Interview with an Online Influencer: Five Tips for Marketers to Ace Collabs

PR professionals and marketers are accustomed to industry evolution. This is especially true in media relations. Long gone are the days of simply drafting a press release, writing a killer pitch, and hoping a key reporter writes a story about an exciting announcement from a client. It’s important to find clever and unorthodox ways to reach target audiences. Enter online media influencers.

Quinn Thomas has engaged with a number of online influencers for holiday and health care campaigns to reach broad audiences – ranging from millennials to baby boomers. These collaborations have produced successful results in the past, so I wanted to dive deeper into how you can take these partnerships to the next level.

I reached out to Rae Alfatooni – a macro-influencer we’ve collaborated with who has a passion for health and wellness. Rae authors Raepublic, a blog that’s devoted to healthy living. To date she’s garnered over 229k followers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Below are the top five takeaways from my conversation with Rae:

Do your research

Influencers generally cover a specific topic, ranging anywhere from food to health to parenting. Do some digging in their recent posts and determine whether the collaboration is a good fit and if their followers align with your target audiences. Your outreach will likely be ignored if you don’t do a little research beforehand.

Stay on brand

An influencer’s account is their brand. Throughout my conversation, Rae referred to Raepublic just like I would Quinn Thomas. Influencer pages follow color schemes, certain fonts, and imagery. The same goes for the tone in their posts. Make sure your expectations for what they’ll post or write about aligns with the messaging of your campaign. It’s okay if an influencer uses run-on sentences or jargon you may not understand – their followers aren’t expecting a flawless press release.

Set clear expectations

It’s helpful to be as specific as possible when collaborating with an influencer. This includes post cadence, frequency, longevity, etc. In some cases, writing a creative brief is the best way to get this across. Ultimately the influencer will make the final judgment, but it’s beneficial to map everything out.

Customize the approach

Email exchanges are preferred, but sometimes sending a thank you card after an activation is much more memorable. This is important for someone like Rae with growing followers. As her popularity grows, she can say no to brands she didn’t enjoy working with or approached her with minimal effort. Treat an influencer like you would a reporter and leave a good impression.

The fine print matters

The difference between a good and bad experience for an influencer may come down to the terms of payment. Make sure the terms are clear upon the first few exchanges. Influencers understand that agencies are the middleman, but it’s our role to ensure interactions go smoothly.

Ultimately, working with an influencer will be different every time. Keeping these tips in mind can help take your work to the next level.