The rise of influencers isn’t new, the knowledge of their hierarchy in building awareness to today’s youth and social media users are not unknown either. What also isn’t new is the difficulty in building strong relationships with influencers, both micro and macro.
Unless you are working in the PR field, able to meet influencers face-to-face during events, it can be difficult to approach influencers and ensure that they are the type that will become loyal to your brand’s cause.
Before you reach out with a pitch or proposal, try these steps to help you build a more authentic and reliable relationship with influencers.
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Research Influencers Effectively
Finding the correct influencer that aligns with your brand/product’s values isn’t an easy task.
A mistake that many make is choosing influencers according to the size of their following. Unfortunately, this does not provide a strong outlook as to whether the influencer would be a real good fit as a personality and loyal brand ambassador.
A popular tactic, and one that continues to be a powerful one, is to research for influencers that fit your industry niche. However, we need to discuss how the research is done.
For certain industries, finding popular influencers is as easy as a Google search, but for others it can get a bit tricky and will require more than typing on a search engine.
Looking for non-fashionista influencers? Try our 10 Egyptian (Non-Fashionista) Influencers to watch in 2018 list.
There are several growing networks that allow you to search for influencers, sadly their presence in Egypt and MENA isn’t strong enough yet to provide an extremely accurate view of social influencers in the region.
You can still try networks such as Influence.co, Ninja outreach, and BuzzSumo (Twitter) for free.
Otherwise, classic research methods will be helpful. That means prepare to deep dive into your favorite or wanted social media platform. When looking for influencers, make sure to ask these questions
- How many followers do they have?
- Am I looking for micro or macro influencers?
- Does their demographic match the brand/product’s target?
- Is their personal brand something that matches your brand/product’s values?
- What type of content do they produce? What other social media channels are they on?
- Do they have a good engagement rate? (Scrunch has a good equation to try and use)
- In the long-run, would they be great brand ambassadors?
When choosing influencers, it is important to look at these two questions the most; am I looking for micro or macro influencers and would they be great brand ambassadors?
While most of the time many campaigns and brands prefer to use influencers for a one-time or short-time basis, this does take away the potential of a more beneficial long-term relationship. Just as with celebrity marketing, influencer marketing’s strength comes into play with long-term relationships and ambassadorship between influencer and brand.
So, it is more important to ask whether the influencer is a great fit than how many followers they have.
As for micro vs macro influencers, both have similar strengths but there is a growing trend worldwide when it comes to micro influencers.
Micro influencers are usually considered influencers who have less than 100K followers.
Many state that the benefits of a micro influencer are that they work hard to acquire and keep followers, they are able to engage with followers more directly and frequently than their macro counterparts, and are seen as more authentic and focused on their niche. This makes them appealing to more selective brands, as well as those who might have a tighter budget.
Connect Before You Message
Reaching influencers nowadays focuses on messaging them directly and asking for a rate card. While this direct approach will help you get a rate card and start building a mutually beneficial agreement, it is not the best way to put your best foot forward.
As we mentioned earlier, working towards building an authentic long-term relationship is a better focus for when looking and working with influencers.
Building a relationship online is easy if you have researched well and the influencers align well with your brand. Some of the ways that brands can do this is by following and engaging with the influencer on their social channels.
Engage as your brand on their favorite channel, comment on and like posts that align with your branding and values. Just like with any relationship, it takes some time but it will create a stronger bond later on.
Engage as a friend, don’t hard pitch your brand just yet. Compliment them on their post, congratulate them on their new work, and etc.
Some brands go a step further by either sharing the influencer’s content or mentioning them in your own blog or social content. If you have researched and chosen well, their content will be relevant enough to post on your channels.
Have a Strong Social Presence
Bigger influencers might be more reluctant if your brand has a weak social media presence. They have built their lives around social media, why would they work well with a brand that doesn’t consider it as important?
This works in line with the previous step.
Build interest for influencers in your brand by working on it, just as you’d like influencers to care and build theirs.
When preparing a proposal, you must remember the value of your own social media presence and the value you are putting on the negotiation table. The partnership between you should be mutual, meaning the exposure and financial payment should mutually beneficial. While money is an important element, building a long-lasting relationship means helping each other grow on social media, and not just from sales and revenue.
We all understand that attracting attention on social media is hard with all the competition and clutter, which is why having a strong presence on both your brand and your partnered influencers’ channels is vital for your growth.
Personality and Research Improves Attraction
Now that you have been cultivating your future relationship, we can move towards the business ends of things, contacting the influencer.
As with any message when connecting with someone new, make it personal. With all the research and effort you have made into cultivating and building this relationship, it is now time to put it to great use.
Influencers are always receiving emails and messages about various events, collaborations, launches and etc. from different companies and brands. To really capture their attention, you need to be more personal and have some kind of co-existing relationship.
Before contacting the influencer, remember to check their website in case they already have a section where they describe their collaboration policies.
A common faux pas is contacting influencers on their social channels using a private account; influencers want to know who they are dealing with before sending rate cards or moving forward in business. You have also been building your relationship through your brand’s business account (hopefully) so you’ll have more leverage and credibility with it.
When contacting influencers, remember to message as a fan.
You’ve enjoyed their content and feel that it resonates with you and your brand, just like with any fan. People will always appreciate when people appreciate their hard work, and to influencers, their feed is their work.
Try starting the message by discussing a recent post or life event the influencer is going through, but be careful to be genuine. Rather than sending a message such as “I loved your post on the best 10 burgers in Cairo,” go for “Your post on the best burgers in Cairo made me so hungry! I’m already thinking about going to number 3 next week!” Show that you have actually gone through the content and see the value they are creating with their content, as well as show your personality.
While every connection is different, following these steps will help in building a longer and more fruitful relationship with your target influencer. Remember to be authentic to your brand’s values while contacting to build a reliable connection and partnership.