Written by Hannah Sears

Influencers are a powerful force that marketers can use to reach a larger audience, launch new products, and increase brand awareness. But before developing a partnership, brands have to reach out to influencers to get the ball rolling. Starting off your influencer marketing program on the right foot means communicating the right way and avoiding some of the common mistakes brands make when reaching out to influencers.

Use these key dos and don’ts to inform your strategy when reaching out to potential influencer partners.


Have good email etiquette

The keyword here is email. Don’t reach out to creators via direct messages (DMs) unless they specifically request it or you can’t locate their email address after diligent searching. When you do email an influencer, make sure to address them by their preferred name to make your message more authentic and show you’re putting in the time and effort to personalize your outreach. Be professional, polite, and prompt when you send an email to potential influencers. When they reply, you should respond within 24 to 48 hours to keep the conversation going while you work out the details for the partnership.

Communicate about the content and the partnership

It’s important to have a dialogue with your creators about the content that you want and what you expect out of the partnership. Include the creator in the conversation to strengthen your relationship and build a foundation for a more successful partnership. Influencers are experts in their space — and their audience — and they can have useful insights into their followers that can help you create more effective campaigns. If you really liked a video or post they shared a few weeks ago, let them know! Be specific about what you like and appreciate about their content to show that you recognize their hard work and creativity. 

Keep an open mind

When you’re considering potential partners, remember that influencers are real people! Don’t focus all your efforts on a limited subgroup or super-specific demographic persona. There are influencers of all ages, ethnicities, and personal styles (from their clothing to their style of speaking or writing). Influencers are so effective because they are authentic and genuine. Treat influencers like the unique people they are and use their authenticity to your advantage to reach a wider audience and create more diverse content.


Ask for specific deliverables for gifted content

Don’t ask for content approval or provide specific campaign briefs for gifted content without payment or a signed contract. If you do ask for specific deliverables for gifted content without these structures in place, it can violate advertising guidelines and impact the ethics of your campaign. Your creators should have creative control over how they capture the content and what they say about your brand and product. Influencers have built their follower base with their content and their merit — they know what they’re doing. Pre-written copy and strict guidelines — especially for unpaid campaigns — can make the influencer lose credibility with their audience. It can also negatively impact your campaign and collaboration with the influencers. Trust the creators you pick because they know their audience best!

Set unrealistic expectations

Setting effective expectations comes down to good communication with the influencers you’re working with. It’s important to select influencers who align with the KPIs you’re looking for. If you’re running a paid campaign, be clear with your creators about what deliverables you’re looking for and which KPIs you’re tracking. Talk to them about your goals for the campaign and what numbers you expect to see. Ask the influencer to weigh in based on the performance they’ve seen from their own content or past collaborations. Setting clear expectations helps the influencer as they create content and share it on their accounts for your campaign.

Partnering with influencers is exciting. The most successful influencer partnerships are based on mutually beneficial relationships. Starting off a relationship with influencers on the right foot can inform the future of your partnership. When reaching out to influencers, be professional and personal. Be open and honest about the partnership and be ready to listen to the influencer’s input. Don’t set unrealistic expectations or ask for things that are outside the scope of the partnership. Communicating effectively with influencers helps set your campaigns up for success so you can get the best return on your influencer marketing investment.

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