DMs or Emails: Your Influencer Outreach Strategy

Sarah Donawerth
Sarah Donawerth
DMs or Emails: Your Influencer Outreach Strategy

The first step of every successful influencer marketing campaign is your influencer outreach strategy. Brand managers send messages right and left to see if they can get responses from influencers. With the influx of new ways to communicate, we’ll show the pros and cons of each outreach method for brand managers to get the best results with their influencers.

Sliding into the DMs – Influencer Outreach Strategy

Contacting Instagram influencers via the DMs is the crowd favorite among brand marketers. If the influencer is primarily active on Instagram, this is the best option. Influencers will be looking for messages from their fans and other brands, and you’ll probably get a prompt reply if they’ve set up notifications on their phone.

The drawbacks of DMing influencers over and over is that you’ll probably have to do it through your smartphone. Social scheduling and management platforms haven’t caught up to provide the option to DM through their systems. In streamlining your influencer outreach strategy through DMs, you can send a template to your hone to save you time in cutting and pasting. Be sure to add some customization so that influencers don’t feel like the message is spammy or impersonal.

Facebook Messenger for Influencer Outreach

Facebook Messenger is another great way to get into an influencer’s phone notifications easily. You can send a message to anyone with a Facebook account, but you’ll want to reach out from your personal profile, rather than your company page, as there are restrictions on how companies can message through the application.

A word of warning, people have to accept the request to chat with you on Messenger, just like on Instagram. If you are sending the same template over and over again, you’ll also run the risk of being flagged as spam. The best influencer outreach strategy for Facebook Messenger is to reach out in a more casual way with a “Hey, love your last post!” or similar message before sending them your entire outreach message. Facebook Messenger may also be a great option for keeping up-to-date with influencers once they have connected with your brand, especially for influencers working globally.

You’ve Got Email

Email is a tried-and-true method for your influencer outreach strategy. If you’re able to find an email address for that influencer, it is definitely worth drafting them a message asking to collaborate. Email is a reliable way to get in touch with an influencer and can help you continue the conversation once the influencer responds.

With Carro, you’ll have the available email addresses for the influencers in your dashboard so that you can email them directly, or through the Quick Invite function.

Email also allows you to use a template to streamline the process. Setting up a mail merge can also help you setup an email system that continues sending, even when you’re not in the office. Yet Another Mail Merge works with Google Sheets and Gmail to send 50 messages a day on the free plan, with additional features available on the paid plan.

For email outreach, the key is to create an intriguing subject line. Without a great subject line, your message won’t get opened! Take the time to draft a few clever options and to A/B test the open rates on your messages as you send so that you can find out what resonates most with influencers.

Tag You’re It! Interacting on Social Media

Attracting an influencer’s attention on social media can be a great way to start a conversation. Whether you’re tagging that influencer in a post, sharing a quote from them with a mention, or commenting on their posts, you may catch their eye when they review their notifications. If the influencer is normally hard to reach through DMs or email, you can try to get a comment or reply through one of these methods. Once you’ve got a response, then you can begin a conversation that will hopefully lead to a collaboration!

This method takes a bit of time, as you’ll have to comment on influencer posts in a real, genuine way. “Can you DM me please?” isn’t going to cut it. Consistent commenting on new posts will eventually draw the attention of that influencer, even if they are celebrities or influencers with extra large followings.

Wanna Meetup? In-Person Networking

Whenever your brand attends a conference or event, you should be on the lookout for influencers. Knowing the big players in the industry will help you recognize them in person and strike up a conversation.

If you want this to turn into a professional partnership, you’ll need to be fully stocked with business cards and maybe even some swag items. Swap contact information and let them know when you plan to reach out next. Putting a face to your name will greatly increase the likelihood that this influencer will work with you later on.

You can make a lot of connections at events, so be sure to take notes about who you talked to and remember to follow up with each influencer within a week of the event.

Contact Forms on Blogs/Websites

Most influencers don’t live on Instagram alone. They probably have a hobby blog or website or portfolio that you can reach through their Instagram bio. If they have a website listed, you can follow the link and try to find a contact form. These forms are a direct line to the influencer, even if you may end up in a pile of fan mail.

Be sure to introduce yourself and your brand in these messages because you won’t be sending from your own email address or username and they’ll need to know who you are. Also, you’ll want to send a follow up message if you don’t hear back the first time, letting them know that you contacted once before and then repeating your original message.

