How to Work With Influencers

Influencers taking a photo of food with her phone

A complete guide on your influencer strategy, the importance of clear briefs and how to create meaningful content.

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Are you a small brand or business looking to work with influencers, but have no idea where to start? With more than 500,000 active influencers currently operating on Instagram alone, the very thought of working with these social media curators can be daunting, but the popularity of influencer marketing has steadily increased over the past 5 years.

The question is no longer “Should I be using Instagram influencers”, but rather “How can I work with influencers”, and we’re here to help. There are so many different verticals and styles of content out there, so it’s all about finding people that align with your brand, contacting them correctly and setting a brief that everyone is across the desired outcomes. You can try influencer marketing databases like Upfluence, or you can contact jnfluencers directly through social channels.

Beware not to try to take complete creative control, it often translates into disingenuine content and a disgruntled influencer who is trying to represent themselves authentically. 

Read on for our guide on how to work with the right influencers for your brand successfully:


Just like you know your customer profiles, influencers know their communities  – and both of these audiences need to align with one another. Ask to see a screenshot of their analytics, and in particular focus on the gender split (if you’re selling female fashion, you want at least a 75% female following), location (ask for both top countries and cities), age (what is your target age group? Make sure these demographics line up with yours) and also story views (these will come in handy to estimate how much value you’d get from stories with them).

Once you have all your stats, the choice of who to work with, but also who not to work with – becomes a lot easier!


When you’ve made the decision on who you’d like to work with, take the time to find their proper contact details. If their email isn’t displayed on their Instagram (though for most professional influencers, it should be), DM them and ask for it. Make sure you follow them from your brand page so they know you’re interested and you’re on their radar.

Also, don’t send your pitch in the DM. It’s not professional and what you’re asking for is a professional relationship with clear and identifiable outcomes. For this reason alone, email is always best! 


Be realistic about your expectations. If you’re asking an influencer to post about a $5 product, you’ll need to pay them. Influencers are professional curators with active and engaged audiences, and should be compensated for their work (like any other profession).  If the partnership aligns, then both parties should see value in the exchange and see a shared benefit for both the influencer’s community and the brand’s buying audience. Think about what you’d pay a photographer, model, stylist and editor, and remember you’re getting it all for the price of one with an influencer. In the influencer industry, negotiation is a normal aspect, so don’t be afraid to ask for further stories or high-res imagery to be included as part of a package. 

The Brief

When working with an influencer, the brief needs to be clear so they know what you want to get out of it, and how you’d like your brand to be portrayed on Instagram. This may involve a mood board, suggestions of posts or things you don’t want to see (e.g. competitors, flat lays or nudity). The more clear and structured the brief, the better for everyone. Include agreed-upon posting times, handles and hashtags to use and anything else important to you as a brand. 

The Aftermath

While many think once the influencer has posted is “job done”, but this is really just the beginning. After they’ve posted, ask for insights of any stories and posts to be sent to you.  This way, you’ll be able to see the direct influence that has been driven, and whether it’s worked. Things to focus on include number of taps on your brand in their stories (this is directly driving traffic to your page), number of saves of their IG post (people are saving to remember for later) and genuine engagement on the post.

The Content

Remember, you’re not just reaching thousands of new potential customers when working with an influencer… you’re also having bespoke content created for your brand. Utilise this content, and really take advantage of it. When initially negotiating, ask that you can use the content on your website/paid ads/social channels, and see if they’ll agree for a fee. This means the content is evergreen, and you’ll get so much value out of it, rather than it just living on their page.

The Future

Genuine influencers will drive brand awareness for your brand, but it won’t happen overnight. All good things take time, and it won’t happen from a one-off post. To start, try for three posts with the same influencer over 4 – 6 weeks, and see the results from that. That way, their audience is first introduced to your brand, then educated and then again exposed to it. By the third time, the influencers’ audience will be genuinely interested as they’ll see the influencer has a genuine interest in you product.

Remember, influencers can play such an integral role in your marketing strategy when harnessed correctly. Take your time in finding those who will be true advocates for your brand, and ensure your briefs are clear and structured without taking away creative control.

Still feeling a little overwhelmed about where to start? We’re here to help. At Compass, we offer a complete influencer marketing package, including campaign ideation, brief writing, sourcing influencers and managing the entire campaign execution from start to finish. Get in touch with us for more information! 

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