Introduction:

Social media influencers are gatekeepers who have the power to open wide bountiful funnels of trusting, high quality, qualified customers into your analytics landscape.

You want them to promote your content, become affiliates or partners, and give you a platform in front of their loyal audience. But with the promise of this great power, the question remains; how do you find and build relationships with the most sought-after influencers in your field? 

It is not an easy question to answer. The road to the perfect influencer outreach process is a long and arduous one It takes time, research into what channels your ideal customers are prioritizing, trial-and-error, many follow-up emails, and a good deal of negotiating. 

But in the end, it's worth it. Tomoson has found that each dollar invested in influencer marketing has a $6.50 ROI; so we're talking prime real estate. This checklist was designed specifically to streamline and refine the social media influencer outreach process into a useful, reusable template, so it's easier than ever for you to see a return on your investment.

Let's get started and unlock some serious influencer potential.

Preparation:

Record some information about this campaign

First up, let's nail down the basics. This is a lightweight task where you will fill out some information to be used later on to trigger conditional tasks and auto-fill certain forms.

These kinds of records are also useful for reports and contingency further down the line, should you ever need to look back over specific campaign analytics.

  • 1
    Blogs
  • 2
    Social

Goals:

Review your Google Analytics data

Before you do anything else, it's crucial that you look at your own metrics so you can set goals and plan influencer strategies that align with a vision for performance improvement.

Your analytics and goals both feed into one another, but your goals should be informed by the current performance of the business - and one of the best ways to gauge that is by checking up on your analytics.

Check up on your Google Analytics (or whatever software you use) data and look for the following indicators:

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    Look at pageviews by source to get a better idea of which medium is attracting the most visitors
  • 2
    Sort by unique pageviews, bounce rate, average time on page, and page value to understand which pieces are doing well and which show opportunity for improvement
  • 3
    Look at pageviews by title to see which get the most clicks
  • 4
    Look at which referrals are performing well for ideas about what kind of content resonates best with your user base
  • 5
    Look at which social referrals are performing well
  • 6
    Look at a weighted sort of your analytics data to gain insights into potential KPIs
  • 7
    Look at demographic reports to better understand who reacts well to certain types of content

Most of the insights in the sub-checklist above assume you have Goals set up in Google Analytics; if you haven't already, you should probably consider doing that.

Understand your campaign goals

Like any marketing campaign, your strategy needs to be informed by goals, both short-term and long-term.

You also need to understand how the goals for this specific goal synergize with the higher-level goals of the company at large; for example, how will this campaign help the company to achieve the goal of increased customer retention in Q2?

Check out the list of common marketing goals in the sub-checklist below; try and incorporate them into your strategy, and make changes if you need to.

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    Improve SEO
  • 2
    Drive sales
  • 3
    Increase traffic
  • 4
    Establish authority
  • 5
    Develop brand identity
  • 6
    Gain impressions/reach
  • 7
    Gain more followers
  • 8
    [Insert goal here]

You should also be considering your budget. Most influencers will expect some kind of compensation for their work (although Neil Patel insists that you should never pay influencers) so setting a budget is necessary for strategizing which influencers you can or can't afford to work with.

Confirm marketing persona

For every campaign, and for each influencer, your picture of an ideal customer will change.

That's why it's such a good idea to use marketing personas to build clear ideas of the different kinds of customers you'll be targeting, and connect how these personas link up with living, breathing influencers.

These real-world connections make your overall strategizing more efficient and allow you to build more reliable marketing personas. What's more, you can actually reach out to these influencers and gain real insight into their audience (your customers) as you build a relationship towards an influencer marketing deal.

Use the form fields below to select your customer persona.

Research:

Connect your marketing persona with relevant influencers

Now that you've confirmed your marketing persona for this campaign, you should also have some idea about what kind of influencer channels this persona is likely to be most receptive towards. 

Your research into the most compatible influencers will inform what to look for whilst building your targeted list in the next task.

You can make use of tools like BuzzSumo, FollowerWonk and Authority Spy to research influencers based on keywords and industries.

You should make a list the top five real-world influencers that are the best fit for your marketing persona, along with links to their social presence.

  • 1
    Connect your targeted marketing persona with the top five compatible influencers
  • 2
    Collect the links for all of their social channels

Consider what your influencer’s metrics should look like

On the surface, an influencer might seem like the perfect fit to reach out to and build the trust of your target demographic. In reality, you should be asking potential influencer partners directed questions about their metrics before entering into a committed working relationship.

The following are some of the influencer metrics you should be looking at:

  • Click-through rates (CTR and social media reach)
  • Site value scores (trust flow and domain authority)
  • Social metrics (how many followers, or equivalent)
  • Engagement (engagement rate, percent change in followers, etc.)

Legitimate influencers will expect you to ask these kinds of questions and should already be tracking their own analytics with tools like Google Analytics or Rival IQ. If they expect you to pay them, then they will also expect to have to provide these kinds of metrics on-demand.

  • 1
    Evaluate their website's click-through rate (CTR)
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    Evaluate trust flow and domain authority scoring values
  • 3
    Evaluate engagement metrics
  • 4
    Make sure they have enough followers

Beyond metrics, for each potential influencer you reach out to you will want to be sure to make a few qualitative checks:

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    Does their social profile seem legitimate (not fraudulent)?
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    Are their followers legitimate (not bots)?
  • 3
    Do they publish often enough to impact your analytics
  • 4
    Do they post consistently enough (quality and quantity)?

