This post was selected as one of the top digital marketing articles of the week by UpCity, a B2B ratings and review company for digital marketing agencies and other marketing service providers.
If you thought Instagram was all about taking pictures of your food from about thirty different angles, you’re behind the times. So listen up, old man. Now we’re taking pictures of our food and hustlin’.
Instagram, along with the majority of other social media platforms, has rapidly evolved from a simple social pictures platform to a thriving community of consumers, companies, and of course influencers. Sure, it’s still largely a social media platform, but not unlike Twitter and Facebook, it’s not uncommon to see major corporations or even businesses just starting out with their own Instagram account.
Now, whether or not you and your business have an account is a separate matter. Today, we’re here to talk about how your business can benefit from working with influencers, and specifically how you should approach those influencers. It does involve sliding into DMs, but there are a few steps before that.
The first part of this whole process seems pretty obvious. You have to figure out who you’re going to work with. Now, even though this step is obvious, that doesn’t make it simple. The key here is to really think about the influencer you’d like to work with. How do they benefit from working with you? How does your brand benefit from working with them? Are your interests in line with their audience?
There are tons of questions you’d want to consider, because in many ways, it’s very similar to a brand partnership. You’re essentially approaching someone that will endorse you and your company, so you’ll want to pick someone whose actions, audience, and general brand fit well with your own.
You can really narrow those questions down with two basic elements. The first is asking yourself who this influencer is. Are they some teen in California selling beauty products? Are they a middle aged couple traveling through Europe and Asia offering travel tips? Who these influencers are makes a big difference because that generally determines the demographic that you’re likely to access.
The personality, brand, and activity that makes up the composition of an influencer’s personal brand tends to reflect heavily in their audience, and the main reason you’d want to work with influencers is because they have access to an audience. Either an audience that you can’t normally reach, or more of an audience that you’d like to increase contact with.
So think carefully about how you choose the people you approach for partnership.
Why is the next major factor. Now if our last point didn’t give it away, the typical answer to “why” will be the audience, demographic, or particular set of people that you’d like to access. Social media as a whole offers excellent opportunities to reach new people, so it’s typically the go to answer.
Some other reasons why you’d want to work with a particular influencer is because of their previous or current promotional ability. If their voice carries a decent amount of weight for a given industry, then you’d want to take that into consideration.
If an influencer built their entire reputation and brand on reviewing high dollar sneakers and talking about streetwear culture, you’d probably only want to partner with them if that’s the demographic or culture that you’re trying to appeal to. Now say that same influencer just got done talking about an incredibly popular new release from a well known brand, having them do a review of your brand next could benefit because of the implied connection.
Get Their Number
Please don’t hit on influencers. Instead, build out a list of potential partners. Calculate their followers, engagement, and overall audience interaction. It’s important to remember that just because an influencer has a huge audience, doesn’t mean they’re a fully engaged audience. Numbers can be deceptive, sometimes a really niche account might have incredible engagement rates even if their overall follower count is a bit lower. Working out those ratios and planning your pitch accordingly can make all the difference down the road.
It’s worth noting that influencers can be an excellent investment from a marketing standpoint regardless of company or influencer size. Sometimes, micro influencers can be an excellent option because they either give you a wide range of audiences to reach out to, or they can be a great option for smaller, local businesses that might not have the finances or need to partner with a much larger influencer.
Now You Can DM Them
Reaching out to an influencer can seem a little uncomfortable at first. The majority of business communication still happens through email, and for some the idea of sending someone a direct message lacks an air of professionalism.
But consider the perspective of your new potential influencer partner. Their whole business model is Instagram, so it makes sense to reach out where they’re most likely to actually see. You can always transition to email or other forms of communication once you’ve established a working relationship, but that’s for later.
So… what now?
So now you figured out who you want to talk to, what kind of audience they rep, and that DMs are the future. But what comes after?
For starters, you’ll want to step up your communications game. This is the actual how to portion, figuring out what to include in your pitch and how to go about it. You want to know the big secret? Be brief and focus on them.
Here, you can see a quick visual example of how we go about influencer procurement here:
- Create a short & to-the-point pitch.
- Don’t focus on yourself, focus on the influencer/brand you want to collaborate with
- Don’t give out too much information without a response first
- Focus on how THEY will benefit from a collab
All About You BB
As you can see above, when you reach out to an influencer, make it all about them and their brand. Most influencers are aware of their ability to leverage an audience and a good deal of marketing power, so it’s important to highlight how the relationship is mutually beneficial early on.
It’s also important to be brief and direct, without giving too much away. Just like in our example, you want to tell them what you like about their brand, a little bit about what you can offer them, and then invite them to discuss more if they’re interested.
A lot of influencers are happy to exchange promotion for free product or smaller fees than you’d expect from traditional marketing avenues, but it’s important to not assume or sell either side short. You can open with an offer, but be ready to talk terms. Assess the value of your potential relationship with each other, and develop more concrete terms as you go along.
Bring it all together now, put it on a plate, take fifty pictures. And there you go, you’re done, influencer pitched, right? Well, almost.
Remember, while it’s not a traditional marketing technique, influencer marketing is still essentially a business deal. Influencers build their business and brand on a specific platform, and they develop a whole relationship with their followers based on that time and work. If you want access to those followers, and specifically positive access, make sure your pitch is fair and actually beneficial to the people that you’re approaching.
At the end of the day, Instagram has incredible potential as a marketing tool. It’s extremely visual, influencers and other various communities build whole audiences around specific subjects and topics, and it’s tied into a huge range of other social platforms. By working with influencers, businesses and brands can reach all kinds of people, so think about your pitch. Wind it up, send it out, and start making new friends.
Have you started building your own influencer club to grow your business? Or maybe you’re something of an IG mogul yourself. If you know any other tips or tricks for building positive relationships through social media, let us know!