Client management

July 5, 2023

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06 MIN.

Influencer Outreach Guide: How to Successfully Connect With Influencers in 2023

Successful influencer marketing campaigns don’t materialize overnight. There are influencers to be found, and wooed before you can put your plans in motion.

Antonio Gabrić

Antonio Gabrić

Influencer Outreach Guide: How to Successfully Connect With Influencers in 2023

Think of picking the right influencers for your social media marketing campaign as putting together the Avengers. An intergalactic team of superheroes with fiercely loyal fanbases that guarantee a blockbuster hit. 

Last year, Amazon bet big on creators and raked in over $12 billion in sales, global economic slowdown notwithstanding. Huda Beauty, itself an influencer-owned brand, used influencer marketing to propel itself to #10 on the list of biggest beauty companies worldwide. SAP regularly partners with thought leaders on LinkedIn to improve brand awareness and promote specific products. Cisco’s multiple award-winning program CiscoChampions continues to generate buzz for the company on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Done right, there’s nothing an influencer marketing campaign can’t achieve. It can be your golden ticket to higher visibility, awareness, and sales. Which is why cracking the code to: 

  • knowing which influencers to work with and 
  • how to get them to work with you 

is so crucial in determining your brand’s success and maximizing campaign ROI. 

What is influencer outreach and why does it matter?

Influencer outreach is the process of identifying and then targeting content creators that you can collaborate with to strengthen your social media image, build trust, drive engagement, and ultimately, sales.

  • In 2023, the influencer marketing industry has a projected valuation of $21.1 billion.
  • Its growing popularity is owing to the fact that 92% of consumers place more trust in influencers than they do in advertisements. 
  • With third-party cookies fading into oblivion and daily social media usage hovering around 2.5 hours, influencers present direct and unwavering access to large sections of a brand’s potential customers.
  • The numbers are proof of that. Influencer marketing ROI was reported to be roughly 600% in 2020.
  • It’s 11 times higher than other forms of traditional marketing.
  • And with 86% of marketers using influencer marketing being satisfied with its results, you could be missing out on a lot by not making it a part of your brand’s overall marketing strategy.

How to do influencer outreach?

Successful influencer marketing campaigns don’t materialize overnight. There are influencers to be found, vetted, and wooed before you can put your plans in motion. Here’s a step-by-step guide for it:

  1. Identify the right influencers 

Recently, every social media platform has been prioritizing popular content over follower counts. So team up with influencers that:

  1. Have a finger on their audience’s pulse
  2. Are capable of creating quality content 
  3. Can appeal to a demographic that overlaps with your target audience

Study their niche, reach, and authenticity. Depending on your industry, their age, gender, location, and other demographics could be vital in figuring out if they’re the right fit for your brand. 

You can find influencers using industry or niche-specific hashtags on social media search pages, or use freemium tools and influencer marketplaces like Phlanx and Collabstr to discover them.

Start compiling the information you have on shortlisted candidates in a spreadsheet. It should contain their follower count, audience demographics and authenticity, engagement rate, the average number of impressions and likes per post, etc. 

Besides that, do your own research to find their best-performing content, the formats they publish frequently, and previous brand collaborations. This will help you decide if they are appropriate for your campaign and also give you ideas for personalized openers.

Most serious influencers display contact information for collaborations in their social media bio. Run it through email checker to weed out invalid or non-operational email addresses before starting outreach.

If their contact information is not easily available, you can look it up using email finder tools or send them a direct message on social media. Updating your candidates spreadsheet with fresh data and keeping your email list clean are two easy things that can help you increase the overall engagement rates of your emails. Plus, they’ll be much less likely to be marked as spam. 

  1. Build authentic connections on social media 

B2B influencers are active on mainly 4 channels — LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. LinkedIn is the best option for outreach, as most B2B influencers are represented there and there are various outreach options available. B2C influencers, on the other hand, are just about everywhere. When deciding where to connect with them, always pick the channel they are most active on. 

Influencers might share the same content across platforms, but they usually have a preferred platform to engage with their followers. Before sending out influencer pitch templates, try to establish a connection with them first. 

Comment on their posts, reshare them, and follow or subscribe to them.  

You can also mention or tag them in your own relevant posts.

If you have a solution or suggestion for a concern they’ve been talking about, don’t hesitate to share it.

You can replicate these strategies on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. with minor tweaks to suit the communication style prevalent amongst their users. 

The idea is to have made a positive, friendly impression on them before you make a collaboration request — an influencer funnel of sorts. This exercise can range from anywhere between a week to a couple of months. With repeated interactions, not only will your name ring a bell when you finally reach out to the influencer, but they’re also more likely to respond positively to your message.

  1. Craft a compelling pitch 

The influencer pitch template you use for your first email or message sets the tone for the rest of the communication. Here are some points to keep in mind when crafting your pitch:

Emphasize personalization. Influencers are flooded with collaboration proposals, so get their attention by mentioning a recent post or update they've shared.

Don’t be dismissive. Using reductive phrases like asking for “just a post” for your brand or product makes influencers think you’re disregarding the hours or maybe days of planning that go into creating content. 

Budget for cash compensation. Most influencers expect to be remunerated in monetary terms, so offering them freebies might not work in your favor.  

Don't ask for too much, too soon. Avoid sounding overly promotional or pushy in these initial messages; instead, focus on building a connection and showing that you value their expertise and influence.

