When brands want to grow their presence fast and build a large community of engaged audiences, they often turn to influencers to take advantage of their large followings and their ability to mold their opinions.
However, setting up a collaboration with an influencer can be much more than identifying an influencer with a large number of followers and entering into a commercial agreement for brand endorsements. Find out what you should or should not do for executing successful influencer marketing campaigns and building long-term relationships:
Research Influencers Thoroughly
Even though brand representatives are hard-pressed to deliver results, and it can be tempting for them to rush to enter into collaboration with influencers to boost brand awareness, gain followers, and boost the rate of engagement.
However, but while the process does take some time, it can lead to the identification of influencers that are better suited to fulfill the objectives of the marketing campaign. You need to establish whether the influencer’s brand aligns properly with that of the sponsor brand in terms of values and personality, according to Searchenginejournal.com, otherwise, it will reflect on the ROI.
It is also important to find out whether the style of the influencer’s Instagram posts finds resonance with your brand identity, and if the brands they have been associated with earlier are similar to yours.
Brand managers should also examine the quality of the content posted by the influencer to see whether it is adequately high, whether the captions are well-written and impactful, and whether the influencer has an engaged audience.
Try to establish the integrity of the influencer rather than get carried away by the number of followers because having a smaller number of followers is any day better than a large number of cheaply bought bots and fake likes and comments.
Another important factor is the number and frequency of sponsored content by the influencer. Choosing one that has lots may indicate that the influencer is overexposed, and the authenticity may have taken a hit.
Reach Out to the Influencer Thoughtfully
Influencers generally welcome the prospect of brand endorsements; however, they will be more inclined to respond to your communication if it has been custom composed rather than a boilerplate introduction.
It is best to keep the message short and precise, introduce your brand and explain why you are reaching out. Though sending a direct message is becoming more popular, using email gives you more flexibility to introduce yourself.
It is important to resist the temptation to send out a mass email even if you reaching out to many influencers simultaneously. You will get a better response if you customize your email with the details of the influencer’s name and endorsement history so that it is obvious to the recipient that you have done your homework and not generally casting a net.
If you can suggest some meaningful ways of working together for mutual benefit, it can get a better response from prospective influencers.
Plan to Remunerate Influencers in Cash Not, Kind
Unless you are a small business working or a relatively modest marketing campaign or working with a small influencer looking to build his portfolio of endorsements, the days are long gone when you could have thought of rewarding your influencer partners with product samples to get Instagram followers fast.
Regardless of whether you are looking to engage a micro-influencer or an influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers, it is important to appreciate that it can take an influencer many years of dedicated effort to build up an invested following on Instagram.
It also takes a lot of effort to plan out an endorsement campaign, produce the photos or videos, edit them, write out compelling captions, share and promote the posts in a compelling way that will result in an engagement the sponsor will be happy about.
Since the brand wants to benefit from the trust and effort invested by the influencer, it should be ready to remunerate the partner competitively with hard cash. Of course, you are free to negotiate the terms, including engagement metrics, and structure the payment according to a mutually acceptable plan depending on performance.
This is not to say that small businesses with a tight budget cannot afford influencers. Brands can work out a remuneration arrangement that is based on commissions instead of a flat fee. You can also think of working with micro-influencers whose demands may be more affordable.
Give the Influencer Freedom of Expression
Even though you may be the person who knows the brand the best and how it should be presented on Instagram, you should always keep in mind that you are working with a partner to be able to leverage on their strengths, which includes their content style.
If you want the brand endorsement by the influencer to be authentic, you should exercise minimum control and direction on the way they present the product as a part of their lifestyle so that you achieve the maximum resonance with the followers.
Some influencers say that they achieve the best results when they get some time to experiment with the product and understand it thoroughly before publishing their posts. Giving the liberty to the influencer to compose his post invariably works better than restricting them to a scripted caption or content decided by the brand manager.
The posts appear to be more genuine to the followers who respond to them with greater engagement. Brand managers can, however, convey which hashtags, especially branded hashtags, are to be incorporated or give their suggestions regarding the style.
The brands and the influencer must share their feedback so that both of them can learn from the exercise and improve their campaigns.
Critical data from the campaign regarding the site traffic, number of new followers, and sales can be shared by the brand, while the influencer too can share data regarding impressions, Story interactions, post saves, etc. that are not otherwise available to the brands.
It is also important for brands to share their experience of working with the influencer and suggest ways of improvement for the next campaign.