How to Build Relationships With Influencers for Established DTC Brands

Jade Cottee
Jade Cottee
Content Marketing Manager
Influencers working on a social media collaboration

Ever tried reaching out to social media influencers on your own?

How did that go?

Let’s take a wild guess. 

You sent a DM or maybe one solid email but never got a response. 

Followed up with messages but nada. 

Sounds about right?

You see, working with influencers can be tricky. You need to know your way around or it may never work out. 

And you must start by speaking their language to get their attention. 

So, how do I speak their language?”

That’s what you’re about to find out in this post, buddy. 

You’ll learn about

  • How to find these influencers.
  • Strategies to help you build a good relationship with them.

And more!

But first, let’s see why people from influencer-land are so important. 

Benefits of Collaborating With Influencers

The influencer marketing train is one almost every business owner wants to hop on. 

Now you might think, “Marketers are just following the trend, it’ll soon phase out.”

If only you knew what they’re getting from this train. 

Allow us to let you in on some of these influencer benefits.

✅ Massive brand exposure

Partnering with relevant influencers can increase your brand awareness like never before. 

How so?

You’ll be tapping into the influencer’s audience. A feat that would’ve been impossible had you used exclusively traditional marketing. 

✅ Trust and authenticity 

Social media users trust influencers. Chances are that your ideal customer does too. 

So when an influencer talks about your brand, it helps customers trust you. According to research, 82% of consumers are more likely to trust an influencer’s recommendations. 

✅ Targeted reach

Most influencers have a specific niche they promote. It could be beauty, fashion, mental health, etc. 

People who follow them usually share similar interests.  

So when you collaborate with micro-influencers, for instance, whose audience is similar to your ideal demographic, you’ll be advertising to people interested in your product. 

✅ More engagement

Influencers have a way with their followers. When they post, their audience engages by liking, commenting, and sharing.

So you can expect similar hospitality from their community for content they produce and post for you.   

You now know what others have been getting from partnering with influencers. 

Next up, let’s chat about how you can find the right ones for your campaign.

How to Identify the Right Influencers for Your Brand

Finding the right influencers is a bit like looking for love. 😍 

You wanna ensure each influencer: 

  • Understands your campaign goals.
  • Has an online community that’s similar to your audience demographics.
  • Is within your niche.

Influencers who meet these criteria can be considered as right for your brand.

So, how do you find them?

Here are some options:

🔍 Search your existing follower base. Yup. Sometimes, you’ve got influencers who love your product or services in your audience lists. So you can do an internal audit and follow up to find them. 

🤝 Work with an agency. These are organizations that represent influencers, in the way other agents represent models or athletes. You can hire them to help you find influencers who fit your brand profile. 

💻 Use an influencer marketing platform. A great example of this is Insense. It’s a platform that can help you find the right influencers with ease.

Insense features include: 

And if you want the Insense team to handle the influencer marketing campaign for you, that’s also possible.

Essentially, Insense has all you need to find the right influencers for your brand. 


Now, these are ways you can find influencers. 

But that’s just the first step. 

If you want influencers to give their best to your cause, you need to make efforts to build a relationship with them.

How do you do that?

Here are some strategies to help you…

7 Top Strategies for Cultivating Strong Influencer Relationships

Congratulations, you’ve found an influencer or UGC creator to work with. 

Your next step is to build a relationship with them

The goal for them shouldn’t be just to collaborate and produce a few posts. 

That’s good though. But even better is if they become brand ambassadors, letting people know about your product even when there’s no ongoing collab. 

You like that, don’t you?

As promised, here are ways to do that.  

Strategy #1: Engage with the influencer organically before reaching out for a collaboration

After you’ve seen an influencer you like, start doing a bit of background work on them. You want to have an open line of communication before you ask for a collaboration.


So that they warm to you. That’s the whole idea of background work. Just like how you do nice things for a crush. 😉

What kind of things can you do?

  • Follow them if you haven’t already. With your brand’s handle if possible. 
  • Leave thoughtful comments on their posts. The kind that can make them and other followers join the discussion. 
  • Share their posts and tag them in it. 
  • If you see something you think they’ll find helpful, share it with them. 

The point is to be friendly so you can build trust with them. You want them to see you as someone kind enough to offer value for nothing in return. 

Strategy #2: Customize your messages for each influencer

Now, they’ve got you in their good books and it’s time to strike – *ahem* – reach out.

But just because you’re probably becoming buddies doesn’t mean you’re on a first-name basis in the DMs yet. 

Soooo, you need to write your outreach message in a way that catches their attention. 

We get that you might be trying to reach multiple influencers at the same time. 

But even if there are a few of them, sending generic messages is a no-no. 

Take time to understand what each influencer’s style is and create your message based on that.

So if they like quirky and fun, your message should reflect that.

Strategy #3: Offer value beyond simple compensation

Want influencers who can eventually become brand ambassadors? 

