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How to approach Instagram influencers for brand endorsements

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Influencer marketing is emerging as the leading customer acquisition channel. Businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 they spend on influencer-based campaigns. The returns can go up to $20 if brands and marketers understand the dynamics of influencer marketing.

There is no shortage of experts for your brand to collaborate with. But not all influencers are authentic. Economist and Professor, Roberto Cavazos, estimated that companies will lose $1.3 billion in 2019 from investing in fraudulent influencers.

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Once you rigorously vet experts and shortlist a few of them, you need to identify the right way to approach them. And it’s not as easy as sending them a quick email or text.

44% of influencers only accept one in four offers pitched to them. Their most common turn-offs include:

  • Brand mismatch: Brand ambassadors have reputations to uphold. The brands and products they endorse should match their aesthetics. Nothing puts off an influencer more than getting an irrelevant collaboration proposal.
  • Unfair compensation: Big-ticket experts don’t need your brand to make a name. They expect to be rewarded well for their efforts.
  • No creative freedom: People follow experts for their authenticity. That is why experts value creative freedom more than monetary rewards. They can say no to brands that restrict them with stringent guidelines.

To overcome these issues, you can use influencer marketing platforms like iFluenz. They scope out relevant experts who resonate your values and fit your budget. They invite proposals, mediate negotiations, and help you close the deal quickly.

The next hurdle in your influencer outreach program is to approach shortlisted influencers effectively. Here are some tips:

1. Do Your Research on influencers

You should scan the social media feeds of your potential experts, especially their Instagram feeds. You can use automated tools to monitor the online activity of your target influencers.

Analyze if their content is suitable for your brand. For instance, a travel Instagrammer might not be able to promote a fashion brand in the right way.

Don’t get swayed by the large follower count of an expert. You should look for experts with engaged communities, such as micro-influencers. They are also more cost-effective, according to 56% of marketers.

Not all experts are open to partnerships, so look into that aspect as well. Have they partnered with other brands in the past?

2. Define Your Value Proposition

Understand what motivates your potential experts and create an appealing proposal. Some micro-experts might be content with the recognition or free products/services they get for promoting your brand. Macro-influencers and celebrities are likely to expect monetary compensation.

You will have a hard time hiring an expert if you don’t make an attractive offer. Have a clear-cut offer, but save room for negotiation.

Determine how much control you need over influencer-created content. Your proposal should cover all contentious issues to prevent future conflicts between you and your influencer.

Influencers have different motivations and passions. You should find out what drives your potential experts to accept a collaboration proposal, and then pitch them accordingly.

3. Be Direct and Respectful

Influencers work hard to build goodwill and authority in their niche. They expect brands to recognize their worth.

You should be respectful in your communication, and try to build a healthy relationship by engaging with their posts and complimenting their work. If you’re approaching a Gen-Z influencer, you should avoid corporate buzzwords.

After introducing yourself, outline your offer in a clear, concise manner. Keep in mind that you need their services more than they need you. So, be courteous and friendly.

4. Follow Up with influencers

Most influencers are working overtime to build their personal brands. They might have missed your first email or text. Attacking them in public forums or flooding their inboxes with follow-up emails might harm the relationship.

If an influencer doesn't respond to your offer, send them a gentle reminder. Let them know you are open to further discussion. Add a call-to-action so that they know exactly how to proceed.

About the Author

Yann Benichou is a software engineer and a tech and social media enthusiast. He recently started to blog about influencer marketing for iFluenz.

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