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Influencer marketing can be highly beneficial for all involved, especially when companies understand how to partner with influencers and look at making it a win-win-win for all involved. That includes:
- The brand
- The influencer
- The influencer’s audience
But it can also backfire and make us look less positive and relevant than was intended.
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This is NOT how to partner with influencers
Here’s how influencer marketing sometimes looks, unfortunately:
A brand out of the blue messages an influencer and says:
Hi, what’s your address? We want to send you something. Or a brand reaches out to offer you a “free” product in return for you doing a review. (On Amazon, this is against the rules, by the way, so don’t do it!)
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And then they often send some irrelevant thing that shows they don’t even know you.
If a brand cares about a connection and thinks it can help them, be sure to know what those people care about and what they stand for.
How to partner with influencers and align goals
One influencer marketing best practice is to be in alignment:
Brand – we have something your audience might care about. How can we work with you? Yes, we want to sell more, but only when it’s relevant to our customers.
Influencer – I always look for better ways to tell better stories and be more efficient. I also am always looking to learn new things. For me to endorse it, it has to work! And I wouldn’t say I like to work for free.
The influencer’s audience – Don’t ever mislead them. If whatever the brand is offering is of value, share it. If not, don’t share it. Or share why it’s bit of interest to your community. Some marketing VPs might say that campaign backfired when that happens.
Also, be transparent. For example, brands can’t buy my opinion, but they can reimburse me for my attention and my time.
How to partner with influencers and run campaigns
- Determine value proposition to that specific audience
- Know how it will benefit influencers and their audiences
- Identify relevant influencers
- Do NOT just throw a solicitation their way.
- Start building a relationship with them. Share their stuff, ask them questions, etc. Other things people have done for hundreds of years to build relationships, you know!
- Give before asking.
- Be a partner.
And don’t promise influencers to be paid in great exposure or something else like that. You are working with them because they can give you exposure.
How to find influencers?
There certainly are tools out there like Traackr and Onalytica can help you identify potential influencers based on their methods. SparkToro is another.
So there are tools out there that help you find your influencers if you’re looking for them for your brand campaign. You can also simply go to your preferred networks and search for the keywords you’re trying to target and see who is talking about them and evaluate whether or not they influence your target audience.
Choosing the right projects and brands
In late 2018 a company wanted to partner with me. They had apparently seen my fitness blog posts.
They wanted me to do some video
So far, so good.
What’s the product?
A new male enhancement, something. Don’t remember if it’s a pill, liquid, or both.
Okay. I reviewed some materials and asked: “is this for men working out?”
“Sure, but it’s really for all men.”
I read further.
It was all about sex – not that I’m opposed to sex.
I asked further: “can I see the video script?”
Sure. They sent it. I cut a couple of “penile” mentions, but overall, I could say that but it’s really not a fit for my audience or even my brand.
Intimacy spokesman Christoph at your service!
The point here is that not all brand-influencer partnerships are worth pursuing. See what aligns with your brand and what your audience would even care about.
My recommendation: When companies reach out, always reply – even if it’s a templated reply:
Thanks for emailing. We are happy to partner but keep in mind there’s a fee. Let me know if you like to proceed.
Then go from there. Try to automate the process as much as possible. I use out-of-office, then send them to Calendly for automatic scheduling. Or PayPal.me for easy payment.
At the end of the day, brands working with influencers can be beneficial for all involved. Just understand the audiences, the dynamics of cost and pricing, and how it would all work.