In our last blog post we defined what influencer is and the benefits of inviting an influencer to become an ambassador for your brand. Whilst influencer endorsement is the closest thing to word-of-mouth recommendations available to businesses and brands at such a large scale, it's important not to treat brand ambassadors as marketing tools. This blog post explores the relationship between brand and influencer, how to build and maintain that relationship, and some dos and don’ts.
By now you probably have an idea of which kind of influencers you’d like to work with and why; the next step is reaching out with the intention of building a relationship with a potential brand ambassador. Before you reach out do your research. It’s important to build authentic connections so read their articles, watch their videos and follow them on social media. This will not only help you make more of an educated decision on whether the partnership would be mutually beneficial but it also enables you to approach them with a sense of familiarity which will form the foundation of your relationship.
An influencer will have spent just as much time and energy developing their brand as you have yours and, because of this, influencer relationships should be treated more like business partnerships than an exchange of services. That means going the extra mile to nurture the relationship and understanding that you have a lot more to offer than just financial investment. For example, say you’re working with an Instagram icon who deals primarily in image content; why not enable them to produce video content by giving them access to recording equipment or editing software? Offering your skills and services will benefit both business and ambassador in the long run.
Consistent communication is an integral part of working with influencers and maintaining transparency is a crucial part of that. Nothing is more important to an influencer than their audience; as the brand they will be endorsing you have to work with this, not against it. It’s unreasonable to ask someone to pretend their sudden interest in your brand is entirely unprovoked. Have faith in your ambassadors, they wouldn’t be working with you if they didn’t think the partnership was going to be relevant to their audience.
As with any partnership, it is important to be upfront about what you hope to achieve. However, there is a fine line between politely outlining objectives and demanding a return of investment. Approaching your brand ambassador with a long list of absolute requirements and performance indicators can cause a lot friction in the long-term. Instead, work together to discuss goals and manage expectations, bearing in mind that your brand ambassador will have targets of their own.
The biggest mistake a business can make when working with an influencer is treating the relationship as a transaction. Demanding something in return for every investment is a sure-fire way to breed contention. There will be times when you may have to expend a little more time, energy, and money in order to facilitate content. Remember, it’s the influencer’s channels you want to appear on so make sure to give them an incentive to include you in their content. There will likely be multiple businesses and brands just like yours who would also like to work with your ambassador so it pays to go that extra mile in order to stand out above the rest.
Building a relationship with an influencer is a lengthy process and this relationship shouldn’t end simply because your campaign or project is over. Working with an influencer should be seen as a long term investment. Whilst there may be peaks and troughs in terms of relevant activity, it’s more likely than not that you will wish to work with them again. In addition you may find the influencer approaching you with valuable opportunities in the future.
The quickest way to damage your future with an influencer is to only interact with them with you want something. Work on maintaining relationships, cultivating professional friendships with your influencers-turned-ambassadors, and keep up to date with their projects regardless of whether or not you’re involved in them.
Relationship maintenance can be a tricky area to navigate. For many business owners, working with influencers is uncharted territory that comes with a set of unfamiliar, ever-developing, rules and customs. Working with an agency like Jelly affords you the luxury of knowing that your campaign is safe in the hands of partnership building experts, here to help craft the perfect professional relationship to the benefit of both yours and your influencers’ brands.
If you'd like to find out more about Jelly's campaign development, relationship management, and PR services then email us at email@example.com.