10 Steps to Influencer Marketing: A Complete Guide

10 Steps to Influencer Marketing: A Complete Guide

What is Influencer Marketing?

 Influencer Marketing is all about relationships. The relationship you’re leveraging between a influencers and their audience, as well as the relationship you’re building between your brand and your influencers.

– Gretta Rose van Riel,
Forbes 30 Under 30 and founder of Hey Influencers

Influencer marketing is relationship-based marketing. Influencer marketing has exploded in recent years and Instagram has become the most popular platform for influencers and their audiences.

Influencers are working with brands to help spread the word about their favorite products and to promote the brands that sponsor their content creation. By now, we’ve probably all seen influencers recommending products on their Instagram posts, with #ad or #sponsored added to the caption to denote that the brand paid for this promotion, either through payments or in-kind gifts of free products.

Influencer Marketing

A type of content marketing that engages creators or industry experts in a specific niche so that they can leverage their audience to create awareness for a brand or product and drive sales.

Influencer marketing is set to grow to over $10 billion dollars by 2020, according to Mediakix. On Instagram alone, influencer marketing accounted for $1.6 billion dollars in advertising spend in 2018. That number will only increase.

Another staggering statistic states that 65% of marketers say that they will increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year. Are you keeping up with this trend?  

With the growth and rise of influencer marketing and content marketing, brands are able to find authentic ways to advocate for their products using real people, in real time, with real results for growth. Thus, influencer marketing is a great way to reach your target audience and build brand awareness among like-minded individuals.


But wait, what’s an influencer?

But wait, what's an influencer?

An Influencer

is a person who has built a loyal audience through social media, blogs, or other communities, that has the ability to influence their audience through content creation. They have the ability to influence purchasing decisions and are considered thought leaders within a specific niche or industry.

The surprising fact is that influencers aren’t really a group. Someone creating content online shouldn’t be grouped by their follower count, which is what typically qualifies them as an influencer. Follower count doesn’t have the same value that it did before, because algorithms now affect how many followers actually see the influencer’s content. Someone who is engaging their audience may actually reach more people than an influencer who has a large following, but low engagement.

Instead of looking at the number of followers, influencers should be categorized by their interests, their content, and what they share online.

One way to categorize influencers is by niche or industry. Influencers nurture and grow an audience within a specific niche. A niche is their area of expertise. Their niche could be:

  • Fashion
  • Lifestyle
  • Makeup
  • Health & wellness
  • DIY & crafting
  • Architecture
  • Video games
  • Anything you can think of!

Influencers create content to share what they are passionate about. It could be images, videos, reviews, blog posts, or other types of media. Influencers are able to build a personal brand for themselves around their niche, and they know what their audience will respond to.


An Influencer’s Audience

If an influencer shouldn’t be categorized by their following’s size, then an alternative sorting could be by the followers themselves. These followers share interests with the influencer and are generally within the same demographics as each other. In this way, we are looking at the demographics, rather than just the numbers.

An influencer is successful because they are able to create relationships with their audience. The audience places a high level of trust with that influencer and values the opinions shared.

Audiences gravitate to that influencer because of the content they share. They have a specific interest in the niche that the influencer shares about. Influencers gain followers because they know how to create niche content in a way that is entertaining to their audience.

Since an influencer’s audience is important to their success, influencers use their data and insights to make sure that their audience enjoys their content. Influencers see which posts do best and continue to create content that appeals to their audience.

Influencers also won’t post outside their niche often because they understand what their audience wants to see. Posting sporadic content or brand partnerships that don’t feel like a good fit could damage their growth and their following, so influencers protect their audience by sharing consistent, high-quality, on-topic content.

An influencer’s ability to influence is what makes them appealing partners for brand partnerships. Their level of influence over their audience should be the chief selling point for influencer partners.


An Influencer’s Authority

Their audience enjoys their content and trusts the influencer. Influencers are able to share authentically with their audience because they are authoritative and honest in their content. An influencer is validated as an authority figure in a few ways. Follower count and engagement show that the influencer is successful posting about the topics. Influencers also post high-quality content in a specific niche or industry, which makes them hubs of information.


Social Proof & Influencer Marketing

social proof

Social proof is the concept that people assume something is right if other people have had the same assumption first. For example, an avant-garde outfit gains credibility as a fashion trend if many people are liking and sharing the pictures online.

When an influencer has a sizeable audience, it proves to the follower that the influencer is trustworthy and an expert because others approve of what the influencer is doing.

Social proof is also involved when an influencer posts about a brand. When an influencer gives a brand or product their stamp of approval, their audience is more likely to adopt that opinion or purchase the product because they see someone they trust recommending it.


An Influencer’s Role in “Consumer tribes”

Seth Godin coined the term consumer tribes to describe how people gravitate to a leader or an idea. The consumers within the tribe share a lot of the same values and tend to follow the same trends.

That is why influencers succeed. Influencers find audiences who align with their own values and opinions, then share content that they know would be of value to that group. Influencer marketing allows brands to tap into this process in a way that feels natural to what the consumer tribe is already doing.


