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Updated Apr 10, 2024

Seeking Brand Advocates: How to Get Influencers to Market Your Product

Finding influencers to promote your product to their followers can open new markets and create buzz.

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Jennifer Dublino, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
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Consider how you make purchasing decisions. Are you more likely to buy something after seeing an advertisement or if someone you trust recommends it? Most people value the opinions of friends, family members and experts.

Consumers encounter social media influencers daily and often view them as experts, particularly if they like and respect the influencer and feel a connection. If an influencer they trust recommends a product or service, consumers are more likely to follow their advice and give the brand a try.

Influencers can help businesses grow when they’re incorporated into a brand’s marketing plan with care and thought. We’ll explain more about influencer marketing and how to form strategic partnerships with the right influencers to grow your brand. 

Did You Know?Did you know
According to Oracle's CRM Essentials study, 37 percent of consumers trust social media influencers over brands ― and 80 percent have made a purchase in direct response to an influencer's social selling post.

What is influencer marketing? 

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that involves social media stars promoting your products on their channels. It’s a type of “earned media” ― gaining publicity through promotional efforts instead of paid-for advertising. 

Some influencers charge brands to endorse their products or services via social media posts. Others work out product deals with brands. No matter how they’re compensated, gaining an influencer’s trust is paramount. They’re putting their reputation on the line by promoting your offerings.

Influencers tend to have large social media followings. They can be celebrities, bloggers, trusted authorities and “internet famous” individuals with niche audiences. Influencers usually produce copious content relevant to their followers, so they’re always on the lookout for new content that will appeal to their audience. 

Getting the right influencer to market your products and services can improve your bottom line by increasing sales, helping you build brand authority and boosting brand awareness.

FYIDid you know
If you've just created a new product, influencer marketing might be an excellent part of your product launch. The Oracle study cited earlier found that 28 percent of consumers find new products and brands via social media influencers.

How to get influencers to market your product

Influencer marketing has become a more nuanced marketing tactic as social media marketing has changed and evolved. Consider the following steps to find influencers and build lasting relationships. 

1. Find social media influencers in your niche.

The right influencer is crucial to your social media marketing campaign’s success. While Kim Kardashian may have nearly 75 million X (formerly Twitter) followers, they may not be the ideal audience for your office chairs. 

For best results, research influencers with authority and trust in your industry. Several tools and platforms can help you find the right influencers: 

  • BuzzSumo: The online platform BuzzSumo can help you pinpoint journalists and influencers using specific keywords. You can find influencers by topic, content, followers and more.
  • NinjaOutreach: NinjaOutreach is an online platform where you can search for Instagram and YouTube influencers. 
  • Hashtagify.me: Hashtagify.me helps you research hashtags to target people likely to tweet ― or already tweeting ― about your product.
  • Google Alerts: Set up a Google alert to be notified immediately when a story breaks within your industry.

2. Build a solid relationship with social media influencers.

After identifying ideal social media influencers, you must connect with them. This is where many marketers get ahead of themselves. Too often, they ask influencers to work with them before building a relationship.

Depending on their fame, influencers can receive hundreds or thousands of daily requests for content mentions and brand relationships. It’s crucial that they know who you are before you ask them to check out your product.

Building influencer relationships takes time, but it’s worth it. Here’s how to get started: 

  • Follow the influencer on their social media accounts. 
  • Share the influencer’s content.
  • Comment on the influencer’s blog posts.
  • Ask the influencer questions.
  • Join in the influencer’s online conversations.

Get on their radar so they recognize you and your brand when you pitch a partnership deal. Give yourself at least two to three months before moving the relationship forward. 

TipBottom line
Follower counts are an important metric but finding an influencer with an engaged social media audience is critical. Check their comments to gauge how invested their followers are in their content.

3. Research the influencer’s expected compensation.

Typically, the bigger the audience, the more likely the influencer will expect monetary compensation for product promotions. Learn each influencer’s rates. If you pitch them with a free product offer and they expect $500 a post, you’ll likely be rejected. 

Nanoinfluencers ― content creators with 1,000 to 10,000 followers ― are more likely to promote your product without money changing hands. If you have a large following on their favorite platform, you can offer reciprocal shout-outs ― you promote the influencer to your followers and they do the same. Another option is negotiating a smaller upfront fee plus a performance bonus. According to the State of Influencer Marketing Report, 53 percent of influencer contracts pay influencers based on a sales percentage.

Did You Know?Did you know
The Influencer Marketing Report also revealed that 41.6 percent of marketers pay influencers money, 29.5 percent give them free products, 17.7 percent provide product discounts and 11.2 percent enter them in a giveaway contest.

