Ask and you shall receive (if you do it nicely). Reaching out to influencers doesn't need to be scary.
Everyday day at THE MAMA SORORITY I receive emails and Direct Messages asking to collaborate, which we LOOOOOOVE to do. It's good for us to discover new brands & work with old favorites. However, on occasion I get "told" and not "asked" and immediately I know this relationship isn't going to work!
It doesn't matter if you're reaching out to an influencer who has 2K followers or 250K followers, whether you're offering a free product or have an endless promotional budget...the way in which you ask is SO important.
Recently I hosted one of our workshops in Melbourne and it came together perfectly with the help of some amazing businesses...who I had to reach out to and ask to be involved.
@printandparty created our name badges @moonshotballons and @splashofpretty styled the event. Our divine dessert table was made up with cupcakes by @i_heart_cakes. macarons @_macaron_love cake in a jar @wearetoken plus personalized cookies and our magnificent centerpiece cake from @frostedbynicci
If I hadn't asked each of those business the table would have been bare!!!
I even asked our amazing guest speakers Alecia @girlbossesau & Tara @babybowclub if they'd come on board.
Now a one off event can work perfectly through collaboration. Usually businesses come together and promote each other collectively and there's no fee involved, but sometimes
you need to reach out to an influencer who you won't meet face to face, who you want to promote your product & your business in several ways. So...how do you step out of your comfort zone and do that? Here's a few tips to get you started.
1. Make a connection before you make contact.
This means...follow their social media feeds and connect through liking and commenting on posts. Being authentic is the key to connecting, don't just follow, like & comment because you want something from someone.
2. Introduce yourself.
Don't assume that people know who you are...no matter how influential you might be or who you've worked with before. Start with your name & the name of your business and give a brief description of what you do. There's no need to talk about your great aunts handkerchief collection...too much information takes too long to read...which means you've lost their attention before you've really even begun.
3. Send an email instead of a DM.
Influencers receive requests everyday and often DMs can get lost. An email should have your information attached (your name, your business name, email address, website etc), making it easy for you to receive a reply. Also, an email is classed as a legal document so whether you're collaborating or paying for a service having it in writing is good for both of you.
4. Be specific.
This is important. Know what you want and what you can offer. Give a specific date for you're event or when you would like a post to be uploaded (this is in reference to a sale you might be having or a new product release). If you don't intend to pay them (if they're a guest speaker for example) tell them in your email...don't make them feel uncomfortable having to ask and you in turn having to say no.
5. It's a two way streak.
What do you want & what will you do?
This is something I get asked about A LOT!! Especially with Brand Reps. Make it clear what you are sending (1 product per month or 4 products once only) and what you would like in return. Do you want a blog post from them, 3 photos a week or just a quick shout out on Instagram Stories? AND...what do they get? Make it clear that you are happy for them to keep the products as payment, or you'd like your product returned but you will send them an agreed amount per post. Ask them what their fee is per post/blog etc up front so there are no nasty surprises.
6. Don't insist.
If you're happy to send a product in the hope that the influencer will love it as much as you do & photograph the heck out of it...but you don't want to pay them AND you want your product back...then you can't insist on anything.
7. It ain't that easy.
Now you might think taking a few photos and stringing a few words together is a dream job (it is pretty cool) but it takes time. Most influencers work hard to promote the brands they work with. Photos can sometimes take hours to set up, edit, post, tag, etc etc. and blogs usually have several edits, so don't frown upon the fact that they either want to keep your product, charge a fee or both. This is their job.
8. The finer details
Treat influencers like your customers. Remember the bigger the impression, the more likely they are to go the extra mile for you. Package your product as you would for a customer (no plastic shopping bags please). Include a hand written note and maybe even a little surprise gift (chocolates always work well..hint hint), that will be a pleasant surprise.
9. To pay or not to pay
Okay...so this is a tricky one. Like I said before, influencers have a job to do and they like to get paid. They can't resell you're cookies once they've eaten them in an Instagram Story and as the saying goes "you get what you pay for" At THE MAMA SORORITY we adore supporting all businesses, but paid promotion gets top billing. They have a specific agreement and we are obliged to promote their products before others. Collaboration is fantastic (we thrive on it), but sometimes you will need to pay if you want just a little bit more and you need to consider this when reaching out & asking for a media kit.
10. Say THANK YOU!
Even though influencers are working for you...say thanks! When you see a post with your product send a message (yes you can DM here), and let them know you've seen it & you like it, plus as part of Instagram etiquette 101 if you are reposting their image tag them. Unless you've come to a different agreement (in writing), if you post their photo on your feed please TAG the influencer/photographer. People will find your product through their post & they'd hope someone will find them through your repost.