By Shane Barker
Most brands and marketers agree that influencer marketing is one of the most successful marketing strategies today.
It has been widely adopted by many brands across many industries and has become a crucial part of the marketing mix. Its rising popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing, and it’s easy to figure out why.
That’s because the average ROI of influencer marketing is huge. A joint study by Nielsen and TapInfluence found that influencer marketing can drive 11X higher ROI when compared to traditional advertising.
More than that, influencers are great content creators. They create evergreen content that can continue to increase your ROI over time.
However, leveraging influencer marketing successfully is not as easy as it sounds. For your campaigns to succeed, you need to get to a point where influencers will love to give your brand a shout out.
As more brands want to work with influencers, it can be challenging to approach influencers and get them on board. You need to put in more effort to win over them and build strong relationships.
Let’s take a look at a few effective tips that can help you improve your relationships with influencers.
1. Approach Relevant Influencers Only
The first step to build strong relationships with influencers is to choose the right influencers. You should partner with influencers who are relevant to your niche, who will resonate with your brand’s voice and goals, and who are interested in growing together.
You should understand that influencers also have a brand to protect. In fact, their personal brand is what influencers value the most. Most of them don’t hesitate to deny collaborations that are irrelevant to the interests of their
audiences. Even if you offer attractive compensation, they may choose to protect their personal brand over other benefits.
That’s because their primary focus is to deliver great experiences to their audiences and entertain them. After all, authenticity and relevance are what keeps their audiences engaged in the first place.
If you want to form strong influencer partnerships, you need to understand their values, audiences, and content topics. 44% of influencers value brands that provide them with an opportunity relevant to their audience.
Relevance is the reason why most clothing brands partner with fashion influencers.
Jack Wills, a British clothing brand, works closely with many London bloggers in the fashion and lifestyle niches. These influencers help to
promote their new collections launched every few months.
You can use tools like BuzzSumo to find influencers in your niche with a large following and high engagement rate.
2. Make Your First Impression Count
Once you have a list of potential influencers, it’s time to make the first move and reach out to them.
Many brands and marketers use outreach emails to ask influencers to collaborate with them. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get a response from them with a cold outreach.
However, you can increase your chances of getting a response through personalization. You should connect with them as a person first, then as a brand.
You can start by reaching out to them through other means first. You should follow them and their posts on social media and their blogs. Try to engage with their posts through likes, shares, retweets, and comments. But make sure that your comments are insightful and add value to their posts. They shouldn’t be spammy.
You can also appreciate their work or initiate genuine conversations with them by sending personalized messages. You can highlight a point you really liked about their blog post or ask a question relevant to their content.
It is easier for influencers to connect with a person than a brand. That’s why it is considered the best outreach strategy to form long-term influencer partnerships.
When you do send them an outreach email asking for collaboration, make sure that it sounds genuine. It should include the following:
- An engaging subject line
- Appreciation of their work
- The benefits you can provide them
- Your expectations from the collaboration
- A clear call-to-action
Influencers value genuine partnerships and are more likely to say “yes” to your proposal.
3. Practice Clarity and Transparency
Most influencers cite lack of clarity in campaign goals and requisites as the biggest challenge they face. That’s because unclear objectives often lead to ever-changing requirements and dissatisfaction on both ends.
In fact, many influencers prefer working with specialized agencies over brands due to this reason. They acknowledge that agencies offer more transparency with respect to work, expectations, payments, and contracts.
Before you approach an influencer, you should set clear goals and expectations for your campaign. You need to tell them what exactly you want. This might include:
- What kind of content do you want them to create?
- What message do you need them to convey?
- How many pieces of content do you need?
- What compensation can you offer them?
You should be honest and straightforward. You should never over-promise compensation or future work opportunities to influencers.
Influencers value transparency and honest conversations. These can help the two of you to develop a strong relationship. And it will also prove beneficial for the success of your campaigns.
4. Offer Influencers Fair Compensation
Influencers put a lot of time and effort into creating quality content and they expect monetary compensation for their work.
You should offer them a fair compensation based on factors such as time, effort, following, engagement rate, and content quality. If you offer them fair compensation, it can help you further strengthen your relationships with them.
When you provide adequate compensation to an influencer, this shows that you value them and respect their efforts.
If you are not sure how much you should pay influencers, check out the average price per posts for various industries:
However, fair compensation might vary according to an influencer’s following, reach, engagement rate, and other factors.
You can also offer bonuses and other benefits to influencers when they help you drive a large amount of engagement or product sales. Such rewards can encourage your influencers to put in their best efforts to maximize success. It will also help you foster a lasting relationship with them.
5. Provide Creative Freedom
Today’s influencers are awesome content creators and they value creative freedom. Many influencers complain about editorial guidelines from brands that are too strict and limit their creativity.
In fact, 77% of influencers are likely to partner with your brand more than once if you provide them with creative freedom.
Their followers love them for their authentic content. So you should allow them to personalize sponsored posts and content in such a way that their audience will be able to relate to it. After all, you don’t want their posts featuring your brand or products to look like an advertisement.
6. Value Their Effort
A majority of influencers focus on their passion areas, from food to fashion, and technology to photography. They consistently leverage their knowledge and experiences to create awesome content.
It takes them a lot of time and effort to build a loyal and engaged following. You should value their hard work and creativity and make them feel wanted.
When a campaign works well, you should appreciate them for the success. Even if the results don’t turn out to be great, you should try to figure out what caused the failure. Analyzing what went wrong can help you strategize your future influencer campaigns in a better way.
Nobody wants to be called only when you need something from them. You should, therefore, not break the link of communication with your influencers once a campaign is over. Keep in touch with them over social networks through likes, comments, and shares. This will make future collaborations easier.
You can add more value to your relationships with influencers by setting up face-to-face meetings. No matter how short, such offline conversations often lead to long-term relationships that can blossom into friendships too.
You can also invite them to product launches and industry events or organize special retreats for them.
Tarte Cosmetics, a cosmetics brand in NYC,dedicates a huge budget to influencer events. They organize all-expenses-paid holidays for their YouTube vloggers and beauty Instagrammers to exotic destinations.
These luxurious influencer events not only make their influencers feel valued but also maximize brand exposure. Tarte unifies these travel campaigns under the hashtag #trippinwithtarte. A video by YouTuber Adelaine Morin on “Luxury Costa Rich Hotel Tour” with Tarte received 313Kviews and 19K likes.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Influencer marketing is more about people and relationships than popularity.
You should value the time and effort it takes for influencers to build a loyal and engaged following. Make sure that you understand their audiences, offer influencers fair compensation, and provide them with creative freedom.
If you still struggle to build successful influencer partnerships, you can always reach out to the experts for help!
There’s more where this came from! If you enjoyed this chapter, download our FREE ebook, Mulligan Funding’s Ultimate Guide to Business Relationships, to access 9 additional chapters jam packed with practical tips and guidelines to maximize your business relationships.