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8 Quick Tips for Working with Social Media Influencers

In a recent study, nearly 60% of marketers stated that they are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2015.

Variety magazine found that six out of ten teens are more likely to believe and buy from YouTube stars than movie stars.

The 2015 Guide to Influencer Marketing

And, earlier this year,  a survey from digital agency Burst Media found that influencer campaigns are a good deal for brands, earning $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media.

Influencer marketing is now a vital brand strategy for building credibility and boosting sales.

But what is an influencer, anyway?

An influencer has a loud voice, substantial reach, and a significant network, including followers, readers, or viewers. He or she has the ability to sway opinions of a specific audience by association.

Knowing what an influencer is and what benefits an influencer-brand relationship can reap isn’t enough — you need to know how to work with an influencer to get the most out of that relationship.

Here are some tips for working with influencers, by influencers.

Look for Influencers Everywhere 

Jess Estrada influencer
Jess Estrada, Content Strategist at Bezos Family Foundation, Creator, and Lifestyle Influencer

Okay, maybe not “everywhere,” but look in a variety of places. Some influencers make themselves easy to find because they’re already talking about your brand via blog posts or social media. A simple Google or social search can unearth those influencers.

Work with affiliate networks like GLAM Media, who vet, reach out to, and sign bloggers to their network. Affiliate networks are an easy one-stop shop for a brand to reach multiple influencers at once. The network facilitates the contract and partnership.

Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned

Mari Smith, Social Media Thought Leader and Top Facebook Marketing Expert

Ideally, influencers only support and promote brands and products that completely align with their values. An influencer will be much more intrinsically motivated and passionate about a brand if there is a natural alignment in personal values.

Build out a dossier on each prospective influencer before making the initial contact; strive to find out his or her top values and favorite hobbies on Instagram and Facebook.

Build a Rapport Pre-Approach

neal influencer
Neal Schaffer, Global social media speaker, creator of the Maximize Social Business blog, Forbes top-ranked influencer

The beauty of social media is it allows you to build rapport with someone before you reach out directly.

If your brand wants to work with an influencer, retweet his or her content and share his or her Instagram photos. This will help you engage your fans through a different lens and flatter the influencer that you’re consuming and sharing his or her content.

This makes it easier when you want to reach out to the influencer for a partnership because you’ve built a relationship in advance.

Pay Attention to Content Resonance

Jade Furubayashi, Social Media Manager @ Simply Measured

When we work with influencers, we gauge success by looking at how our content resonates with their audience.

In theory, an influencer’s audience should be like an extension of our audience.

We’re looking for the indicators of well-received content: web traffic, engagement, and positive qualitative feedback.

Make It Easy and Mutually Beneficial

bullas influencer
Jeff Bullas, CEO at, social media marketing strategist and speaker, Forbes-ranked influencer

Make it easy for the influencer to work with you. Also ensure that you both win from the relationship.

This could be in the form of increasing both brands’ awareness, credibility, and also a financial reward for the influencer.

Each influencer will want different things from the relationship. Make sure you know what that is and it should be included in initial discussions and ongoing conversations, because that could change.

Consider the 1-9-90 Model

Michael Brito Head of Social Strategy @ WCG, a W2O Company
Michael Brito
Head of Social Strategy @ WCG, a W2O Company

Think of it this way: the 1% are influencers who create content, shape the market, and drive conversation about a topic.

The 9% are highly active online. They are brand advocates. They recommend, share, sign up, download, comment, and let their communities know what they think.

The 90% are the great majority of any market. They lurk and learn. They are satisfied with using search or consuming peer content. They decide how compelling the 1% and the 9% really are in telling your brand’s story.

Treat Everyone Like a Who

ann handley influencer
Ann Handley Chief Content Officer @ MarketingProfs

You might define your short list of the most influential influencers to work with specifically, but be generous with how you define “influencer” in any ongoing program.

A clear strength of our social, connected world is that everyone has a voice and can be heard.

Consider incorporating less-obvious influencers from time to time in your program—nurturing them along as you nurture your own business and marketing, by making them part of your success story.

Know the Influencer’s Community

radice influencer
Rebekah Radice, social media strategist, speaker, digital marketing specialist, and Chief Experience Officer @ Imagine WOW

Oftentimes, brands approach the relationship with a “me first” mentality” rather than identifying what matters to the influencer and their community.

Take your time to properly piece together a pitch that clearly spells out the benefits. An influencer has the ability to lead a community and impact decisions, bringing your brand to a potential new marketplace.

If you want to engage an influencer, get to know them and their community before hastily making contact.

Want to Boost Your Influencer Marketing Program?

Learn more from these influencer marketing pros and get a good understanding of the influencer marketing industry in our recently released  2015 Influencer Marketing Guide. Just click below to download.

Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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