November 14, 2015 / by Katie Gaab

Influencer marketing is on the rise as 59 percent of professional communicators plan on increasing their budgets for this tactic over the next 12 months. Why? An ROI of $6.50 for each dollar spent.

Finding the right influencer takes time, patience and accurate social media monitoring tools. Once you’ve curated a list of potential influencers, you must check that they are relevant to your industry, have the audience reach you are aiming for, and engage and resonate with their followers.

But narrowing down your choices to one target influencer doesn’t mean you can improvise the next step. You need to reach out with the right messaging at the right time with the right approach to make an influencer program work.

Follow these four steps to become an influencer’s friend:

1. Establish Metrics


In order to measure your success later down the line, you’ll need to determine your metrics before getting involved in an influencer program.

Think of your pitching goals. Set up metrics for initial outreach as well as your overall influencer program goal.

Whether you’re pushing to gain more brand awareness or increase the number of your Twitter followers, think about what benchmarks would help you reach this goal.

2. Document Your Work

Your brand interacts with a variety of people on social media each day. Make it easy to remember when and how you engaged with your target influencer by logging your efforts.

By documenting your interactions, you’ll avoid the risk of spamming, and consequently, ruining a relationship you took so long to cultivate.

Share the spreadsheet or report with all who are involved in the program and revisit your efforts often. Use a database to keep track of this data and demonstrate your efforts in a report for C-level executives.

Social media platforms are constantly adding and updating features. Make sure your efforts to reach out to social media influencers evolve with these changes.

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3. Form Relationships

When gathering information on your target influencer, be on the lookout for topics that both motivate them and make them tick. When you know what gets your target influencer talking, outreach will be so much easier.

Keep an authentic, human touch in your social media interactions. Your target influencer is the protector of their audience, not a member of it. Influencers will see right through forced interaction attempts, but will also defend their followers from naysaying like a mama bear protects her cubs.

4. Ask Away


Be specific in what you are looking for by outlining expectations and goals from the first time you make an ask. Give details on what you want the influencer to share or promote, but don’t set guidelines or micromanage their behavior.

Unless you work out a sponsored content relationship, influencers should take a strong hold of the reins when it comes to posting content or speaking up on social media. By bringing all your cards to the table from the beginning, you’ll avoid misunderstandings on what type of relationship you want with your influencer.

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Images: Patrick BriggsEthan Loftonantony_mayfield (Creative Commons)

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About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.