The influencer marketing industry is only getting bigger, and if you don’t already know we’re big fans of using the strategy for our clients. From brand awareness to connecting with niche audiences and building a bank of reviews and user-generated content, the strategy can be gold from a brand standpoint when done right.
Normally we’re writing influencer marketing blog posts with brands or other social media professionals as our audience, but today we’re flipping the cards. Today we’re giving influencers some insight on some of the key factors that can help your social media accounts and blog look even more attractive to brands. I like to think I have a lot of insight on this topic too, because not only do I help secure partnerships for our clients, but I’ve also been a lifestyle blogger for nearly a decade and have had the opportunity to work with top brands like HGTV, Covergirl, Martha Stewart, Michaels, Lulu’s, Warby Parker and more! So on that note let me dive into the things I look for and have learned along the way myself too!
Be Authentic & Don’t Cut Corners
Let’s just address the big ‘ol elephant in the room about influencer marketing right from the top. If you really want to make it as an influencer and build relationships with brands then you have to grow your audience from the ground up. Yes it’s a lot of work and I know there are websites everywhere promising you thousands of “real social media followers” for as little as 10 or 20 bucks, but don’t do it! Seriously. It’s SO easy to spot and the second I start looking through an influencer’s followers and see their all bots is the second I move on.
In fact, I even wrote a whole blog post on this topic because the tactic gives influencer marketing a bad name and I’m not down with that. I get it, you think you have to have a lot of followers to secure partnerships but that’s not always the case. In fact, we actually specialize in working with micro-influencers at our firm because we really see the power in smaller niche audiences. It goes beyond just buying followers too, another thing I look out for are constant giveaways or loop promotions that are being used to inflate your audience, as well as engagement pods. Obviously participating in engagement pods is a lesser offense than buying followers, but, as a brand I want to see genuine engagement, not the same 20 influencers commenting on each other’s posts to try and boost their engagement.. I see you guys…. and I’m not the only one. 🧐So don’t “fake it, til you make it” on social media…because it’s not going to get you as far as you want in the long-term. Got it? Good!
Make it Easy to Learn more About You
Okay, onto some of the good stuff. Let’s talk about making it easy to 1.) find you and 2.) learn about you. If you have a blog, this section could go down a rabbit hole of SEO, but we’re going to skim over that for now. When I do influencer and blogger research I do it two ways.. either online or via Instagram. I usually start searching keywords for the specific categories or locations of bloggers or influencers I’m looking for. So my biggest piece of advice for you on this topic is to make sure you use those same keywords both on your social media profiles, the hashtags you use, and throughout your blog descriptions. Here’s a few examples of some of the keywords and hashtags I searched for our latest influencer marketing campaign for a client:
Health and wellness blogger
For most of these I started with the exact keywords and then I also targeted a couple of the top hashtags for each to narrow down the influencers I’d be reaching out to. So if there are a handful of topics or keywords you really identify with and want to share about I definitely recommend adding them in. I also recommend including your location in your bio. You can either add that to the intro or add it under the contact options. If you use the contact option, just make sure it’s just the city and not your actual address because it will launch in the maps app and you know, creepers...
If you have a blog, registering your account on influencer campaign website/directories is another thing that can help people find you too. Typically those type of networks will work specifically with those networks for their campaigns but they can also be used for research for individual campaigns. I talk a little more about that topic in this post. So rule number one if you want more partnerships is definitely be specific about your interests and what you’d like to cover and make it known and easy to find!
Create Quality Content and Focus on Building your Community
When I select influencers to reach out to I’m really diving in deep for people who create quality content and paying attention to their audience’s reaction. In my opinion, I would much rather work with bloggers or influencers who create really awesome content for their partnerships than influencers with larger audiences who just slap up a mention without much thought. So as I mentioned before, there’s more to selecting influencers than just having x amount of followers.
While influencer marketing definitely has buying power, I’m more interested in the long-term effects. That is, actually building relationships with influencers who genuinely are excited about your brand that you can continue to work with as your business grows, having some really great reviews and having user-generated content that you can share on your website, repost on social media or even use to showcase consumer interest to retailers. So if you’re looking to really appeal to brands, show them what you can do! Focus on creating quality content about topics you actuallllyyyy care about and ideally every other post shouldn’t be sponsored. I understand if you’re reading this blog post you’re interested in increasing your partnerships but at the same time not everythingggg should be sponsored. It waters down your influence and it usually is a turn off for your audience too. So when you’re focusing on your content, think about taking quality photos, writing thoughtful captions and really engaging with your audience in the comments.
Share About the Products you Already Love
Taking the point above to the next level… while I don’t suggest having every other post be promoted, if there are brands and products you are genuinely excited about — share it! Even better if they aren’t actually promoted. This is great for a few reasons. 1.) It actually shows your audience that you just like to share about things you’re genuinely excited about and that fit into your lifestyle. and 2.) it shows brands that these types of posts fit into your content seamlessly and provide a sample of what you could do for their brand. Double win! When you highlight other brands either sponsored or not, you’re also building a portfolio of sample content you have created in the past. The technique is also great if you want to eventually
pitch companies in the future or even pitch one of those companies that you’ve posted about before! What better way to show them that you can create great content related to their brand and how their audience has reacted to those posts in the past?
Make it Easy to Contact You
This is a big one! Once I find an influencer I think would be a good fit, I’m onto finding their contact info and you make this social media manager super happy when it’s right there waiting for me and I don’t have to dig too far. I mean, I’ll dig if I have to… because… secret Internet ninja over here (in a non-creepy way) but when it’s right there in your bio waiting for me, it makes life much easier. So I recommend adding your email to your Instagram bio and having an easy to find contact page if you’re a blogger. Yes, I know Instagram has the awesome contact options now where the email will pop up, but here’s the thing. A lot of times I’m sorting through things on my desktop.. between the web app and spreadsheets and you can only see that feature on your mobile (at least for now). So it is definitely worth adding to your bio if you can make room for it. I can attest this helps too. I’ve had my bio with and without my email at times and outreach from brands has definitely increased when it’s in there.
Hopefully you found these tips helpful! My key takeaways for you are to focus on creating really great content and building a real audience (even if it’s small at first), include keywords in your bios and on your blog to help people find you and make your contact info easy to find. If you’d like to read more blogs on this topic definitely check this out or let me know if you have any additional questions I can answer!