Influencer Marketing for Beginners

If you’re just starting out, focus on creating relationships with influencers, instead of going straight into a collaboration with them. Taking the time to find out more about them and have a few conversations, maybe even ask them for their expert opinion, will help you find a collaboration that will work for both of you.

You should also look at the influencers’ affinity for your brand. Finding influencers who are already familiar with your brand will be valuable partners for your collaborations because they know your brand well and won’t have to get over the learning curve that other influencers have to. Tools like Carro help to track how an influencer interacts with your brand, so that you always know which connections are most valuable.

Remember, influencer marketing is relational. Find a few influencers to genuinely connect with and follow their profiles. Leave a few comments and engage with their content so that you know what works best when it’s time to enact or improve upon your own influencer marketing campaigns.


Look how different these influencers are from one another!

Influencer Marketing Matters More Than Ever

With 47% of Gen Z researching brands on social media, influencers are becoming more important than ever before. Influencer marketing is a chance for brands to integrate their brand messaging into real-life conversations between influencers and their audiences.

Traditional ad spaces are becoming increasingly oversaturated and brands need to try harder than ever to stand out. In order to break through the noise, brands need to find new ways to reach their target audience. What better way than with an influencer who already has that audience’s attention?

When influencer marketing is fully optimized, returns can be up to 11x higher than other traditional marketing channels!

Influencer marketing addresses the problems of oversaturation and audience fatigue.

According to Inc, a whopping 96% of consumers don’t trust ads. 
If consumers don’t trust what comes from brands, then how are brands supposed to present their message?

Influencers have worked to establish trust with their audience, so when they make a recommendation or share an opinion, the audience knows that it’s authentic.

Influencers also don’t talk like brands. They aren’t a billboard or a commercial, but instead are sharing their honest opinions. Even brutally honest reviews can benefit the brands because they establish brand awareness and present the products/services from all sides. If audiences are suspicious of brand ads, then an influencer’s honest review can go a long way to establishing rapport with a newly discovered brand.


The Problems with Influencer Marketing Today

No system is perfect and influencer marketing today is beginning to feel the growing pains after an explosion of growth. As influencers and brands and influencer marketing agencies continue to work together, these problems will require attention in order for collaborations to run successfully. Tools and influencer marketing platforms will emerge to help combat these issues as well.


Inauthentic Influencers

Influencers who violate the trust of their audience are inauthentic and ineffective. This is especially true for brand partnerships. If the influencer isn’t genuinely interested in the product, their audience will eventually catch on.

That’s why it is so important to select the right influencers for marketing campaigns. Brand partnerships need to be built on authenticity, with both honest communication and genuine promotion. An influencer who’s faking the emotion about a brand or product will not be effective.


Influencer Fraud

Fake influencers could be costing marketers up to $100 million each year! Influencer fraud includes purchasing followers, engagement, likes, and comments in order to increase their standing as an influencer.

When people are trying to get paid brand partnerships or benefit from their influencer status, it can become easy to cross the line. A simple search online will reveal the number of companies that claim to artificially boost your profile so that you can succeed as an influencer.

These fake followers and engagements can make it difficult for brands to know if an influencer’s partnership will perform as desired. We’ll cover some ways to root out fake influencers later on.


Selecting the Wrong Influencers

Don't select the wrong influencers for your brand

Another problem in influencer marketing is selecting the wrong influencers for your brand. Relying on follower count and a general niche isn’t enough to get a good result from your promotions.

There are more influencers gaining popularity every day, so it’s important to align your brand’s values and message with the influencers you work with.

The best practice for selecting influencers is to choose influencers that are already familiar with your brand and have a connection to you. These could be influencers that have previously mentioned your brand, purchased your products, or subscribed to your messages. These connections indicate that the influencer is not only in the same niche and has the same interests, but can also genuinely recommend you.
A Narrow Definition

When you ask someone what influencer marketing is, they probably reference an Instagram post where someone is holding a skinny tea or skincare bottle and the captions says “Save 10%, Use code blah blah blah,” but influencer marketing is so much more than that.

Influencer marketing should be marketing to your audience at all the sources where they are influenced. In recent years, that definition has narrowed. Brands who want to stand out from the rest need to remember the broader definition in order to push aside all the noise and really tell their story.

When creating your influencer marketing strategy, you’ll want to be thoughtful about where your audience gets their information and resist the impulse to just go where the influencers are. It’s important to note that influencers are everywhere, so you’ll want to prioritize your audience’s favorite networks and online spaces when deciding where to market.
Confusion over Influencer Payments

It can be intimidating to new brands to try to negotiate with influencers about payments—especially when there’s no golden number for influencer payments. Depending on the niche, follower count, and engagement, influencer payment rates can fluctuate significantly.

Instead of letting influencer payments deter you, focus on finding the right influencers. Many influencers will post in exchange for the products that they like. If an influencer does require payment, then you’ll have to weigh the potential benefits for your brand.
Communication Inadequacies

Communication is the make-or-break element to every influencer collaboration. Being clear and thorough in communications can prevent most of the pitfalls of influencer marketing.

