Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to create a powerful marketing campaign or a marketer looking for a different angle, there are a few things to remember when dealing with influencers. The path can be treacherous if taken without care. If you handle an influencer the wrong way, you’ll have an enemy on your hands who holds considerable sway over your target audience. You could also just be ignored, or even blocked, which on some level is worse. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.
1. Choose the Right Influencers
The most critical step is to pick the right influencers. Picking the wrong one can lead to a massive waste of time and effort for everyone involved. Whomever you choose must hold sway over your target market. That’s the entire point: you’re borrowing their authority and integrity to help promote your product. It also means that the most prominent names aren’t always the best ones. Consider whether or not they’re actively involved with a competitor, or if they’re big but don’t hold the actual authority of some form over your target market.
2. Sell the Influencer
You’re not the only person under tremendous pressure to perform. Influencers often owe their position to a social standing earned through performance and message delivery. If their message doesn’t get traffic, they fail. This is where you come in. Should you find an influencer you admire, please give them a signal boost. Share their content on your networks. Tag them, so they know what you’re doing.
Doing this offers numerous benefits if done correctly. It’ll help introduce the influencer to your current customers, which can further increase their authoritativeness. It’ll also improve the influencer’s general standing, which can be the start of a professional relationship. If you’re lucky, they may reach out to you.
3. Offer Incentives to Entice Influencers
Building a relationship is often not enough. Influencers are business people by nature, using crafted personalities to attract people to their fold. To get them on your side, you will often have to offer a tangible incentive. Donations and a directed effort to give them more exposure often work wonders.
A more direct route involves paying for their time. Paid endorsements are common and don’t hold the same problems they used to. If you go this route, make sure the influencer you choose has a history of integrity. By no means should you obligate them to deliver an overwhelmingly positive message. Let them be honest about your product. It’s better in the long run.
4. Resist the Urge to Spam The With Follow-Ups
Sometimes, it can feel like that one influencer is all you need to push through to the next level. When they don’t respond, it can feel like your dreams are slipping away. You’re tempted to send follow-ups, and you do, only to end up spamming his inbox. Instead of getting a reply, you get blocked. Now you have to find someone else in the same field.
Following up with your influencer is necessary. They likely get many offers and can have trouble getting back to you. Without a reminder, you could slip through the cracks. However, it would help if you gave them time. They’re busy people. Wait a week before shooting them a message, and even then, only send one.
5. Set Guidelines
Businesses must support their brand. The colors, the style, everything must work within the brand book. While you can’t demand that an influencer follow everything, you can and should give them guidelines.
For example, you should tell them where your company should be tagged and how. You should also let them know if you’re using a specific hashtag to help their efforts work with your own. Also, let them know what their limitations are. Spamming, for example, is frowned upon and can weaken your brand as a whole.
Running a successful influencer marketing campaign is difficult but not impossible. Much like any other form of marketing, it has rules you must respect. Ignoring these rules can render your efforts pointless or even detrimental to your company. Remembering them can help you take your company to the next level.
Originally published 9/01/16, updated 07/08/19.