By now, I’m sure you know how impactful the right influencer(s) can be for your brand. We’ve seen countless examples of how one endorsement can literally put a brand on the map.  We also all know what an influencer is – anyone that has established credibility among an audience of followers, and uses their credibility to persuade others.  But what we don’t yet all know is how to properly engage with influencers.

When researching which influencers to work with, note that those with massive followings aren’t likely to promote your brand for free, so please don’t pitch them asking for free exposure or product only collaborations.  Not only will it come across as insulting, but they are likely to blacklist you as well. Remember, many influencers make their living out of content creation, and spend well over 40 hours a week on their personal brands.

It is best to do your research ahead of time, find what their type/amount of influence is worth, and be upfront with what you are willing to offer the influencer in return. This will ensure you start off your relationship with mutual respect. If you don’t have the budget to work with an influencer that has a massive following, try instead to find influencers with smaller audience sizes that will charge less or possibly work for trade*.

*Please note that finding influencers that genuinely like your brand/products and providing them with financial compensation is the best way to ensure the highest quality content and ROI. Pro Tip: influencers that genuinely like your brand or products will also be more willing to work with you on budget. If your two brands align, it is a win-win for both parties.

Finally, one of the most important, and often most overlooked aspects of working with influencers is making sure to give the influencer enough freedom to make their content feel as authentic as possible. What do I mean here? Let them be free to create the type of content they would normally create, after all, they are the expert and know their audience best. The message will resonate best, and be most effective to their audience if it comes from the influencer. Don’t force them to say a bunch of sales-y lines in their caption, or share content they wouldn’t normally share. Their audience will see right through that and it won’t come off as being authentic.

Influencers care a lot about how their Instagram feeds look, and giving them the freedom to create content that fits into it will also result in them being happier and wanting to work together more in the future.

I hope you got something out of this article, most of these points came from first hand experience as an influencer myself. Thanks for your time and stay tunes for future posts!

– Andrew Wille (@andrewoptics)