As brands continue to recognize the power of influencer marketing, bloggers and social media users are seeing more brand pitches, products, and content requests every day. However, in their eagerness to tap into a targeted audience of potential consumers, brands forget to consider who these influencers are, what they care about, and what exactly they expect from brand partnerships.
In a survey conducted by TapInfluence, we found that nearly 2/3 of bloggers reject at least half of the pitches they receive from brands. And theyâ€™re getting quite a few. 63% of bloggers get 1-20 brand pitches in a single year, and 14% of influencers receive over 100 pitches in a year. How do they decide whether to accept or reject a program?
There are many factors that contribute. By following these 10 best practices for engaging with influencers, you will be able to target your pitch, reach a more relevant and engaged audience, and develop a positive reputation for your brandâ€™s influencer marketing programs.
Make it Personal and Relevant
Donâ€™t make the mistake of sending a form letter without directly addressing the person youâ€™re contacting (â€śDear [insert first name]â€ť is not a good first impression). But even remembering a name isnâ€™t enough. Read through their recent posts and get to know the topics they care about. Check out their social networks and start to engage with them on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Dig a little deeper than the â€śAboutâ€ť section on their blog. Getting to know the bloggers and influencers you want to work with is a critical first step to forming long-lasting, authentic relationships.
Target your Pitch
Find out if their posts align with your brand. For example, donâ€™t pitch a vegan blogger to write about new chicken nuggets. It may sound obvious, but doing your homework upfront is a great way to find bloggers that will love your brand, or already do, and will become long-term advocates for your products or services. By targeting your pitch to specific bloggers in a relevant niche, not only will your acceptance rate increase but the audience you reach will be more prone to connect with your brand, too. When you engage with bloggers who are natural champions for your brand, everyone wins!
Itâ€™s great to be detailed, but when youâ€™re reaching out to bloggers or active social media users, be clear and concise. Just give enough information for them to get a feel for the program and the requirements. Then if they accept or are interested but have questions, you can provide them with the next steps and additional program details. Bloggers are busy and being concise makes it easy for them to get to a â€śyesâ€ť or â€śnoâ€ť quickly.
Be Clear about Expectations
Make sure youâ€™ve thought through the details of your program and have clearly defined the requirements for your influencer partners. How many times would you like them to post? Where will they be posting? Blog? Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Is there a topic they should focus on? Defining these requirements in advance will ensure your partners will enjoy working with you, and will also help you define the broader program strategy. Clarity helps both you and your blog partners succeed.
The number one reason influencers have a negative experience with a brand is because the campaign is disorganized. Influencers are appropriately protective of their readers, followers, and reputations. After all, theyâ€™ve spent years earning the trust and respect of their network, and donâ€™t want to throw it away on poorly planned and executed brand programs. So when building out an influencer program, define goals and deliverables, establish key performance indicators (KPIs), decide on the requirements for a post or social share, and solidify a program timeline. All of these combined components create a fluid, well-organized program and influencers will be excited to work with you again and again.
Itâ€™s standard practice for influencers to be compensated for the valuable content they are creating. Some brands offer monetary compensation, free products, tripsâ€”there are lots of ways to pay influencers for their work, and your brand should consider defining a standard policy. This can also be an important part of your research. Some influencers have very specific and strict guidelines about sponsored content, which often times they will post in a PR, Media or Disclaimer section of their blog.
Due to FTC Disclosure Guidelines, bloggers are required to disclose to their readers if they are being compensated for a review, mention, or sponsored post. Help them out! Provide your influencers with the appropriate disclaimer, and stay up to date on legal issues surrounding social media and sponsored content.
It can be hard for brands and agencies to let go of control. But remember, influencers are professionals. Often times, influencers know how to effectively reach their audience better than brands, especially with new social media and tools emerging every day. They are experts in their space, and if youâ€™ve done your homework before reaching out, you can trust them to represent your brand well.
Theyâ€™ve accepted your concise, clear pitch. Youâ€™ve trusted them to compose a brilliant post. They have. Theyâ€™re completing all defined expectations. Now what? Engage! Read through their post and comment. Tweet their post from your brandâ€™s Twitter handle. Share and interact with the quality and authentic content created by your blog and social media partners. Influencer marketing is all about fostering mutually beneficial and professional relationships, and the people you work with will notice and respect your participation.
Itâ€™s Not All Numbers
One of the most important points about engaging influencers is that itâ€™s not all about the numbers. Measuring influence, reach, and engagement is an ever-evolving process, as well as one of our main focuses at TapInfluence. More and more, agencies and brands are starting to recognize that quality content created and shared by influencers with an engaged and loyal following is one of the most valuable components of influencer marketing. So by engaging top influencers, doing your research, being organized, and interacting with your partners, your brand will enjoy meaningful conversations with target consumers, positive relationships with influencers, and authentic personal contentâ€”all sponsored by your brand.
At the start of September, we also hosted a webinar called Engaging with Influencers. For more information on influencer marketing and working with influencers, download the full webinar here.