Influencer Marketing Marketing

What Influencers Look for in Brand Partnerships

What Influencers Look for in Brand Partnerships

Do you understand top professional influencers’ expectations?

A lot of companies tend to see influencers as people posting on a purely transactional basis, but that can’t be farther from the truth. Most influencers look to bring a lot of value to their audiences.

When it comes to the bigger influencers, you’re more likely to work with their managers. For smaller influencers, you’ll probably be working one-on-one. Remember that influencers are people- not commodities to be transacted. Respect their businesses and don’t just look at them as a means to get some marketing done. They’re hardworking people who spent a lot of time and energy building up their followers.

Here’s what influencers look for in their partnerships with brands…

A Natural Brand Fit

Brand partnerships with savvy, professional influencers have to be synergistic or they’re just not going to happen. The easiest way to see if your brands align is to research the other brands they work with.

Sure, you may be able to put your bag on anyone and make it look good, but the collaboration has to make sense. Does your branded content look like the type of content they would produce? Is it in the same market demographics? Do you write copy and shoot images in similar ways?

You can always find someone willing to work with you for the money, but you wouldn’t be doing yourself a service. If you want to a successful campaign, it has to be the right product, presented with the right content to the right audience.

Good Timing

You can’t just reach out a day before you want your campaign to run. Influencers who know what they’re doing plan their calendars in advance. Be mindful of the fact that they have their own calendars and their own schedules.

A Relationship

If you think an influencer is a good fit, you should see the partnership as bigger than just someone posting. What you’re actually investing in is a relationship. Maybe they will love working with you and they’ll want to post free content for you later on. Or maybe you’ll want to go on to work together on a future product or collection.

Influencers are incredibly savvy about their audiences. They’re not always willing to transact if potential partnerships don’t seem aligned. A lot of them are also getting into co-creating and co-designing with brands. If you only see brand partnerships as totally transactional, you’re missing the big picture and potentially losing out on some important opportunities.

Realistic Expectations

Presented with a media kit or not, nothing can guarantee results. Don’t get mad if nothing comes out of the collaboration and understand it isn’t their fault. Be grateful for whatever brand exposure you receive and realize their may be a longer-term payoff. The collaboration could open the door to other natural influencers and introduce new shoppers to your brand. This applies whether we’re talking about micro influencers or social media celebrity endorsements.

Influencers have high standards for their partnerships with brands. They put a lot of work into building their communities and they’re serious about keeping them happy. Understand that a partnership is a two-way street. You have goals and key metrics to meet and so do they. It’s also really important to realize that it’s rarely as easy as dreaming up a collaboration and it becomes an instant hit. You have to be realistic. Put in the work while respecting each others’ aims.

How to Write Cold Emails to Influencers

Influencers may be smart and savvy people, but they’re just that- people. There’s no need to be super formal when you reach out to them. Write your emails just as if you’re talking to a person in real life. Keep cold emails short, casual, specific and to the point. Write them in confidence and write them in the spirit of collaboration.

While there shouldn’t be pressure writing the emails, do throw in some key terminology to show you understand the business and know what you’re talking about.

Some key terms to know…

  • Earned Media Revenue – the value of the publicity you receive from your promotional efforts that aren’t connected to paid advertising.
  • Engagement – how and how many people on social interact with your content and an influencer. For example, they may “like” content, leave a comment, repost content, message an influencer regarding your product or service, etc.
  • Influencer-Generated Content (IGC) – content created by an influencer in partnership with a brand but the influencer takes the lead creatively to tailor the content to their audience’s specific desires/needs.
  • Key Opinion Leader (KOL) – an influencer that is known for a specific niche.
  • KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) – these are the metrics a marketer (you) puts in place to determine the success of a specific campaign. For an influencer partnership on Instagram, your KPIs may include engagement, website visits, new social followers for your own accounts and more.
  • Paid Media Revenue – the value of the publicity you receive from your paid advertising efforts.
  • Reach – the size of the audience that sees a piece of content. This audience is made up of a portion of the influencer’s followers plus people who come across the content via such means as hashtag searches on a platform as well as re-posted and shared content.

We love to help our clients dream up strategic influencer campaigns with the right partners. We help with coordination and execution too. Working on your influencer strategy? Give us a call – 310-957-5264 – or email us at to schedule a consultation session.

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