3 strategies for building long-term relationships with influencers

Marketing is just a fancy way of saying that you're great at building relationships with people.

You are used to creating campaigns that increase awareness and conversions (Hello Customer Value Journey!). Sometimes these relationships are difficult to build, but for the most part, you can get the job done.

As marketers, we know you took a look at the influencer page of digital marketing and asked yourself, "Should I do this?"

This question always leads to … but how?

You are used to building relationships with your customer avatar. What you're not used to is creating them with influencers. This is a whole different ball game, especially if you're looking to build a long term relationship.

Here Jamie Lieberman, founder of Hashtag-Legal, lends us her marketing brain. In an insider training session recently shared with our lab members, Jamie explained how to maximize influencer marketing relationships beyond sponsored posts. We reached out to Jamie to help wrap this inside training into a few key pieces that could help our audience (read that here!) Build those long-term influencer relationships that lead to conversions.

If you're struggling to get your influencer marketing strategy off the ground, we feel like we know exactly why.

Is that why you haven't tried influencer marketing yet?

Influencer marketing is maturing, but not yet perfect. Digital marketing has got the upper hand and we don't even think we need to add digital marketing anymore, but there are still so many unknowns when it comes to creating new strategies.

How do you start without screwing it up?

Jamie explains, “When a business owner or marketer is considering developing relationships with influencers, many feel overwhelmed about where to start. Entrepreneurs often need information on how to build relationships, how to even contact an influencer and what to say, what to offer the influencer and how to structure a deal. With so few standards in influencer marketing relationships, many feel like they don't have many resources to educate themselves. "

It's a classic case of analysis paralysis. You don't want to make a move because if it is the wrong move, you will let your team down. However, if you don't move, the voice will stick in your head asking you, "What if …?" Every time you scroll on social networks and see an influencer promoting a similar product.

Let's turn this "what if …" into "I did it" by showing you the two most common mistakes to avoid so you can be confident about getting started in influencer marketing.

Jamie sees brands make two big mistakes when reaching out to influencers.

The first is to see only one transaction. "The relationship cannot be viewed as any other advertising and marketing relationship by keeping the agreement too loose (i.e. no terms and no contract). All influencer marketing deals should be remembered, even if only the product is offered as compensation. "

The second is choosing vanity metrics versus engagement. "Entrepreneurs and marketers often try to connect with influencers with the largest fan base without taking the time to confirm engagement rates and to make sure the influencer's audience matches the brand's consumer."

If you avoid these two potholes in the influencer marketing journey, you will have made it through two of the most treacherous parts of this facet of marketing. Your focus can now shift to building those long-term relationships with influencers.

3 strategies for creating long-term relationships with influencers

People want to buy products that their friends, family, co-workers, and others they follow on social media actually use. As influencer marketing has matured, it is inevitable that the consumer spirit will have followed suit. It's easier to spot an influencer showing off a product because they've got a great paycheck from it these days. These are usually the products they are rave about and never will be mentioned again.

This is not the type of influencer marketing we're focusing on here. We're looking for long-term relationships brands can build with influencers who will continue to show their audience that this influencer loves this product.

Here are 3 strategies to bypass influencer marketing at the surface level and go straight into the depths.

Strategy 1: Spend the time learning about the influencer and building a real relationship.

Jamie explains, “Call and really talk to each other. Relationships are created by asking questions and spending time listening (on both sides). Brands can ask influencers about their audience demographics, the content that is most popular with their audience, and previous case studies. "

Don't be afraid to ask influencers for this information. As someone whose wallet is ready to pay for them, you can ask what the weekly impressions are, how many profiles they reach and what metrics are behind their posts.

The same applies to the influencer. Ideally, you will work with professionals who are looking for more than just a paycheck. “Influencers can ask brands about their relationship goals, the brand's ideal customer, and examples of past successes. A professional influencer knows detailed information about their audience and can confirm that the influencer's audience matches the brands, ”says Jamie.

To build long-term relationships with influencers, an ROI is required. These questions ensure that you are basing your campaign on success rather than throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing which influencer can give you a solid ROAS.

“These conversations save money so brands can avoid relationships that may not be effective,” explains Jamie.

Strategy 2: Give the influencer control of the content by creating the strategy for the campaign together.

It's tempting to jump into an influencer campaign with creative ideas in your back pocket. You know your audience, so shouldn't you have a say in how your product is presented?

The answer is yes … but also no. When you chose the influencers you want to work with, you decided how you would like your product to be presented. By looking at past ad campaigns, you can get an idea of ​​what yours will look like. But now that the influencer is hired, it's time to let them do their thing. They know their audience better than you do and give them creative control to ensure you get the highest chance for ROI.

This is how Jamie sees it. “Influencers know what their audience will like. Working with an influencer on the perspective of the content will not only get the influencer excited about creating it, but also make the content more effective. "

Strategy 3: Be transparent about expectations and respond to communication in a timely manner.

You have a business and so does the influencer. Jamie reminds us that these relationships are professional – and they should be treated as such. “Influencers often have long breaks in communication, especially when requesting information from brands. This can lead to frustration and a feeling that the relationship is not valued. "

As a marketer, you are a professional at relationship building. They know the first way to undermine a relationship is through poor communication. If you want influencers to be excited about getting back to business, you need to treat that relationship with the professionalism you bring to your client's job.

Here's advice from Jamie: "Providing clear creative information and getting design feedback in a timely manner is an essential part of maintaining a long relationship."

When you've hired influencers and you're ready to hit publish, check out what success means for any relationship. “To track metrics, the brand or marketer should set trackable goals before reaching out to an influencer. Once the brand or marketer has decided on the KPIs, it's a good idea to share them with the influencer so they can create content that will maximize the KPI, ”explains Jamie.

Communication is the key. But your marketing mind already knew that.

If you thought the grass looked really green on the influencer marketing lawn, it's time to stop by and check out what it's like over there. Just start with a few practice campaigns and work your way up while you get data that can predict the performance of your other campaigns.

Use Jamie Lieberman's 3 Strategies for Cultivating Long-Term Influencer Relationships to get them right the first time.

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