I recently shared a blog about social media influencers and how to decide if they are a fit for your business. And if they are a fit, how to get started without making costly mistakes.
You can check out What’s a Social Media Influencer and How to Get Started.
If you’re ready to work with a social media influencer, here are some really important things to consider.
8 tips to always keep in mind when working with social media influencers:
These tips will help your selection and management process run smoothly and help keep you from burning bridges you didn’t even know you could be burning!
1. Always be kind
It may feel ludicrous that influencers charge for a single post, but keep in mind that they have worked extremely hard to build a community for years. For many professional influencers, this is their full time job and they have to pay their staff (i.e. a photographer, editor, writer, content creator, etc.). If you want a response back, be cautious in your initial ask and ensure it seems fair. Always, always be kind.
2. Make it personal
Before reaching out, learn about the influencer! Did they recently visit your favorite country? Did they mention your favorite restaurant? Find common ground and show that you’ve put in the work to get to know them before asking for something. Be authentic.
3. If you cannot afford to work with a specific influencer, that’s ok!
Be true to your goals and budget. It’s ok to kindly decline working together on a basis that your budget doesn’t currently allow! Be honest. You may find that they are still interested in working together. And maybe they aren’t. That’s ok too.
4. Start small.
It may take some time to figure out the best approach when communicating and working with influencers. Give yourself some testing grounds before you blow a budget!
5. Have an agreement!
Even a good intentioned and relaxed relationship with an influencer should have an agreement.
What will both parties receive? How many posts will be required? When do they need to be posted by? Does a specific hashtag need to be included? If photos are being taken, how long until they are edited and sent? Does a blog post need to include the brand website? Does payment need to be 50% upfront and 50% after completion?
It’s important to have a trusting and open relationship – AND it’s important for both parties to know what is expected.
A basic agreement ensures everyone is on the same page.
6. Tracking success
It’s easy to waste a lot of money on social media influencer partnerships that do little for your business. You can keep track of exact partnership metrics by being connected to an influencer’s account as an approved brand partner. There is then complete transparency on analytics.
If that’s not possible, take note of an increase in followers, clicks to your website and engagement during the first 48 hours of a post. Track this monthly so you know how to compare.
7. Sweeten the deal – especially if it’s a trade!
Sweeten your offer with other partner offers! For example, if you’re a hotel, offer a package that goes beyond the room stay. You could throw in a massage if you have a spa, a food voucher if you have a restaurant, or a welcome package with a bottle of wine and local goodies.
Or ask a nearby local restaurant if they’d like to provide a gift certificate. Ask a nearby winery if they’d like to offer a tasty experience. Ask a nearby masseuse if they’d like to include a session.
There are endless ways to sweeten the deal.
And these can be win-win situations because these partners are now getting in front of influencers.
Word of caution when working with partners: careful what you promise in regards to getting featured on social media from the influencer. Unless it’s explicitly in the agreement with the influencer, he or she may not want to share social media posts about the other companies. One way to enhance the chances they will share is to make it extremely easy. Include a handwritten personalized note in your welcome package that explains a bit about each partner included in your package. Then include their social media handles. If the influencer is inspired with the partners, they are more likely to post about them. If they don’t, you could always do a shout-out to those partners in an unrelated post just to pass on the kindness and enhance the relationship.
8. Stay engaged
When the partnership is completed, stay engaged! Sometimes the most valuable aspect of an influencer relationship is the long lasting connection. You never know who they will introduce you to, or when they’ll include you in a blog post or future social media post.
When working with an influencer on behalf of a client, our client once received a major press article that was linked back to that influencer who mentioned the hotel to a writer who then wrote the press piece. You just never know where the connection will lead!
An influencer relationship can be an extremely powerful way to authentically market your brand if you put in some effort to find the right fit. Start small so you can learn along the way and ramp up to bigger agreements.
I hope these insights help you feel more confident in dipping your toes into working with social media influencers, so that you find the perfect fit to get your brand out there!
Looking for more information? Here’s a blog on getting started with social media influencers.
Cierra Savatgy-King is founder of Pigtail Media, a boutique social media marketing firm for hospitality, travel and wellness brands. She helps build strategies, manage content and train teams, helping clients tame the massive beast of social media.