Influencer collaboration is more than just pushing a product onto an influencer’s audience. Find out the right steps and elements needed to ensure a successful influencer campaign every time. As a result, you’ll be able to have stronger outreach and higher conversions than you thought possible. Here are the 10 elements to create effective collaboration between your brand and your influencer.
At some point in your digital marketing arsenal, you are going to devise a strategy involving a social media influencer. This is a key collaboration that can help launch your product or help with a promotion due to the actively engaged audience an influencer already has. Yet how to collaborate with other influencers properly is something that requires an appropriate amount of planning and managed expectations for a successful joint venture. Don’t just rush in and assume that the influencer collaboration will go smoothly with some notes and a product.
WHAT IS AN INFLUENCER COLLABORATION?
An influencer collaboration is where a brand works with an influencer to help promote its product, brand, or service. This collaboration can come in a few different formats based on the partnership’s budget, timeframe, and desired output.
TYPES OF INFLUENCERS COLLABORATIONS
The most common type of influencer collaboration would be the sponsored post. This is where there’s a fixed price paid for the influencer to promote the brand with a one-time post. These could be social media posts or blog posts, such as guest blogging, to help promote the relevancy and authenticity of the content being viewed.
Other types of influencer collaborations can be promotional giveaways and gifting, complete social media takeovers, and even brand ambassadorship, where the influencer becomes a more permanent fixture in the overall marketing and branding process.
10 ELEMENTS REQUIRED TO CREATE EFFECTIVE COLLABORATION BETWEEN YOUR BRAND AND YOUR INFLUENCER
- Research the influencer
Yes, it always starts with the actual due diligence of the influencer. Does engagement level follow the number of followers? Is the content relevant to what your brand is trying to promote? Take the time upfront to ensure there’s alignment between the influencer and the brand. Otherwise, it will not come off authentic and may hurt the brand and influencer alike.
- Be clear on the message of the content
This is akin to an influencer brief. Although it may come off naturally, a lot of sponsored content is scripted one way or the other. Make sure that there’s a clear message of what to promote and how to promote it. Give the influencer enough information to be able to discuss the product or brand properly, and be prepared to give the product to the influencer to be able to promote the product through their interpretation and content.
- Agree upon which channels to push said content
This can help the influencer build out the right type of influencer package for the brand. For example, is it meant to go on social media channels as a post, an image, a video, or a live stream? Make sure to agree to it beforehand because this requires different levels of effort to be effective and reach the target audience. When to post can be left to the influencer as they understand their community the best and what the highest saturation point and time would be.
- What are the goals / Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the content?
Have these clearly defined ahead of time as well. Is it just click-to conversions and sales? Does a certain target need to be hit? Then that should be clarified before the promotion. Are traffic and impressions important as well? Maybe it’s just an increase in engagement and followers on the brand’s social media channels. All of these are relevant and useful, and your influencer will do their best to push and guide their captive audience to the right type of call to action.
- Give enough time
Even though influencer marketing seems very fluid and easy to produce, there’s usually a team behind it. That means giving them time with your influencer brief to build the right type of content the first time. After that, they’ll want to go through several iterations and practice reels to get the right kind of post, video, or blog for your content. Be prepared to review these and offer revisions or suggestions that may be better aligned with your brand. Remember, it’s a collaborative process.
- Manage expectations
Most of these types of posts won’t go viral, but they will make an impact. Make sure to understand that this will take patience, and even with a one-post sponsorship job, to get the right traction to the post itself, and then through to the call to action will take some time. Influencer collaboration takes time to grow, and those shares, reposts, retweets, and so on is an overall process that doesn’t happen overnight.
- Clearly understand the content rights and usage
Getting this out earlier in the influencer collaboration can save time down the lines with any type of legality. Make sure to set out clearly who owns the content being produced. While it tends to default towards the influencer, the usage is just as important. You want to be able to reuse the content for a set amount of time without any issues from the influencer and past the influencer collaboration timeframe. It’s not fair to the influencer to assume that just because they produced something for you once, you’re able to use it indefinitely.
- Decide how deep the collaboration – one-time guest content or brand ambassadorship
Although this may want to be discussed after an initial collaboration and evaluation of the results, you also want to be clear about the duration. Is it a one-time social media post, one content guest article, or is it with the mindset of getting a new brand ambassador on board? Either strategy works, where you can get multiple influencer collaborations for a launch product as one, or whether you want to have one focused influencer as the face of your brand. It’s all about that consistency and deciding quickly because, as you know – content does take time to produce.
- Discuss compensation methods – upfront, sponsorship, or affiliation
You want to be able to motivate your influencer, and also, a one-time upfront payment, commonly known as a sponsorship, can be enough; one can see great results with a deeper collaboration. The best way to go about this is to consider an affiliation promotion with the influencer that will help the influencer also use their community to generate affiliate commissions. At the same time, this is an excellent method of tracking positive results with these influencer campaigns by monitoring the overall campaign sales.
- Be transparent
Influencer collaboration can be quite successful, but authenticity is the fuel that powers the influencer engine. This is what allows so many influencers to become so immensely popular with their various digital villages, and that needs to remain true even with a collaboration with your brand. That means with all the hashtags out there, be prepared to use those such as #ad or #sponsored, or even state that it’s a paid sponsorship. Don’t try hiding it, as it will be discovered and potentially backfire on the brand and weaken the influencer’s authenticity.
SOME DOS AND DON’TS FOR INFLUENCER COLLABORATIONS
- Do communicate clearly with influencers. Although influencer marketing is a big business, these influencers themselves lead a much different lifestyle (and set of hours) for collaboration. The cleaner you are upfront, the better responses you’ll get.
- Do make sure to give your influencers freedom on how they creatively push your product. Don’t try to have them conform to your brand.
- Do make sure to be selective with who you work with (otherwise misalignment) and to always keep a positive relationship with influencers.
- Don’t be pushy during the content push with your influencers. Instead, give them the space to grow the content organically.
- Don’t ignore the smaller influencers; you always want to work with a mix of micro-influencers to the mega influencers within your budget. Those smaller influencers will have some of the most engaged and active communities out there.
- Don’t just use an influencer once on one channel; always explore different influencer collaborations and record the results.
HOW DO YOU COLLABORATE WITH AN INFLUENCER?
Be clear in what you want from the influencer, whether it’s a post to grow viewership or to become a brand ambassador. Influencers can become quite busy and do want to accommodate all the brands that make sense to them. When you’re clear and upfront with the needs and compensation scheme, it helps show influencers that you mean business.
You can simply reach out to the influencers themselves, but keep in mind that many work for influencer agencies that help to represent influencers and provide a much more effective influencer reach.
Influencer marketing is a staple marketing tactic that requires the right approach. Otherwise, both parties will feel as if they came up short, and the target audiences trying to be captured have gone to waste. So take the time upfront to find the right influencer that will help to promote your brand and product.
For those looking to delve deeper into influencer collaboration or how to collaborate with other influencers, be sure to check out the relevant content in the articles: How to Make Influencer Collaborations Effective and Successful for Your Brand and 11 Questions You Should Ask an Influencer Before Working Together.