You can’t persuade most folks to leave home without their smartphone, smartwatch, or, heck, even their Bluetooth headphones.
We live in a digital-loving world, and if your brand isn’t number-one online, you’re missing out on a ton of business.
Sure, your website, blog, and social posts probably get you some traction. That’s nice.
But what’s the point in churning out awesome content if no one sees it?
No matter your niche, established influencers can help you not only get more eyeballs on your brand but sell more products, too.
These industry heavyweights have a trusted reputation and thousands of followers. You need to leverage the influencers’ authority to be top dog.
But, uh, there’s a problem.
How do you reach out to influencers, anyway?
Scientists haven’t perfected a tree that grows influencers yet, so you’ll need to source them the old-fashioned way: by channeling your inner bloodhound and searching online.
How To Contact Instagram Influencers
The thing is, successful influencers are busy. Like, crazy-busy.
They get so many unsolicited and spammy emails and DMs that they just don’t reply.
With so many businesses vying for a partnership, you’ve got to grab an influencer’s attention quickly.
Jumpstart your next influencer campaign by following these 7 steps to find your influencer, get their attention, and partner on an amazing campaign together.
1 - Find the right influencers
You don’t want any old influencer off the street. You’ve got to determine which influencers are stars in your niche first.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Do I need a micro-, mid-tier, macro-, or nano-influencer?
- What’s my niche?
- Who is my audience?
If you need to do a deep-dive and source tons of influencers quickly, you can use free tools like:
- AllTop: This lists popular blogs in virtually every niche.
- FollowerWonk: This tool lists influential people from Twitter, but these people are often active on Instagram, too.
- Google: I mean, you probably use this every day. Try to find curated lists like “Best kitchen influencers of 2020” to kick off your search.
Spend some time here. You want at least 20 - 30 influencers on your list to start.
2 - Segment your influencers
Now’s the time to narrow it down!
Segment your influencers by:
- Number of followers
- Experience working with brands
- Niche expertise
- Level of audience engagement
- Brand alignment
Pick your top 5 - 10 based on these criteria.
This helps you form a battle plan for contacting these Instagram influencers and move forward.
Keep your B-string influencers on the list (just in case). Prioritize your efforts on the best, most engaging influencers first. That’ll get you more bang for your buck.
3 - Make yourself known
But how, oh how, do you get an influencer to notice you?
Whatever you do, don’t slide into their DMs with an offer immediately. They’ll see you as a rando and immediately delete the message.
That strategy only really works if you’re a huge brand.
You have to play a bit of a long game with influencers.
That might mean:
- Subscribing to their blog.
- Following them on social media.
- Sharing their posts and tagging them (but don’t be spammy).
- Replying or commenting on their social posts.
But that’s just to get things warmed up. Once an influencer is aware of your brand, try more advanced relationship-building strategies like:
- Replying to their emails: If you’re on their email list and they asked for a reply to their emails, reply! Introduce yourself and answer their question. Or, if you can’t do that, ask your own question in response. You want to get a conversation started, so don’t say stuff like, “Very insightful. Loved this email.” That’s a convo-killer.
- Link to their posts: After you’ve built a relationship, link to their social posts on your own feed. Be sure to @-them so they know about the mention.
- “Egobait” posts: Share your followers about the top blogs and influencers you follow in your niche. Make this a blog post like, “The Top 20 blogs for saving money” so it’s not obvious you’re using it for influencer outreach. Let the influencer know on social media about the backlink. They might share with their own followers!
4 - Get the influencers’ contact information
After you’ve made some kind of friendly contact with your fave influencers, it’s time for the biggie: getting in touch with them.
First things first, you need their contact info. You can find it in a few places, like:
If all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with an Instagram DM. Email’s preferable, but you can always try DMing them on Instagram.
5 - Reach out
Okay, it’s time to put on your brave face and send that email.
Try to keep things casual and not at all salesy. That’s going to scream, “SCAM” to influencers, even if you’re legit.
Avoid the temptation to use a dreaded email template. You’re asking for a business relationship here; doesn’t that deserve a personalized email?
Write your message carefully. Always include what’s in this for the influencer (whether it’s cash, commission, or freebies) so they know you aren’t asking for free work.
6 - Follow up
If you haven’t heard back from your influencer-to-be, don’t panic. Influencers are notoriously busy, and your email might be at the bottom of their inbox.
If they don’t respond at first, send a nice, short followup email. Try waiting 2-3 days before following up if possible.
But limit this to just one followup email. Too many will make you look needy and overinvested.
Simply move on to the second-choice influencers on your list until you find the right partnership.
7 - Continue the relationship
A one-and-done campaign doesn’t have to be the end of your influencer relationship.
Actually, it’s just the beginning.
Once you find a great influencer, keep them around. Relationships with these online marketing powerhouses are worth their weight in gold.
Continue sharing, commenting, and replying to their messages when it makes sense. Offer collabs to these influencers first before seeking out new ones.
Repeat partnerships are the gateway to long-term brand ambassadorships, and those are the motherlode!
The Bottom Line
Working with Instagram influencers can be a very rewarding way to boost sales.
But there’s no other way to put it: manual influencer research is a headache and a half.
If this 7-step process sounds like a ton of work, that’s because it is.
Fortunately, you don’t have to plunge yourself into the sticky quagmire that is influencer research.
Trend hand-picks experienced influencers just for your niche and campaign goals. There’s no need to hunt down influencers or write introduction emails—we do it all for you.
Track your metrics and campaigns, pay influencers, and finally do influencer marketing without the backbreaking work. Get started with Trend now.