According to SocialPubli, the overwhelming majority of marketers choose Instagram as their primary platform for influencer outreach. Nearly 90% of them find that their partnerships with bloggers are effective. In this climate, delaying with a proper influencer outreach strategy creation won’t do your business any favors.
When it comes to influencer partnerships, it would seem that the general strategy is quite obvious and should be rather simple. You choose a popular influencer, you contact them, you pay them. That’s it, they get money, you get your traffic. But in practice, it’s much more complicated than that. At the very least, you must know your marketing goals and what metrics you’ll need to track to evaluate the effectiveness of such a partnership. This is exactly why your influencer outreach must be a part of a comprehensive strategy.
You might think that of all marketing channels, influencer partnerships are not and shouldn’t be a primary option. Surely not the one your brand can’t live without. However, if that’s what you think, do reconsider. The market dynamics in recent years and the experience of millions of marketers all over the world have proved and continue proving that:
1. Influencer outreach allows communicating information on your brand, product(s), or certain news to your target audience.
2. People tend to trust influencers, sometimes even imitate them. They are called influencers for a reason, after all. Their influence often makes their accomplishments and knowledge of their chosen niche undoubted in the eyes of their followers. This makes them instrumental when you want to promote certain messages.
The thing is they don’t even have to be celebrities with multimillion followings. Today, many influencers owe their popularity to Instagram and are as well-known and well-loved as many celebs, if not more.
3. Influencer outreach is one of the most important aspects of a brand’s communication with its target audience. In today’s social media marketing environment, you as a brand can’t do without finding common ground with influential bloggers and through them, connect with your potential customers.
And it’s not just about communicating with your target audience. It’s also about motivating your potential customers for certain actions:
4. Authentic influencers know and appreciate their own relevance for their audience. They can affect many brand-related decisions both negatively and positively. Like, decrease the influence of certain negative factors on the target audience’s decisions. Or the other way around, increase it.
One of the most powerful instruments they have at their disposal is their trusting relationship with their followers. They are not some distant Hollywood stars. They are actually willing to take time and read their questions and answer them. This special interaction makes their audience want to be receptive to their opinion.
5. As a result of all of the above, you get:
This is the foundation stage. After all, before you actually start acting, you’ve got to have a very clear idea of why you want to start a marketing campaign. This means that you have to know:
Apart from that, analyze your target audience and your content. Find an influencer whose audience is quite similar to yours. Roughly speaking, if you represent a travel company, you would find a lot in common with a travel blogger and much less with someone who is all about fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
Normally, you prepare a briefing sheet that contains information on the kind of content you want from them, how exactly they should mention your brand, content format and the number of publications, requirements for visual content, etc.
There’s a couple of things worth taking into consideration:
You can look for them using online services which will save you a great deal of time. You can do a manual search, which might take a while. You can combine both options for better results. Your choice of an option largely depends on your campaign goals and what type of influencers you’d like to deal with.
Read on for a more detailed discussion of the ways to find influencers.
At this point, you might already have some Instagrammers in sight. The ones you follow and comment on their content. You probably even think they would be perfect as a part of your outreach strategy. And yet even in this case, I don’t recommend underrating the importance of detailed metrics analysis.
First of all, drill down on their profile stats and check them for any inauthentic activity (fake followers). Try to pinpoint any factors that might make your partnership less than effective.
Experienced Influencers with an active audience get (at the very least) dozens of offers every day. So you’ll have to be patient enough and creative enough if you want to hear back from them. Here are some things you’d want to include:
You can skip this step and continue working on the basis of verbal agreements in case you think it’s not a practical option for you. However, I’d recommend giving it a try, especially if you work with influencers with large audiences and especially if your partnership involves hefty compensations.
You’ve determined your marketing campaign goals long before you actually started it. Now it’s time to see which goals you achieved. Here are the ways to do that:
But don’t come to any conclusions just by looking at the information they give you. First, do your own check using analytics services like trendHero. Secondly, check your own profile stats and compare them to the stats that were there before your campaign started. Pay special attention to audience growth, increase in likes/comments, increase in Reach for Stories and publications. Also, make sure that all those followers you gained are real people.
trendHERO is an Instagram analytics service that also offers multiple options for searching influencers suitable for partnerships.
The first option you can see right after you log into your account is the search for specific Instagram profiles. It’s more convenient to use after you’ve already created a list of influencers potentially suitable for partnership. To use it, just type a user name or a link to an Instagram profile in the search bar at the top of your dashboard:
However, if you are interested in creating the above-mentioned list using advanced search options, there is another way. Click on the Discovery tab on the left and you’ll see a search form with various search criteria. It allows narrowing down your search results to the options that are most likely to meet your campaign requirements:
Finally, there is an option to use the “500 similar bloggers” feature. It’s available in any profile report, right in the header with the profile statistics summary. This option allows searching for bloggers within the same niche. Keep in mind that you will have to choose a paid subscription plan in order to use this option:
The platform allows you to have a look at other users with similar audiences and niche content. To use it, just go to your profile and tap the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the screen:
This way you can find influencers based on their location and/or niche-related keywords:
Influencer agencies usually have large databases of influencers to suit every taste and budget. The upside is they offer a number of services like drawing up contracts and some analytics tools. Besides, they ensure you pay for what you get, nothing more and nothing less. The downside is that they are paid services.
First of all, try to assess just how competent and efficient they are when dealing with sponsored content (or any content, for that matter). Do they use quality cameras? Do they look comfortable being in front of a camera? Usually, it takes a couple of days; you can tell a lot just by watching their Stories.
After that, learn as much as you can about their audience demographics. You can get information on age, gender, and location in Instagram Insights or use trendHERO that offers more detailed statistics. Remember that it’s important to make sure that your target audience is similar to theirs. Otherwise, partnering with them would be completely pointless.
That being said, you still need a real influencer. Meaning a blogger who knows how to engage their audience, someone they listen to. There is a way to make sure you find exactly that. By checking the ER metric.
ER is the ratio between all engagements (likes and comments) combined and the number of followers. You can find this information in any profile that’s publicly available. But since measuring ER manually might take quite a lot of precious time, it’s great that trendHERO can do that for you. You can see their ER in every profile analytics report, in the header, along with some details on how ER is calculated:
While 5-8% ER is considered ok for micro-influencers, bloggers with larger influencers might have a lower rate of around 3%.
Besides, if you want to track their ER over time, you can try the service’s new Tracking feature. It allows monitoring ER dynamics and offers a great picture of what kind of content and what kind of activities on their profile provide an increase in follower engagement:
The next thing you’ll want to check is the quality of their audience. In other words, if they have a lot of fake followers that don’t engage with their content in any way and aren’t likely to be interested in yours.
Normally, a fake following isn’t difficult to detect manually:
But in case you want to save yourself some time or just get a bigger picture, use trendHERO to check the audience quality. The service offers information on how many followers can be considered a quality audience and more detailed information on the percentage of suspicious and authentic users that follow a particular profile.
And last but not least, make sure that your promo content won’t compete with some other pieces of sponsored content they might publish. Check their publications manually or once again, use the trendHERO’s Top Mentions in the profile analytics reports:
A few important things to do/consider:
Influencers are just another channel of communication that can help your business to be much more effective when it comes to social media marketing. By developing a solid influencer outreach strategy, you gain a powerful instrument of connecting with your target audience on a whole new level. This connection allows conveying information straight to your potential customers and gaining their trust and loyalty in return.
Influencer outreach is an effective, accessible, and easy way to enhance your audience, get them interested, and make sure you are on the same wavelength.