LinkedIn, Really?

Really! LinkedIn sends an email notifying the influencer that you sent an “InMail” and it’s a great way to get into their email inbox without having their email address. Because LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, it also sets the tone for the collaboration. Your message will appear as an opportunity to advance their career when they see it on LinkedIn. Context is everything!

LinkedIn is also a great way to get in touch because it’s easy to see how you’re connected to that person. Do you have mutual contacts or did you work with the same company before? These can help increase the value of your communications to this influencer because they will see something that they recognize on your profile.

To begin sending messages from your LinkedIn, you’ll want to take a second to make sure that your information is current. Your company name and your title should all be listed in the first slot on your profile. You may even want to go above and beyond, listing your company and title in your profile summary and updating your cover image with a branded image. These little things will help to lend credibility to your message.

Ask for an Introduction

Know someone who knows someone? Finding a mutual connection can be a great way to set the stage for your first contact with that influencer. The mutual contact can send a message on your behalf with a CC or mention within the message. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door.

However, this takes relationship nurturing. The mutual contact should be someone that you actually communicate with on a semi-regular basis, and not someone you friended out of the blue to help you connect.

More Creative Ways to Get Responses:

Cite them as a source

Jeff Bullas has used this technique to land big influencers and celebrities for his podcast. Because he is constantly guest posting to get his own name out there, he can add sources and links to his blog posts and content. He uses sources that provide a valuable link to the big influencer or celebrity, then reaches out to them to let them know about his content and to start a conversation. This value-add can greatly increase your chances of getting a response. If you have a blog, start dropping links to your favorite content, then notify the content creator to let them know. They’ll be impressed that you already extended a helping hand to them and will likely reciprocate.

Send a video

This is a creative way to make your message unique. Recording a quick hello to that influencer can provide the personal touch that influencers crave. Plus, you won’t have to worry about proofreading! A video is quick to record with today’s technology and you’ll be able to use all your skills of persuasion to sell them on your collaboration idea. Because no one really sends this type of content to influencers, you’ll really stand out above all the other brand offers in their inbox. You can host these videos on YouTube or video privately and take a few minutes every week to make a new batch for your favorite influencers that you’d like to work with.

Because this can take slightly longer than an email template, you should reserve this method for your VIP influencers. Is there someone on your wish list? This could be the way to get their attention!

How to Get a Response, Every Time

Be Consistent with Your Influencer Outreach Strategy

The current methods of sending a mass blast to influencers then abandoning the effort for a few months no longer work. In order to get responses and have a constant stream of collaborations, you’ll need to be consistent in sending outreach messages. Using email automation or setting a weekly goal can help you send the right amount of messages to get a consistent response from influencer.

You’ll also want to be consistent in your messaging. Your job title and brand name should be included in all the messages. If you mention payment or certain criteria for the campaigns, then you’ll need to keep track of the requirements so that they are consistent across all your outreach efforts to that influencer.

Be Creative

Influencers are creative. Spending a little extra time to come up with a clever subject line or a witty intro line can help you get noticed by your favorite influencers. Using video, graphics, or other elements to make your message stand out will also be appreciated by influencers who receive tons of generic messages from other brands all the time.

Try to find the best way of communicating with your prospective influencers through A/B testing. Do they respond best to certain colors, jokes, or puns? This could help you engage with more influencers that fit your brand’s demographic.

Follow Up

Very few people will respond to anything the first time. We need repetition. Sending a follow up message at regular intervals can help jog their memory and get them to respond. A week or more before following up gives them plenty of time to respond before trying again. Although following up will help responses, you should never cross over into spam territory. Just a friendly reminder 1 or 2 times to let them know that you are still interested in working with them.

UpLead offers a ton of templates for follow-up emails. If you’re wondering what kind of email you should send, take a look to find a follow-up email for every ocassion and every tone of voice.

Try Multiple Methods for Your Influencer Outreach Strategy

You’ve probably heard of multi-channel marketing, but have you heard of multi-channel influencer outreach strategy? Sending messages at set intervals across several platforms will help ensure that influencers get the message. It will also achieve what Jeff Bullas calls the “Saturation Effect,” where influencers will think that you are a big name simply because they’ve come across your name several times in a short time period.

You’ll build up your influencer team if you keep outreach running at a steady pace. You never know which message will land you your next big influencer opportunity!

Not sure what to include in your message to influencers? Check out our Sample Influencer Outreach Messages That Work!

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