Then you need to think a li’l outside the box when it comes to influencer payments or compensation. 

What value or incentive would they get from working with you? Aside from money of course. 

If it’s only money, any brand can give them that. 

You wanna stand out. Develop long-term relationships with these influencers. 

So you can say if they work with your brand, they’ll get:

  • Exclusive access to your software or a free product.   
  • A free training giveaway to enhance their skills. 
  • Creative freedom to do their thing. 

Stuff like that… in addition to payments, of course.

Strategy #4: Clearly communicate campaign expectations, deliverables, and compensation

Once the influencer has agreed to a collaboration, your next step is to communicate what you'll have them do.


Let them know what your campaign goals are. What kind of creative assets you want them to produce.

What do you want it to look like? How many creatives do you want? 

How much are you willing to pay them?

Those are questions you need to answer for them. 

Now at first glance, all those questions seem like a lot. 

But not if you’ve filled out an influencer brief from the onset. 

Influencer brief, what’s that? 

It’s a document where you fill out all the project requirements. You specify the campaign format, details of your product, creative asset requirements, and more. 

On Insense, filling out a brief is very easy.  

We’ve made the process so simple, you only have to select from our list of options. Plus, there are hints at each point to guide you through the whole briefing process. 

Thoughtful, right?

You’re welcome. 

Strategy #5: Actively promote influencer-generated content across your brand's channels

Your influencer has finished producing the ad creatives you need for the influencer campaign. 

What’s next?

To post it and leave it for them to promote?

😬 Sorry, but that won’t work. 

If you want this digital marketing strategy to work, you need to do some extra work. The influencer has given you their endorsement through the creative, you need to amplify and make noise about it. 

But, how does that help me build a long-term partnership with them

For starters, it shows influencers you loved their work and want everyone to see it. They see the efforts you’re putting in and that strengthens your relationship. 

So, how do you promote influencer generated content across the board?

  • Feature it on your website’s homepage or a landing page.
  • Include their creatives in newsletters as part of your email marketing efforts.
  • Promote the content on different social media platforms. Using the influencer’s handle and yours too.  

Do that and see a successful relationship blossom. 

Strategy #6: Seek feedback from influencers after collaborations

Asking for feedback is another strategy for building strong relationships with influencers. 

It shows that you value them and regard them as being part of your brand’s success. 

It’s like the times when people you consider smart asked for your feedback. 

You went away feeling like Einstein, didn’t you?

That’s how powerful seeking feedback can be in building lasting relationships with your content creators.  

When you ask for feedback, you might be surprised at the insights they’ll have to share. 

And that’s because they understand the target audience probably better than you. 

They’ll share different strategies they think can reinforce your brand message. 

Strategy #7: Support influencers even when they are not actively promoting your brand

And finally, show your creators – UGC creators or micro/macro-influencers – some love when you can. 

What do we mean by that?

Let them know you’re concerned about their progress even when they’re not working for you. 

How do you do that?

  • By showing up in their DMs to check on them. 
  • By engaging with the influencers’ content. It can even be a sponsored post. 
  • By celebrating their achievements in your Stories. 

Doing stuff like this will make them respect your brand values. And of course, they’ll wanna work with you again. 

So you’ve got seven strategies to follow. 

How about we throw in some tips so you have even more help on this journey?

Key Considerations in Structuring Influencer Partnerships

If you’d like to have a solid influencer management plan going forward, we’ve curated some practices you wanna follow at each turn. 

Here are some of them:

Spell out the contract terms 

Let your influencers know everything about the collaboration. 

This was mentioned earlier. But it’s so important, we had to reiterate. 🤓

Don’t assume they know all that’s involved. If possible, ask them to get their legal adviser to look at the contract. 

Get them involved

You know what you want from the campaign, right? But you see, influencers are like your foot soldiers. They know what people would like. 

As such, you wanna get them involved in the influencer marketing strategy from the onset. You wanna include their ideas in your plan. 

Give influencers creative freedom 

Influencers are artists. Creatives to use a better description. 

In the marketing world, they’re the cool kids at the moment who are smart and know what they’re doing. Allow them to express your brand message in a way they believe will resonate with their audience. If they say they don’t need a script, please don’t force it on them. 

Track metrics and measure your results

When all is said and done, ensure you’re monitoring the campaign’s performance. What’s the engagement rate been like? Have there been sales? More social media followers? 

That’s how you know if an influencer is performing as expected and is a great fit for your public relations.


With all of that in mind, we believe you’re ready to start building relationships with your influencers.

Effectively Manage Influencer Contacts

You’ve now been equipped with all you need to speak an influencer’s language. 

It’s time to go into the marketing world and start talking to them about your campaign. 

Of course, if you need help getting started, we’re always here for you. 

Book a demo with Insense and get the help you need today.

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Jade Cottee

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