As more and more brands begin working with influencers, it can be difficult for you to make your brand stand out and successfully connect with Instagram influencers for collaborations.
So what can you do to capture their attention?
Below, you’ll find a handy guide on how to contact Instagram influencers and get them to promote your business.
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Table of Contents
What’s influencer outreach?
Influencer outreach is the process of finding and contacting influencers you want to work with.
You’ll need to nail your outreach strategy to convince influencers to work with you. If you’re unable to create messages that spark their interest, you may end up spending hours researching and sending emails — without ever receiving a reply.
How to contact Instagram influencers
Step 1: Know your campaign goals
Before contacting any influencers, you should first set marketing goals and objectives for your campaigns in your influencer marketing strategy. They can include raising brand awareness, creating content, or increasing sales.
Without marketing goals in place, it’ll be difficult for you to determine what type of influencer you should work with and how you’ll succeed with your influencer campaigns. You’ll also have no way of measuring your results!
With a poorly planned campaign, influencers won’t understand what you’re trying to achieve in your collaborations. It can limit their willingness to work with you and affect their ability to deliver a strong brand message with their sponsored posts.
Step 2: Research influencers for relevancy
Research, research, research! Your outreach strategy will see greater success if you reach out to influencers who are relevant to your business.
To maintain their authenticity, influencers want to partner up with brands who match their profiles and values. They’re also more likely to promote products that they already love. Influencers will ignore messages from random brands, especially when they notice you didn’t put in any effort to check them out before contacting them.
If you want to partner up with an influencer who is not in a category that would be typical for your brand, you’ll need to convince them why you want them in your campaign and how you think they can contribute. Sometimes, influencers are willing to take a risk by collaborating with brands who aren’t an obvious fit, and they’re able to come up with creative content.
Connecting with relevant influencers will not only increase your chances of receiving positive responses to your outreach messages. It’ll also increase the success of your influencer marketing campaigns overall. If your brand aligns with the influencers’ social media profiles, their sponsored posts will resonate with their audience. This will help you drive a positive ROI.
Before you start contacting influencers, be sure to ask yourself:
- Do you want to work with micro-influencers or macro-influencers?
- Does their profile category (ie: fitness, food & drink, etc.) fit what you’re trying to promote?
- Does their content match your brand’s aesthetic and values?
- Do they have good engagement and quality content?
- Do they have a relevant audience for your brand?
- What types of brands have they worked with before? Any competitors?
- Do you think they’d promote your products?
Here are additional tips on how to find influencers that are relevant to your brand.
To make it easier to connect with an influencer, start following and engaging with them on Instagram around 2-3 weeks before you begin your outreach! You can do this on the influencers’ other social media channels if they’re available. This will show them that you’ve done your research and you’re interested in what they create.
When the time comes for you to contact an Instagram influencer, they may recognize your brand because you’ve already been engaging with them. This will make it easier for you to start a conversation and increase your chances of outreach success.
Step 4: Sort campaign logistics
Before reaching out, you should already have a clear idea of what you want the influencer to do, when you want them to complete collaborations by, and how much you’re willing to pay them. This will give you an idea of how early you need to start contacting influencers and anticipate any questions.
For an average campaign, you’ll have a list of approximately 20 influencer leads to contact. We recommend sending outreach messages at least 2 weeks before your campaign starts. If the campaign is larger, you should begin the process earlier.
By creating an influencer marketing brief outlining your campaign and marketing goals, you’ll have all the information you need to get influencers excited by the opportunity of working with you.
Without having the logistical aspects of your campaign sorted, your campaign brief and responses will be vague. It’ll make it impossible for the influencer to evaluate whether they’re interested in collaborating with you, or whether you’d be a reliable partner, which could result in them ignoring your messages.
Lastly, remember to create a timeline of your outreach process. Create a spreadsheet with:
- The influencers’ names
- Links to their Instagram profiles
- Key Instagram metrics
- Notes you want to remember
- Date you intend to make contact
- Date you actually made contact
- Dates you intend to follow up
- Dates you actually followed up
Jot down the dates you’ll begin your outreach and when you’ll follow up. Having a timeline in place will help you stay on top of your outreach and give you an idea of how long the process will take you.
Step 5: Choose a contact method
There are several ways you can approach influencers. The most common methods are Instagram direct messages (DMs) and email.
