Common Mistakes Brands Make When Reaching Out To Micro-Influencers

Last Updated: 

May 4, 2023

Reaching out to micro-influencers is like asking someone on a date.

You must understand your goals, find the right person, and communicate clearly.

Luckily, you’re on the right page (for micro-influencer outreach, not dating).

You will get:

  • The ten most common mistakes brands make during the outreach process
  • Actionable tactics to avoid those mistakes
  • A host of examples 
  • Templates you can steal for your own outreach campaign

Keep reading below.

Key Points on Reaching Out to Micro-Influencers for Brands:

  1. Clear Goals and Strategy: Set clear goals and strategy for your micro-influencer campaign based on audience analysis, understanding your company profile, and competitor research.
  2. Focus on the Right Metrics: Consider metrics such as niche, impressions, and engagement rate to select the most relevant influencers for your marketing goals.
  3. Vet Influencers: Thoroughly vet influencers for fake followers and ensure they have authentic engagement using online tools and qualitative analysis.
  4. Establish a Budget: Determine a budget before beginning your influencer outreach campaign to avoid wasting time and resources.
  5. Qualitative Research: Perform thorough research on micro-influencers' niche, audience, and content style to avoid mismatched collaborations.
  6. Warm Up Before Outreach: Engage with shortlisted influencers on social media and provide value before making an outreach attempt.
  7. Outline Mutual Benefits: Clearly communicate the benefits both parties will gain from a collaboration in your outreach message.
  8. Personalised Messages: Avoid generic or salesy messages. Personalise your outreach message and maintain a professional tone.
  9. Clear Communication: Communicate your expectations, deliverables, and budget with influencers from the very beginning.
  10. Follow Up: Send follow-up messages after your initial outreach to increase the likelihood of a response and maintain communication.

Secret Technique: Treat the influencer outreach process like asking someone on a date - know your goals, pick the right person, and communicate openly. Treat influencers like real people, not just marketing tools.

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1. Unclear Goals And Strategy

Let’s say you want to build a micro-influencer campaign.

Why do you want to build that campaign?

If you’ve done your research and concluded that micro-influencers are the best strategy to reach your target audience – that’s great.

But if you’re only doing micro-influencer marketing because it’s trendy, you might have to think again.

Remember: Your micro-influencer strategy should be based on clear goals.

And to define realistic goals, you first need to:

  • Perform audience analysis.
  • Understand your company’s profile, place in the market, and past top-performing campaigns.
  • See what your competitors are doing.

Pro tip: You need a creative brief before starting the micro-influencer selection process, not to mention the outreach campaign.

2. Not Focusing On The Right Metrics

Picking relevant influencers for your marketing goals is the cornerstone of an effective outreach process.

There are different key metrics used in influencer selection. You must pick the correct ones according to your marketing goals.

  • Number of followers: Micro-influencers typically have between 10,000 and 250,000 followers – depending on the platform. A micro-creator with 150,000 followers can increase your visibility more than one with 10,000 followers. However, their rate will be higher as well.
  • Niche: Look at the influencer’s usual topics and hashtags to ensure they’re in the right niche for your needs.
  • Impressions: A micro-influencer eliciting many views and likes is best for an awareness campaign. They can also make your company more relatable to your mutual audience, transferring their trust and expertise onto your brand.
  • Engagement rate: A very engaged micro-influencer is more persuasive. These types of micro-influencers are excellent for conversion-based campaigns.

Notice: Some sources will claim that the number of followers is unimportant as long as your influencer is engaged.

But that all depends on your marketing goals:

  • For a visibility campaign, you need that larger audience size.
  • If you aim to increase sales, it’s better to partner with multiple highly engaged creators.

3. Not Vetting Influencers Before Outreach

Another mistake brands make before outreach is not vetting the influencers they shortlist.

That means you have to check their profiles for fake followers.

Luckily, multiple online tools will help you do that.

Pro tip: Don’t simply rely on these tools. Some creators are part of so-called influencer pods.

These are groups of influencers that follow each other, commenting on and sharing pod members’ posts. The goal is to artificially inflate their impression and engagement metrics for more lucrative sponsorship deals.

