An insider’s advice on how to approach influencers

By Brittany Brody

My cat has been asked to endorse hundreds of products — everything from pet CBD to robotic litter boxes.

Such is the life of a talent manager of a feline with 60K+ followers!

Here are some lessons I’ve learned about influencer marketing from my furry friend.

Remember, the influencer has a busy life and many commitments to balance. Absent a direct ask and meaningful compensation, they likely don’t have the bandwidth or interest to become an expert in your brand and use valuable platform space to endorse it.

Reviewing a product/creating content takes more time than one may think, so the exchange has to be meaningful.

Free samples in exchange for content is probably insufficient (unless your product is pricey). Your ask needs to be commensurate with your offer.

I purposefully keep Dobby’s feed apolitical, largely non-commercial, and entirely free of humans.

Influencer endorsements will be done in their chosen voice/style. Ensure your product is aligned with their typical aesthetic & frame your asks accordingly.

Don’t ask the influencer to make superlative claims about your product unless you’re sure they’ll love it! Give them an opportunity to try it out and your “ask” should be such that you get useful content even if the response is just a “meh.”

Regulations on social media promotion require the influencer to clearly post a hashtag label like “ad” so followers are aware of the paid promotion. While this is a necessary part of influencer promotion, index accordingly on your expected ROI.

Sometimes sending products to influencers with no ask at all can lead to beneficial returns — especially if they enjoy and use the product organically. Once you’ve established a connection, you can grow it until it’s a mutually rewarding partnership.

You’ll likely have better success if the person doing the pitch 1) can articulate why your brand is interested in this specific influencer, and 2) frames the opportunity as a creative collaboration as much as a source of income.

In closing, if you’re working on PetTech, tools for influencer marketing, or really a startup of any breed, please reach out!

Our mission is to be the most aligned VC for founders at seed. #ProudInvestor in @Uber @TheTradeDeskinc @Buzzfeed @Cruise @Diaandco @PillPack @SeatGeek & more.