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Power Blog

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    Samantha Wormser
    by Samantha Wormser |

    Getting Started with Social Media Influencer Outreach

    What Is A Social Media Influencer?

    A social media influencer is someone who carries influence or clout over his or her followers on social media. This is determined primarily by the size of their following, but also by engagement and the content quality of their social presence. On Instagram, this might mean they have a large following and get great engagement in terms of comments and likes, plus their photos are high quality and they may be working with professional photographers.

    On YouTube, this would be a large number of subscribers to their channel and views on their videos, plus engagement in the form of comments and likes. Twitter influencers can be identified based off of a large following and high engagement in the form of retweets and likes. If someone is a social media influencer, they most likely utilize more than one social media platform, which could be a combination of Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

    So, how do you determine which type of influencer is right for your brand and marketing strategy? There are a few different tiers of influencers we identify at Power Digital.

    The Celebrity Influencer

    This is the highest caliber of influencer, and means someone who has a social following in the millions. Celebrity influencers can be tapped into when you have a large marketing budget. If not, you probably won’t get any traction.

    When to reach out: Celeb influencers are good for brands with hefty marketing budgets. If you’re reaching out to an influencer with millions of followers, they are getting collaboration requests all day long and prioritizing not only the brands they align with, but also the brands who have the best offer, meaning who is offering the most money.

    Related: Getting Started with Digital PR - What Public Relations is All About

    Why this is not the priority tier at PDM: The credibility of these influencers is not always great. Imagine celebrities that you follow who post things like sponsored teeth whitening at-home kits. You can probably guess that this person was paid – significantly – and might not believe that they actually had success with the product or service. With celebrity influencers like Kylie Jenner charging $250,000 for one Instagram post, the products celeb influencers are promoting are most likely not products he or she would choose for themselves.

    The Top Tier Influencer

    We identify top tier influencers as someone with a few hundred thousand to one million followers on one social media platform. These people have great engagement and thousands of likes on every single post, but may not be actively engaging with their followers by commenting or tweeting back within their captions and posts.

    When to reach out: Top tier influencers would not be a good fit for small brands because they require sponsorship fees. The catch here, is if you have a product that offers a huge value to that influencer or you are offering a product that is expensive. Sometimes these top tier influencers really love the brand or product and already have that brand affinity so they are more likely to work with you for a smaller sponsored fee.

    For products that are more expensive, sometimes influencers will accept these types of items as an in kind donation, and exclude their sponsored fee. One example of this would be offering an influencer a mattress. This is something they may actually be in need of and not willing to shell out $2,000 for, but you could be offering it in exchange for social inclusion.

    We recommend being weary of these opportunities because although they may have higher reach in terms of followers, they do not have close-knit relationships with their followers and engage with them. In addition, they are most likely posting many sponsored opportunities and even multiple posts a day on Instagram or even multiple tweets in a single hour, meaning your brand’s 15 minutes of fame on their Instagram photo may actually only be 15 minutes and lost amidst a lot of sponsored noise.

    The Micro-Influencer

    We identify influencers with between 10,000 and about 50,000 followers as micro-influencers. They don’t have a massive following, but what they do have is more trust from their followers. Why is this? Well, we all follow influencers who are categorized in the celebrity tier, but who really trusts the products they are posting about, when we know they charge thousands of dollars to promote a product?

    Related: Why Influencer Marketing is an Invaluable Tool for Emerging Brands

    Influencers in this tier are actively engaging with their audience, liking comments, commenting back, and showing an interest in their social following, while other higher tier influencers are less likely to comment back. For micro-influencers, the products they are posting about are products that they actually love, making them brand advocates. This means that their followers are more likely to take action and ultimately convert on your website and is more impactful because they have established trust with the influencer, which effects how they perceive the brand.  

    When to reach out: The micro-influencer is extremely valuable for smaller brands and even large brands. Smaller brands are a great fit because these influencers are more willing to accept free product with minimal or no sponsored fees, so smaller marketing budgets can actually accommodate them. Larger brands can still benefit from these influencers because they may be able to offer larger discount codes that encourage followers to take action.

    Why this is our sweet spot: These influencers are the real deal. They have significant reach, they are friends with their followers who trust them and what they are sharing about and they are not bogged down by a number of daily posts and sponsored content. You can also still get the great content collateral from these influencers without having to spend huge amounts on sponsored fees. We’ve found that these influencers are also usually willing to post more than once and are often times more responsive and excited to work with you.

    What can social media influencer marketing do for your brand?