Establishing a thorough library of templates for influencer communications can help you streamline the process.


Overpromising, Underdelivering

Often the excitement of the initial communications wears off. Following up with influencers to make sure that all the elements of your partnerships are completed can help you get the full impact of your partnership.

As a brand, you’ll also want to be diligent in delivering on your own promises. Sending out products and payments on schedule can help your brand develop a positive reputation within the industry and can help affect future partnerships with other influencers.


The Impact of Algorithms

Algorithm changes on popular social media sites can have an immense impact on an influencer’s success. They are constantly adapting to keep their engagement high and to counteract these spikes from algorithmic changes.

When working with influencers, keeping options open and remaining agile can help your influencers and your own social media get the results from these campaigns. You never know when an algorithm will change and start favoring a different type of content, so it’s important to adapt your efforts to the current needs.


Measuring (or Mismeasuring) ROI

Influencer marketing ROI and attribution can be difficult for marketers to track with their influencer partners. On Instagram, direct link clicks are rare, so finding out if a new customer came from an influencer campaign takes a good analytics program and a thorough content marketing strategy.

Communicating this strategy to the influencer can ensure that the influencer points their audience to the tracked link, coupon code, or other attribution link that can help you to track the results.


Who Can Benefit From Influencer Marketing?

All brands can benefit from influencer marketing, if they know how to structure their campaigns. Influencer marketing can be used for brand awareness and lead nurturing at all stages of the conversion funnel.

Is my brand ready for influencer marketing?

  • Do I have the budget to invest in brand awareness?
  • Can I send products to influencers so that they can create content?
  • Do I have a clear understanding of who my target audience is?
  • Do I have any connections with influencers already? Are any of my customers influencers? Are any of my email subscribers also influencers?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re ready!

Brands that are growing through influencer marketing should set the goals of their campaigns based on their own conversion funnel, so that each step of the buyer’s journey gets great content!


Top Funnel Influencer Marketing = Brand Awareness

Top of Conversion Funnel Marketing

At the top of the funnel is everyone who has just discovered your brand. These are people who came across a social media post or who saw an influencer recommending your brand.

Influencer content at this stage is meant to be an introduction to your brand and should provide the basic information a consumer needs to explore your brand, while also providing them with an enticement or entertainment that creates interest for your brand.

Content for this stage:

  • Influencer posts on social media
  • Posts from customers on social media through a referral program or affiliate network
  • Paid social ads with broad audience targeting

Facebook and Instagram Ad Objective: Reach or Brand Awareness


Middle Funnel Influencer Marketing = Lead Nurturing

Middle of Conversion Funnel Marketing

To get consumers from the top of the funnel to the bottom, they’ll need to be nurtured. This is repeated contact with the consumer to help them familiarize themselves with your brand.

The goal of this stage is to create influencer posts and other content that focuses on features and unique values of your brand/products. As you educate, you can also work to capture information about your prospective customers. It could be capturing their email so that you can send them email updates. It could also be continued influencer content about the brand that lets them get to know it from other angles.

At this stage, the goal is to continue to entice the consumer until they feel equipped to make a purchase. They’ll need to be entertained, but they’ll also need to have their concerns addressed so that they feel confident making a purchase.

In many ways, this stage is about educating the consumer. An influencer review lets them know about the product so that they can make a buying decision. Working with the same influencer for a few different promotions can help to nurture their audience and nudge them toward a conversion.

Capturing the consumer’s information at this stage can help you tailor your retargeting efforts to them personally. Emails, paid social ads, and other remarketing efforts can help you lead the potential customer down the funnel to the final stage.

Content for this stage:

  • Repeat posts from influencers, including testimonials and unboxings that focus on features and value props
  • Lead capture forms (email signups, etc.), so that you can retarget these consumers
  • Influencer reviews that provide in-depth details about the products

Facebook and Instagram Ad Objective: Traffic, Engagement, Video Views, Lead Generation, and Messages (and sometimes Store Visits)


Bottom Funnel Influencer Marketing = Social Proof for Conversions

Bottom of Conversion Funnel Marketing

Just before a conversion, the consumer is looking for the answers to their questions. Influencer content can address whatever holds them back from purchasing so that the consumer can be confident in their purchasing decision. 

Social proof is essential at this stage. Reviews, user-generated images, and other content can help the consumer see what the product is really like. This removes whatever hurdles to purchasing that the consumer may have. 

The goal at this stage is conversions, so influencer content should include a link to your site so that the consumer can complete their purchase. It can also provide incentives, like coupon codes or free shipping deals, which can help convince the consumer. Once a customer has made a purchase, then you can focus on retention. 

Content for this stage:

  • Reviews on your product page
  • User-generated images of the product
  • Coupon codes, deals, and other offers from influencers

Facebook and Instagram Ad Objective: Conversions and Catalog Sales

A common misconception is that you can just ship products to influencers with large followings and watch the sales roll in. However, your influencer content and campaigns need to be aligned with your conversion funnel so that you know what information to provide your potential customers.