Instagram DMs are a casual, informal way to reach out to influencers.
If you use DMs for outreach, you need to keep them short and concise because you’ll have a 1,000 character limit. Keep in mind your DMs will also likely be read on mobile phones, so the shorter you can keep them, the easier they’ll be for influencers to go through!
Email is a more formal way of contacting influencers that Instagram. And can be more effective. You can often find the influencers’ emails below their Instagram bios under ‘Contact’ or ‘Email.’
If an influencer has their email in their bio, you can be sure that they’re open to promoting businesses on their Instagram.
Because you don’t have a message limit, you can add more information in an email to get influencers excited about the potential collaborations. But they should still be kept short.
With emails, you’ll need to consider what subject lines to use. They need to intrigue the influencer and pique their curiosity, without being too vague about what the emails are about. To find subject lines that work for you, experiment with different ones, and don’t be afraid to get creative!
Step 6: Pitch your brand
Influencers receive dozens of collaboration offers every day, and they may be too busy to go through them all. So how do you draft a message that will grab their attention and make a good first impression?
Here is our suggested cold influencer outreach template.
Here are some best practices to follow:
Personalize your messages
When you reach out to influencers, ditch the generic templates and work on personalizing your outreach messages. Personalization will help you get a better response rate from influencers and show you’re genuinely interested in connecting with them. It’ll also help your brand stand out in their crowded inbox.
To tailor your outreach messages to specific influencers, you should:
- Use the influencers’ names in your greeting
- Explain why their content resonated with you – avoid any generic comments!
- Introduce your brand and explain why you think they’d be a great fit
- Lay out your expectations and how they’ll benefit from the collaborations
- End the message with your name, so they know who you are
Keep the message brief
Because influencers are busy, you want to ensure the length of your outreach messages is short and on point. Avoid sending paragraphs of information about the collaboration and your brand. They’ll likely give up on reading the whole email if they don’t have an idea of what you want in a few sentences.
Instead, mention just enough information to excite them. Once you connect, you’ll have the opportunity to share more information or attach a brief outlining your brand and collaboration details.
Be clear and concise
For an influencer to get excited about potential collaboration opportunities, they need to understand what you’re asking for. If your messages are unclear, it’ll affect the likelihood of them responding to you.
Great outreach messages are well-structured, clear, and precise. It should be easy for influencers to scan your messages and decide whether they’re interested in working with you or not.
To write messages that are easy to understand, try keeping your sentences short and on point. Avoid using too many emojis and complicated vocabulary. Check your sentences for flow and, if you’re reaching out to influencers in other countries, try translating your messages to the local language.
Add a call-to-action (CTA)
Every outreach message you send to influencers should include a clear CTA, so they know what they should do next. Your CTA can be a question, or a push for a meeting or call.
Step 7: Follow up
After sending your first wave of outreach messages to influencers, update your spreadsheets or lists with the dates you contacted them. This will help you keep track of when you made your first contact. It’ll also be easier for you to know when to send follow up messages and give them a friendly nudge.
You should follow up with influencers for many reasons:
- The influencer may not have seen your messages because their inbox was full
- If the influencer doesn’t follow you on Instagram, they need to accept your DM request to see your messages
- They may have seen your messages, but forgotten to respond to you
- You’ll increase your chances of being seen
You can send up to 2 follow up messages before you risk being spammy. Our recommendation is to send follow up messages 2 days apart because it’ll help your brand stay top of mind. If you wait too long to send a follow up, the influencer may not remember your initial message.
Both your follow up messages should be kept short, but it should provide the influencers value that can convince them to work with you. Remember you are still marketing your business to them. You can offer to answer any questions they have or send a quick summary of your offer.
Step 8: Be professional
Throughout the outreach process, make sure you communicate with influencers in a respectful and professional way. After all, your outreach messages may be their first interaction with your company, so you’ll want to leave them with a good impression!
You can give influencers a great experience by responding to any questions promptly. This will help your business come off as a reliable partner.
Even if the influencer declines to work with you on a collaboration, be sure to thank them for taking the time to read your messages. This will help you maintain a healthy relationship with influencers who may be interested in collaborating with you in the future.
If influencers are interested in collaborating with you, you can send them a formal email with a campaign brief detailing the potential collaboration. You can also discuss the terms of your influencer agreement. To make this easy to track, and to provide more information to influencers, we recommend using your email.