows they want to build a relationship rather than just drop in for some sounds bites from time to time.”
- Carlos Hidalgo, CEO & Principal, Annuitas
The most successful influencer-driven brands co-create content with influencers and include influencers in strategic marketing initiatives. But inspiring this depth of participation with influencers requires professionalism, personalization and long-term commitment to true partnership.
Keep It Real
Build lasting influencer relationships by keeping it real. Check out how influencer marketing works IRL by downloading our free ebook, “Influencer Marketing IRL.” You’ll get exclusive insights from top brand marketers and influencers on how to apply real-life principles to your influencer marketing.