Let’s explore these 10 steps to make sure that your influencer marketing campaigns have maximum impact across every step of your buyer’s journey.


Download Your Influencer Marketing Worksheets

1. Determine Your Brand Positioning

1. Determine Your Brand Position

In order to stand out, your brand needs to set itself apart from the competition. Within your industry and your niche, you should have a unique message and aesthetic that appeals to your target market.

But do you know your target market? 

In order to position your brand in a way that grabs attention and excites your target customer, you’ll need to know who your target customer is. A customer persona is a general breakdown of traits that your customers share, so that you can improve your marketing to these groups.

Here are a few of the characteristics that customer personas can identify.

Target Customer Persona:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • Interests
  • Social platforms they use
  • Education level
  • Income level
  • What device they use to shop
  • Occupation
  • Marital status

Your Influencer Partners:

⬅️Their followers should match your target customers!

Once you know who you are trying to reach, your brand will be able to customize messaging and visuals to fit what appeals to this audience. We’ll walk you through the process of researching your target audience and building your buyer personas.

Download Your Influencer Marketing Worksheets


Using Your Market Research

Your findings from the previous worksheets are your “market research.” These resources should be updated at regular intervals so that you always know who your marketing efforts are trying to reach.

However, your market research extends beyond the who and should affect the what of your brand.

How it affects your brand’s messaging

Your target customer should respond positively to your brand’s messaging. What are the values of your brand that overlap with your customer’s beliefs and values? Any value that your brand espouses should be highlighted prominently in your marketing.

For example, if your brand is eco-friendly and you’re targeting Millennial women who are interested in eco-friendly cleaning supplies, then you’ll want to be sure to add eco-friendly to your product descriptions. You can also add a seal of approval from eco-friendly influencers or organizations to show how your brand is the best choice for eco-friendly supplies.

Your brand’s messaging should highlight the features and values that your customers are looking for. If you notice that your customers are interested in getting the best deal, then having sales each season, or offering a rewards program, can help you position yourself as a leading brand in the space.

Consider your audience’s interests and try to highlight how your brand encapsulates these things.

How it affects your brand’s aesthetic

A brand’s aesthetic is subjective, but it can also be influenced by the results of your market research. Look at the influencers and customers that you studied in the worksheets to see if there are any common themes to what they post.

Are the images light and airy or dark and moody? Do they prefer images of people or flatlays of different objects? Is there a color palette or motif that is common? All of these factors can help you create a brand aesthetic that appeals to your target audience.

Having strong visual storytelling skills is a must for any brand. You may want to create a mood board that can help you assemble your ideas and think critically about how your brand is presented.

Once you’ve established the way your brand looks and feels, it will be easier to select influencers who can create within those guidelines.

2. Defining Your Goals

2. Defining Your Goals

Influencer marketing is like any other marketing initiative — you need to establish your goals before figuring out how you are going to construct your campaign. Setting clear goals will help in the decision-making process later on.

Setting your goals will help you create a marketing strategy with measurable KPIs (key performance indicators) so that you can measure your success for the campaign. Success for this campaign would be measured in the actions taken by your target market.

What is the goal for this campaign?

  • Brand awareness
  • Positive brand sentiment
  • User-generated content
  • Increased social media followers
  • Lead generation
  • Site visitors
  • Revenue


Setting Your KPIs

The goals you set for your influencer marketing campaign will have different measures of success. Here’s a list of KPIs based on your overall goal.

3. Creating Your Influencer Campaign

3. Creating Your Influencer Campaigns

Communication is key whenever you are working with a creative influencer outside of your team. Learning how to communicate your main goal and brand story can help your influencer create their best content for your campaign.

Before reaching out to influencers, you’ll want to create a campaign summary of what you are trying to accomplish so that you can communicate this information to the influencer. The next worksheet can help you brainstorm your campaign and flesh it out with all the details.

Download Your Influencer Marketing Worksheets

4. Discover Your Influencers

4. Discovering Your Influencers

The next step is to find the perfect influencers that suit your campaign and can help you reach your marketing goal.

There are three ways to find influencers: 


Searching for Influencers

  • Combing your mentions for influencers
  • Searching through hashtags to find influencers posting about the same topics as your brand
  • Going through location tags and check-ins for influencers in your area

Influencer Marketing Agency

  • Allowing agencies to cold email their list of contacts about your brand
  • Letting someone else decide who is the right fit for your brand

Influencer Marketing Platform

  • Purchasing a list of influencers, who may or may not know your brand
  • Soliciting influencers who may not be high quality

Find the Perfect Influencer… Choose a Better Method

A tool like Carro is essential to your influencer discovery. Carro discovers influencers who already love your brand. It’s important to use a discovery tool that measures the level of affinity to your brand. These influencers may be customers, email subscribers, social followers, or influencers who have already mentioned your brand online. Instead of random influencers, Carro allows you to work with the influencers who know and love your brand. From there, Carro also provides end-to-end support for your entire influencer marketing campaign.


