Influencers are a powerful force in our modern, online world. Working with influencers can be very beneficial for brands, with advantages such as building brand awareness, establishing trust with their audience, and driving sales and profits.
Brands know this, and many are now choosing to work with influencers as part of their marketing efforts. In some cases, these arrangements have proven very lucrative for the brand involve, whereas in others things have not worked out so well for the brand.
Equally, brand partnerships have been proven to have mixed results for influencers. Some influencers have found these partnerships highly beneficial, while others have been burned by these relationships.
This doesn’t mean that either brands or influencers should avoid these kinds of relationships. It simply means that it is important for brands and influencers to find the right fit, and manage the relationship in a way that will deliver the best results for everyone. Here is some advice on how influencers and brands can establish mutually-beneficial relationships over the long term.
Understand That it is a Two-Way Street
The first thing that is necessary in order to establish a mutually-beneficial relationship, is for both brands and influencers to understand that this relationship goes both ways. Brands sometimes forget that this is not just about the influencer making them money.
The relationship should also help the influencer to increase their profile and earning capacity in the long run. The influencer should expect to get more benefits than just a one-time payment. There are many ways that influencers can and should benefit from their brand partnerships beyond the one-off payment. These range from general campaigns and exposure, to affiliate marketing, where the influencer receives a commission for each product their followers buy on the basis of the influencer’s recommendation.
It is important for influencers to be conscious of this also. They should be conscious that their role is to help the brand make money, while also promoting themselves and their own personal brand.
This is something that should be taken into consideration when deciding whether an influencer is a good match for a particular brand. Will this brand offer them the opportunity to raise their profile? What other benefits can the influencer expect from this relationship? Above all else, both the influencer and the brand need to consider with they are a good image-fit for each other: this means holding the same brand values and sharing similar messaging.
Consider the Form of Compensation
Obviously, one of the key aspects of a brand-influencer relationship is compensation. Whether a cash payment, free product, or something else, the basis of this relationship is that the influencer will be compensated for their endorsement of the brand.
In working out whether the influencer and the brand will be a good fit for each other, both should think about the form of compensation that will be offered. Some brands are able offer cash payments, while others do not have the resources to do this and offer free product or some other kind of compensation. The type of compensation available will largely determine whether this will be a good match.
It is also worth noting that cash is not always the best form of compensation for an influencer. Particularly for micro-influencers that are trying to build their profile, exposure opportunities such as experiential events or campaigns may be much more valuable. This can also be advantageous to the brand, and save their marketing budget at the same time.
In the same way, free product samples can be a great benefit for both parties, but particularly for the brand involved. Sharing product samples is a great way to strengthen the relationship between the influencer and the brand. Using the brand’s product means the influencer is able to give genuine, personal reviews and recommendations.
Do You Share the Same Niche or Audience
One of the most important considerations when finding the right brand or influencer to work with is the niche you operate in. Brands should look for influencers who are not only relevant to the general industry they work in, but to their niche in particular, and the narrower the niche the better. By being more focused in this approach, brands can expect to see a much greater return on their investment.
In some cases, however, the niche is not as relevant as the audience. If the influencer’s followers are the same as the brand’s target market, this will be a good fit. This is becoming increasingly relevant as more and more brands across diverse sectors are seeking to collaborate with influencers.
For example, ecommerce businesses, as consumer-driven enterprises, are realising how advantageous it is to work with influencers. With the tough competition to be found on Amazon in particular, influencers are proving to be one of the best Amazon marketing strategies for many ecommerce sellers.
With the ecommerce industry booming right now, this represents great opportunities not just for ecommerce brands but for influencers as well. It is important, however, that sellers and influencers find matches that work in the same niche, or have the same audience.
What Kind of Online Exposure Can the Brand Provide?
Another aspect that influencers and brands should consider in finding the right fit is the kind of online exposure that they can provide the influencer. These days, even the smallest brands have can have a high-performing website, which they can use to promote the influencer and raise their profile. Equally, brands can share the influencer’s content on their own social media channels, helping to grow the influencers’ following, as well as helping to secure more brand partnerships.
The influencer, therefore, should consider how many followers the brand has on social media, and who much traffic their website receives. They should also ask the brand if they will be willing to promote them and their content, and what form this will take.
Equally, brands need to consider what level of exposure they are willing and able to give the influencer, to make sure this will be a good fit. Brands should also keep in mind that sharing the influencer’s content can be advantageous to them, too. If the influencer has high-quality, engaging content this will strengthen the brand’s content strategy through building trust with their customer base and better audience engagement.
Therefore, another consideration for brands is whether the influencer’s content will be a good fit for their website and social media channels, and finding an influencer with content that will really work for them.
How Responsive is the Brand to Influencers?
Another factor for influencers to keep in mind when choosing brands to collaborate with is how responsive the brand is to influencers. A relationship where the brand listens to the influencer, and takes their opinions and feedback on board can be highly productive and beneficial. There are some brands that do this well, and others that are barely responsive to influencers at all.
Brands that are responsive to their influencers will enjoy many benefits from this too. Influencers are consumers too, as well as being very plugged in to consumer networks, meaning they have a range of valuable insights to share. Brands will find it advantageous to look for influencers who are keen to share their opinions and advice.