If you have experience working with influencers, you know that it’s not so easy to engage them. In fact, an Econsultancy study found that attracting and engaging potential influencers is the third biggest influencer marketing challenge. This is alarming since influencer marketing thrives on authenticity. And if there is no authentic connection between an influencer and a brand, the audience can easily distrust the campaign content.
So if you want to guarantee the success of your influencer marketing campaign, it’s crucial that you focus on building and maintaining a strong relationship with your influencers. That’s where influencer relationship management enters the picture.This is the process of managing your relationship with influencers to ensure the authenticity and success of your campaigns.
In this post, you’re going to discover some useful tips on how to do this more effectively and build long-term influencer relationships.
How Authentic Influencers Infuse Authenticity
Authenticity is the essence of a successful influencer marketing campaign. People look up to honest influencers with a unique and genuine voice, which we shall refer to as “authentic influencers.” Authentic influencers already have a dedicated audience, to whom they showcase content related to a specific topic or niche.
They use their YouTube channels, blogs, and social media accounts to share tips and ideas as well as start conversations relevant to said topic or niche. For example, an influencer who is dedicated to creating food-related content would share recipes and cooking hacks that their audience would find useful.
And even when they’re promoting a product or service, they will try and find a way to incorporate said product or service into their usual content.
Authentic influencers don’t just talk about products or services because they have been paid to do so. In fact, they might have spoken about the product or service even before the brand even approached them for a partnership. And they might continue to talk about it even after the campaign is over and they are no longer being paid.
It is because of this that authentic influencers have been able to maintain their authenticity even after they become highly popular. Their audience also looks up to them for useful advice and honest opinions about products they have tested.
They speak about the product or service because they truly like it. And they speak about the topic because they have a genuine passion for it. As a result, the relationship they have with their followers is also valuable. Their followers trust them and return to them to gain more knowledge on the topic or niche.
Normally, authentic influencers would only agree to promote your product or service if they truly like it. This genuine appreciation will also reflect in the way they talk about and showcase the product. So when their followers see them promoting anything, there’s a good chance it will immediately stir their curiosity and perhaps even inspire them to buy it.
One excellent example of an authentic influencer is Tamira Jarrel, who creates content related to makeup and beauty. Before Glossier roped her in as an official rep, she created organic content about the brand in which she tried out their products. This helped her get noticed by the brand, which decided to bring her in as a brand representative.
She now has her own unique rep page where she talks about some of her favorite Glossier products. First-time shoppers can even get a discount of 20% if they make a purchase through this page.
Focus Your Efforts on Relevant Influencers
While your goal is to build a genuine relationship with influencers, it wouldn’t really make sense if that relationship is with influencers who are not relevant to your business. So to make sure your influencer relationship management efforts pay off, it’s important that you focus them only on relevant influencers.
A strong bond with relevant influencers further strengthens the authenticity of your campaign and messaging. That’s because the influencers have fans who keep a close watch on the content they create. If they create content that deviates from their usual topic, it could confuse their audience and perhaps even trigger their suspicion. But if the influencer can creatively blend in your messaging along the lines of their usual content, you could seamlessly win the trust of their followers.
Effective influencers realize the importance of choosing opportunities that are relevant for them and their followers. According to a study by Crowdtap, the biggest motivation for influencers to work with brands is that the opportunity is relevant to their audience. 44% of influencers in the survey chose this as the biggest motivation for working with a brand.
Image Source: Crowdtap
In order to find a relevant influencer that you should build a relationship with, you need to have a clear idea of the audience you’re targeting. Which demographic are you planning to appeal to? What are they talking about and whom do they follow on social media? Which types of influencers do they look up to and which of them would have the strongest impact on their purchase decisions?
The better you know your audience, the easier you will find to identify the best influencers you should work with. And there are several tools that you can use to find influencers in the relevant niche.
Grin is an excellent tool for finding influencers and narrowing down your search to the most relevant ones. You can filter your results by network engagement, network reach, location, and social network. What’s great about this tool is that you can easily view their content along with their verified contact information on the platform.
NeoReach is one of the most popular influencer discovery tools, and has more than 40 filters to help you narrow down your search. You can filter your results based on keywords, profile performance, social media platform, audience demographic, and more.
