Influencer Outreach: 5 Tips for a Successful Strategy

Perfecting your influencer outreach can be trial and error. In this article, we’re saving you valuable time: here’s how to ignite your strategy and get the ball rolling.
Fanbytes | Influencer outreach - Tips for a successful strategy

In 30 seconds:

  • Influencer outreach is fundamental to your influencer marketing campaign. But how do you get the best results?
  • Where can you find the perfect creators and what should you do before you approach them? We’ll take you through them all so you’re fully prepped.
  • How do you talk to influencers and follow up? We’ll guide you through the process with a template, to get you ready and raring to go from the start.

Have you perfected your influencer outreach strategy? It’s a worthwhile process. How do you approach social media stars and talk to them so you get the most out of your campaign? When brands are entering new influencer partnerships it can sometimes feel like you’re all questions and no answers. 

To add to the confusion, there are a lot of differing suggestions out there. Look at follower-count, don’t look at follower-count, send a private message, don’t send a private message… Not every brand has time to A/B test their outreach strategy – so what’s the correct answer?

Fanbytes by Brainlabs is well placed to tell you exactly how to contact influencers, because we’re not only a social content marketing agency with a track record of great social media campaigns, but we specialise in finding and working with the perfect social media influencers for every brand campaign – so we know first hand what the experience of influencer outreach is like.

So, we’re here to take you through the definitive dos and don’ts of influencer outreach so you can get ahead on your strategy and nail your campaign.

Why Influencer Marketing works

Influencer marketing is a big deal. The industry will reach $16.4 billion in 2022 and is continuously growing. People want to hear what influencers have to say, and savvy brands are cottoning on. 

80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective and 72% of marketers believe that the quality of consumers gained from influencer marketing campaigns is better than other marketing types.

That’s partly down to trust. 92% of consumers trust influencer endorsements much more than traditional celebrities. Gen Z lead the way in this respect, with almost half of the age group making a purchase decision based on a recommendation from a social influencer. 

It’s also down to engagement. Influencer marketing on TikTok is especially powerful; it generates the highest social media engagement rates per post, versus other social media platforms. 

With these results, it’s no wonder marketers everywhere are ramping up their investment in influencers. However, despite the growing popularity of influencer marketing, 22% of marketers still find it very difficult to discover appropriate influencers.

So how do you do it? Read on for our best practices and tricks to get your influencer marketing strategy on point. 

5 fool-proof tips to boost your influencer outreach

Reaching social media influencers doesn’t have to be scary. Our expert tips will show you the best ways to conduct influencer outreach, so you can get the most out of your marketing budget and make your brand’s marketing strategy work.

Fanbytes | understand your goals

Tip 1: Understand your goals first

What are your marketing goals? Influencer marketing is there for more than just spreading the word. Key KPIs for your influencer marketing campaign can include website hits, downloads or cost per install (CPI) if you’re an app, cost per click (CPC), sales and more. Make sure you know why you want to approach creators before sending any influencer outreach messages. 

Goals should be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. So think about this when creating your influencer marketing

Whatever your goal, it’s vital to know it before reaching out to any potential influencer. Only then can you be armed with the right tools to find and get in touch with them. 

Tip 2: Search for the right influencer

So many marketers make the mistake of searching for generic high follower-count Instagram influencers. This blanket approach is the wrong way to start your influencer outreach. Doing your research and understanding what types of influencers – and on which social media platform – would be perfect for your brand is key to a successful campaign. Take a look at some of the best practices below for how to search for not just any influencer but the ideal one.

1. Think about your audience

You know your brand’s audience better than anyone. Think about what social media platform they would be on and which social media marketing content they would be interested in. Will a particular influencer’s personality gel with your customers? 

2. Use hashtags for your niche

Search for influencers using relevant hashtags that fit with your niche. This will allow you to find the right influencers targeting more specific audiences. Make sure they align with your brand straight away. 

At Fanbytes, we go one step further: we use our social listening tool Bytesights to see which influencers are organically mentioning relevant brands (not just hashtags) so we can see where campaigns will be the most natural fit.

3. Choose the influencer based on your goal

Remember those goals? This is a key factor for the influencer you choose. Some creators are better for brand awareness, consideration, sales – or even encouraging their followers to follow in their brand advocacy. It’s not just about macro-influencers with huge followings: micro-influencers can get impressive results, too. We talk more about which influencers suit different business goals here.

Fanbytes | Don’t jump in too quick

Tip 3: Don’t jump in too quick

So you’ve found a list of influencers you think could be excellent for your social media influencer marketing campaign. But your work isn’t over yet. You need to complete a few essential steps before you send them your campaign brief. These are what we do when finding the most relevant influencers for brands:

1. Assess their past projects

Influencers can be a dream to work with, bringing creativity and passion to every project, along with a perfect target audience. All the influencers on our roster are an asset to any brand. But there are those out there who are less easy to work with. Take a look at past branded projects to assess whether these are something you’d like to emulate. Past projects will show an influencer’s dedication.

2. Check their views and engagement

An influencer expert will be able to tell you very quickly whether an influencer’s following is genuine. If you’re new to influencer marketing, an important step is to assess an influencer’s engagement rate – not just the number of their followers. Check out how many likes, comments and views there are on their social media posts, and take note if there are any discrepancies. 

