Influencer marketing is all the rage. Getting an influential social media personality to share your book can help generate authentic buzz about your upcoming release. But, how do you break into the world of influencer marketing? Although it has become a popular new marketing technique, most people go about approaching these social media gurus the wrong way.

BookSparks has always worked closely with book influencers, before influencer marketing was even a “thing.” Over the years, we’ve developed deep relationships with influencers and enjoy connecting our authors with these bookstagrammers and book bloggers. We reached out to a few of our influencers to ask them about their dos and don’ts for influencer marketing. Read on to find out the best way to partner with influencers, directly from the pros.

Interact with them on their preferred social account before emailing.

To increase your chances of getting a yes from an influencer, first interact with them on their preferred social media platform. This takes a bit of the chill out of cold emailing with your request.” – @outofthebex

Be clear about your request.

Vague inquiries are the biggest mistake I’ve come across. If you’re pitching a product to a potential collaborator, you want to give as much as information as possible. Just stating that you have a product that may be a good fit just isn’t enough to spark interest.” – @lifeinlit

Do your research and choose the best influencer to represent your product/brand. If you’re looking to promote your book, don’t reach out to a fashion influencer or food blogger who doesn’t share book content.

I always make sure that I partner with brands that offer products or services that I am genuinely interested in and know that I would use. It’s so much more fun and exciting to work with a brand that you love and makes your job representing them that much easier.” – @kmbooks24

Build a relationship with the influencer.

My most successful brand partnerships have been with companies that are professional, pragmatic and responsive. They understand the value of influencer advertising. They make an effort to build a relationship with the influencers they work with, understanding the power of repeat collaborations. They comment, like and repost collaboration posts which further supports the partnership.” – @outofthebex

Offer the influencer something in return for their work, time and effort. Not all influencers require money in return for their services but you want to make the partnership is beneficial for both parties involved.

I think a lot of brands underestimate compensation for social posts. This is partly because there are so many influencers who are willing to be walking advertisements and post about free products just because they are free. So brands think they can send a $10 item and expect multiple posts without further compensation. Social platforms are becoming the new way to shop and I think influencers should be compensated adequately.” – @the.blonde.bookworm

Be personable. The influencer you’re reaching out to wants to feel like you appreciate them as a partner, not as a service.

I think that the best way to approach an influencer is just to be genuine with them. Your brand will get you far but relationships will get you further, get to know them on a personal level. Talk to them about their content and how your partnership would benefit them, also there’s no bigger compliment than a repost.” – @talesfromabookworm

Choose an influencer based purely on their follower count.

It means a lot if I can tell they really took their time researching and picking influencers who would do their product justice. I received an email recently from a knife company. They wanted me to post about a kitchen knife on my feed and it was honestly a little insulting because I could tell they did not do any research prior to reaching out.” – @the.blonde.bookworm

Contact influencers strictly through their social media accounts. Messages sent through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook can easily get lost amongst the other inquiries. Sending an email shows you’re serious about the partnership and gives you a better chance at getting a response.

I prefer pitches through email, personally. Messages through social media can easily be lost in the shuffle and/or overlooked.” – @lifeinlit

Be anything less than pleasant and professional. Not all influencers will have time to commit to your brand/product. When you receive a rejection, don’t take it personally and thank the influencer for their time. This will keep the possibility for partnerships open for future situations when they’re able to take on more work.

Being overly assertive or aggressive is one of the biggest mistakes I have encountered with potential brand partnerships. On more than one occasion, I’ve had someone request that I read their book without giving me any background information and when I politely decline, their responses are less than pleasant.” – @kmbooks24

Be demanding about your social media requests. A lot of influencers are successful at what they do because they have an eye for what their audience will click on. If you appreciate the brand for their gorgeous Instagram photos, give them the freedom to create something that will work in their feed.

I also always appreciate a partner that is a joy to work with. One that doesn’t put a lot of constraints on the posts and posting schedule, doesn’t have unfair expectations regarding the post, who lets me use my artistic license when designing my posts and who appreciates the time and effort that I put into every post that I share. A partner that lets me do my own thing and truly appreciates it is my favorite type of partner to work with. Those are the partners that I look forward to working with time and time again.” – @lifeinlit

End communication after the influencer has posted about your product. Retweeting, reposting, commenting and sharing the post as much as possible will show the influencer that you appreciate the work they have done for you.

They [the best brands] comment, like and repost collaboration posts which further supports the partnership. These are the types of brands I want to work with. Brands that are active, brands that are gracious, brands that are curated and professional.” – @outofthebex

Pitch the influencer on a product that doesn’t make sense with their brand.

I look for partners that match my brand and my ideals. Like I mentioned before, if I’m not going to use the product or if I can’t afford it outside of the partnership then I doubt that my followers would either. I know what it’s like to see something pretty in someone’s post only to be disappointed with the price or it has bad reviews or whatever the case may be. I have to be able to proudly stand behind any partnership I have because if something were to happen it could reflect poorly on my part.” – @talesfromabookworm