    • Brand awareness: It goes without saying that a main takeaway from working with social media influencers is brand awareness. If they are posting on social media and have a large following, you are getting eyeballs on your brand. This is why it’s so important to identify influencers who have a following that can relate to your brand. You are speaking to their entire audience, not just the individual influencer.
    • Content generation: Have you thought about working with influencers outside of just brand awareness? This is our not-so-secret ingredient for influencer outreach. If you’re working with influencers on social channels like Facebook and Instagram, content creation in the form of photos is a huge opportunity. Brands pay thousands of dollars for custom photography for use in marketing efforts and on social media, but these social media influencers can produce the same type of awesome image content and get brand awareness while doing it. Make sure you get confirmation with each influencer you are working with before sharing or even re-posting their images to avoid any copyright infringement issues. If your goal is to create awesome videos, YouTube influencers are your best bet!
    • Sales and revenue generation: This one is a tough nut to crack. Influencer agencies and brands have tried things like creating unique coupon codes over and over again to attribute revenue and it’s always difficult to measure. Discount codes are not actually used as often as you might think. The issue we run into with coupons is the inevitable coupon scraping site that compiles discounts from across the web that anyone can use. In this case, you cannot necessarily attribute coupon redemptions to that specific influencer. In addition, people on social media are not usually browsing through their feed with the intent of purchasing; they are more top of the funnel than someone ready to convert. If your coupon offer is paltry (like 10 percent off), it will probably not resonant well enough to have them take action. We recommend using larger discount codes between 20 and 40 percent so people are more likely to take action.
    • Sales and revenue generation: This one is a tough nut to crack. Influencer agencies and brands have tried things like creating unique coupon codes over and over again to attribute revenue and it’s always difficult to measure. Discount codes are not actually used as often as you might think. The issue we run into with coupons is the inevitable coupon scraping site that compiles discounts from across the web that anyone can use. In this case, you cannot necessarily attribute coupon redemptions to that specific influencer. In addition, people on social media are not usually browsing through their feed with the intent of purchasing; they are more top of the funnel than someone ready to convert. If your coupon offer is paltry (like 10 percent off), it will probably not resonant well enough to have them take action. We recommend using larger discount codes between 20 and 40 percent so people are more likely to take action.

    The Influencer Outreach Process

    Step 1: Identify your target influencers

    There are many services that provide lists of influencers in your target demographic, niche, and location. At Power Digital, we have a proprietary Influencer Database, just like an influencer marketing agency, where we store thousands of influencer’s contact information and update on a daily basis. Step one is to identify your niche influencer and compile a list of opportunities.

    We recommend storing this list on Google Drive and tracking your outreach to stay organized. Since social media outreach is just another form of PR, the nature of the beast is that response rate is much lower than you might think. Even with influencers it’s important to cast a wide net, since you most likely will not hear back from at least half. This is also an ongoing process; once you reach out to your list, add to it and continue to reach out to new social media influencers.

    Related: How to Develop an Influencer Strategy That Converts

    If you don’t have an influencer database at your fingertips, social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter make it easy to find top influencers using the hashtag search.

    Step 2: Create a campaign agreement

    Once you identify your target influencers, create a campaign outline that includes things like:

    • Number of posts they are agreeing to share
    • An image or video rights release agreement so you can repurpose and share their content
    • Any key messaging you’d like them to include in a caption or in the video content
    • Campaign hashtags and account name to tag
    • Any other posting stipulations like posting date, time frame, length of a YouTube video etc.

    If a sponsored fee is established, make sure you are noting this within your campaign agreement as well!

    Step 3: Track your success

    You should benchmark the number of followers on your company’s Instagram account, the number of YouTube subscribers (if you have a YouTube account), and any other social account that might be applicable. This way you can see the growth after securing social media influencer coverage.

    If you’re using coupon codes, make sure to check in on how they are performing. Don’t be surprised if there are not any conversions from coupon codes at first or if they number is lower than you expected. If you’re not seeing huge success with coupons, try increasing your discount offer.

    Another way to track your success is by taking a look at Google Analytics and your website traffic from social. If your focus is on Instagram outreach, you can see the traffic coming from Instagram in particular. One thing to note, is that there is only one linking opportunity on Instagram, so if your social media outreach is focused on Instagram, you should also monitor growth in organic traffic, as people may be searching for your brand on Google after learning about it on social media and then converting on your website.

    Step 4: Nurture your influencer relationships

    Influencers will be excited to work with you again if you establish a strong, long-term relationship with them or even work with them as a brand ambassador. We recommend engaging with their content that not only features your brand, but also posts that align with your brand aesthetic as well. Even if you don’t have an upcoming campaign, checking in with someone you’ve worked with before is always a good idea.

    Wrapping up

    Social media outreach and influencer marketing is a huge opportunity to grow your brand and establish relationships with influencers now, who may be in higher demand later. As followings on social media and social influence grows every day, you may be working with an influencer today and establish a great relationship and then as they continue to establish themselves as a thought leader and content creator in the space, you can continue working with them and grow with them.

    With social media outreach, you should be putting the influencer first, always. In public relations, establishing those meaningful relationships is how to see ongoing success for all your clients. Make sure that you are creating a mutually beneficial campaign and offering something valuable, whether it be a product they would be interested in, a service that applies to their followers, or another partnership that is helping both parties involved. Influencer outreach doesn’t end with securing coverage - stay in touch with your social media connections, after all, this is another way of networking!

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