Gini Dietrich

How to Get More Out of Your Social Media Influencer Relationships

By: Gini Dietrich | June 6, 2017 | 
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How to Get More from Social Media InfluencersIf you are only reaching out to your brand’s social media influencers on a one-off campaign support basis, you’re missing the point.

Sure, someone with thousands of followers on social can get your message distributed to an audience you’d otherwise be unable to reach.

But as a one-time communication, how likely is it to drive meaningful results for your brand?

If it takes seven communications for someone to take action on your message, those aren’t very good odds.

The best social media influencer marketing results come from working with someone over time.

Collaborating on original, on-message content.

Not from paying them to copy and paste your campaign slogan into an Instagram post.

Identifying the Right Social Media Influencers

Do you know who your ideal customers look to when they are in the market for buying products and services like yours?

Although the celebrity-level influencers with millions of social media followers get all the hype, partnering with them is rarely the most cost-effective partnership.

Often, working with micro-influencers who have specialized knowledge about your industry—and an engaged audience—has better return-on-investment and conversion.

Go beyond the vanity metrics of number of followers and likes and see who your customers are actually talking about.

Ask new customers how they heard about your company.

What resources did they look at before making their purchase?

The people they mention are the social media influencers you should consider cultivating for your brand.

Building Influencer Relationships Takes Time

Distributing a string of brand pitch emails doesn’t build influencer relationships.

It takes time, patience, due diligence and spreadsheets.

Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Create a list of books and podcasts that would be of interest to your audience. Authors and podcasters need ratings and reviews to build their own audiences. A thoughtful review of their work makes a much better first impression than a cold pitch email.
  • Follow your social media influencers on the social networks. Create lists or use tools to stay informed of what they post. Then comment and share away. Focus first on building the new relationship and becoming a valuable part of their community.
  • On Feedly, create a list of bloggers to watch. Use this as your personal content curation gold mine. Whenever they publish new content, share it with your own networks.

Build Up to the First Ask

Once they get to know you, these social media influencers may share your content or include it in their own content.

Once you reach this point in your relationship with them, propose a mutually beneficial collaboration with your brand.

A good first ask is a quote that shares their perspective on a question.

This is something that doesn’t take a lot of time on their part and has the potential to help them build their own brand.

Put Some Money Behind the Collaboration

Creating and distributing influencer collaborative content is a good first step.

But if you want to obtain the widest reach, consider putting paid social advertising dollars behind it, as well.

When someone’s first interaction with your company comes in the form of authoritative influencer content—not a sales pitch—they’ll remember you.

And hopefully sign up for more of the same.

Yes, part of the value the influencer brings to your collaboration is their built-in audience.

But even social media influencers can’t reach their entire follower group through organic postings.

It takes advertising support to make sure your content shows up in the right timelines.

The influencer’s brand is what drives the clickthrough and consumption of that content.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your influencer relationships won’t be either.

But if you show them you’re in it for the long haul, you have the opportunity to build a mutually beneficial, lasting partnership.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • paulakiger

    Yes, yes, yes and yes. I *think* you were inferring this (but I’m not sure). Even micro influencers deserve adequate compensation if you decide to go beyond that initial relationship-building and involve them in a more formal way in your campaign. Exposure doesn’t put food on the table. 🙂

    • No, exposure does not put food on the table. And, in many cases, you have expenses as part of the program, which should be reimbursed.

  • I know we’ve had this conversation before, but it blows my mind how many brands I work with that don’t understand this concept. I wish they’d realize that they’d have so much more success at their outreach campaigns if they (or their agencies) would take the time to promote the efforts of the influencers they’re working with. The campaign that I’m in the middle of right now with DriveFlow is one of the rare exceptions to this. I’ve watched them over the past 6 months and have been so impressed with how well they promote and support the influencers they’ve worked with. It makes the ‘job’ so much more fun AND successful for all involved.

    • AND…you can tell you’re having fun and it isn’t forced.

  • Babaghanoush

    One thing people fail at consistently is figuring out what ‘influence’ means to them/their brand and what to look for to see if someone has influence.

    If a sale is the goal vs say awareness you will need to look at different aspects of a persons online presence to see if they can achieve your goal.

    This takes research. You must look at someones social media accounts and their blogs. What I have seen is people who have a lot of engagement in one place often have very little elsewhere.

    And many people with huge followings often have no engagement online. this is most prevalent in marketing/pr/social media.ironically.

    and always remember offline influence is 1000x more powerful than online. Find people with a combo of both.

  • Anja Skrba

    I agree with you Gini – building influencer relationships takes time and patience, BUT the most important thing (for me at least) is actually caring! And for me that means making connections with influencers that you like, being honest and real, like with your friends because THOSE are the connections that matter the most -real connections!

    • It IS the most important thing. You can tell if someone isn’t being human and that sort of defeats the whole purpose.

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