By Brett Farmiloe
For promoting a brand, influencer marketing has become a key tool for digital marketers. So how can a small business find influencers and what are best practices to get them to promote your brand and company? From ensuring that your product aligns with the influencer’s brand to making them the protagonist of your compelling story, 14 entrepreneurs and marketers share their best advice.
How to get influencers to promote your business
1. Turn to influencers in compatible industries
“To find influencers to promote your product, you need to find people in similar industries who have similar target audiences. For instance, if you’re a healthy food and beverage company, it makes sense to partner with an Olympic athlete. Or, if you sell products for the home, then a partnership with a well-known interior designer would be a good fit. Create professional relationships with compatible influencers and it won’t be a hard sell for them to promote your brand.”
2. Send PR packages to influencers
“For any new product launch, be sure to add influencers to your send-out list. In the shipment, include a handwritten note to the influencer so your message feels more personal than a sales pitch. List the benefits of your product and how to use it, as well as the social media handle, so they can tag you in their post if they do decide to promote it.”
3. Utilize a bespoke affiliate marketing strategy
“Many influencers will not work with affiliate programs on traditional commission structures, and are far more likely to respond positively to a proposal of a bespoke commission structure from the outset. Higher commission rates encourage them to mention or review your product across their entire sphere of influence, meaning that you as the business owner can get a better understanding of which medium of promotion is best suited to your affiliates based on the metrics that matter to you.”
4. Ensure your product aligns with the influencer’s brand
“Figure out what exactly a particular influencer represents and if your company’s cause aligns. If your product or service addresses a specific problem, you should be able to answer the question “How would this influencer pitch this?” before even reaching out. The creative potential should feel obvious and organic.
“For our hands-free shoes, it was easy to determine that “momfluencers” always on the go could easily speak to the benefits of our product. After all, influencers understand better than anybody how much authenticity matters; otherwise, they stand to lose followers. They will appreciate your company for understanding their brand before taking the time to pitch.”
5. Speak the influencer’s language
“Lead with the data that supports a successful partnership when contacting potential influencers. Hard data is the proof in the pudding that makes business sense, and gives a great first impression that you respect the influencers’ time. Speaking their language goes a long way, since many companies make the mistake of underestimating influencers’ business acumen.
“Take the time to do the research and analyze your crossover followers and other statistics that show how this partnership can be mutually beneficial. Before you get the chance to talk creative, influencers like to know you can first talk business.”
6. Use influencer marketing platforms
“Using influencer marketing platforms is the best way to get influencers to promote your product or service. It eases the selection process by analyzing the provided information of influencers on the platform. In addition, platforms provide various options of influence for your product and service. For example, AspireIQ, a marketing platform, can help you get influencers for brand events and solicit customer reviews. In addition, it allows you to collaborate with influencers on content for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and blogs, so you can quickly produce leads.”
—Karen Cate Agustin, Investors Club
7. Make them the protagonist of your compelling story
“You stand to enjoy the best returns in your influencer marketing if your influencer is emotionally engaged in your project—and not just drawn in by the dollars. Make your project their project by internalizing them into your brand story. This is more than just getting them to smile with your product for their audience. It’s blending your compelling brand story with them so that they tell their story to their audience through you. Get to know your influencer. Was there a critical point of their life (or journey to the top) that they can recreate with your product for their audience?”
8. Give influencers access to your products
“Provide influencers with the tips and tricks to achieve the best results using your products. For example, we sell teeth-whitening kits. Providing these kits to influencers and explaining to them the appropriate way to use our products helps ensure they receive maximum results. We have found that when influencers are impressed with the results they see, they are happy to promote our products. Not only are they able to promote the items, but they are able to share the correct way to use the products to ensure their followers get the same results. This is a critical step because if a product is not used as directed, results will vary, which can lead to less-than-stellar reviews.”
9. Offer incentives
“The way we approach influencer marketing and the way we get influencers to promote our website is by offering them a percentage of our earnings as an incentive. Think of it like this: if you give an influencer $1,000 to promote your product, they will likely create some content, post it, and forget about it. However, by offering them incentives to earn back a percentage of total earnings, they will be very motivated to create great posts and continue promoting your product for months to come.”
10. Use the Instagram Shopping feature
“The best way to get influencers to promote your product is by giving them a code for their followers so they can earn a commission on purchases. For example: if an influencer promotes one of your products on
Instagram Shopping, customers can buy your product instantly without ever having to leave the app. The process is seamless and highly effective.”
11. Put effort into maintaining relationships with influencers
“Cold messaging can work to secure influencer promotions, but you’ll land more yeses if you’ve already established a relationship with them. You should always keep influencer leads warm, even while you’re not actively building an influencer campaign or looking for promotions. Like and interact with posts, stay present in the comments, and cross-promote their user-generated content across your social media channels. When influencers see you working to elevate their platform, they’ll be more open to doing the same for you.
“You’ll want to build a solid Rolodex of influencer friends you can call on when you’re ready to promote. Influencers that already know your product and feel positive about your brand will make for faster and easier negotiations!”
12. Find an influencer who’s also a customer
“For an influencer to promote your product or service authentically, partner with one who already uses your products. If you find someone who is like-minded, has a large following and is already a fan of your products, then it will be easy for them to promote what you sell. Also, any influencer you partner with should have a target audience with similar values to those of your customers. The partnership should make sense.”
13. Build relationships with influencers
“Don’t expect influencers to promote your products without establishing a real relationship with them first. Of course, some will advertise anything for a fair amount, but this shouldn’t be your goal. A perfect influencer is a brand ambassador who understands your company’s goals and mission, and can identify with it and your products.
“So start with reaching out to influencers from your niche and ask them about products they use, whether they have ever come across your brand, and whether they would be interested in trying your products. If you receive a positive response, send them free samples for testing. That is one of the best ways to get someone on board.
In the meantime, arrange a meeting during which you feel the mutual flow or find a common vibe. Now is the time to create a genuine business relationship and offer commercial cooperation. Present your expectations, listen to the influencer’s requirements, and move forward with your joint advertising campaign. The deal is sealed.”
14. Host a launch party
“Host a launch party and invite influencers to the event. Not only is this a great
marketing tactic, but also helps with public relations as you can also invite magazine editors as well. Consider hosting a dinner party or a fun, unique event where influencers can interact with your product. This creates a more organic approach to encouraging influencers to promote products while having fun doing it.”