No two influencer marketing campaigns look, feel, or sound the same. But every single one begins with the same moment: the first point of contact between brand and Influencer. Not to scare you, but this moment of Influencer outreach has the power to make or break your next campaign before it even starts. Too scary? Here it is again from a less intimidating angle: Influencer outreach is an essential first step of any worthwhile brand partnership. See? It’s not too intimidating when you put it that way!
And just like any other step of your influencer marketing campaign, how you conduct outreach will depend on which platform you are using to connect with Influencers. Overall, outreach communication over email can be directly with the talent or with their management teams. There are also a number of third party platforms that can be used to find contact information for talent.
When targeting certain Influencers, many find that Instagram is the most popular influencer marketing platform across the board, with 97% of marketers using it as a part of their strategy (followed closely by 83% of marketers using Instagram Stories for their campaigns).
To target Boomers and Gen Xers, one option is to reach out to Influencers on Facebook, which is the third most popular channel for influencer marketing. For the other end of the generational targeting spectrum, to reach the elusive Gen Z you’ll want to reach out to the top TikTok Influencers.
Once you’ve determined which platform is a best match for your campaign, you can begin your Influencer outreach strategy.
How do you do Influencer outreach?
Think of influencer outreach as cold calling potential partners, except without the actual calling part. It’s the first step of your partnership and sets the tone for how your relationship with that Influencer will proceed in the future. However, a successful influencer outreach campaign is more involved than sliding into your favorite Influencer’s DMs and kicking your legs up while you wait for their reply. If you haven’t created one for your marketing team yet, it’s time to construct your Influencer outreach strategy to ensure you are optimizing every step of the outreach process.
Mapping Out Your Influencer Outreach Strategy
Step One: Research your Influencers
Cold calling can be an effective sales technique, but only when the people being called aren’t dialed up at random. Instead, when you choose based on their past consumer behavior, interests, and at the right moment, you’re more likely to have a successful connection. Without researching Influencers before contacting them, you have no way of knowing if that Influencer will even be a good match for your campaign or not. To save yourself time and headaches down the road, take the time to properly research and vet Influencers before ever making contact with them.
When researching Influencers:
- Check their follower count to ensure they are of the appropriate Influencer tier for your campaign
- Check for organic follower growth, check for any spikes in follower count that could suggest bots or purchased followers
- Look at their past campaigns to see how they engage with their audience
- See if their content is a good tonal match for your brand
- Determine if their values and voice align with your brand
Need a more experienced eye during the Influencer vetting process? Contact RhythmInfluence’s team of influencer experts to help you find the right individuals for your next campaign.
Step Two: Foster a Connection
Once you’ve completed your preliminary vetting process, you should have a list of Influencers that would be a good match for your campaign. Begin fostering a connection with these chosen Influencers by following them on the appropriate platforms, liking their posts that speak to you, and leaving positive comments on their content. Then, when you formally reach out to them to begin your official partnership they will already recognize you and your name.
These first moments of connection are really just another step of the vetting process. It will take a few months of monitoring Influencer behavior for you to know if they will really be a good fit for a partnership with your brand or not. During the time that you are liking and commenting on their posts, the moment they act or post in an unsavory way you can cross them off your list and focus on the other Influencers you researched.
Step Three: Make Contact
Now that you have narrowed down the Influencers you’d like to partner with on your next campaign and attained name recognition with them, you can begin making more formal contact. If your Influencer has contact information in their platform bio, feel free to email them there. Otherwise, direct messaging Influencers on the platform where you have been fostering a connection with them is standard practice. The last way to reach out is via influencer marketplaces or communities, which can be done with an agency or your in-house team.
But before you start typing out a DM, keep these Influencer outreach best practices in mind.
