By Rachel Morrison On August 3, 2020

Understanding Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing campaigns are an integral part of any marketing strategy–they basically function as word-of-mouth, but faster. You can get better results from influencer marketing than you can from traditional advertising–a post from a trusted influencer can come across as a trusted recommendation from a friend, and leads more directly (and quickly) to sales, brand awareness, and positive consumer opinion. 

The tips below will help you build relationships with influencers that last, and that generate results that lead to sales. 

1 | Do your research. Just like working with the press, it’s important to know that you are reaching out to the right people. It is a waste of everyone’s time to reach out to an influencer who only does paid partnerships if you’re looking for an in-kind partnership, or an influencer who doesn’t drink, as an alcohol brand. It can take a long time to build your list of relevant influencers, so working with an agency who has strong relationships with influencers can make your life a lot easier. 

2 | Be organized. Outreach dies in a lack of follow up. It can take a long time to build these relationships and generate interest, and if you forget to follow up, or follow up too quickly, you can kill your efforts. Keeping detailed notes, like in this spreadsheet will help you organize your efforts, and keeps a great record for your next campaign! 

3 | Be generous. Think of working with an influencer for the first time as going to a housewarming party (remember these?!), and bring a hostess gift. This is especially important if you’re not doing a paid campaign–don’t expect the influencer to purchase your product and post about it on their own. You need to give them samples so they can try it/work with it/take photos. It’s not necessary to deliver a full case of product, but if you have a signature cocktail, give the influencers in your campaign all of the materials necessary to make that signature cocktail, including the recipe (branded, well-designed, printed cocktail recipes go a long way here!).

3a | Be generous with your engagement. Follow the influencers you want to work with, comment on their posts, share what they post about your brand on your feed and/or story, and like their content. They work hard to create beautiful content that benefits your brand, thank them for it, and be a part of their audience. 

4 |Set clear expectations and be honest. If you don’t have the budget for more than $500 on a single sponsored post, say that. Sometimes influencers will work within your budget, and other times, the right influencer is the one in your budget (who also has an audience that matches your target audience!). Be upfront with your budget and your ask. If you don’t want a story post, and only want a post on the feed, say that. If you need them to create a cocktail from scratch, tell them! Clarity is always king here. 

5 | Make their job easy. Giveaways are an excellent way to build followers for both the brand and the influencer, but they can be a big, time-consuming job. As the brand, it is your job to do the work in the relationship. Influencers benefit as well, but the easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to post, and work with you again. It’s important to deliver your samples to them on their schedule, give them all the information ahead of time, collect giveaway responses and deliver the prize to the winner, and thank them for hosting. 

BONUS | Don’t rule out the micro-influencer. Defined as 1,000-10,000 followers, micro-influencers are capable of generating HUGE conversions (22.2x higher conversions than other types of influencers), because they tend to have more engaged audiences. Followers are important, but they don’t tell the whole story. It’s important to look at engagement rate (comments, likes), and find the influencers who have a strong, supportive, and engaged following. 

Interested in adding influencer marketing to your marketing efforts? Reach out! We have well over a decade of combined experience working with influencers and would be happy to leverage our relationships for your brand. 


Rachel Morrison

Rachel is a public relations professional specializing in food, beverage, and consumer goods. Her brand strategy, media relations, owned media, earned media, and influencer marketing work combines her dual backgrounds as an english major/lit nerd, and specialty coffee barista. She has launched influencer marketing campaigns, positioned consumer brands for success in the marketplace, and earned media results for her clients in, Portland Monthly Magazine, Wall Street Journal, VinePair, Wine Enthusiast, Beer Advocate, and many more.

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