How to Approach Influencers for Gifted Collaborations
Strap in. This is the tough love you need when it comes to all things influencer gifting for your brand 👇
I get it. Your product is absolutely amazing.
People should be willing to give a left testicle to get hold of it.
Dose of reality: most influencers probably aren’t going to be as passionate about your product as you.
This doesn’t mean you can’t turn them into a fan and cheerleader of your brand - but, you’re going to have to put some work in!
You're setting yourself up for failure if you aren't thinking about the following when it comes to your approach to influencer gifting:
Understand your audience
Be self-aware about who you are reaching out to. What are they into? What makes them tick? Where are they on their content creator journey?
Think about what they might want out of a collaboration with you (hint: it’s unlikely to just be free product!).
- If they are a large influencer, they might be interested in building longer-term relationships with brands who might pay them further down the line
- If they are a smaller influencer, perhaps they are new to brand collaborations. The free stuff might be exciting, the kudos of working with brands might be exciting, the possibility of getting their “foot in the door” might be exciting.
See this as the start of a beautiful relationship
The number 1 mistake I see brands make time and time again when working with influencers is treating influencers like a commodity.
Influencers are people, many of whom either make their living from being creators or want to.
Take a moment and think about people in your life who you are close to. Think especially about people who give more than take in your relationship.
With these sorts of people, you’re naturally going to be an absolute cheerleader for them and help them out at every possible opportunity.
Well, try to think of your brand/influencer relationships like that and watch as influencers become your biggest fans.
Figure out how you can make them feel like you’re giving more value in the relationship than they are (in a self-aware way) - there’s SO much I could say about this.
Be realistic about your expectations
If you are reaching out to a professional influencer with a gifted collaboration, chances are that they are not going to be willing to do an all-singing all-dancing video ad for you on their main feed - especially if your product is relatively low value in monetary terms.
The larger the influencer (in terms of follower numbers), the fewer expectations I would put on them.
Again, try to be the one in the relationship that gives more value. In most cases, reciprocity will come into play and you’ll get a great collaboration.
I tend to find that with smaller creators, you can be a bit more specific about what you’re after - again, they probably aren’t doing this as a full-time job and are looking to build their portfolio of brand collaborations.
Essentially - less is more. Keep the expectations as low as you can stomach and give influencers a great experience of your brand. Build that relationship and it will pay dividends.
Be friendly and warm with your communication
Remember that when you are communicating with an influencer, you are not in the board room, and you’re not speaking to an employee that you see as completely disposable.
You are speaking to a person on social media. So, treat it that way.
Be colloquial, show that you are warm, and put something of your brand personality across.
The less this feels like a business transaction with power dynamics, the better.
Scale the unscaleable
None of this is easy - and if you're doing everything by hand it's hard to scale.
Take smart shortcuts where it makes sense (*cough* - ThingyBridge), but don't compromise when it comes to being human and building relationships with great folks that can be mutually beneficial.
Questions? Hit me up - you know where to find me 😉