Last year brands spent over £776.7m on Instagram influencers alone. While it’s becoming an increasingly popular way of reaching audiences, it’s also a form of marketing that’s notoriously difficult to track. So why are brands investing in it so much and what is the potential ROI?


What is influencer outreach?

Influencer outreach is all about building relationships with influential people within the space you operate. The process starts with identifying people that are relevant to your brand ethos and values (there are plenty of social media tools out there that can help you find high-profile individuals talking about topics that align with your brand). And this is crucial to a good influencer outreach programme. It’s not about connecting with people that have a big fan following, it’s about connecting with people that have a dedicated fan following who will be interested in what you have to say. Many bloggers and social influencers share this view too. Most have a strict policy, choosing to only collaborate with brands that they feel their followers will really want to engage with. Once you’ve identified who you want to work with, the next steps are making contact with them and building a relationship. Brands work with influencers in lots of different ways, from content creation and paid mentions to product reviews and events. But the most successful brand partnerships are the ones that last, not just working with a blogger for a one-off campaign but building relationships over time so they become an advocate of your product or service.


What can influencers do for your brand?

Most brands use influencer outreach to increase brand awareness and when it comes to tracking the partnership many use web analytics or social engagement results to measure impact. Influencer outreach is also widely used to build relationships and trust with audiences, so if you’re looking to create genuine connections with your customers then working with an influencer could really help. Working with someone that is well respected can position you as a thought leader and can bring a new level of authenticity to your brand and what you do. The stats are pretty compelling too: according to Hubspot, 71% of people are more likely to buy a product or service online if it’s recommended by others.


How to launch a successful influencer outreach programme:

Consider your audience. Build buyer personas and understand exactly who you’re trying to reach. Consider their location, wants and needs and the kind of messaging they’re going to to engage with.

Take into consideration your wider marketing strategy. How will this fit in with it? What do you want to achieve? Are you trying to build brand awareness, raise the profile of a new product or push people to your website?

Once you have defined your overall strategy, what you want to achieve and what you want to talk about, you can start finding influencers within your space to connect with.

Decide how you see a partnership working. Are you interested in paying a blogger to head up an event? Looking for product reviews? Whatever the content you’re trying to create, it’s crucial that you’re honest with your followers and theirs (most platforms require you to declare paid partnerships so stick to guidelines or it could lead to negative brand perception).

Reach out and engage with influencers in your space!