Once you’ve identified the ideal influencers for a campaign, the next step is to contact them, engage with them and lay down the foundations of an on-going relationship. This is a fast process and is becoming the new challenge for online communication strategies: a challenge that is not overcome by the classic “if I pay you, you will promote my product ” approach or even worse by just sending out a basic press release.
Nowadays, in order to pursue a quality strategy, it’s increasingly more important to know and understand the needs of influencers that we are interested in. And it’s not enough to have clear objectives and then expect opinion leaders to adapt to them. The current trend is to establish spontaneous and sincere relationships and adjust to the expectations of the person managing the channel that we wish to make an impact on. Context is important, and your influencer has nailed it.
It may be any of the types of influencers we highlight in our post on the influencer engagement pyramid. It may be a prosumer, an opinion leader or a celebrity. In all cases, they have something in common, they are unique and they should be treated as such if we want to ensure they participate in our communication plan.
Here are 3 key tips on how to win over and maintain your quality relationship with all these types of influencers:
Imagine that they are you
Influencers are people who, above all else, belong to an industry they are passionate about. And they want to generate relevant content and share it with their community. So their main motivation isn’t making money or being famous, they derive job satisfaction from making an impact and boosting that impact.
So, when an influencer receives an opportunity that they haven’t looked for themselves, they have to assess the time and effort it’s going to cost them or their team to achieve the objectives. And study the effect this will have on their image and reputation while figuring out how they have to modify or adapt their content to give it context.
So, if we imagine it were us, how attractive would the offer have to be for an influencer to do all this analytical process and then approve it? Many projects, all very creative and well planned, have failed because they lacked this elemental common sense when approaching influencers. We can only ask people to do something that they would have no problem doing themselves.
It’s a simple exercise: Think, if I were a blogger, Twitter user or expert…. How would I react to the proposal? What makes it desirable? How is it going to improve my content? What do I get from it?
Moreover, the influencer must feel, and we’re talking more about feelings here, that they are truly crucial to our strategy. That there is a real connection between our brand and their content, and they are a key figure, which is why we’ve chosen them. It’s all about empathy, that very fashionable characteristic and that will open many doors.
Know your influencer
In order to create a real link with the opinion leader we want to attract, we have to get to know them and their content. Monitoring their channels, their movements and their activity is essential. It may be that they are an influencer from a particular sector or a celebrity with many other proposals from other brands. Whichever the case, being aware of their activity will always be useful and can make all the difference.
Jennifer Beaupre, VP Marketing at Oildex, talk about the relationship with influencers:
“Influencers care about their content and their readers, or they wouldn’t be influential. If brands want to succeed with influencers, they have to first develop a relationship that is valuable for both sides.”
Jess Estrada, Fashion Blogger at Fresh Jess, talks about the importance of knowing what your influencers do:
“Do your research. Don’t just leave it up to the affiliate network or PR firm to vet bloggers or social media users for you. Take a look at the influencer’s blog and/or their social media presence, and only add the ones who truly resonate with your brand to the outreach list.”
Based on this knowledge, we can detect our influencer’s movements and know what will interest them more. We should also identify their needs and help them improve their channel, offer them tools to make their work easier and solutions to boost their influence. It’s the good thing about “human” marketing, it gives us more freedom to reach agreements with a wider scope.
Be honest and natural
Better than presenting ourselves as a business, the influencer should feel that they are interacting at all times with another person or group of people, who (like them) has needs and ways of expressing themselves. It’s best to go about this using sincere and informal language.
Formalisms, airs and hierarchies of days gone by are no longer of use, in fact they can lead to distrust. Modern day communication styles are the best approach: to be truthful and natural. It’s essential that we don’t employ false diplomacy, it may lead to reactions like the one Dans tells us about:¨I’m tired of receiving messages that begin by saying they’ve followed me for a long time and then ask me to do something I’ve never done and that I’ve explicitly said I’d never do, clearly demonstrating they have no idea about what I do, what I write about or what I think.”
It’s clear that the idea is to strike a relaxed, friendly and respectful tone. An agreement between equals, with clearly stated objectives and committing about a future relationship.
In conclusion, we have to understand that influencers are such because they deserve to be, thanks to talent, courage, skills or know-how. But most of all, thanks to the experience they offer their followers. They are the ones that have captured the attention of the public we want to engage with. So it is essential when engaging with influencers to respect and honour their position, offering them campaigns that inspire them and generate trust — values that our brand can also project.
Do you have experience engaging with influencers? Let us know by leaving a comment!