Influencer marketing has become crucial to modern marketing strategies, but building a successful influencer community can be daunting. Particularly, when inbound influencer requests occur, with social media influencers reaching out directly to a brand and expressing interest in collaborating on a marketing campaign.
This type of outreach has become increasingly common as influencers have gained a greater understanding of the benefits of partnering with brands. As a brand, you need to understand the importance of both inbound influencer requests and outreach efforts to establish valuable partnerships and drive ROI for your brand.
“I have worked with influencers who reached out to me directly. I actually like when influencers reach out to me directly as it saves me the trouble of having to seek out and find influencers” says John Frigo, Affiliate Manager with Bestpricenutrition.com, SupplementWarehouse.Com, and MySupplementStore.Com.
When managing inbound influencer requests, screening each request for authenticity, relevance, and alignment with your brand objectives is crucial. It can be a time-consuming and manual effort-driven process, but it’s essential to identify the right influencers to work with.
By setting up a process to evaluate each request based on your criteria, you can ensure that you're working with partners who truly support your brand values and interests.“For example, some people will reach out and say “do you work with influencers?”. Then it turns into a long back and forth of me finding out their follow count, social profiles, what they’re looking to do, how much they want, etc. which is a very manual-effort driven process,” says Frigo.
Collating and managing all these inbound influencer requests, therefore, becomes way more important. Melissa Simon, Crowe PR’s Social Media Coordinator, says that her team is always staying on top of their inbox and monitoring for any new influencer requests as most influencers reach out via email.
Explaining the process further, Amaya Mauro, Head of Marketing, Lonelyaxe says, “ When an influencer reaches out directly to collaborate with your brand, it’s important to have a process in place for managing these requests. First of all, you should create a list of criteria that potential collaborators must meet in order to work with your brand.”
“This could include things like follower count or engagement rate on social media platforms, as well as any other requirements specific to your business needs. Once you have established this criteria, you can use it as a basis for evaluating each request and determining whether or not they are suitable partners for collaborations,” adds Mauro.
Missing out on an opportunity to work with an influencer who is genuinely interested in your brand and has a loyal following can be a big loss for a brand. Partnering with an influencer who already uses and loves your product can be more effective than working with an influencer with a larger following but lower engagement or loyalty. By building relationships with these types of influencers, a brand can tap into their existing follower base and benefit from their authentic promotion of the brand.
Additionally, ignoring or missing out on inbound influencer requests can also give the impression that the brand is not interested in working with influencers or building relationships with potential advocates, which can harm the brand's reputation and future opportunities for collaboration. It is, therefore, important for brands to prioritize responding to inbound influencer requests and evaluating the potential benefits of working with each influencer on a case-by-case basis.
“Building a community through both inbound and outbound outreach will improve our influencer marketing strategies. It’s important to respond to every inquiry we receive, especially because if it isn’t a fit now, there could be a potential partnership opportunity later down the line. We’re always looking to build long-lasting relationships that are beneficial for both parties, rather than transactional one-offs,” says Simon.
Indeed, receiving the right kind of inbound influencer requests can be a blessing to any brand. Having people who use and love your products vouch for you can help you reach a wider audience in a more authentic way.
In particular, micro-influencers are on the rise as they tend to have a more engaged and loyal following.
By working with micro-influencers who are genuinely interested in your brand and products, you can tap into a community of passionate advocates who can help you build brand love and loyalty. Micro-influencers tend to have a smaller but more engaged following, which means their recommendations can carry more weight and influence. Additionally, micro-influencers are often more affordable than larger influencers, which can make them a cost-effective option for brands with smaller budgets.
But how do you find the right influencers, what metrics do you choose to evaluate the right influencers?
“It is extremely subjective,” says Kristin Waite, Influencer Outreach Brand Manager, Squishface - dog skin care brand, giving an elaborate explanation about her methods. “To identify the right micro-influencers for our brand and target audience we have a few steps. We review their social media platforms to check for a few things: Do they have breed specific pets? (English bulldog, pugs, frenchies etc). If they do not have a breed specific pet, do they have a dog that has issues with tear stains or issues with their paws etc.”
Next, her team reviews the type of content to see if they align with their branding and if the influencer can convey their brand message. They also observe consistency with posting and creativity in their content and high-quality videos and photos.
“Our next step is to check out their engagement to learn more about their audience and how responsive they are to the content that they post on their social media platforms. The most important thing for us is to ensure that all of our influencers have tried our products first on their pets prior to sharing it with their audience. We choose influencers who truly support our brand, their values and interests along with their audience must align with our brand,” says she.
This shows us how vetting these influencers can be just as challenging. To make this process more efficient, product marketers can leverage AI and other tech tools to automate the screening and evaluation of potential partners. Automating these tasks saves valuable time and resources, increasing the likelihood of finding the right partners for your brand.
Learn more: affable.ai’s ‘community’ feature.
1. How much does the influencer know about the brand’s products already? When they pitch themselves, it’s ideal to look for why they want to work with your brand and how they think the brand can benefit from the partnership.
2. The influencer/creator provides their social media links with details about themselves and their content.
3. It’s a brownie point if the creator has pitched a few ideas on possible ways to collaborate and/or shared their past collaborations as a portfolio.
4. All the details they share (for above points) are accurate, without errors and going to the right links shows their level of interest, and attention to details.
5. Using AI/ML tools like affable.ai's ‘community’ feature to automate and scale this process. Using such tools can be important for brands as it can help streamline the process, save time, and ensure that the brand is working with the right influencers. These tools can help identify influencers who align with the brand's values, track campaign performance, and measure ROI. By automating the influencer request process, brands can also ensure that they are responding to inquiries in a timely manner and maintaining positive relationships with potential collaborators.
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