4. Create the perfect pitch to your influencer.

After building the foundation of a solid relationship, it’s time to pitch your idea to your social media influencer. Ensure you take a personalized approach that shows you’ve done your research.

Here are some best practices for pitching a social media influencer:

  • Offer to update the influencer’s outdated content: With this tactic, you contact the influencer to point out old statistics or broken links. Tell them you’ve got new content that could replace their outdated content. Emphasize that you appreciate what the influencer does and want to help them have the latest content.
  • Create exclusive content for the influencer: Exclusive content is a surefire way to get an influencer to notice you. Influencers like to share popular content like infographics or videos. As a bonus, you’ll build links back to your website from an authoritative domain.
  • Write a guest post for the influencer: Guest posting is another popular tactic to build product exposure and help you get links back to your site. When pitching a guest post idea, research the influencer’s blogs and subject matter. Keep your post relevant to the conversation. 
  • Send the influencer product samples: If you sell physical products, ask the influencer if you can send samples for them to review and discuss. Everyone loves a freebie, so this tactic has a high success rate.

For best results, remember the following when pitching an influencer: 

  • Keep your communication concise.
  • Focus on how your idea can help them.
  • Discuss how your product can be useful to their followers.
  • Show that you’ve read their content and are familiar with their posts.
  • Ask if they’d like to see your content or product instead of making assumptions.
TipBottom line
To ensure your influencer marketing is worthwhile, choose a credible partner who's trustworthy and whose values align with your business and target customers.

5. Finalize the influencer relationship with an agreement.

If the influencer agrees to work with you, it’s time to formalize the arrangement with a legal contract. The contract will spell out precisely what the influencer’s obligations include. It should include the following:

  • How many posts or mentions they’ll make to promote your product
  • The promotional timeline
  • Which platforms they’ll use to promote your brand 
  • The content format they’ll use, such as video or photos
  • How much money you’ll pay
  • How many products you’ll provide
  • If there will be reciprocal shout outs
  • Any cross-promotions you’ll conduct 
  • Aesthetic and branding guidelines 
  • Limitations or requirements when using your logo or brand name 
  • Whether influencer content about your brand will need preapproval before publishing 

While influencer contract templates exist, it’s best to have a business lawyer review your contract before sending it to the influencer. Ensure the contract is fully executed (signed by the influencer and your company representative) before beginning the promotion.

Why influencer marketing works

According to the State of Influencer Marketing Report cited earlier, 83 percent of marketers believe influencer marketing is effective and more than two-thirds (67 percent) increased their influencer marketing budget in 2023. 

Here’s why influencer marketing works: 

  • Followers trust the influencer: Trust is a crucial reason why influencer marketing works. Influencers build trust with their followers in various ways. First, they’ve earned expert status and have clout in a particular subject. They also form relationships with their followers by engaging in conversations and sharing details about their lives, thoughts and opinions. Followers come to see the influencer as almost a friend.  
  • Successful influencers are authentic: Influencer marketing can only work when followers see the influencer as authentic. Influencers know authenticity is as crucial as expertise. They won’t jeopardize follower trust by promoting a product they don’t believe in and support. When followers feel an influencer has “sold out” by promoting something disingenuously, the backlash is fierce. 
Did You Know?Did you know
YouTube, TikTok and Instagram are the most popular channels where consumers follow influencers.

Leverage influencers for a positive return on investment

Successful influencer marketing is about relationships. By showing your respect for the influencer’s work and sending them quality content, products or monetary compensation, you can leverage their influence to connect to a wider audience. 

Most brands continue working with the same influencers over the long term, building stronger relationships and growing followings that create mutual benefits. Your goals will determine the success of your influencer marketing relationship. For example, you may want to build brand awareness, reach new audiences, increase sales or boost customer engagement. No matter what your marketing goals are, you can benefit from influencers’ ready-made audiences to improve your bottom line. 

Bryan Robinson contributed to this article.

author image
Jennifer Dublino, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
Jennifer Dublino is an experienced entrepreneur and astute marketing strategist. With over three decades of industry experience, she has been a guiding force for many businesses, offering invaluable expertise in market research, strategic planning, budget allocation, lead generation and beyond. Earlier in her career, Dublino established, nurtured and successfully sold her own marketing firm. Dublino, who has a bachelor's degree in business administration and an MBA in marketing and finance, also served as the chief operating officer of the Scent Marketing Institute, showcasing her ability to navigate diverse sectors within the marketing landscape. Over the years, Dublino has amassed a comprehensive understanding of business operations across a wide array of areas, ranging from credit card processing to compensation management. Her insights and expertise have earned her recognition, with her contributions quoted in reputable publications such as Reuters, Adweek, AdAge and others.
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