Influencer Outreach Best Practices
- Don’t send a stock message, even when using an outreach template it should be tailored to each specific Influencer’s personality
- Use your research to inform the language and tone you use when contacting Influencers
- Be open and honest during outreach, there’s no need to attach a contract to your first message of course, but there’s also no reason to hide your intention
- If you already have a good relationship with an Influencer who is friends with your chosen Influencer, don’t be afraid to name drop them in your message to build credibility
- Be knowledgeable about your planned campaign with the Influencers your reaching out to so you can thoroughly answer any questions they may have about your partnership
- Remember that a brand’s relationship with an Influencer is first and foremost a partnership, remind Influencers how much you appreciate their unique creativity and be open to collaborating with them on sponsored content
- Include details or let them know that upon interest compensation will be discussed.
Influencer Outreach Template for each Platform
You and your brand have one opportunity to make the first contact with an Influencer. And while— as mentioned above— you never want to send a stock message during Influencer outreach, using a template as the backbone of your first message to an Influencer is standard practice. The platform you’re using for outreach will dictate the tone and format of your message. DMs are great for casual, short messages that get straight to the point and emails are better for longer, more detailed explanations for why you think that Influencer would be a good fit for your campaign.
Check out these platform-specific templates that you can tailor for all of your outreach needs:
Influencer Outreach Template for Instagram
Hey [insert Influencer name],
My team here at [insert your brand name] loved your recent posts about [insert description of related post]. It’s clear that your followers love engaging with your content and we especially love how real you are in your stories. At [insert company name here] we [insert what you do/sell] and we think you’d be a great fit for our brand moving forward. We’d love to partner with you to create sponsored content! If you’re interested, let me know here or shoot me a message at [firstname.lastname@example.org] & I can share additional details and compensation information!
-[insert your name here]
Influencer Outreach Template for Twitter
Note: Twitter expanded the character limit of direct messages to 10,000 in 2015, so unlike a Tweet you don't need to be as concerned around character count.
Hey [insert Influencer name],
Your most recent thread about [relevant topic] had me and my team here at [insert your brand name] absolutely dying/laughing/crying/thinking. We love the way you write and how naturally you are able to connect with your followers. I think you’d be a great match for our upcoming campaign for [insert what you do/sell].
If you’re interested in partnering with us feel free to hit me up at [email@example.com] & I can share more information including details & compensation.
Talk to you soon,
[insert your name here]
Influencer Outreach Template for Facebook
Hi [insert Influencer name],
Your post last week about [insert topic here] really spoke to me. You’re clearly a very insightful person, my team and I have been followers of yours for a while now and we’d love to turn this followership into a partnership.
Here at [insert brand name], we believe in [character trait] and [character trait], and I can tell that you share them as well. I’d love to connect with you more about what a partnership with us would look like. Please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can happily provide additional campaign & compensation details!
I look forward to hearing from you!
[insert your name here]
Influencer Outreach Template for TikTok
Hey there [insert Influencer name],
Wow! Your moves are no joke, my team here at [insert brand name] is constantly impressed by your content. We are a [insert company description here] and we’re on the lookout for rising stars to partner with for an upcoming campaign to launch our new [insert product here].
Shoot me an email at [email@example.com] and I can provide you with more information on the campaign & compensation.
I can’t wait to chat with you!
[insert your name here]
Influencer Outreach Template for Email
As mentioned earlier, if an Influencer has their personal email address in their platform bio or the email address of their talent management team, feel free to contact them there. Unlike DMs, using emails for outreach allows you to offer more details about your potential partnership.
Hi [insert Influencer name],
My name is [insert your name here]l, and I’m a [insert role] at [brand/agency]. I’m reaching out because I’m currently working on a sponsored [platform] campaign with [brand] & we would love to partner with you on the opportunity. Ever since I saw your posts on [insert one of their post topics that coincide with your brand], I thought I would reach out to see if you would be open to partnering with us. Let us know if this is something you’d be interested in and we can send over the full campaign brief for your review as well as compensation for the partnership.
Below you’ll find some over the top-level details and requirements for your reference:
[insert top-level campaign details]
- Content Usage
- Campaign Flight: When content should be going live
- Insert post details: Be sure to include #AD and @brand handle
[Insert your name here]
If you’re new to Influencer outreach, you may want to consider working with an influencer marketplace. To get you started, here’s How to Navigate the Top Influencer Marketplaces in 2021.