So, have your social media team perform a qualitative analysis of these creators’ profiles:

  • Look who often comments on their posts, and check these profiles too.
  • Analyse these comments to see if they’re relevant and in-depth or potentially fake. Lackluster, unengaged comments are usually iffy.
  • Go through their list of followers to see if these followers are real people. An audience composed mostly of other influencers in the same niche is also a red flag.

For example, Jo is an alopecia micro-influencer who collaborates with different wig brands. Let’s look at her comments:

Vet Influencers Before Outreach

Notice that most of her comments come from real people, though some also come from businesses. Still, the overall interaction with her followers looks clean.

4. Not Having A Budget

Not having a budget before starting your influencer outreach campaign is a mistake because you may reach out to micro-influencers with higher rates than you can offer. Potential outcomes are:

  • Stretching your advertising budget outside your means
  • Wasting some valuable time you could have otherwise spent on establishing relationships with relevant influencers
  • Getting some backlash from the creators you contacted

Besides, making a low offer increases your rejection rates. And it may discourage those influencers from working with you in the future.

Pro tips to avoid these issues:

  • Check the micro-influencers’ rate sheet before contacting them. Some creators include this sheet in their link-in-bio or on their websites.
  • Ask your team to look into the fees your competitors are practicing and to see how these fees match the current industry standard.

5. Lack Of Qualitative Research

If you’ve followed the steps above, you now have a generic list of micro-influencers. Now, it’s time to narrow down that list to ensure you’re reaching out to the right people.

Remember: Effective outreach is based

Before reaching out, you should research the micro-influencers:

  • Niche
  • Audience
  • Content style

Otherwise, the lack of research may lead to a mismatch between your messages and the influencer’s audience.

Here’s how you do that research:

  • Have your social media team look at the influencer’s previous posts, videos, and even guest articles.
  • Perform a qualitative analysis of their copy, photos, and comments section.
  • Don’t neglect their keywords and hashtags.
  • Analyse past sponsorships and activities.

Pro tip: Create an Excel file to centralise all this data. This bird’s eye view of your influencers’ performance will help you zero in on the most relevant creators for your campaign.

Let’s analyse an example.

You have a furniture store in Philadelphia and want to partner with an influencer who understands quality woodworking.

You find micro-influencer Dillon Mitchell, who appears to be a passionate woodworker:

Do Your Research When Outreaching to Influencers

His posts exude diligence and passion for woodworking. You also look at his hashtags and see that Dillon is from Philadelphia.

But looking at other of Dillon’s posts, you notice this influencer is also passionate about hiking and spirituality:


If nature and spirituality are essential values for your brand, put Dillon in this category in your Excel sheet. If you want to focus on different ideals to connect with your target audience, note this mismatch.

That’s why it’s handy to have that Excel sheet with all the information:

  • Type of posts
  • Common values
  • Location
  • And all the other important variables for your campaign

6. Cold Outreach

Now, you have relevant creators that fit your audience, values, content style, and budget.

It’s time to send them a message, right?


You now have to warm up your list of creators before outreach.

Imagine this scenario: you’re a busy creator whose inbox fills up with collaboration offers each day.

Who are you more likely to respond to?

  • A person you’ve never heard of
  • One of your social media acquaintances who’s offered you valuable resources before

If you’re like most people, you’ll choose the second option.

Here’s how to warm up to your content creators:

  • Befriend the shortlisted influencers on their social media accounts.
  • Comment on one of their posts, but do it meaningfully. Highlight something of value to them (e.g., a resource they would need) or ask an important question.

Here’s a subpar outreach message:

An Example of a Poor Outreach Message

Hannah is an Instagram content creator who reviews books. In this post, Hannah expresses her love for Taylor Adams’ “No Exit” trailer and presents the  #paperbackpages challenge.

Here’s the thing:

The comment we highlighted above is bland and even a bit overbearing. Besides, using exclamation marks on social media completely breaks the rules of friendly messaging.

A better social media comment would:

  • Include emojis
  • Ask for another book recommendation
  • Recommend another equally heart-throbbing thriller
  • Recommend one of your products (if useful in this context), such as a time management app or reading app

7. Not Outlining Mutual Benefits

An effective outreach message outlines mutual benefits.

And we’re not just talking about money.

Studies show that micro-influencers (like all regular people) are likelier to perform the products they believe in. These creators share content that aligns with their values and helps them make a difference in the world.