Micro-Influencers vs. Macro-Influencers – What’s the Difference?

Although finding influencers should always be based on their interests and how they align with your brand, follower counts can affect how your campaigns perform.

Generally, influencers are broken down into three tiers: micro-influencers, macro-influencers, and mega-influencers.

Micro-Influencer = 5K-100K followers

Macro-Influencer = 100K+ followers

Mega/Celebrity Influencer = 1M+ followers or generally recognized name

There are benefits to working with each type of influencer. You’ll want to weigh the benefits of each influencer type against your marketing goal to determine which influencer will perform best for your campaign.


Benefits of Working with Micro-Influencers:


  • Micro-influencers have higher engagement rates than most macro and mega-influencers.
  • Micro-influencers typically have lower costs.
  • A micro-influencer’s audience is very niche and will represent a more narrow demographic.
  • If the micro-influencer has a blog, you may also be able to build your backlinks through a partnership that includes both social posts and a blog post.
  • Micro-influencers appear very authentic to their followers. They also don’t usually have agencies or representation, so they are directly involved in everything that is created for their profile.
  • There may be less competition for micro-influencers than there are for macro-influencers who have brand partnership experience.


Benefits of Working with Macro-Influencers:


  • Macro-influencers will have other brand partnership experiences that can help them better promote your brand.
  • Macro-influencers have a wider audience than micro-influencers, which can help generate interest from more people in your brand awareness campaigns.
  • Macro-influencers typically have a polished aesthetic already established on their platform and will be able to produce high-quality content.
  • Macro-influencers are considered established thought leaders and appear very authoritative about their subject matter.
  • Macro-influencers can help to create high-quality content that can be repurposed in your other marketing materials (with permission, of course).


Benefits of Working with Mega-Influencers:


  • A mega-influencer has a very large audience, so your collaboration will be seen by a lot of people.
  • Celebrity endorsements can be used in your other marketing materials as social proof.
  • Mega-influencers have name recognition that can help your brand awareness campaigns.
  • Mega-influencers have previous experience with brand partnerships, so they’ll have insights into how to help your campaign succeed.
  • Mega-influencers can open doors for co-branded partnerships and other mega-influencers through their connections. For example, an actor may be able to put you in contact with the show they are working on for additional sponsorship/collaboration opportunities.


How many influencers should you include in your campaign?

The simple answer is: as many as you want! You should definitely work with more than one, as you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. However, the rest is up to you. Remember, you want to build relationships with these influencers and create lasting partnerships, so you should choose an amount that you can still keep up with the communications.

If you’re just starting out, somewhere between 5 and 10 influencers is a good place to start. Your budget and your ability to ship out products to them will also affect the number of influencers that you can work with.

It’s better to have a few quality influencers than a large, unwieldy campaign that you can’t keep up with. Quality over quantity!


The Influencers You’re Not Thinking Of…

In addition to the influencers you’ve already discovered, there are a bunch of people who could help your campaign that you probably haven’t thought of.

This is an opportunity to remember the broad definition of influencer marketing and find the niche communities that can influence your target customers.

  • Press & Media Contacts – Press and media can include your products in shopping guides, articles, and other content. When partnering with influencers to review a product, adding a press release about the product, getting the product shared on a traditional media site, or having the media feature your product can help you get extra impact for your promotion.
  • Bloggers – Bloggers often have a social media presence and may be considered an influencer on social media sites as well. When partnering with a blogger, a blog post can not only help you spread the word, but can help your SEO by providing a backlink to your website.
  • Customers/Referrals – Your customers are your best advocates because they know and love your products. Setting up a referral program, affiliate network, or rewards program for your customers can help empower them to spread the word about your products.
  • Organizations – While not an individual, organizations can often provide similar content and features as influencers. See if there are charities, clubs, organizations, or schools that you can partner with to share about your product. If you donate to a charity, ask them to mention you in a thank you on their social media. You can provide a discount code or flyer to club members so that they can include them in a welcome packet for new members or can give them to their like-minded friends. Imagine if you partnered with a university to give away samples on campus. Not only do you create a loyal following on these campuses, but these samples could end up all over the country when students go home for the summer!


Signs of a Fake Influencers:

Influencer fraud can kill an otherwise great influencer campaign. Here are some warning signs to look for when vetting influencers for your campaigns:

  1. They are a new account with not enough content, or content shared on the same day.
  2. The number of followers greatly exceeds the engagement. This could be an indicator that the influencer paid for followers. The average influencer has 1-5% engagement on their posts. To find this, multiply number of followers by 0.03 and compare this number to the number of likes per post. If this number is drastically higher, then this influencer may have purchased fake followers. Fake followers won’t engage with posts, causing this disparity in engagement.
  3. Sudden increases in followers or engagement. Programs like Social Blade or Hype Auditor can help you see if there have been sudden spikes in follower growth. This could indicate that the influencer purchased their followers.
  4. Vague or spammy comments. If the comments are all emojis or especially vague, like “cool pic!” or “Love this!”, then these comments may have been written by a bot. Comments that seem to repeat could also indicate an engagement pod, where users comment on each other’s posts consistently to increase engagement. While not a dealbreaker, this type of engagement is compulsory and not authentic. Each member of the pod is obligated to participate, so these users aren’t really engaging with the content.
  5. Too many stock images. Use an image search to see if these photos appear anywhere else on the internet.
  6. Their followers don’t look real.  A quick scroll through an influencer’s followers should show real people with a wide variety of profile pics. If there are a lot of followers with no profile pic, or the same profile pic, this influencer may have purchased followers.
  7. Views on videos are too low. Video views accrue regardless of if a follower likes the post or not. This makes it a good indicator of how many followers are actually seeing the content that the influencer posts. Look for influencers with videos that show at least 3-10% of their audience as views.
  8. The influencer isn’t tagged in any photos. If an influencer has a thriving community of followers, they should be seen tagged in other people’s photos. Whether they are in the image or it is a follower trying to share something with the influencer, their tagged photos should be plentiful.

5. Influencer Outreach

5. Influencer Outreach

Influencer marketing is all about relationships, so communications should feel real and personal. Your influencer outreach message should get influencers excited to work with you and let them get to know your brand.

What makes an influencer want to work with you? Your first impression could be a make or break moment in your relationship with that influencer. Instead of focusing on free products or post requirements, devote your first message to establishing a connection to the influencer.

An influencer is also more likely to work with you if they already know about your brand. Choosing influencers who are already subscribed to your emails or have purchased your products can help you get the best impact out of your influencer marketing campaigns.

Influencer marketing platforms provide templates to help you get started reaching out to influencers, but you should always personalize this message to reflect your brand’s positioning.


In each message, you should include: 

  • Your name and your job title
  • Your Brand’s name and its mission (Refer to your Influencer Marketing Campaign Brainstorm worksheet for your 1-2 sentence brand statement)
  • Why you are interested in partnering with this influencer (flattery never hurt)
  • Any key requirements for the partnership

You can choose the best channel for communications. The most popular methods for influencer outreach messages are through email or Instagram’s direct messages. The following messages can be easily customized, then cut and paste into your preferred method of communication.


1-Click Invites with Carro

To really streamline your influencer communications, you can use Carro’s Quick Invites feature. Carro provides a default message that is based on several successful influencer outreach messages.

Carro even asked a group of successful influencers what their favorite outreach messages were. Their favorites were then combined into the default message.

Without any modifications, this message got an average 43% open rate, which is a 113% improvement over typical cold emails! 

With just 1-click, you can send outreach messages to your favorite influencers from the Carro Dashboard so that you can start collaborating. These influencers also have a connection to your brand, making them more likely to accept the collaboration and more effective in sharing your brand’s message. 

Tips for Outreach Emails:

  • If you don’t know their first name, stick to a more generic greeting. Use their name if it is available, but don’t use their username. Influencers want to know that you put in the effort to get to know their profile before reaching out. Nothing says “form letter” like saying “Hi @Username.” Better to use a generic greeting like “Hi there” than to risk them tuning out because you used an auto-filled username in your email.
  • If you want to personalize, but don’t know their first name, then you can include details from their profile, or mention a particular image that you liked. This will shows that it’s not just a form letter.
  • Keep your general email template customizable with dynamic fields. This will save a huge amount of work as you send out emails to your influencers. Design each email with quick customization in mind.

Sample Templates:

Default Message from Carro App: 

Hey there, 

I hope you’re doing well, I handle influencer relations for <BRAND NAME>. Great to meet you! 

I stumbled across your account and thought your content would be perfect for us. If you feel we’d make a good fit, I’d love to move forward and have you request products from our store. 

Use this link to visit, and request something at no charge that catches your eye. <CARRO BRAND LINK>

During the request, leave a note before confirming your shipping address to let us know your plans for the product (content creation, story post, article, etc.). 

If you have any questions, just reply to this email. 




Here’s an example of how this message was customized with a brand’s unique messaging:


Subject line: @InstagramHandle, could you send me your rate sheet?


My name is Cade and I handle influencer relationships for Rose Botanicals — we’re looking to work with influencers interested in the health, yoga, and beauty spaces. 

Our signature blend of rose essential oils has begun to pick up a lot of attention recently and we’d like your help carrying the momentum. 

Since you’re new to our brand (and probably haven’t heard about us), we’d love to send you some of our signature bland on the house (people love diffusing it!). 

Let me know if you’re interested. 

To health and high vibrations, 



You can also improve your chances of a response by sending a followup message:



I know you’re really busy, but I just wanted to send one last note in case you might want to work with us. 

Let me know if you’re interested

To health and high vibrations,


6. Negotiations with Influencers

6. Negotiations with Influencers

Once you’ve contacted your list of influencers, you’ll want to iron out the details of your collaboration.

  • The price of your products
  • Your relationship with the influencer
  • Your overall marketing campaign goals
  • The influencer’s audience potential.

