How To Leverage Your Past Experience For Influencer Outreach
There’s often this air of mystery surrounding influencers.
As a culture we’ve come to deify them; much like celebrities.
So the idea of working with them, and specifically approaching them to work with us, can seem more than a bit intimidating.
However, influencers are people too, and in the short time I have conducted outreach for partnerships and collaborations with them, i’ve noticed that many of the skills I learned in previous roles, namely in sales and customer service, are also potent assets in communicating with them.
It’s for this reason i’ve devised this list of 5 skills you need to master in order to successfully network with social media influencers. These are skills that will help you convey the benefits of working with your brand in a way that is both succinct and irresistible.
Regardless of your work or niche, if you have ever reached out to influencers or have an interest in building your skillset in this area, these are the skills you want in your toolset and will undoubtedly call upon one or more times throughout the process to get the job done.
Got any others? Feel free to share in the comments below.
One of the first skills that you will put to use before you’ve even contacted a single influencer is research.
Whether you’re working with macro or micro influencers, you want to make sure their brand fits yours; as well as ensuring their engagement rates across the social media platforms (Instagram accounts, Youtube channels, and other social networks etc) your brand uses are consistent with your expectations. These metrics should always reflect both quality and quantity.
Generally speaking, most influencers are able to increase your brand’s reach; which is, roughly, the number of eyeballs that are aware of your brand (brand awareness). However, there are some personalities who can influence conversions, such as sales, subscribers, etc. They generally cost more to work with, of course; But depending on the company, this may or not be a barrier to collaborating with them.
After you determine the type of influence your brand is seeking, you’ll be in a better position to find influencers suited to bring awareness to your products or services.
Need help research, check out this list of the 9 Best Influencer Research Tools That Get Fantastic Results by Blogging Wizard.
2. Cold Calling or Emailing
Once you’ve found your perfect match, the next skill you will utilize is cold calling or emailing.
If you’ve ever been in sales, then you’re probably well acquainted with the art of upselling a potential customer. Basically, you’re giving a B2B or B2C prospect all of the information required to make an informed purchasing decision about buying your products or services.
The process is similar when talking with influencers.
In your initial contact you want to answer these questions about your brand: Who are you?, Why should I work with your brand?, What are you offering in return?,How soon do you expect a turnaround?, What sort of content are you looking to produce?, On how many platforms do you want the content to be promoted? Etc etc.
Have as succinct a pitch as possible ready to go to generate that interest. You can always follow up with a more detailed response later (When prompted for more information).
Part of dealing with influencers is learning how to negotiate.
So this is where knowing your brand, your brand’s budget and content needs comes into play.
The best advice I can give is to be aware of the standard pricing for certain services; Be they social media posts, Youtube videos, blog posts or any other sort of user generated content that can be used repurposed on social media or anywhere else on the web.
This will ensure that you get the best deal for your marketing dollars.
Also be aware of negotiations you can make which trade free products and services in lieu of pay in some instances.
4. Follow Up
Of course, one of the most important things you can do after your initial contact is follow up.
In all cases, if you get a message from someone who’s take time out of their busy day to get in contact with you, follow up.
Be kind, reply, is my professional mantra when it comes to communication.
My rule of thumb is to reply within a few hours of your work day, if at all possible. Or within minutes, if you have them to spare.
However the sooner, the better.
For example, let’s say that you’re not able to work with a particular influencer for x reason.
You still want to follow up with to let them know this as soon as you can to keep the prospect of working with them in the future open.
5. Providing Great Customer Service
You might be surprised to learn that working with influencers depends heavily on your ability to provide great customer service. But it does, in fact.
Ultimately, you want to prove the value of a partnership with your brand; which is reflected in the level of service you give them.
Once again that includes simple things, such as following up with them and even on interpersonal skills like patience and dependability.
Showing that you respect their time and are personable in your communication, (Even online, cause it shows!) can go a long way in helping to cement partnerships for your brand, as well.
If you want to work with influential people on social media, you should work on honing a communication and sales skillset that is transferable to virtually any and every type of business.
Research is important because it helps to establish the value-add that influential accounts will have on your brand. It’s important to target based on both quality and quantity; in some cases the former will trump the latter.
The next stage in the communication cycle is cold contacting; wherein you upsell the value of working with your brand via email, phone or sometimes in person.
Skills like negotiating come in handy when price ranges are out of your budget. But always try to use every asset you have at your disposal; Be it leveraging a trade for free products and services, mutual collaboration or pay.
Remember: There are different tiers of reciprocity the higher up the influencer food chain you go. So value yours accordingly.
But at each level all of the same rules of social etiquette still apply.
Following up & providing great customer service will also ensure that you can keep the option of working with influencers open for the future; Whether you’ve worked with them yet or not.
These are just a handful of things that will help you successfully pitch the benefits of working with your brand to any influencer in the social media-verse.