3. Assess reliability, cost-effectiveness and turnaround time

These are three qualities that Fanbytes champions when recommending an influencer. You want to make sure they are reliable, fit within your budget, and get the campaign developed quickly.    

We’ve built up this knowledge after years in the influencer marketing space and establishing relationships with hundreds of influencers. However, if your brand is new to it, a good start is to check how long it takes an influencer to respond to your messages. But before you message them with a proposal, there’s another step…

4. Take time to engage

It’s so important to engage with influencers first as an early part of your outreach campaign. Looking at their content, liking and commenting on it – and understanding why they do it – is key to working effectively with them.

This move helps build your relationship first before you go in with a proposal to work together. It’s not just a case of “it’s nice to be nice” – taking this step will help you develop a more natural fit for a campaign, and will likely increase the chances of the influencer saying “yes”.

Fanbytes | Enlist the experts

Tip 4: Enlist the experts

Searching for influencers can feel like a grind, even if you’re taking all the correct steps. It’s a long-winded process that involves creating a real relationship – which is why many brands take the route of enlisting the experts. It saves valuable time, and means you can relax knowing that someone else is communicating your project in the best way possible, with the best influencers.

We work with a broad spectrum of influencers though our campaigns, informed by our expertise in the influencer marketing space and managed through our suite of software, Bytesights.

This is our cutting-edge tool that helps us find the right influencer for our clients and manage our influencer marketing campaigns, from finding the right influencer to outreach, communicating the brief, managing the campaign and assessing the results.

Check out our full page on exactly how we do it here.

Tip 5: Nailing influencer outreach emails and messages

Getting in touch with an influencer is sometimes the most challenging part of an outreach strategy. What does a good email template look like? You want to capture their attention, communicate the right message and kick-start a conversation that gets results. How do you do it?

1. Choose email if possible

Influencers and bloggers tend to prefer email correspondence as they often have their social media inboxes full of fan mail. Usually, the influencer will provide an email address for brands to contact them on. If you can’t find this on their social profile, try looking at their website or LinkedIn. If you’re struggling, however, you can direct message (DM) them on their social media. Instagram is a good tool for this.

2. Include their name first

So many outreach messages are cut-and-paste, so making sure you acknowledge who they are at the beginning of your message is vital for establishing a successful influencer relationship. A perfect first step is to include their real name (not just their social handle). This immediately indicates you’ve taken the time to learn more about them.

3. Be a real person

What do we mean by this? This is especially important if you’re DMing an influencer from your brand’s social media account (sometimes a necessity if you can’t find an email address). They can’t see who you are – you’re just a brand to them at this point. Say “Hi [their name] it’s [your name] from [your company name]”. It sounds simple, but many brands forget to add this personal element. It helps an influencer know who they are talking to.

4. State that it’s paid

Influencers normally get stacks of unpaid “opportunities”. This step is especially important for new, lesser-known brands: put yourself a cut above the rest and state openly that your campaign is paid. This is a good thing to include in your email subject line, too.

5. Acknowledge their work

Blanket emails are a drag on influencers. Make sure you show them you’ve done all that wonderful research by mentioning something they’ve done before that you liked. Your influencer outreach message has to stand out from the crowd, so a great way to do this is to include a note about their work and how this led you to believe they’d be perfect for your campaign. This is also a great way to establish good feeling, which is necessary for a great relationship.

6. Keep it short and sweet

There is no need to write tons of info straight from the off. It can be overwhelming. Include the main campaign idea, a bit about your brand and some details on the opportunity. Finish with a yes or no question to make it easy for them to reply. “I’d love to share more info. Is this something you would be interested in?

If the answer is “yes” – that’s all they have to type. 3 letters! Then you can send more information knowing you have an interested party.

Next steps

It’s important to strike a balance between not giving all the information in one go (and scaring off influencers with a mammoth email) and having an email exchange that doesn’t go on for too long, which may risk losing them.

Once you’ve captured their attention, you will need to communicate the brief, set expectations and draw up a contract. You will need to address how you will pay the influencer and when. Make sure you have these steps completed or you may risk disappointment.

Your brief should specify the aim of the campaign along with the type of content you need the influencer to create, and when you need it by. You should also provide some parameters for content to include and what to leave out (for example, you may specify “show the product close to camera, and include messaging about this feature. But please don’t swear”). 

But beyond the broad strokes of the creative, you need to let go a bit. 

What? That sounds scary, right? The truth is, if you have found the right influencer and effectively communicated what the campaign is about, you should be able to let the influencer take it from there.

Once a great social media influencer understands your needs, it’s important to give them creative control: people love these influencers because they’re hooked on their personal style of content. Remember, these people know their followers best. They will find a way to produce the best possible content for their audience – and your campaign.

It’s time to build

Good communication is the backbone of any influencer marketing plan. So make sure you have the right infrastructure in place. 

Remember to check that your content is being put out under the right regulations, too. Only 14% of influencers are currently fully compliant with legal guidelines, so make sure your campaign is within that percentage. This is something that we always work with brands to achieve, so that their lovely influencer content stays up – and keeps working for them – for a long time.

Does this all sound quite overwhelming? That’s why we’re here. We have game-changing tools plus a collective industry knowledge that’s second to none. Get in touch to see how we can make your influencer outreach strategy as smooth as humanly (and technologically) as possible. 

Looking for more insights on influencer marketing? Check out our other articles below plus our core services, to see what we’re really made of. 

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