Imagine this: you receive a collaboration request from a random, fishly-looking brand profile. It’s generic, talks only about the product, and has unclear calls to action (CTAs). Will you accept the proposal?
Chances are you won’t.
Sadly, however, that’s what many brands’ social media outreach campaigns look like. Obviously, this practice won’t get them the desired conversion (if any).
Social media outreach is a powerful strategy to skyrocket your brand awareness, trust, and growth — but only when done right. And here, we’ll show you how to do just that.
Read on to learn what social media outreach is, its principles, and how you can create one for your brand.
What is Social Media Outreach
Social media outreach is a marketing strategy where brands use social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc., to engage with their target audience. Every campaign’s end goal is to raise awareness, promote engagement, and nurture relationships.
At its core, social media outreach is about building genuine, mutually beneficial relationships. 99% of the time, it will involve directing customers to your social profile.
Social Media Outreach Campaign: 4 Pillars
Successful brands use social media for customer service, marketing, and outreach to make sales and provide impeccable customer experience. But before we learn how to start your outreach efforts, let’s examine the four pillars of a rewarding campaign you must master:
Define S.M.A.R.T. goal and meaningful metrics
The first step to creating an outstanding social media outreach campaign is to set clear goals and objectives. If you stay true to these goals, you’ll know how well the campaign is performing with accurate success and return on investment measurement.
Outline SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals that match your business objectives. For more context, here are two examples of social media outreach goals by popular brands:
- Nike’s #JustDoIt anniversary campaign to inspire and engage with the audience
- Airbnb’s #weAccept campaign to promote diversity and inclusivity
Also, define vanity metrics to measure click-through, engagement, and conversion rates on all social media networks. For example, if you focus on Facebook, cost-per-click (C.P.C.) will be a crucial measure of success.
Make a prospecting list.
Your social media outreach strategy needs a list of people likely to be interested in your brand — influencers with a good reach and following.
Explore platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. Compile a comprehensive roster of notable celebrities and influencers who align with your services/products and are open to collaboration.
However, don’t just blindly list down influencers with huge follower counts. Focus more on their engagement rates (reshares, comments, likes), their followers’ buying potential, and the success rates of their past collaborations with other brands.
Once you’ve generated a draft list, deeply analyze it to filter out irrelevant people — and your prospecting list is ready.
Optimize your outreach and company profile
First impressions matter. And to catch your audience’s attention, you need a presentable and optimized social media profile.
So, remember these points when preparing and optimizing your profile for the maximum conversions:
- Profile photo: Use a clear, high-quality profile photo.
- Always explain who you are and what you do. (It’s best to follow every outreach with a concise description of your company and its offering.)
- Add a link to your website.
The next big question is — should you reach out through your brand’s social media or personal profile (as your company’s employee)?
Most brands prefer their social media manager to handle social outreach. It works great — primarily because, this way, you can build a more personal connection with the audience.
But some also like to reach out through brand profiles. It works because an outreach from a brand’s page seems more official — especially if your brand is well-known. For example, you’ll respond quicker if you get an outreach from Apple’s official account than someone claiming to work at Apple.
However, if you are going on the personal outreach path, make sure the person is directly associated with your company, and it shows so on their profile.
Engage before you ask for a favor
You never want to bombard your prospects with favor requests — and definitely not in the first interaction. Like in the offline world, you must establish a good rapport before pitching your outreach.
Take the time to engage with your audience. Try leaving a comment on their post or sharing one of their blog posts. It’s a great way to put yourself in your target audience’s mind without being overly aggressive or sales-y.
Plus, ensure you respond to every comment, query, or complaint with patience and genuine intent to help and engage.
Another great way to start your interaction on the right foot is a social media group.
- Create a Facebook or LinkedIn group and automate your direct messages (DMs) with invitations to join it.
- Invite people from your prospecting list.
With that said, getting the attention of potential collaborators with huge followings via social media DMs can be tough. Here, emails can work their magic. Use an email finder tool to discover email addresses for potential collaborators, invite them to join social media groups, and ask them to spread the word to their high-value contacts.
Kickstart your social media outreach campaign
Now that you have clear goals, an optimized profile, an engaged audience, and a promising prospective list — it’s time to start your outreach process. Here’s how you can go about it:
Craft personalized messages
Nothing screams spammy louder than a message that feels like it could have been sent to anyone. Whenever you write an email, be sure to craft a compelling, super-personalized message.
Let’s say you are a sustainable fashion brand reaching an eco-conscious influencer. Instead of a generic message, you can say:
“Hi [Influencer’s Name], I’ve been following your inspiring journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle, and I’m impressed by your commitment. I’d love to discuss a potential collaboration that aligns with our shared values.”
Provide value first
Outreach means more than just pitching. It’s also about giving. Therefore, provide value to your connections — share valuable content and offer assistance.
For example, if you are reaching out to a fellow entrepreneur, sharing advice based on your expertise and some helpful resources can be a great icebreaker. Doing this also cultivates goodwill and binds the prospect by the reciprocity rule.
Sending outreach at the right time can skyrocket your success chances. So, keep these few things about timing in mind:
- Avoid reaching out at peak working hours or on weekends.
- Research and identify the optimal time based on your target’s time zones and online behavior.
- Also, if you are pitching international prospects, use scheduling tools to ensure your message reaches them at their active time.
Leverage direct messages
When the timing is right — maybe you are getting great responses from the prospect in the group or comments — consider sending them a direct message. Keep the message respectful, concise, and friendly.
Start with your previous conversation, followed by the collaboration request. Or, if you are approaching an influencer, initiate the conversation by expressing your admiration for their work and then explain how the partnership can be mutually beneficial.
Document, measure, and improve
Even the best outreach strategy doesn’t work for every business. However, those who constantly mold their campaign for better conversion reap the best results.
Therefore, use tools and metrics to measure the success of your campaign. Create a spreadsheet to log all your outreach efforts — including who you’ve contacted, the nature of the interaction, and any agreements or commitments made.
Armed with the information above, you are ready to launch a profit-driving social media outreach campaign.
However, remember that building a genuine connection with your audience and potential collaborators is the bedrock of a successful social media outreach strategy. So, always be respectful to the prospect, focus on building a good relationship, and only then should you send any collaboration requests.