An influencer’s key negotiating tool is their audience. Any payments or incentives should be directly related to their potential reach, the size of their audience, and the engagement of that audience. Another key metric for determining the value of an influencer campaign is the quality of the content produced. A micro-influencer may be able to produce better content that can be used for a brand’s advertising, product photos, and marketing materials, which would justify paying a higher price


Should I pay for their post?

In many cases, influencers will post in exchange for products that they love already. Depending on the relationship you have with that influencer, you may be able to negotiate any number of ways to compensate the influencer.


Forms of compensation for an influencer:

  • Free products in exchange for a post or posts
  • Gift cards to your store in exchange for a certain number of posts
  • Paying the expenses for a photo shoot or paying the travel costs for an influencer to attend your event (a great way to use your travel miles!)
  • Paying a commission for each sale an influencer refers

If you have an influencer who is interested in collaborating with you, you can also let the influencer give you their standard rates. Influencers typically have a price in mind when accepting the offer to work with a brand. Allowing them to make the first move will allow you to see what they had in mind. If you still need help with pricing, Hootsuite recommends the formula: $100 per 10,000 followers + extras= total rate

When negotiating with an influencer, you should weigh everything that the influencer offers against your marketing goal to see if the influencer will be able to help you reach your overall goal. If you’ve ever heard the expression, “You get what you pay for,” then you are familiar with the fact that paying for work can help you get the results that you want for your campaign. When considering how to pay an influencer, you should take into account the following:

  • Are you giving them free products? Do the products have a monetary value that is equivalent to the work the influencer is putting in?
  • Is their audience of high value to you? Does their audience overlap with your target customers?
  • Do they have other brands competing for their time and energy?
  • Are you hoping to reuse their content in other advertising channels?
  • How extensive is the campaign? Will they be required to post multiple times or create multiple types of content?

In the end, it is important to weigh the options for your influencer campaigns and determine the best fit for your brand. Weighing your goals with the potential impact of an influencer will help you negotiate with influencers for the best deals.

7. Your Influencer Campaign Checklist

7. Your Influencer Campaign ChecklistInfluencer marketing strategies work best when you cover all your bases. To get the most out of your campaigns, here’s a checklist of our best tips for your influencer marketing success.


Before the Influencer Campaign:

  • Audit your site for broken links and other errors. You don’t want an influencer referring traffic to a page that has errors.
  • Create a landing page for your influencer to refer traffic to. This could be specific to the influencer, or you can use a high-converting page that’s already built. Check your analytics to see which pages have the highest conversion rates and use something similar for your influencer to mention in their campaign.
  • Send a followup email 1-2 days before the campaign is launched. Touch base with your influencers and see if they have any questions, or if you can help them in any way. A little friendliness goes a long way.
  • Make sure all your influencers’ emails are marked as safe senders. No one wants important communications ending up in spam folders!
  • Add a teaser to your social media before the campaign, letting your followers know which influencers to watch for great content and exclusive deals!


During the Influencer Campaign:

  • Like all the content that the influencer shares about your brand.
  • Confirm that your brand is tagged or mentioned in the way that you agreed upon. If not, send a friendly reminder email to the influencer.
  • Share the influencer’s content to your Instagram Stories and reshare on other platforms (with permission) to get additional exposure to their content.
  • Check for comments and questions on influencer content that you can address through your brand’s profile. An influencer is not equipped to answer customer service questions the same way you are and they’ll appreciate you stepping in to answer official questions.


After the Influencer Campaign:

  • Make sure that all payments are sent promptly and delivered when promised.
  • Send a thank you note to each influencer who participated. A snail mail card would be exceptional, but even an email can show that you appreciated their work and may make them more excited to work with you next time!

8. Influencer Content & Community Engagement

8. Influencer Content & Community Engagement

Social media marketing doesn’t have to be predictable. We’ve all seen the typical influencer marketing posts, but there are so many ways that you can partner with influencers to create great content.

In addition to influencers posting content, you should also look for ways for the community to engage in your marketing campaigns. This action can help nurture leads for your brand and also increase the engagement rate for influencer content. Asking users to comment on the influencer’s post for a chance to win or voting for their favorite influencer image can create a community around your prospective customers.


Creative Ways of Working with Influencers:

