Recently, I’ve heard lots of people complaining about influencer marketing, using the same tired excuses. “It doesn’t work!” or “I’m just throwing money out the window!”, they sigh melodramatically, whilst sadly swiping through their un-liked posts.

What most of them fail to consider, however, is that the blame for their lack of success might be (whisper it) down to them, rather than the ineffectiveness of influencer marketing at large. Most likely, they haven’t done their research correctly; haven’t been patient enough; or, above all, didn’t have a clue how to communicate with the influencers they approached.

The rise of influencers has created a bit of confusion. Many agencies and brands have tried to work with influencers in the same way they work with celebrities, which is a misguided approach. Celebrities can post about anything; however, influencers are not in a position to do the same. After working hard to build their following, they need to stay true to their content and their followers. If an influencer cannot authentically relate to a brand, they will – and should – say no to a potential partnership.

Amra – courtesy of Amra

In 2016, social media changed (again). We started to see increasing numbers of accounts with tens of thousands of followers around the world, and with them the continued rise of digital nomads and bloggers. Alongside a few failed campaigns using celebrity influencers, this change in the market has helped ’micro’ (read: non-celebrity, more targeted) influencers to grow their personal passions into businesses. It has also opened up new opportunities for brands, who have begun to ask themselves, “What if we spent the same amount of money, but were able to distribute our content across multiple platforms simultaneously?”

If you think this ascent in the power of micro-influencers hasn’t affected superstar influencers, you’re wrong. Even these established names have to face up to the fact that, if they continue to grow in size, they’re risking even their long-term collaborations. Earlier this year, I interviewed Elma Beganovich, who used to run the famous fashion blog Clubfashionista with her sister. Despite having over two million followers, they had outgrown their following and had to say goodbye to many of their sponsors. Think about it: 100k+ followers means that an influencer can charge thousands per picture, but not necessarily be affordable to many brands. Elma and her sister Amra ultimately started their own social media agency in order to keep many of their start-up and mid-sized clients.

So what does this change in the influencer marketing space mean for you? In short, it signals that this really is the year of the micro-influencers – and in order to win at this new form of marketing, it’s essential that you learn how to connect with them in the most effective way possible.


The biggest mistake you can make is to send the same email to every influencer. Outreach is a long process, and you need to tailor your communications to the person with whom you are communicating.

First off, clearly define your goals when embarking on an influencer campaign. Do you need better quality pictures for social media; or are you looking for more reach or followers? Do you want to sell something; or promote a specific product or service? Once you have this box ticked, create a persona. Write down the ideal characteristics of the influencer you’re searching for: gender, age, location, type, number of followers, and so on.

Then, get researching potential candidates on platforms such as Digital Ninja and BuzzSumo to gain insight about their past work and level of influence. Once you’ve found a couple of influencers who fit the persona you’ve defined, you can go on Instagram and start following them. Once you do this, Instagram will suggest similar accounts and you can widen your list of possible people to work with. Another way is to go through the ’following’ list of influencer marketing agencies and platforms on Instagram, who should be following most of their influencers already!

Finally, don’t contact your chosen influencer right away. Spend a couple of weeks just following them, trying to understand who they are, what their goals are, and what they do. Take notes recording your insights. How many followers do they have? Do they have real comments or only fakes? What about their engagement? What kind of sponsor deals have they had in the past? Two good tools to use for this are Insight Pool and Demographics Pro, both excellent for understanding statistics and audience.


By now you’re probably saying, “But my boss wants to see numbers!” While this is understandable, there are so many more factors to take into consideration when it comes to influencers.

Let’s take London as an example. In London, the term ’micro-influencer’ represents someone with at least 20k followers – that’s a lot of people who might purchase your product or service as a result of their recommendation. Furthermore, these people are more authentically connected to their followers simply by nature of being a smaller account. In contrast, superstar accounts tend to be less personal and therefore less relatable – plus, it’s hard to know who the millions that are following them really are. Their content is just not as targeted as that of a micro-influencer.

If your target market is London, try to find a niche influencer in the city who has a hardcore fanbase. If they are the administrator or organiser of closed Facebook groups and Meetups, even better! It’s always telling to see an influencer’s reaction when I ask them what would happen if we organised an event in their city with them. How many people would show up? The most attendance comes for the household names and the micro-influencers, not those with 200k followers. You want to work with the girl who lives next door to her followers: she has real reach.


Write a personal email. Tell the influencer how long you’ve been following their journey and how amazing you find their work. Specifically mention your favourite outfit they wore; article they wrote; workshop they did; or a place where you have both travelled, and why the content they created around it was so inspiring for you.

Then, dive deeper! If you can think of any way you can support the influencer, offer your help. Taking the time to look through their content and finding specific ways that you can collaborate will be a powerful incentive for that influencer.

Start with these basics, and whenever you can, go with the profiles that have real stories and reach behind them and whose image and identity aligns with that of your company. Build long-term relationships with your influencers, support them in every possible way, and you’ll see that you won’t even have to ask them to post about you: they’ll do it anyway.

Nora Oravecz is best known for her seven books, being Forbes Hungary’s most influential blogger 2016, and as a Huffington Post contributor. She has given sold-out talks around the world and is mainly obsessed with helping aspiring entrepreneurs and writers to grow their brands.