Some brands treat influencers as their employees – almost always short-term employees that may only do one work task, but still. This is one of the reasons why such collaborations are that short. But in fact, influencers are usually self-employed as, well, influencers or creators: they dedicate all their working hours to creating content, developing their social media accounts, attracting, engaging, and making audiences loyal, and expanding social media presence.
In point of fact, a brand’s relationship with a social media influencer is a business partnership, and it has to be treated just like that. When nurtured wisely and with great attention and care, such partnerships become long-term, exclusive, and bring more profit to both parties, just like in any other business partnership.
Read further to learn more about the benefits of long-term partnerships between businesses and influencers and the ways of building healthy profitable relationships with creators.
Longtime collaborating influencers build trust for your brand and increase ROI
If a brand focuses exclusively on short-term creator partnerships, the ROI of its influencer marketing campaigns becomes limited. Sponsored content that appears irregularly and never or rarely involves the same influencers can lead your customers to doubt the relationship between your brand and the creators. Consumers can see such situations as no more than mere promotions, in worse cases – soulless, insincere, and inauthentic. While they trust influencers a lot and tend to follow their advice, the advice has to be genuine.
Consumers that are aimed at during influencer marketing campaigns always have questions like “Why exactly is my favorite person on social media recommending this specific product or service? Is it because they themselves are genuinely involved with the brand, use the product, and want to share what’s good with me? Or is this particular advertising just a way for this influencer to make some quick money?”
And when an influencer repeatedly talks about some brand and shows its products – or even one product they like the most (and the company wants to promote the most) – it makes their recommendations more trustworthy. This makes a consumer see that the relationship between the influencer and the brand is earnest, therefore the advice the influencer has for their followers is heartfelt.
No need to explain how all this increases consumers’ trust for the brand and strengthens their intention to buy from it, and even do so on a regular basis.
And in the end, the traffic that the influencers steers to the brand’s direction is of high quality, marketing experts admit according to BuzzGuru’s research.
No, this doesn’t mean a business has to abandon short-term influencers – there is time and place for them – we will talk about it further. But a long-term influencer partnership appears to have the greatest ROI, since it allows for the expansion of reach and the building of customer trust over time. BuzzGuru’s research shows that influencer marketing ROI measured by the marketing specialists is either comparable or even better than that of other channels.
Adopting influencer’s pre-made loyal community
Creators are trusted sources of authority among fans and followers, so when they share a product with their audience, the associated brand’s credibility instantly increases. This is one of the main reasons why influencer marketing is so effective and why businesses turn to social media influencers in the first place. Influencers already have loyal audiences, their followers form entire communities centered around the influencers, their personalities and content. According to the new data released, 81% of consumers have either researched, purchased, or considered purchasing something after seeing posts about it created by influencers, as well as friends and family.
Collaborating with an influencer a brand gets access to their community – and it is a broad road where the followers greet them with interest and loyalty. Influencers’ engagement is higher than the brands’, and reaching the influencers’ audience a brand gets to experience this same level of engagement. According to BuzzGuru’s research, 60% of marketers say that the content created by influencers performs better and drives more engagement compared to the posts made by brands themselves.
Brands directly reach organic communities by partnering with content creators and social media influencers, thereby building brand awareness and gaining trust among consumers. Instead of mentioning a brand once and doing so in-between their organic posts, breaking the overall flow, creators who have an ongoing partnership with a brand can mention it naturally and multiple times within their feeds over time.
Another advantage of a series of posts mentioning the same brand or the same product is that people memorize it a lot better. Consumers often have to be told something several times before they remember it. When followers see the same brand recommended over and over by the same creator, the one that is considered to be an authority for them, the brand becomes very fast to come to mind when the consumers start thinking about making a purchase. The brand gains “stickiness”, and it increases with time, especially when the mentions go on.
Long-term relationships with influencers result in multiple credible touchpoints with consumers
It is believed that it takes eight touchpoints to close a sale, on average. From this point of view, it is easy to see why getting an influencer to agree to make a few posts over a period of time is more effective than arranging only one promotional post in Instagram or video on YouTube, for example.
A touchpoint may be a post on Instagram, Facebook ads, an old-school offline banner across the street, a pre-roll in a YouTube video, a mention in an influencer’s TikTok account. When they get in the consumer’s way as much as possible, it increases the chances of them actually buying what you sell. And here we have to remember that the less authentic and the more annoying the ads are, the less consumers trust them. Once again, it is important to collaborate with influencers exactly because an influencer recommending a brand over and over again and making it natively and organically increases trust.
Start with short-term partnership to test the waters
So, where to start when you are ready to attract socially powerful influencers to become your brand’s ambassadors? First, you need to understand:
- which social media platform is best for promoting your product or service, where your target audience is heavily present;
- which creators will bring your business maximum profit and the highest ROI;
- exactly what content works best for your brand.
To get the answers, you need to run some tests first, and this means you start with short-term influencer collaborations. As the Famesters influencer marketing agency’s experience shows, testing is always an important part of any influencer marketing strategy. Sometimes it only requires one Instagram post or YouTube video to understand that this or that influencer doesn’t suit your businesses needs so well. Sometimes you need to run a few tests and collect more data to draw a conclusion.
Short-term influencer deals are like a sandbox to test ideas and strategies. This allows high flexibility, gives you more opportunities to experiment, see how different creators perform and how audiences on different platforms perceive your ads. The more data you gather during these experiments, the more precise sense of which influencers and content to stick with you get.
Three golden rules of nurturing strong relationships between brands and influencers
Authenticity and creativeness are what actually sell your products
Consumers can easily distinguish between heartfelt advice and recommendations made solely for promotional purposes – that is, for money only, with no deep interest in the product or service. When building a long-term relationship with an influencer, a brand can easily avoid looking fake and too salesy: no need to tell the creator what exactly to say, make some scenarios for them you think will be good. The influencer knows their audience way better, and the audience loves the creative approach the influencer can show. So, trust in your influencer’s expertise and their abilities, share ideas, come up with what to post together.
Communication is the key to satisfaction of both parties
While influencers need space and opportunities to be creative and do what they can do the best by themselves, they also need guidance and support from the brand they collaborate with. So – share. Share your ideas and thoughts about the content, share details and news about your company and its products, keep your business partners up to date, show the influencers the performance metrics you track and find vital. And – listen. Not only do influencers have ideas to share with you, it is also a sign of care: when communicating, listening, and giving feedback, you show that you care about the person, not only about their performance and numbers.
Benefits shouldn’t be limited with money
Yes, money is what initially brings influencers and businesses together. It may seem very simple: a creator gets money for promotion, a company gets ROI from the campaign with the influencer. But there is more in healthy long-term partnerships between brands and influencers, such relations are deeper and more complex. Both parties have to share values to really click well and successfully sell to the audience with – once again – the same values. Also, an influencer that promotes a brand they genuinely love gets emotional satisfaction. And a brand that collaborates with such an influencer gets the most authentic content made by a true adherent.