Pick the right channel: Cold emails work, but to achieve higher response rates, you should experiment with LinkedIn InMail outreach

Sample DM Template

Hey {first_name}! We're all big fans of your work here at {Company}, way back since your {refer to past achievement/viral post} days. You're {insert compliment} and we'd be delighted if we could collaborate on a {pitch}. I'd love to hear your ideas and send some details your way, so let me know if you're interested, thanks!

Sample Email Template

Hey {first_name}! {sender_name} from {Company} here. Brilliant post on {topic}

We're all big fans of your work here at {Company}, way back since your {past achievement/viral post} days and you've been up top on our list of creators to partner with from the moment we started planning our {mention campaign in brief}.

We'd be delighted if we could collaborate on a {insert specific requirement}. Let me know if you're interested, and I'll send the details your way.



  1. Keep following up 

Follow-ups are an essential part of influencer outreach and collaboration pitches. Even though your message was well-crafted, it could get lost in the clutter of crowded inboxes.

But ensuring that your follow-up emails are timely and relevant is just as important as the act of following up. Contacting them too soon can seem intrusive, whereas waiting for too long might cause you to miss out on great opportunities. 

Space out your follow-up messages by 3 to 4 days to allow them time to consider your proposal. Automating cold email campaigns with tools like Hunter can reduce the burden of having to manually track email responses and follow up with influencers that haven’t replied. 

If they haven’t replied to your DMs, send them an email, and vice versa. As long as it’s not too pushy, there’s no harm in reaching out to them on multiple platforms to improve your chances of getting a reply.

Offer specifics about your offer to help them reach a decision. What exactly do you want to collaborate with them for? Is it to review a recently launched product? Or do you want them to conduct a giveaway contest for you?

Some influencers have managers or teams that do their negotiating for them. A simple email asking them about the right person to contact for a collaboration can also speed up the process.

  1. Focus on relationships, not transactions 

In the world of influencer marketing, authenticity is not just a buzzword. It’s the basis for the triangular brand-influencer-audience confluence and without it, even the most carefully crafted influencer marketing campaigns can come crumbling down. 

Last year, Kim Kardashian settled a record $1.26 million fine with the FTC after failing to disclose one of her Instagram posts had been sponsored by crypto company Ethereum Max. The settlement serves as a much-needed reminder of how easy it is for influencer collaborations to slip into unethical territory. 

One-time sponsorships can blur the line between PR and brand advocacy. So instead of trying to use influencers as mouthpieces, the focus should be on building long-term partnerships with individuals that align with your brand’s core values.

In your initial communication itself, show your openness to hearing influencers' ideas on what kind of content they’d like to create for your brand instead of issuing them with rigid guidelines and generic captions written by your marketing team. 

Authenticity sells. So try to find a balance between achieving campaign goals and ensuring creative liberty for your influencer-partners.

Leverage episodic or ongoing content to make the most out of your partnerships. It’s not just more appealing to influencers. A consistent roster of influencers improves the brand’s image and lends credibility to it.

For example, Dove’s collaboration with singer and influencer Stacey Solomon started in 2020 as a review series and has since expanded to include a public awareness campaign, a limited edition gift set carrying Solomon’s name, and frequent unprompted appearances of Dove’s range in her daily routine.

Dove’s long-term partnership with influencer Stacey Solomon

Bonus: 3 Tried-and-tested influencer outreach email ideas you can steal

One of the most time-consuming and nerve-wracking tasks of the influencer outreach process is writing the pitch. By personalizing these email templates and rewriting them in a tone of voice more suited to your brand, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort. 

  1. The ‘Small Favor’ Influencer Outreach Template

Launching a full-fledged campaign in collaboration with an influencer can be expensive and intimidating. For brand owners and marketers that want to test the waters first, an easy ask like getting feedback on the content they've produced is a risk-free way of getting to know the influencer and whether they’re a good fit for their brand.

  1. The Barter Influencer Outreach Template 

The second template is a little more transactional. It offers the influencer the opportunity to be featured in a blog, and possibly a do-follow link, in exchange for a quote. 

The influencer's response (or lack of it) will also help you determine their expectations with regard to compensation and if you can afford a collaboration with them in the future. 

  1. The Minimalistic Influencer Outreach Template 

This one is as straightforward as an influencer pitch can be. It spells out in plain terms the offer and expectations of the sender. 

For an influencer inundated with ambiguous collaboration requests, it could be a welcome change. Not to mention, if they agree, you will have bagged yourself a partnership with them without the days or weeks of back-and-forth usually involved in finalizing a deal. 

Wrapping Up 

As you embark on your influencer outreach journey, you’ll have to continuously evaluate and adapt your strategies based on feedback and results. Building strong relationships with influencers takes time and effort, so it’s important to remain in constant contact with an influencer you want to work with. 

Also, since social media algorithm are updating at breakneck speed, have someone from your team monitor the most recent changes so that you can coordinate better with the influencer and avoid failures. 

Use the templates shared here to connect with influencers that embody your brand values and watch your brand's visibility, credibility, and success soar in the digital space.

the writer
Antonio Gabrić

Antonio Gabrić

Guestposter @Iconosquare

Antonio is an outreach manager at Hunter. He is passionate about testing different outreach tactics and sharing results with the community. When he is not connecting with industry leaders you can find him on his motorbike exploring off-the-beaten paths around the world.


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