You’ve got the products, and you want to work with influencers to promote them, but how in the name of TikTokkery do you start making it happen?

It’s a new-age-old question that troubles many a brand owner or manager, so you’re not alone. You might be alone in the marketing wilderness, though, if you rush into it without a plan or a suitable approach for the right influencers. 

Here’s how to best prepare yourself for influencer success as a brand:

What Is Influencer Outreach?

Influencer outreach is a marketing tactic that allows brands to start forming meaningful relationships with people who have established audiences in their field of interest. These audiences may include potential customers, sometimes for the long term, so it’s becoming increasingly worthwhile for brands to nurture such relationships. 

Note the emphasis on meaningful relationships here—we’re not talking expensive, one-off celebrity endorsements for little in return. We’re talking lasting partnerships with people who love your products and subscribe to your philosophy as a brand. These people are often called micro-influencers because they have a smaller and typically more engaged audience than macro-influencers with millions of followers.

Picking and engaging with the right people can be a powerful way to build your own reach, especially when their audiences already trust what they have to say. Influencer outreach is about naturally fitting your product(s) into their feeds without a single hint of insincerity. 

It’s easier said than done, of course, but here’s what you need to think about to get started with your plan: 

What To Include In Your Influencer Outreach Strategy

If you think your products are the perfect fit for influencer outreach and you’re raring to go, that’s a great start. At this stage, though, both a deep breath and a step back are your friends. Take a moment to approach your strategy in the right way with these steps, so you can put yourself on the right path from day one.

Knowing Your Goals

With a brand story defined and a target audience in your sights, you’ll have commercial objectives to meet with your products. It’s important to remember, however, that not all influencer relationships have the same end-goal of selling products.

While some inevitably will help you shift that stock, you might choose some influencers to help build your audience engagement and others to strengthen your brand narrative. Pick carefully and attach internal targets to each relationship so you can track your progress.

Understanding Your Brand’s Place and Personality

It’s no use trying to shoehorn your brand into a feed that doesn’t fit. Do your research to develop a deep understanding of both your target influencers and your target audience(s). Where do they hang out online? Which social accounts, blogs and podcasts do they follow? Whose opinions do they respect?

In all likelihood, you won’t be the only brand reaching out to them, so knowing where and how and why you’ll fit is the key here.

Making the Influencer Feel Valued

There has to be something to gain for the influencer, too, and free products alone just won’t cut it. By making them feel wanted and valued for their opinions and not their numbers, you should start nurturing a real relationship. This means doing the groundwork before you reach out—instead of going in cold on who you think are the right influencers, follow them and engage with them for a while to get to know them. That way, you can reach out to the right people with a much more personalised and meaningful message and get off on the right foot.

Gifting the Right Gifts

Influencers will only engage with the brands that are right for them, so don’t undo all your hard work by pummeling them with products they might not love. Take the time to talk with them to see if there’s a genuine opportunity to bring your products to life in a believable way. The gifting approach will help you explore the relationship naturally at this stage—it helps match the perfect products with the most suitable content creators to tell their stories.

If the opportunity isn’t there and they don’t love your products, don’t take it personally—the right influencers are out there and you will find them. Trust us, it’ll be all the more rewarding when you do.

Having Honesty and Humility

Most micro-influencers aren’t interested in desperate brands who go all cloak-and-dagger about their ‘agreements’. Remember, it’s a two-way relationship with mutual benefits, so be honest about your goals from the start—you could even involve the influencers in your strategy development if there are, indeed, mutual benefits to be had.

How To Craft Influencer Outreach Messages

If you keep the above in mind at every step of your influencer outreach strategy, you won’t go far wrong, but it can all fall apart with poorly executed communications. The key, as we’ve alluded to, is in the ‘softly softly’ personal touch.

Go gung ho and you might as well go home. It’s important to start with a quick enquiry that shows you’ve thought about why you could be a good match. 

Reference something you know they like and why you think they might be interested in your product, too. Don’t force it upon them and don’t assume anything.

Don’t go into any detail about what you might want out of the relationship either—that can come later when you both know there’s an opportunity to work together. 

Save the proposal details for another time and concentrate on striking up natural conversations with your chosen micro-influencers. They’ll see right through bravado like you see through unannounced salespeople who turn up on your doorstep. 

Time your first approach correctly and try to use their preferred method of communication, such as direct messages on Instagram. Avoid the comments section like the plague—it’ll make you look desperate if you do it in public.

At GIFTA, when we reach out to influencers for brands, we personalise everything, even down to the handwritten notes we include with the beautifully packaged products we send. Relationships take time, so be sure not to rush them.

If writing your own influencer outreach emails fills you with dread, you can leave it to our experts, who’ll even sort the postage and reporting for you. To discover more about approaching the right influencers with the right products and the right messaging, get in touch with GIFTA today.