Firstly, what are influencers? For the purpose of this post I’m focusing on people with Instagram accounts and / or blogs that work with brands and businesses to promote them to their followers. This can be those that focus on lifestyle / fashion / family / food / interiors, they are taste makers, people follow them for recommendations and trust their opinion.
When it comes to the influencer industry I’ve had experience on both sides. I’ve been a blogger and influencer for over six years working with both small businesses and huge brands, and I’ve worked with influencers when I had a my own online store.
Influencers can really help build your audience, increase brand awareness and when done well – get you sales!
My top tips on how to work with influencers
Do your research
Don’t just work with any influencer that slides into your DMs. Do the research for yourself and find one that compliments your brand and business. Before you approach them make sure you are already following their account and that you regularly interaction with their content. If they have a blog read it, be familiar with their style and build up a relationship with them. When you do reach out explain why you’d like to work with them and what you enjoy about their content. They are more likely to work with you if they can see you’ve made an effort and genuinely appreciate their work. Remember influencers get countless messages and proposals, make sure you stand out (particularly if you don’t have a budget to pay them!)
Find ones with a complimentary audience to your target market
Just because they have X followers doesn’t mean they are the best fit for your business. Make sure there is synergy between their content and yours, are they a ‘dream customer’ are their followers going to be your kind of customer?
If you’re a location based business find one that’s local to you
This might seem really obvious, but you’d be surprised! When I did influencer work I’d get messages from businesses in the US asking to work with me… when they didn’t even ship to the UK! If you represent a bar/restaurant then do a location search and see if there are any influencers in your area.
Be clear with want you want
Are you happy with a shout out on Instagram Stories, do you want a dedicated photo on their main grid? Set out exactly what you are looking for before you send out any product. Do they expect to be paid? How much? When? Have everything agreed over email, setting out who will be doing what and when.
Make sure they are compliant with regulations
The rules for brands and influencers are constantly being updated. Make sure that if you are gifting them with a product that they declare it up front. It should be labelled AD (Gift) at the start of the caption or if you are paying then AD. Be sure to discuss this and agree it prior to commencing any work. Authenticity and transparency should be a priority, check through their grid is it clear when they’ve been paid or gifted an item. You want an influencer that values their audience and position of influence. More info –Influencer Guide
Remember that this is their job
You wouldn’t work for free so you cannot expect influencers to. If you want to work with an influencer with a large following you need to have a decent sized marketing budget. If they work with large corporations and have 30k+ followings they will be commanding a large fee for a campaign £++++
Manage your expectations
If you approach a large influencer expecting them to do a lot of work for a product worth under £50 you will be very disappointed. They probably won’t even respond to your message. If you have no budget consider working with micro influencers, those with under 10k but with an engaged audience (look for quality comments and interaction under their photos). They would be more likely to work with you – especially if you are a small business, but again more and more will be expecting a fee.
This comes back to my first point. You will be much better off cultivating relationships with the key influencers you’d like to work with. Taking the time to build up a rapport and to check that their work is authentic and fits with your brand is integral to any influencer campaign.
Got any questions or thoughts? Just pop them in a comment below
For members of our community more insight and guidance on this topic is available as one of the beneifits is access to my Instagram Coaching and Consulting.
Morgana is the founder of CWS Creatives and a social media coach for small businesses and entrepreneurs, specialising in Instagram and Pinterest. Based in the North West of the UK, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She particularly enjoys a Netflix binge watch and cannot function without black coffee and dark chocolate digestives.