Influencer marketing is a people-first business. The industry is not built on transactions but on human interaction.
Brands should consider that, on the other side of the negotiation table, the person signing the contract and creating the deliverables is a human being with a life outside their career. To build a successful, long-term influencer-brand partnership that lasts and keeps both parties happy, here are five key elements to remember, with insight from influencers.
While short-term influencer relationships may provide a quick boost in reach and engagement, a long-term approach can help to establish trust and credibility, lead to more effective campaigns, and create a sense of community around a brand.
It’s been proven that long-term brand/influencer relationships are more valuable to brands than one-off campaigns. In fact, influencers prefer having selective, authentic long-term brand partnerships. Fohr’s 2022 Holiday Report reported that 79% of influencers sought longer-term brand partnerships.
Brands should work to nurture their influencer relationships and champion their partners. In Fohr’s webinar, ‘How to Spot Invisible Influence: Recruit the Right Ambassadors,’ here’s what our guest panelist, Hitha Palepu, had to say about the value of long-term partnerships:
“I look at building long-term relations, not one-and-done campaigns. Multiple touchpoints with my community base, whether from my newsletter, Instagram stories, or feed organic mentions, is a really important way to tell stories around that brand. That's how you also build trust that your community knows this is not new to you, that you are a long-time partner, your a long-term user of these products or services.”
- Hitha Palepu
Remember that with the newfound and added value of influencers post-2020, many influencers (even nano and micro-influencers) are pursuing content creation as a full-time job.
Brands should regard their influencer partners as functioning businesses, as they would hire freelance photographers, editors, accountants, and managers. Treating creators respectfully, paying on time, and valuing their perspectives and feedback is crucial to a successful relationship.
This one is fairly straightforward. Late payments lead to headaches, uncertainty, and financial stress. In most cases, running a business full-time as a content creator alone is a difficult task.
Making payments and fulfilling invoices on time surely affects you as a brand, but someone else in this payment structure suffers when the process is delayed or not prioritized.
Paying fairly is not just the right thing to do, but influencers share their rates amongst the influencer community to help hold brands accountable.
If a brand isn’t paying fairly or equitably, it’ll likely be known within the influencer community as a company that creators don’t want or like to work with. F*ck You, Pay Me has continued to make waves since its 2021 launch as a way for creators to share their experiences of working with a brand anonymously.
We must value partnerships from both perspectives to create harmony and a happy medium. Just as creators are learning the ropes of running their personal businesses, many brands are new to navigating the world of influencer marketing.
Understanding what each party deeply cares about will help form stronger bonds and create a more fruitful dynamic in negotiation. Color, context, and clear communication are key from both sides.
We’ve gone over how to build better relationships with influencers, now let’s cover the six reasons why this will benefit your brand:
The core of influencer marketing relies on the power of word-of-mouth. The more influencers who enjoy working with you and are willing to share that amongst their community, the easier it will be to build a strong community of brand ambassadors.
Fohr’s 2022 Holiday Report included insights from creators like Maddy Gutierrez. She explains why her long-term brand partnerships lead to better campaign results:
“Brand trust goes so much further than one-off exposure. Repeated awareness shows my audience that I really am committed to a product, brand, or service. For example, sharing a pair of jeans once may result in a conversion rate of 1.5%, but sharing that same pair of jeans four times over the course of two months can easily turn that conversion up to 8% or higher.”
— Maddy Gutierrez
At Fohr, we tell brands that they shouldn’t spend good money on fake love. That means prioritizing influencer campaigns where the influencer organically loves the brand or product. The key to a successful influencer marketing strategy is building relationships with creators who talk about your product organically and can produce campaigns founded on authenticity.
Authenticity comes with trust, and when talking about brands and products, that trust is built through an audience believing an influencer’s claims. To achieve that, we need to ensure that the product is woven into the fabric of that person’s life. This can’t be accomplished with one-off, one-post campaigns.
Like a science experiment, your influencer marketing strategy should be about optimizing and learning over time, and making improvements along the way. In our takeaways guide, ‘How to Measure Influencer Marketing Success,’ we dig into this multi-phase strategy a bit deeper.
When brands effectively convey their story through influencer marketing content, they can build stronger connections with their audience, increase loyalty, and establish a more positive brand perception. By sharing authentic stories through influencer partners, brands can demonstrate their values.
Rule #2 in Fohr’s 10 Rules to Ambassador Marketing is to give influencer partners a proper orientation to help them fully understand your brand’s core values. An orientation gives ambassadors the context to work at maximum creative capacity and get the most out of the partnership. A brief may turn an influencer into a billboard, but an orientation turns them into an ambassador. This influencer marketing strategy approach is more collaborative (and effective) and sets up a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.
Brands who work effectively with influencers through a strong briefing process and onboarding can create a memorable experience for their audience, leaving a lasting impression that will ultimately influence purchasing decisions. In today's digital age, where consumers are bombarded with constant information, authentic storytelling can help brands cut through the noise and capture their audience's attention.
If you put the time and effort into building strong influencer relationships, you’re more likely to receive unpaid or bonus content from that creator. This can include anything from sponsored posts to product reviews, greatly increasing your brand's reach and visibility on social media.
We recommend offering perks, rewards, and incentives for more organic UGC opportunities. Olivia Jacobini, Marketing Manager, Blink Fitness, shared her company’s perspective on posting prompts to incentivize organic content.
“If people are interested in posting, they can post about us. They don't have to take our prompt every month. They can post about whatever they want. But we do offer some fun incentives if people decide to go with our prompt for the month.”
- Olivia Jacobini.
So there you have it. The how and why to build better, stronger influencer partnerships that will positively impact your brand.
If you want more strategic advice on influencer marketing and partnerships, schedule a consultation here.