What’s On

Navigating relations between brands and influencers

No one in the marketing industry can deny the power of influencer marketing. It has now cemented its status in the industry as one of the few remaining channels that maintain the ability to reach a vast, yet targeted audience.

The problem comes, however, when brands think of influencers of influencers as ad space they can simply buy, a purely transactional relationship with no further thought put in. What we as marketers need to remember is that influencers are so much more than that. While there is a monetary aspect involved, brands should look to cultivate strong relations with such influencers, working together to create content that is line with both parties’ style and messaging.

Brands must learn to balance the influencer’s personality with conveying the brand’s message. Accomplishing this would be no simple task but a few considerations can go a long way in getting the most natural and brand beneficial content out to consumers.

1. Know the audience of your social media influencer
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. Analyse who is interacting with their content, and dig deep to find out what demographics they attract.

Once you feel confident about your research you can build a personal message that revolves around your influencer’s following. It’s important to explain what their audience will get out of the partnership as well. Keeping this at the front of your mind will make your influencer management even more effective. Always remember that influencers have their audience’s interest at heart and won’t want to participate in a partnership that doesn’t look authentic.

2. Be clear about expectations
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.

3. Don’t limit creativity
This 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 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.

To excel at influencer management, you need to remember that influencers are the authority when it comes to their social media following. They know what works and what doesn’t. Though it can be difficult to let go, you will see much better results if you let them take the content wheel. Audiences are very perceptive and can instantly sense when something feels unnatural and forced. 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 out
Social 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.

5. Keep your influencer in the loop
Before 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.

Once the partnership is live, reach out to your influencer and let them know how their efforts are contributing to your success. If you’ve noticed one of the customized promos you’ve created for them are working well – share the results! This will demonstrate how their content is generating real impact on your business. On the other hand, if you find a campaign isn’t getting any traction letting them know early enough can point them in the right direction. Bottom line, don’t leave them in dark!

The Takeaway
Building 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.

Co-written by Jordan Lukeš, Content Marketing Specialist

Charles Tidswell

Charles Tidswell is the Vice President of JAPAC at Socialbakers and is based in Singapore. For the majority of his professional career, Charles has been involved with early stage start-ups and companies entering the high growth stage across the South East Asia region.