If you want to try influencer marketing, but you’re either not sure how or you keep getting rejected by those you contact, we’re here for you. Here are some of our best tips for how to do influencer marketing effectively so influencers are excited to work with your brand (and keep working with you)!
Influencers may operate like small businesses but they are people before anything else. That’s what makes influencer marketing work so well – their followers trust them because they relate to them and trust the content they create and curate. Because of this, engaging and negotiating with influencers is different than simply sending out a copy-and-paste email to each contact.
“The best brands I’ve worked with are the ones who truly collaborate with me and view our work as a partnership,” says Perlu member Shannon Entin, the travel and entertainment blogger and podcaster from The TV Traveler. “This includes clear communication of expectations up front, fast response to any questions, follow-up when the work is done and promotion of my work when completed.”
Think of the influencers you want to represent your brand not as yet another mindless digital marketing channel but as partners. As with any partner, you want to build a real relationship with your influencers. That means from the first time you start a conversation with an influencer, you should send a personalized message that really shows them why you’d be a great fit.
Listen and Play Fair
Since the influencers you work with are your partners, you should also make sure you’re compensating them fairly and, maybe even more importantly, if they disagree with you on pricing, try to work with them respectfully so both parties are happy.
“They have to give something of value for us in order to work with them,” says Perlu members Nico and Lau of Vida de Viajes. “Money is always welcome, of course, but sometimes we accept products and services in exchange for our services depending on the collaboration. We will not work for something that’s not a clear benefit for us, like posting a story with a discount for our followers and eventually get a little commission if they sell a product. We have to get something concrete in order to accept the proposal.”
You want to work with influencers because of the sway they have with their audience. Word of mouth is still the most effective form of marketing, and influencers are the closest thing in the digital world. Even if you can’t come to an arrangement, it’s a really good idea to handle that rejection with courtesy and grace.
After all, influencers know their audience best, and to be successful, they have to keep their audience happy. Sometimes that means declining a certain collaboration opportunity because it isn’t what their audience wants to see. The best influencers don’t clog their social channels with “buy this now” posts, and they don’t accept every opportunity that comes their way.
“We never pay for an opportunity,” Nico and Lau continue. “Sometimes, the condition to collaborate has to do with ‘joining a club,’ ‘becoming a member,’ ‘affiliate with’ and others, where you pay to enter. Some of them are multilevel marketing companies. If we have to pay first to cover costs to work and get something bigger later, we discard it. Most of them are frauds.”
Even if an influencer decides not to work with you, you want them to remember your interactions fondly, because of their influence (duh) over their followers and their relationships with other influencers. Influence is a double-edged sword.
Also, one final note to keep in mind: everyone is different! Some influencers are happy to accept free products from you as payment, while others absolutely require financial compensation. As you learn how to do influencer marketing, remember, in many cases, this is their job, so treat it as such. They need to pay their bills just like you, after all.
Unlike traditional marketing, in which you’ll usually discuss your goals with an agency or representative and then leave them to do their work, partnering with influencers works best when you are an actively engaged in collaborating with your partners. They will absolutely do the heavy lifting – writing copy, creating content, sharing posts – but if you leave it at that, you’re wasting valuable potential.
“I love when a brand sets clear goals for me and then shares/engages with my work on their social media channels,” says Shannon Entin. “The brands that have made me feel like a true partner are the ones I continue to support and promote long after the ‘job’ is completed.”
Michelle Price of Honest & Truly agrees. “I love partnering with brands, and the brands I love working with most are the ones who see it as a true partnership. One-offs are fine, but repeat relationships benefit us both. When we have created content for brands, I appreciate it when the brands reshare that content – it’s ‘free’ marketing for them at that point and only benefits us both.”
Once your influencer(s) starts sharing content promoting your products and services, start reposting and sharing that same stuff on your channel and website, too. Not only does this help repurpose content you’re paying for, it gives both you and your influencer credibility in their posts. It also shows the influencer you value their work and validates your relationship to the influencer’s audience. Think about how many more people will care about your brand if you’ve got influencer-produced content on your page (not that your brand’s not already great; we know it is).
Get Advice and Use Common Sense
Maybe the biggest mistake you can make in beginning influencer marketing is failing to engage with your influencers and align your goals. You could easily try to guess which influencers and what types of campaigns will align with your goals, but that will always lead to wasted time and resources (and less effective campaigns).
Learning more about how to do influencer marketing and how it works as well as engaging influencers in the planning stages of campaign development will help you waste less time, as you’ll know what types of influencers to aim for.
Even better, link up with someone who can make your job 10X easier, like Perlu Editors! Perlu Editors act as a concierge for your brand and help you connect with the very best influencers who work well with you and for you.
Be creative and explore all your options. You never know what you might find that fits your brand.
Be Careful Who You Trust
There are a lot of third-party platforms out there. The truth is, a lot of them act more like the Yellow Pages than an all-in-one influencer marketing platform. They give you a list of influencers with links and follower counts and that’s about it. This seems fine and dandy until you start collaborating and realize you’ve signed a contract with a fake influencer who paid for all their followers but has no real engagement.
Instead, use a platform like Perlu, which is a professional network of influencers, similar to LinkedIn. The Perlu network not only allows you to see an influencer’s audience size, but also allows you to see what kind of collaborations influencers are participating in, who they’re interacting with, what brands and influencers they’re already working with, and what niches they’re involved in. In short, Perlu gives you deeper insights and ways to find and choose partners based on your goals. Perlu also weeds out the fake influencers and bots for you, saving you time and money. Then, you can focus on being an active participant in your campaigns to get the best results possible.
Perlu can also put you in touch with our Perlu Editors. Our Editors are highly qualified, highly accomplished influencers and leaders in their niches. With their experience as publishers and partners for brands, they can direct you to the most effective influencers in your niche, help master the language of influencers, and guide you through critical decisions from campaign ideas to influencer compensation.
Like it or not, influencer marketing isn’t going away any time soon. Social media is only becoming more advanced, so learning how your brand fits into that landscape as soon as you can is an excellent way to get a leg up on the competition.