Build your list of influencers

Research performed in the previous task means you already have a clear idea about what to look for in an influencer. But in social media marketing quantity is just as important as quality, especially when it comes to outreach, so you should make sure you are constantly adding prospective influencers to your master list.

Ask yourself questions like who will help to build brand authority, and who commands the most trusting audiences as you follow through the list of sub-tasks below.

  • 1
    Add new infleuncers to your CRM and tag them
  • 2
    Record new influencer email addresses
  • 3
    Record what social media they are most active on

Once you've appended new entries, update their information accordingly:

  • 1
    Tag existing influencers to a new campaign list in your CRM
  • 2
    Tag each influencer with their associated marketing personas
  • 3
    Tag each influencer as either "person" or "publication"
  • 4
    Assign a rating value for persona compatibility so you can order the list by the most qualified influencers
  • 5
    Order the list by most qualified influencers (based on persona rating value)

Content:

Prepare some pre-made content for influencers

At the end of the day, what's valuable about the influencers you're trying to connect with is their relationship with your target audience; the power they hold over your prospective customers. The actual content they are putting out is less important (in most cases).

It follows that you will want to make sharing as easy as possible for influencers by providing ready-made content for them to push out.

Draft a tweet, a Facebook status update, a LinkedIn post - this way you'll also be able to make sure that keywords and all important SEO tags are included in the content.

  • 1
    Make sure the posts are the appropriate length for the platform
  • 2
    Include relevant images where you can
  • 3
    Make sure the keyword usage is optimized
  • 4
    Include social tags (hashtags and @ mentions) where you can
  • 5
    Make sure to include a call to action

Draft and schedule social copy to boost influencer content

Write a series of social posts to share over time boosting the post. Tag 3-4 of your featured influencers in each post and include prudent hashtag(s).

Squeeze every last drop of engagement potential out of your influencer content by preparing a social media support strategy to promote the influencer content.

Maximize your influencer engagement

Be sure to tag all featured influencers in each post and include relevant hashtags and keywords.

  • 1
    Prepare Facebook posts
  • 2
    Prepare Twitter posts
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    Prepare Instagram posts
  • 4
    Prepare LinkedIn posts
  • 5
    Prepare Google+ posts

Once the actual content is ready, schedule the posts to go live in tandem with the dates marked on your calendar.

Be mindful of optimal posting times for different social networks. Infographic Bee has a great resource for checking when is the best time to post, shown below this sub-checklist:

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    Schedule social posts to promote influencer content

Track social traffic and shares

Before you start your outreach process it's important that the systems are in place to track things like social traffic and shares. That way, you know what worked (and what didn't).

One way you can do this is by using Rival IQ to create an influencer landscape, pulling all of the social data from your list of influencers together and tracking activity such as reach, followers, engagement, to better understand what content is performing the best in order to make adjustments to your strategy.

If you aren't seeing a month-to-month increase on metrics like sales, click-through, traffic, and shares, you should assess why and consider making some changes. That may mean planning new outreach campaigns, trying different things with current influencers, or dropping influencers that aren't delivering altogether.

Platforms:

Confirm campaign blog content plan

Blog posts can drive SEO, sales, and traffic, and having an influencer involved in your blog content schedule is a great way to boost brand authority and identity.

As well as driving SEO, blog content also has a far longer lifespan (not to mention being more suitable for long-form content) than its social media counterpart.

With blog content, you can also be more certain that the content is reaching the right audiences. Since blog content typically contains many inbound and outbound links it is far more valuable because you can see the exact path customers took (if you have goals and eCommerce tracking set up in Google Analytics, that is) and you have more control over where readers are directed (to product pages or calls to action, for example).

Decide on your blog strategy (or strategies) and choose from the multiple choice drop-down field below.

  • 1
    Free blog post (guest post)
  • 2
    Mentions (backlinks)
  • 3
    Product or service review
  • 4
    Paid blog post (sponsored content)

Confirm campaign social content plan

Social media influence can drive sales and traffic, gain reach and impressions from new followers as well as building brand authority and identity.

Use this task to confirm what platforms you will be targeting as well as what your strategy for influencer leverage will be.

  • 1
    Facebook
  • 2
    Twitter
  • 3
    Instagram
  • 4
    LinkedIn
  • 5
    Google+
  • 1
    Mentions
  • 2
    Re-posts
  • 3
    Social media takeovers
  • 4
    Viral/creative posts about your product/service/brand

Outreach:

Send outreach emails and schedule follow-ups

Outreach emails should be brief, direct and designed to make it as easy as possible for influencers to say "yes" to a partnership offer.

Try and make each email as personalized and directed as possible - mass-marketing automation will likely perform poorly when it comes to grabbing influencer attention. You should also bear the following in mind:

  • 1
    Keep the emails short (below 300 words)
  • 2
    Clearly state who you are, why you're emailing, and what's in it for them
  • 3
    Give them clear instructions for exactly what you expect them to do
  • 4
    Provide them with a link to a somewhere they can upload content, links, photos, etc. (Google Docs or Google Forms, for example)
  • 5
    Inform them of other influencers that will be involved in the campaign
  • 6
    Prepare follow-up emails (at least 5 touch points)

With outreach emails drafted and a list of influencer emails gathered, it's time to schedule.

  • 1
    Schedule initial outreach emails
  • 2
    Schedule follow-up emails
  • 3
    Load email templates into CRM (main and follow-ups)
  • 4
    Test all templates with dummy data, and check links work

Sources:

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