10 Influencer Marketing Best Practices (That Are Actually Actionable)

February 23, 2024
14 min
Rochi Zalani
Content Writer, Modash
Fiona Macpherson
Head of Influencer Marketing at Wild
Valeriia Chemerys
Head of Media Partnerships, Deeper
Sarah Saffari
Founder at InfluencerNexus
... and
more expert contributors

1: Don’t let influencer marketing exist in a silo

Influencer marketing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. How can you be successful as a cross-functional marketer? The top way to support other teams is to make user-generated content accessible across the company.

  • Your paid advertising team can use IGC for creative testing
  • Your organic social team can repurpose influencer content (if usage rights are included in your contract) for reposting on your brand’ social
  • Your e-commerce manager can use content created via creators on landing pages

Fiona Macpherson, Head of Influencer Marketing at Wild, also suggests setting a recurring meeting where you can trade notes and go beyond providing content.

Fiona Macpherson
Head of Influencer Marketing, Wild
In that meeting, share what’s working well. Stories vs. Posts vs. Reels? Still assets vs. video assets? Which CTAs resonate best? etc.

And it goes both ways: you can ask other teams for input and assistance to boost your influencer marketing efforts. Start by creating visibility across the board — share access to influencer content (or tool, if you use one) with other marketing teams.

Fiona also recommends asking creators to pitch into other areas of your business efforts:

Fiona Macpherson
Head of Influencer Marketing, Wild
Influencer marketers can use their loyal content creator community for input regarding product development, testing of new products, and general feedback of what could be improved. I think this is an untapped opportunity and a huge value, which many organizations don't utilize.

The conclusion: make efforts to integrate influencer marketing into other areas of the business, especially within marketing. Talk to adjacent teams, understand their needs, and help them with making licensed UGC available.

2: Aim for long-term partnerships (but run a trial period first)

It’s well-known that long-term influencer partnerships are good for both parties. You want to find the perfect-fit partners to grow alongside, who genuinely love your brand.

But before committing to long-term contracts, it’s best to first test new creators with a “trial period.”

Test the waters with a few activations and monitor performance.

At portable sonar company Deeper, for example, Valeriia Chemerys (Head of Media Partnerships), told us the trial period for every creator lasts for three months. Deeper sends their product kit tailored to the creator’s style of fishing and asks for one key deliverable each month. After three months, Valeriia evaluates if the creator is:

  • within budget for the long-term
  • competent at using the product
  • provides the expected engagement and reach
  • responsive and excited to continue the partnership

If yes, Deeper continues the partnership beyond the quarter. Because they have these systems in place, they’re able to manage 150+ paid long-term ambassadors on annual contracts.

Valeriia also adds that this trial period helps her understand each creator’s strengths and capitalize on them:

Valeriia Chemerys
Head of Media Partnerships, Deeper
Each creator typically has a strength when it comes to content. One creator might excel in Reels, while another creates great long-form YouTube videos. We request deliverables based on those strengths. For example one Reel, a set of Stories, one TikTok video, or one YouTube integration each month.

Depending on your budget, team size, and market, you might need a shorter or a longer trial period.

But how do you pitch this trial period to creators? Since trial periods give both you and the influencer a chance to test the partnership, creators might consider it a win-win if you share the objectives transparently. You can also use future long-term partnerships as an incentive to nudge creators to say yes to the trial period.

💡 Looking to learn more on this topic? Here’s how the pros do long-term influencer partnerships.

3: Use software to scale influencer discovery (when you're ready)

When you're only recruiting a handful of influencers, it can be fine to just browse on social media. Or ask for recommendations, and use other free methods.

But as you scale your influencer marketing efforts, using a dedicated influencer search tool becomes a no-brainer.

That type of tool helps you to search & filter the right creators, and analyze their profiles. You can skip the manual searching, and only spend time on outreach when you know the audience, content, and performance fits your criteria.

If you know in advance that every creator you’re reaching out to aligns with your basic expectations, recruitment efficiency goes through the roof.

Modash is one such tool. It's not a limited or "vetted" database, but rather it simply lets you filter every creator in the world (on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok) with 1k+ followers. That’s over 250M+ creators!

For example, let’s say you’re finding Instagram influencers residing in the United States with a follower count between 5k – 10k. You can simply apply all these criteria under the “Influencer filters” section at Modash and get a list of over 71k+ influencers who match your requirements.