Let’s say you want to contact Shan Lamb, an Instagram micro-influencer who discusses mom tips, chores, organising, and easy recipes.

Outline the Mutual Benefits

The post above is an ad for Bubs formula, but it gives you specific insights into her life. And you can use those insights to underline mutual benefits.

  • Depending on the products you’re retailing, you can:
  • Give her exclusive access to your spa treatments so she can tell her audience about them.
  • Offer free nanny services if you have a childcare facility.
  • Send her a new babywearing device to try if you have a babywearing company.
  • Send her your power cleaning mop if that’s what you’re retailing.

Pro tip: Emphasise how her testing these products would also benefit her audience.

8. Inappropriate Message

A generic, lackluster message is bound to get ignored.

And so is a message that sounds too salesy.

Remember: These micro-influencers receive numerous collaboration messages each day.

The last thing you want is to get ignored or, even worse, receive negative attention.

Here’s how to avoid those mistakes:

  • Use a clear, straight-to-the-point subject line/ email title.
  • Use the influencer’s name in the opening formula.
  • Present your name and job title.
  • Avoid salesy sounding marketing phrases. Instead, keep your message clean and clear.
  • Use a professional tone.
  • Remember to underline mutual benefits, the necessary deliverables, and your budget.
  • Make sure the email is personalised.
  • Keep your message short, up to 100 words.

Here’s a potential outreach template you can steal:


Hey [Name],

My name is [Your Name], and I’m a [job position] at [Company X]. I loved your post about [topic] and how you outlined [important benefit].

We’re also having a campaign on [topic].

I think you’d be a great fit because of [mutual benefits]. We’re only looking at [expected deliverables].

If you’d like to be on the team, reply to this email, and I’ll send you all the details.


[Your Name]


Pro tip: If you want to customise your message even more, send your letter by post and potentially include a small gift or something that makes you stand out.

Let’s say you want to partner with plus-sized fitness influencer Elizabeth Cruz. A quick look at her social media profile tells you Elizabeth cares about:

  • Making fitness easier and more accessible to people
  • Body positivity
Make Messages Appropriate

Therefore, you can send her:

  • A gift to celebrate an upcoming milestone (i.e., day 100 of going to the gym)
  • Access to your fitness app
  • An outfit from your product line that would help her performance

9. Lack Of Communication

You have to clearly communicate your expectations with the influencers you’re contacting straight from the first outreach message.

These creators should know the exact deliverables you’re expecting before starting your collaboration.

And they should know the budget they’re looking at.

Pro tip: If you have the means, leave the door open for some negotiations.

You can suggest some product seeding or access to exclusive events/offers to sweeten the deal. You can also suggest the advantages of being part of your community of brand ambassadors.

10. Lack of Follow-Up

Many outreach campaigns fail because marketers are not following up.

Why aren’t your influencers responding?

  • Sometimes, content creators don’t see the initial outreach messages in their cluttered inboxes.
  • Other times, they mean to reply but forget.
  • And yet other times, there’s no reply because creators are still considering your offer.

A follow-up message three to four days after the initial outreach solves these problems.

Here’s how to create an effective follow-up message:

  • Keep your text short, up to 75 words total.
  • Remind the influencer of your initial offer.
  • Highlight how much you would love to onboard them.
  • Allow them to negotiate your terms.
  • Be clear about how they can get in touch with you.

For example:


Hey [Influencer’s Name],

I sent you a message a few days ago about [Campaign Name]. Just checking in to see if you got it :)

I would love to have you for this campaign because of [mutual benefit]. But we also have other projects for which you would be a good fit.

Reply to this email, and we can talk shop.


[Your Name]


Pro tip: If this first follow-up doesn’t work, send another one three to five days later. Avoid sending a third follow-up email.

Wrapping Up: Secret Technique to Avoid Outreach Mistakes

This article took you through the mistakes most marketers make when reaching out to influencers.

Now you know what to steer clear of and how to do it. And there are also two outreach templates you can steal right now.

That said, here’s our secret technique to avoid influencer outreach mistakes:

Remember that this process is like asking someone on a date. You have to know your goals, pick the right person, and communicate openly.

Talk to your influencers like they’re real people – not just tools in your marketing arsenal – and your efforts will pay off.

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