In our previous blog on Influencer Marketing 101, we discussed key statistics to be aware of when thinking about starting an influencer marketing campaign. Now that you (hopefully!) have internal buy-in, it’s time to consider your next steps. You know what you could gain from an influencer marketing strategy, but have you stopped to consider why an influencer would want to help you out? What’s in it for them and how on earth will you engage with them?
A recent report from Onalytica – Evaluating Brand / Influencer Partnerships in Industry Marketing– has uncovered some interesting insights to help you get into the mind of an influencer. Using those findings, we’ve compiled some dos and don’ts for building influencer relationships:
DO: Use email to start the conversation
Onalytica found that influencers are most responsive to brands over email, with 64 per cent ranking it as the channel they are most likely to reply to an enquiry on. This is likely to be a surprise to most marketers, who would expect to speak to influencers through social media.
There are many reasons for this – it feels like the natural place to reach out, email address can be difficult to track down, and sometimes an email exchange can seem too transactional and business-like. However, it’s important to remember that influencer relationships shouldn’t be treated informally. You would never usually slide into someone’s DMs to do business, so why should an influencer be treated like that?
Unsurprisingly, if you don’t have a direct email, Twitter is the next popular way to reach out to influencers. When it comes to comparing social media sites, 18 per cent prefer Twitter, followed by 10 per cent on LinkedIn, 3 per cent via Facebook and a measly 1 per cent through Instagram.
DO: Choose influencers that are passionate about your industry
If you’ve done your research right, the influencer you are hoping to engage with fits into the same sphere of interests and values as your brand. While this may seem overly obvious, the sad truth is that we frequently see mismatched influencers and brands, where both parties gain very little from the partnership.
A great way to know if your influencer is suitable is by finding out what they would like form you as part of the agreement. Onalytica found that 15 per cent of influencers say they’d love to get more insight into the industries they care about, and a third are looking for early access to research so they can achieve this. If the influencer you engage with is interested in either of these from your organisation, you know that you have hit the jackpot.
DON’T: Make it seem like you’re bribing an influencer
‘Money makes the world go around’, so it’s no surprise that many businesses expect to pay for influencer partnerships. However, influencers are typically already well established in an industry and want to maintain their own reputation – particularly in the B2B space. The research also found that 9 per cent of marketers offer influencers free tickets to events, but the influencers themselves do not find this valuable.
Instead of just showering your influencer with gifts and money, make your influencer feel like they are working in a partnership that works to support their passions.
DON’T: Just use an influencer for their follower count
It’s important to remember that influencers are not only beneficial for their large reach. If this was the case, mis-matched partnerships without shared values would be successful. The truth is that the potential benefits are endless.
For example, 61 per cent of influencers speak regularly at events. This could be a great way to integrate influencers further into your marketing and events strategy. Another useful way to form a partnership is to involve the influencer in your marketing planning, rather than just asking them to share assets across their social channels. Currently, a lowly 2 per cent of brands include influencers in research and innovation, missing the opportunity to enrich your content with new insights and variety.
It’s vital to remember that influencer relationships should be a partnership rather than a business deal. By following the above dos and don’ts, you should be able to identify relevant influencers, build mutually beneficial partnerships and create authentic relationships.