Similarly, you can also apply followers’ criteria to match with influencers whose audience overlaps your target customers. For example, you can find influencers with at least 50% of their audience living in the U.S.

There are lots of other filters too, such as minimum engagement rates, ways to identify the niche (words in bio, hashtags used, etc.), follower growth rate, and more.

After running your search, you can open up the profile, and check performance, content, and audience without having to reach out. It looks like this.

The perfect influencer partners are present at Modash. You might have to do a bit of trial, error, and analysis to find them. When you’re ready, give it a spin at no cost for 14 days.

4: Negotiate with influencers using data

Influencer negotiation doesn’t have to be scary — when done right. Using data, you can negotiate with influencers without being unfair. When you have access to an influencer’s performance and follower data, you can use it as armor in negotiation conversations to craft a deal with which both sides will be satisfied.

Let’s say you’re having initial conversations with a creator who has a high follower count, but only 50% of those followers reside in your target country.

You can use this data point as an anchor to voice your expectations and negotiate a lower rate. The influencer is well within their rights to decline. But, you won't get an ROI by paying to reach followers in the wrong countries. And then you won't work with that influencer again. A recurring pay-check from a partnership that works for both sides is an attractive prospect for the influencer.

How do you get this data, though? You can either manually ask every influencer for screenshots from their own accounts, or use an influencer analysis tool like Modash. It gives you an in-depth look at an influencer’s audience, content performance, sponsored content data, reachability, followers’ interests, and more.

You can also use other data points from Modash to negotiate influencer fees. For example, if an influencer has a high number of fake followers, you can use it to justify offering a lower rate than asked.

And remember the long-term partnership incentive we talked about in best practice 1? Locking in a slightly lower amount in exchange for signing a long-term contract is also an excellent negotiation tactic.

5: Focus on receiving authentic content over polished content

Creating an influencer brief is like walking a tightrope. You don’t want to be too loose and wishy-washy with your guidelines and campaign objectives but you also don’t want to chokehold the influencer to create content that doesn’t allow for any creative freedom.

How do you balance brand guidelines with innovative licenses in your influencer briefs? Sarah Saffari, Founder of Influencer Nexus, explains this with a great example:

Sarah Saffari
Founder, InfluencerNexus
Set standards about what you’d like your creator partners to illuminate, but let them do the task in their own way. Instead of saying, ‘I’d like you to cover this, make sure you follow it, and read the script word-for-word,’ say, ‘Here’s the feeling we’d like to get across,’ or ‘Here’s the value proposition we’d love for you to showcase.

Areas where you should clearly establish clear expectations include campaign objectives, desired results, timelines, deliverables, communication channels, and your primary value proposition. However, how a creator highlights your product’s benefits and unique selling proposition should have some wiggle room for the influencer’s creativity.

For example, let’s say you sell healthy cookies. You might think it’s helpful to focus on the nutritional ingredients of your cookies. However, a creator might argue that they should spotlight their delicious taste alongside the positive health factor. Go with the influencer’s gut because they know what resonates best with their audience.

💡 Want to learn more about how to nail the art of influencer briefs? Listen to our podcast episode with Sarah Saffari.

6: Have a partially-templated influencer email

When we interviewed over 50 influencer marketers to understand their influencer outreach strategy, we found over 54.5% of marketers partially-templatize their outreach emails.

This works because it’s the perfect middle ground — it’s easy to scale without compromising the personal touch.

You can use the same info about your company, products, and brand. This goes in the template box. But you can’t personalize compliments and why you think an influencer is a good fit for your campaign. This goes in the customized box. Here’s an example:

Influencer outreach is where you need to put on your salesperson hat. Templates provide efficiency, but personalization is what improves your response rate. Do a healthy mix-and-match of both to nail your outreach efforts.

7: Prioritize partnering with creators who genuinely love your product

Imagine influencer A who’s never heard of your product. They need to learn about you, your brand, and how you’re different from your competitors from the beginning.

Then there’s influencer B. They’ve already used your product for a few months. After trying your core competitors, they understand what makes you better than them. They know your company’s values and have feature requests, too.

Which one do you think will be able to create better influencer content for you?

A creator who’s also a happy customer is of unmatched value. They can create authentic content that’ll truly resonate with your target audience and talk about your product with ease, familiarity, and expertise. Not to mention: they’ll need much less handholding during onboarding since they’re already aware of your product’s features.

