Without a doubt, influencer marketing is a powerful and efficient channel for a brand’s long-term content strategy. Influencers are thought leaders whose opinions we trust and value. We marvel at their travel destinations in Instagram posts and attempt at their DIY projects that they seem to complete so seamlessly. We follow them because we are attracted to some quality that they have.
Though influencers may come off as superhuman, it is important to remember that every inch of them is just as human as the rest of us. Influencers enjoy being warmed up to and getting to know their followers as well as the people who they collaborate with on campaigns. The necessity of building and maintaining lasting relationships lies at the heart of successful influencer marketing.
Think about it: If you suddenly needed a favor, would a stranger or someone who you’ve had a positive pre-established relationship with be most likely to help you?
Bingo—the latter. Relationship building is important when you start working with someone long before you actually need something from the influencers and should continue even after your collaboration. Here are a few of my favorite tactics for building the best relationships with your influencers:
1. Interact with them.
Once you identify an influencer, make sure you are interacting with them at any possible level. Pay attention to their content and subscribe to their blog or mailing list. It can be as simple as peppering in your name through likes or retweets. Bottom line: Show them you are interested in their work.
The interaction should continue after you work on a campaign with them. Keep in touch with your influencers with holiday emails and sharing their posts. Thank them for their awesome work on your project, and go the extra mile by sending them a handwritten note. Everybody goes bananas for anything personalized and handwritten. Seriously.
Just like most other individuals in your network, influencers will trust you the more you interact with them. A strong bond will be an indefinite advantage to your role as an influencer marketer.
2. Connect them to opportunities.
Be on the lookout for and share other gigs that you feel are suitable for the influencer. Influencers are thankful for the collaboration opportunities because it means that you remember them and are thinking about them.
The more projects and brands that you connect them to, the more likely they will do favors for you in the future. It is a win-win-win situation in which the influencer is hooked up, the brand receives a new post, and you get your job done.
3. Keep track of them.
After you have grown your influencer network to more than 15 influencers, it becomes harder to manage than it did when there were just five influencers. Organization is key when it comes to making sure you are presenting the right information to the right influencer. Confusing a Mother influencer with a Sports influencer can have big consequences because they are from completely different segments.
When organizing your influencer network, you must make sure to know which segment the influencer is from and where you are in terms of the communication pipeline. Read your emails carefully if you aren’t fully certain, and make notes whenever possible. Note taking is especially helpful when you learn that an influencer is unsatisfied or likes something to be done in a certain way.
4. When to outsource:
As you can see, influencer management can be a time intensive process that requires high levels of organization, relationship management, constant monitoring, follow-up, and someone constantly on call to answer the barrage of questions to be expected from influencers.
For brands to optimize their influencer programs in driving brand awareness, third party validation, engagement, and actions, they need to be working with at least 100 mid-tier influencers (2,500 to 25,000+ unique monthly visitors to their blog or other social networks). Your time and money/gifting is better spent partnering with this group, as they drive 16x the engagement of “A-list” influencers.
Attempting to manage 100+ influencers in-house can be daunting. When you’re ready to outsource, we have an influencer marketing team that manages the process every step of the way, saving you valuable time and money. We also have established relationships with more than 20,000 influencers, and a database of 20 million influencers, allowing your brand to scale faster.