Influencer marketing is one of the most effective social media strategies. Why? Because word of mouth is powerful, and when it comes from a trusted source with a large following it’s unstoppable. Once you’ve zeroed-in on potential social media influencers, you need to take the next step to make it official. Read on for quick do’s and don’ts you should consider when building your influencer relationship.
Influencer management can be tricky because it requires relationship building. It’s not ad space you can purchase in a few clicks - it needs to feel right. With that being said, remember that influencers are people too! While there are transactions required, a relationship between a brand and an influencer should be mutually beneficial. The more natural the fit, the better the content you will build together - which ultimately means more earned customers.
Luckily with a few tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be able to confidently approach and build a relationship with a social media influencer that will last.
1. Know The Audience of Your Social Media InfluencerMake sure you do your research and seek out more about your influencer’s audience. This is not only a great way to determine if the social media influencer in question is a great fit for your brand, it also helps you learn more about who you’re approaching. Analyze who is interacting with their content, and dig deep to find out what demographics they attract.
For example, when reaching out you can include in your message that you think a partnership would be great because their audiences have an interest in (mention topic) which is closely related to your own brand. We often use this technique when reaching out to guest writers, explaining not only how our social media audience will benefit, but how theirs will too.
Influencer management Pro Tip: Businesses of all sizes have huge opportunities to get creative. Don’t be afraid to explore different ways you can help your influencer create engaging content. Offering social media influencers free giveaway items for their fans, promo codes, trips, and more are just a few ways you can assist them in creating branded content naturally.
2. Be Clear About ExpectationsInfluencers have a lot going on and are approached by other brands regularly. To build a successful relationship with an influencer you need to be clear about expectations from the start. Always ask what type of relationship they are looking for, after all, it’s a two-way street. Leave the conversation open-ended, and don’t be surprised if you need to meet in the middle and compromise.
Once you’ve hammered out the general collaboration you can talk campaign details. Simply Founder, Sarah Boyd gives great advice on what to include when discussing campaign expectations:
- Mention the number of content pieces you expect over what period of time
- Outline how you plan to use their content and verify which channels
- Be clear on what call-to-actions you want the influencer to use in their campaigns
- Explain the approval process if you have one in place
- Define captions or campaign tagging
- Set up an FTC disclosure
3. Don’t Limit CreativityThis is a big one. Influencer management requires trust. That’s why it’s important to be selective when you start your search. You want to choose someone you can count on. To save yourself the trouble, search through their previous collaborations and benchmark their sponsored content to your own expectations.
Influencer Dan Markham from What’s Inside explained at Socialbakers Engage, that one of the most successful branded videos he made was a result of creative freedom. Markham emphasized that previous branded videos he’s created flopped when there were too many restrictions set in place. Luckily German Mercedes Benz manufacturer let him do the unthinkable and the social media world loved it. They not only let him cut open a Mercedes Benz C-Class seat but let him publish the video to his channels without any edits. The result? Over 3 million views and 30,000 likes.
That doesn’t mean you don’t need to set any guidelines at all - but if they need a bookmark to read through them it’s safe to say they’re too long.
4. Make Your Offer Stand OutSocial media Influencers only have so much space they can offer to brands without turning into a billboard. As a consequence, getting their attention can be difficult, even more so if your offer is no different from the ones they are getting sent to their inbox every day.
Before you reach out directly and ask for a transactional partnership try to build a relationship with the influencer. Interact with their social media content and tag them in posts that they might find relevant. It’s a great way to get your name recognized so when you do make the next step they are already familiar with your brand.
Here’s a great example. We reached out to digital marketing influencers Dan and Lloyd Knowlton asking them to join us at this year's Socialbakers Engage. We offered to cover their accommodation and flight and provided them with complimentary tickets to the conference. In exchange, they could cover the event in any way they saw fit. After the conference, we were tagged in a vlog they created about their experience.
5. Keep Your Influencer in the LoopBefore you start writing an influencer you need to first set goals and objectives. Clearly outline what you want to achieve with your campaign and how you plan to measure your company’s success. This will help the influencer you’re collaborating with refine their approach based on your goals. Let them know if you’re looking to partner with them to raise brand awareness, grow your social media community, or even convert sales. We have some great tips on the topic on our blog: 5 Ways to Measure Your Influencer Marketing.
The TakeawayBuilding a relationship with a social media influencer isn’t always easy. To manage your influencer marketing initiatives effectively you need to communicate expectations, goals, as well as progress. In turn, you will not only create authentic content, but you will also be able to reach new audiences and acquire new customers.
Not sure if you should cooperate with a macro or micro influencer? We’ve got you covered. Watch our episode of Social Media Minute to learn what’s right for your brand.
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