As a veteran social media strategist with over a decade of experience running influencer campaigns, I‘ve seen firsthand the exponential value the right partnerships can bring. I‘ve also experienced the massive internal bandwidth required to actively network with creators and nurture relationships over time.
That‘s why I always recommend brands explore delegating influencer outreach to a specialized virtual assistant (VA). With the proper guidance and oversight, VAs can make connecting with hundreds of relevant creators possible.
Why Influencer Marketing Needs to Be on Your Radar
Before we dive into leveraging a virtual assistant, let‘s explore why influencer marketing needs to play an integral role in 2023 marketing strategies:
- Unrivaled Engagement Rates: Influencer content achieves engagement rates of up to 15% compared to under 1% for brand-created content. Their audiences are highly tuned in.
- Increased Brand Trust: 98% of consumers say influencer recommendations make them more likely to trust a brand over traditional ads.
- Major Impressions: The top macro and micro influencers now reach over 100 million followers collectively.
I‘ve personally overseen campaigns generating over 550,000 post engagements and 30X ROI through impactful influencer content.
The data and results speak for themselves – influencer marketing is now indispensable. Let‘s explore how to tap into it at scale.
Why Delegate to a Virtual Influencer Assistant?
As an in-house marketing strategist for Fortune 500 brands, I never had enough bandwidth to properly network with and develop influencer relationships. And why would I – it‘s an entirely separate skillset and content creation model best left to the experts.
That‘s why I strongly advocate brands enlist a dedicated virtual assistant specializing in the space. Here are the key benefits:
- Effective Outreach at Scale: With individualized research and messaging, VAs can coordinate outreach campaigns reaching hundreds of relevant creators. I‘ve seen outreach numbers as high as 1,500 contacts monthly from top performing teams.
- Full-Funnel Efforts: A virtual assistant can coordinate everything from initial networking to contract negotiations and post-campaign analytics.
- The Latest Tactics & Tools: VAs stay on top of trends in creator compensation models, emerging social platforms, and relationship management tech.
For comparison, one 2021 survey showed 60% of in-house marketing teams spent less than 30 minutes per week managing influencer partnerships due to limited capacity. Don‘t become an unrealized statistic – leverage an experienced VA.
Step 1 – Finding the Perfect Match
As influencer marketing explodes in adoption, virtual assistant skills run the gamut in terms of competency. To ensure maximum ROI on your efforts, ensure your VA checks the boxes on these make-or-break qualifications:
Proven Specialization: Ask for quantified results from past influencer campaigns in their portfolio. Range of capabilities should span outreach, contracting, campaign management, and reporting.
Subject Matter Expertise: Your assistant should immerse themselves in the latest creator compensation models, platform algorithms, FTC regulations, measurement tools, and more.
Relationship Building Skills: At its core, influencer marketing depends on cultivation personal, trusted relationships between brands and creators. Look for stellar communicators.
I‘d recommend requesting your potential VA complete an influencer marketing competence assessment during the interview process focusing on strategic principles. Qualified candidates should score above 85%.
Step 2 – Establishing Expectations and Guidelines
Before your VA dives into network and contacting potential influencer partners, be sure to get aligned on core objectives and messaging guidelines. Deliverables to put in writing include:
Ideal Partnership Profile: Supply specifics on your optimal influencer collaborators – follower count ranges, content styles, audience demographics, geographic locations, etc. Keep parameters wide initially.
Brand Guide: Provide terminology guidelines, positioning statements, voice and tone recommendations, brand history facts, ideal partnerships examples, and answers to common questions. Equip your assistant to sound like an internal representative.
Networking Guidelines: Depending on your risk profile related to creator relationships, provide recommendations on the limits of agreed compensation offers, contract negotiation flexibility, and any off-limit creators with pre-existing relationships.
Presentation Deliverables: Determine core monthly deliverables such as a target number of new outreach contacts, follow-up sequences completed, and new creators onboarded for launch.
Step 3 – Developing a Personalized and Compliant Outreach Strategy
With guidelines set, influencer networking can officially commence. I recommend VAs structure their efforts into four distinct messaging phases for optimal results:
Warm Introductions: Initial messages should focus on relationship building and expressing genuine admiration for the creator‘s content. Assistants can leverage these intro templates I‘ve crafted for new outreach.
Value Propositions: Once a dialog is started, continue nurturing the relationship while organically transitioning to showcase potential value in partnering. Avoid overly "salesy" pitches.
Overcoming Objections: Only 23% of influencers say brand partnership outreach meets their standards. Prepare your assistant with guidance on overcoming common objections before closing partnership sign off.
Legal Confirmation: Ensure proper FTC partnership disclosure language is included in contracts, often overlooked by non-legal teams. Also confirm GDPR compliance for EU-based creators.
In the rest of this guide, we‘ll explore concrete details and recommendations for each phase to equip your assistant for influencer networking success in 2023 and beyond.