TapInfluence is another useful platform for finding influencers that your target audience looks up to. The platform comes with an Audience Intelligence feature, which helps you gain a clearer understanding of what the influencer’s audience looks like.
You can use it to discover important audience info such as the household income levels, interests, brand affinities, etc. of the influencer’s followers. This can help you narrow down which influencers would work best for your brand.
Understand the Influencer’s Value and Individuality
A lot of brands make the mistake of considering influencers as “just another marketing tool.” What goes beyond their heads is that influencers are people too. They have their own feeling and expectations. They have their own voice, which they use for engaging their audience. If you wish to build a genuine and long-term relationship with influencers, it is your responsibility to respect their individual needs and expectations.
Some brands tend to be too restrictive and demanding when it comes to influencer content. They think that they have every right to control what the influencer is creating just because they are paying them for it. This could seriously dampen their relationship with the influencers, who might even refuse to work with them for a second time.
According to the previously-cited Crowdtap survey, the biggest reason why influencers work with a brand more than once is because the brand gives them creative freedom. This means they are free to create content for the brand using their own ideas. This is essential not just to strengthen your brand-influencer relationship but also to maintain the authenticity of the influencer’s content. This, in turn, will help in winning the trust of your target audience.
Providing influencers with creative freedom isn’t the only way to show your respect for them as creators. Influencers tend to prefer working with brands who realize the true monetary value of their work. Brands shouldn’t just expect influencers to work for them for free or in exchange for free products or services. In fact, this is the biggest misconception brands have about working with influencers.
68% of influencers said that they are highly likely to partner with a brand more than once if they get competitive competition from the brand. And 54% of influencers in the survey said that a brand respecting them as they would respect other publishers is what would make them want to partner with them again.
It would be wise to do a bit of research and try to find out how much an influencer’s post is worth before you approach them for a partnership. This way, you’ll be establishing yourself from the beginning as a brand that respects their time, energy, and creativity.
However, it’s crucial that you don’t lowball them as you might offend them. At the same time, you shouldn’t be offering them an amount much higher than their actual worth. This could have a negative impact on your budget in the long run.
If you’re not too sure how much an influencer is worth, you can use the handy YouTube Money Calculator tool to make accurate calculations. The tool accurately collects information about the total number of subscribers and video views for different YouTube channels. It then uses this info to calculate the average earnings per video.
If your influencer isn’t on YouTube, you can also use the Instagram Money Calculator. This tool calculates the total following size and takes into consideration the engagement rate of each Instagram profile to calculate how much you should be paying an influencer.
These two tools can give you a fair idea of a good rate to quote when you’re approaching influencers for a partnership. This part can be very tricky because offering too low could offend the influencer and you may never hear from them again. But if you offer them much more than their worth, you could be wasting a lot of precious marketing dollars.
Show Your Respect for Influencers in Your Communication
You’re providing influencers with creative freedom and competitive compensation. However, they may still feel like you’re not respecting them as people because of the way you’re communicating with them. If your tone is very demanding, condescending, and/or blunt, it may be difficult for you to form a bond with the influencers you’re working with.
Right from the start, your tone should be friendly yet respectful so influencers can feel comfortable interacting with you. This can be a huge challenge, so here are a couple of influencer outreach templates you can refer to:
Really love your work! It goes without saying that you have excellent taste in [clothes/food/games/music/etc.].
My name is [Name], and I’m a [position] for [brand/company]. We specialize in [explain product and its specialty], which I think you and your followers would love. If you haven’t tried our products before, I’d be happy to send some your way. Would you be interested?
And if you do end up liking the products, we could talk about starting a campaign together.
Feel free to get back to me if you have any questions.
How’s it going? I’ve been following your work for a while, and I loved your recent piece on [topic]! That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to reach out to you.
But first, let me introduce myself. My name is [Name], and I work for [brand/company] as a [position]. Considering the kind of content you create, we were wondering if you would be interested in partnering with our brand to promote our [product name].
If you are, please let me know when would be a good time to further discuss the details such as campaign requirement and compensation plans.
You can always get back to me if you have any questions.
Thanks in advance![Name]
These are some of the most effective tips that can guide you in your effort to build a strong relationship with your influencers and eventually win your customers’ trust.