The struggle is finding influencers who already love your product. Modash can help make this friction-free. Modash’s discovery tool has an option called “Find your fans.” Once you click on it, all you have to do is enter your account username to receive a list of influencers who follow your brand and have 1k+ followers.

If you’d like to search your customer list directly, Modash has that option too. Upload a list of customer emails, and Modash will analyze if there’s any social media profile linked to the emails on your list. From here, you can analyze the creator profiles of your customers and see if anyone’s a good fit to be your influencer partner.

💡 Want to learn more about turning customers into affiliates? Listen to how Anna-Maria Klappenbach of Aumio does it.

8: Don’t try to copy the big brands

Here’s the thing: what works for the Apples and Netflixes of the world will not work for you — unless you’re as big of a household name in your industry.

The success of any big brand’s influencer marketing campaigns relies on a large team, colossal budget, reputation, familiarity, and brand name. Your influencer marketing looks different — you’re a small business with a scrappy team and a tight budget.

If you’re a food business, for example, McDonald’s influencer marketing playbook is the overwhelming guide that you’ll likely have no use for. But KetoKrate, running 100 – 600 influencer partnerships monthly with a small but mighty team of three (!), will have a better blueprint to follow.

So, instead of looking up at the big boys club, look around and take inspiration from companies at the same stage as you. Since they’re in an identical situation, they’ll have more actionable advice for you to implement.

💡 Wondering where to start finding companies like you? Check out the Creator Partnerships Podcast where we interview influencer marketing pros in the same boat as you.

9: Say thank you

Influencer marketing is a relationship business. But it’s surprising how many marketers will forget that when dealing with the humdrum of everyday creator collabs. Influencer marketing expert, Emily Claire Hughes, says this is the biggest mistake she sees influencer marketers make:

Emily Claire Hughes
Copywriter & Influencer Marketing Consultant, Emily Claire & Co.
If you are human, kind, nice to work with, people will go out of their way to make you happy and accommodate you.

When an influencer hands you the due deliverable, don’t start pointing out the potential edits immediately. First, thank them for their work and appreciate their effort. Sandwich your criticisms in compliments so the creator also knows what they’ve done right (alongside what they can improve on).

And it doesn’t end here:

  • Remember & wish them their birthdays/anniversaries
  • Sprinkle a bonus when they do exceptional work (if possible)
  • Chat briefly with influencers about their lives outside of work when you get on a call

Don’t make the relationship purely transactional. Aim to become your influencer’s favorite client. Being a human is the easiest, but it goes a long way.

10: Stay up-to-date with the ins and outs of the influencer marketing industry

The influencer marketing industry chaFnges with every blink. Social media platforms develop new features; creators create unique promotional tactics, a brand tries something new, and things keep coming.

I know what you’re thinking: there’s already so much to do, how are you supposed to collect the latest influencer marketing scoops too? Who has the time?

We heard you and started our monthly newsletter, Return on Influence. It packs actionable influencer marketing advice from experts and real-life examples. The best part? There’s no need to listen to any hour-long podcast or read a mini ebook on influencer marketing tips. We’ll help you keep your ear to the ground without doing the tedious legwork.

See the past editions here. If that’s up your street, subscribe for free, and follow along with what we’re learning.

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Contributors to this article

Fiona Macpherson
Head of Influencer Marketing at Wild
After working in Charlotte Tilbury & Farfetch's influencer marketing teams, Fiona now manages a team of 20+ influencer marketers driving revenue through creators at Wild.
Valeriia Chemerys
Head of Media Partnerships, Deeper
Valeriia is responsible for all media partnerships for portable sonar brand, Deeper. She manages 200+ paid influencer partners in Deeper's key markets.
Sarah Saffari
Founder at InfluencerNexus
Sarah is the founder of InfluencerNexus, an agency that crafts memorable stories, builds trust, and drives revenue through creator partnerships.
Anna-Maria Klappenbach
Community & Brand Marketing Lead, Aumio
Currently at Aumio, Anna is an expert in all things brand & influencer marketing. She has experience running performance-driven influencer collabs in markets like DACH, UK, US & more.
Emily Claire Hughes
Copywriter & Influencer Marketing Consultant, Emily Claire & Co.
After experience with in-house DTC influencer marketing, Emily now works with a range of female-founded brands to build on-brand influencer marketing programs and write persuasive copy.
Ryan Prior
Head of Marketing, Modash
Ryan is in charge of making sure all the content on this blog is great. If anything sucks, blame him.

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