Networking and building relationships is a basic pillar of any business. But that doesn’t make the process any easier for brands or small businesses. Whether it’s networking in your industry or fostering long term brand partnerships with influencers, it takes work to build strong relationships. In the age of social media, influencer marketing no longer seems to be an option. It’s a necessity to target the right customers. While traditional methods of advertising like commercials and magazine ads still hold some value, social media marketing has taken over marketing departments everywhere. 17% of marketers reportedly spend over half of their budget on influencer marketing as per Big Commerce. And that number is sure to grow. Even classic celebrity endorsements have moved their way onto platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
When it comes to influencer marketing while there are many ways to reach your target audience, there are ultimately two distinct types of relationships. Brands can either turn to short term influencer partnerships, or long term ones. While each has their pros and cons, which we’ve previously covered, many brands these days are turning to long term brand partnerships. And if you ask us we think that is definitely the way to go.
By now influencer marketing is well known by many, so these campaigns seem less organic with that fact alone. Everyone knows by now that more often than not if a celebrity, blogger or influencer is sharing a product or brand, it’s probably some type of partnership. So many brands these days are tightening the circle of influencers they work with, to keep things more organic. Working with the same group of influencers also adds some stability to your campaigns. Knowing how someone works and the quality of their content takes a lot of pressure and margin of error off the table.
To help get you started on the right track, here are some successful tips to help you navigate long term partnerships with influencers.
Long Term Brand Partnerships: Tips For Brands
Organize Before You Execute
It’s important that before you start reaching out to influencers that you get your ducks in a row. When forming long term brand partnerships with influencers it’s important that you first determine how you want this program to run. This means you need to sit down and evaluate exactly what your goals are, and how you’d like to achieve them.
You want to make sure that you have everything you need ready to go to make your influencer marketing easier to manage. This means prepping email templates, spreadsheet trackers and any marketing materials you want to share. Quality influencers enjoy working with brands that are organized, making their end of the partnership easier to manage for them.
Always Stay On Brand
When building your team of influencers the best piece of advice is to stick with those that fit your overall brand. Are you a beauty brand? Work with beauty influencers. Are environmental issues important to your brand identity? Find influencers who share those same values. The best way to start off a relationship is to find common ground, and the same thing goes for influencer marketing. A great way to achieve this is to find influencers who might have used your services or products in the past, or those of a competitor. This also allows for your brand to organically fit within their content or lifestyle.
Quality Not Quantity
A roster of influencers that you’re building long term relationships with is all about quality, not quantity. You’re sure to get more value out of a smaller group of influencers than a sea of them. Not only can you control the perception of an organic campaign with less influencers, it’s also a lot easier to foster authentic relationships.
Define Expectations From Day One
The best way to start off a relationship is by being transparent and clear. No one wants to start getting to know one another with disconnects and undefined expectations. Brands often seem to forget that influencers treat themselves like a business just as much as they do. They also don’t realize how much work goes into content creation. There are times where brands don’t define their expectations. Only to be disappointed when influencers back out or can’t meet them. So if you want to start off on the right foot be sure to properly explain your program or requirements before formally bringing an influencer on.
Create Engaging Campaigns
While just sending out products or offering services is a great way to promote organic content on the creator’s end, it gets a little boring. To keep your influencers engaged in working with you, come up with engaging and unique campaigns to include them in. This can be something as simple as partnering with another brand for a campaign. Or maybe sending them an interactive PR package that is Instagram Story worthy.
Keep In Regular Contact
Whether it’s with friends, family or for business it takes effort to build strong long term relationships. Influencers can often feel like a commodity rather than an active part of your teams. And after all, many brands rely on influencers to not only create content for them but become a part of their advertising team. So it’s critical that you work on those relationships by staying in regular contact with your influencer team. This can be with a fun newsletter, or with a personalized email.
Another way to show your influencer team they are valued is to show appreciation regularly. This can be with an influencer showcase on your social media channels, or by sending gifts not meant for campaigns. We also recommend you stay on top of things like birthdays and engagements, so you can recognize these important milestones.