  • Reviews, Unboxings, and Mentions – Reviews, unboxings, and mentions can provide additional information about your products and services so that your potential customers are better educated about your brand.
  • Influencer Giveaways – Giveaways are still one of the easiest ways to capture leads for your brand. 91% of Instagram posts with 1,000+ comments are contests, according to Tailwind. You could also have a 79% increase in your giveaway’s performance if you use partners. However, only 2% of Instagram accounts post contest on a regular basis, so the competition is sparse. If you make the giveaway easy to enter, you’ll be able to grow your following, your email list, or both! Partnering with an influencer for a giveaway can help you gain additional entries and spread the word about your contest or giveaway.
  • Sponsoring Influencer Content – If an influencer is creating great content, you can volunteer to pay for the expenses of that content in exchange for a mention. That way, you are supporting creativity while still getting your name out.
  • Boosting Influencer Content – Influencers who have already mentioned your brand can give you permission to boost their content. You’d be putting part of your ad budget behind their content to increase its reach and impressions.
  • Affiliates, Ambassadors, and Coupon Codes – This can be a great testing ground for influencers. Offering them incentives to share with their audience can immediately show which influencers are able to drive traffic and sales. It’s also a way for micro-influencers to work with brands and earn some income.
  • Influencer-Supported UGC Campaigns – Influencers can help your UGC. They can share about your branded hashtag, encourage others to share, and promote participation in your other marketing campaigns.
  • Co-Branded Products – If you have a macro or mega-influencers with name recognition among your customers, then you can work with the influencer to create a custom product. The influencer can help you promote it through their channels and with their name recognition.
  • In-Person Events and Networking – Having an influencer attend your events instantly raises the prestige of the event and your other attendees will get a chance to meet their favorite influencer in person!
  • Local Check-Ins – Influencers can promote foot traffic to your physical store or location by sharing content from that location and tagging the address.
  • Facebook Influencer Marketing through Groups and Facebook Live events
  • Newsletters and Blogs – Don’t limit yourself to influencers and traditional posting. Facebook groups, newsletters and blogs may have large communities that you can reach, even if they’re not run by well-known names.

9. Tracking Your Influencer Campaigns

9. Tracking Your Influencer Campaigns

There isn’t just one way to track the success of your influencer marketing campaigns. You’ll want to align your tracking with your KPIs and campaign goals from the previous steps to find your influencer marketing ROI. 

10. Influencer Marketing Campaign Optimization

10. Influencer Marketing Campaign Optimization

You may think that once the influencer posts, you’re done. Wrong! Once you’ve seen which influencer content is most successful, you’ll want to find ways to double down on your success and get even more out of the best-performing content.

As a general rule of thumb, you should always find ways to throw fuel on the best fires. That’s where whitelisting comes in.


What is Whitelisting?

Whitelisting allows your brand to get permission to share the influencer’s content within Facebook and Instagram. It also allows you to promote the content with ad dollars.

For example, if you find an influencer that is out-performing the rest, you can whitelist them through Facebook and Instagram, then pay to promote their content. Instead of reaching 6-12% of their audience, they’ll now reach 80-90% of their audience! You can also turn this content into retargeting ads and other marketing within Facebook and Instagram to get even more use out of the content. Facebook influencer marketing is best accomplished through paid social ads, as the reach of organic posts isn’t what it used to be.

To whitelist an influencer, you’ll need to add them as a partner in your Facebook Business Manager and request access to their account(s).

Whitelisting allows you to post your ad content as the influencer, with the influencer’s name appearing at the top of the ad instead of your brand name. It’s another way to make the content look authentic and genuine from the influencer.


What is Dark Posting?

Dark posting does not require a whitelisted influencer. Instead, you can download the influencer content and use it to create ads on your own ad account and pages/profiles. Dark posting creates ads that are from your brand, but have the approachable and relatable influencer images to attract attention from prospective customers.

You’ll want to get permission from the influencer to reshare their content. You can tag the influencer in the ads so that they are credited, and you may want to offer additional compensation for this sharing.

If you don’t have a large creative library, then dark posting an influencer’s images can be a way to get additional ad content up and running quickly.


Other ways to extend influencer content:

  • Share their content to your own profile on the same platform that they shared on. Your audience will then be able to see the content, whether they follow the influencer or not.
  • Use the content in Facebook and Instagram ads, crediting the influencer and quoting their review of the product. You can do this even if they don’t whitelist, but you will only be able to use their content as the influencer if they are whitelisted.
  • Share it on your website as a collection image or homepage feature.
  • Use an Instagram gallery to share the image on your product pages and homepage. FourSixty, Growave, and Instafeed are all Shopify apps that will help you display user-generated content, and influencer posts.
  • Share your influencer’s pictures in printed brochures and marketing materials.
  • Use influencer pictures to add casual, genuine imagery to your email campaigns.
  • Add these pictures to your “Google My Business” listing to help with local SEO and improve your Google assets.
  • Add influencer images as your product images to show your product in action. Consumers will love seeing a face they recognize modeling their favorite products!
  • Print large versions of your influencer images for use in trade show booths and at live events.
  • Create print advertisements for magazines and other publications.
  • Include a collage of influencer images on the back of business cards for team members.




Influencer marketing can help brands of all sizes grow. The trick to influencer marketing is that brands need to focus on one goal at a time, so that influencer campaigns are driving a specific, measurable result. Each step should help you create a narrow and achievable course of action so that you’ve optimized every step of your influencer marketing.

If you’re looking for an influencer marketing platform with full service influencer marketing capabilities, then there’s no better solution than Carro! Carro discovers all the influencers who already love your brand, then makes it easy and efficient to collaborate. From 1-click Quick Invites to streamlined product gifting, Carro covers all 10 steps to your influencer marketing.

Download Your Influencer Marketing Worksheets