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One of the great things about Influencer Marketing is that you can achieve great results on any budget — whether you’re a leading international brand or an emerging designer. And while many brands are discovering the powerful advantages of working with micro-influencers, few realize that working with top-name influencers isn’t necessarily out of reach for mid-sized and smaller brands. Here’s how to attract high-end influencers on any budget.
Start Forming Relationships
True to the very premise of Influencer Marketing, good collaborations start with strong relationships. This is true whether you’re engaging a niche influencer with hundreds of followers, or one with hundreds of thousands. Although many brands realize the importance of relationships, few start forming them soon enough. When you wait until you’re launching a collaboration to promote your brand, your relationship will always feel transactional.
The key to establishing the kind of trust and rapport that inspires top influencers to collaborate with up-and-coming designers or small, niche brands is to reach out without expecting anything in return. Start by writing a list of your dream influencers and making a concerted effort to engage regularly. Write genuine comments on their posts, like their content, and occasionally gift product when you see a new collection is perfect for them. These consistent, genuine connections are the kind that pay dividends in the future.
Asking influencers for feedback is another genuine way to engage. Letting an influencer know that you like their style and would love their feedback on your new collection is a way to spark a relationship while getting them excited about your brand. Influencers are often just as valuable for their feedback and experience as their following.
Recognize the Value of Micro-Influencers
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, recognizing the value of micro-influencers can help you collaborate more often with high-profile bloggers by saving more of your budget for the times when top-level influence is exactly what you need — perhaps you’re growing and want to expand your reach, or you’ve released a new collection and want to generate wide-reaching brand awareness. Creating a year-long marketing calendar that outlines your specific Influencer Marketing goals, including what you hope to achieve with each collaboration, will help you allocate your resources in a way that accommodates all the types of influencers you might need for different collaborations.
Recognize Your Brand Value
For many influencers, blogging started as a personal passion — something that continues to influence their decisions about which collaborations to accept. The chance to discover a promising new designer or an opportunity to work with a brand whose aesthetic they love can be as powerful as payment. Recognizing that your value as a brand goes beyond your budget can help you identify influencers who feel the same way. Gifting product and offering to promote influencers to your own social network are two ways to further enhance these types of collaborations. For an influencer who closely aligns with your brand, your audience is likely to be equally valuable to them.
While you practice these strategies, remember that mid-range and niche influencers are often just as effective as their high-influencer counterparts at engaging potential customers, particularly if your goal is to enter new markets or to drive sales of a particular product. Of course, working with multiple influencers to achieve the same reach is more draining on your resources since you must review and approve much more content and coordinate with multiple bloggers, but you also have the benefit of multiple social groups for ground testing. As with most strategies, either approach involves tradeoffs. Ultimately, developing a strong relationship with all bloggers you engage is the most important effort you can make. After all, today’s mid-level bloggers may be tomorrow’s high-demand influencers.