When you first get started with influencer marketing, a lot of your focus is going to be on outreach—striking up that first conversation, getting that first collaboration. But what happens after that?
There is no reason to make a collaboration with an influencer a one-time deal if you don’t have to. If they are a good fit for your brand, and you for theirs, you can reap a great deal more value out of the relationship if you build it into a long-term one. Influencer relationships can be a true game-changer.
Here are some of the benefits of long-term relationships with influencers:
- Maximize the value of the work you already put into establishing the relationship.
- Build more brand awareness through continuing collaborations.
- As the influencer gets to know you better, the content they produce will be more effective for helping you achieve your goals.
So, how do you nurture influencer relationships and sustain them? Following are some suggestions.
1. It starts with your first contact.
Ideally, you should be thinking about the long-term from the moment you reach out to an influencer for the first time.
That means that your very first contact should not be a proposal. You should find a way to make your connection look organic. Comment on their recent work, ask them a question, or mention a common acquaintance.
After you have built rapport and showed them you value them as a person, then you can ask about working together.
By taking this approach, you have laid a solid foundation for your long-term relationship.
2. Check in now and again just to say hello.
Want your influencers to know you value them? Reach out now and again after your work together is complete. Do not ask for anything—just say hello, and maybe something nice about a post or video they made. You can even do this in public comments.
These occasional contacts remind the influencer that you exist and help to keep the conversation going. They will make your next request sound more natural and friendly.
3. If you can, bring some free traffic the influencer’s way.
Look for ways that you can offer value to the influencer in between campaigns. For example, maybe you can link out to them every now and again in your own social media posts or email newsletters.
In doing so, you bring them free traffic, and you also publicly declare that you support the work they do. This may be a way to win them some fans—after all, you have influence too!
4. Offer freebies and invitations without expecting a return.
Another option for nurturing your influencer relationships is to periodically send them some kind of freebie or perk. You are not doing this to try and get them to mention you in their blog or vlog—you are doing it “just because.”
Have you ever considered what the emotion of delight really is? It is what we feel not just when we have a pleasurable moment, but when that moment is a surprise.
When an influencer receives a freebie from you in the mail out of nowhere, they will feel delight, especially if they are a genuine fan of your brand. The same goes for invitations to your trade show booth or to special events.
In fact, something small like this can sometimes make someone’s entire day, so it is a wonderful way to demonstrate value.
And while you are not asking for a return when you do these things, don’t be surprised if you end up getting a few grateful mentions from them anyway.
5. Pay your influencers well.
You need to compensate your influencers with cold, hard, cash.
Even though this advice is more for how you should manage your collaborations and not on what goes on between them, we feel it still deserves a mention here.
So many companies think that influencers are paid exclusively in free samples, but this is not the case. A lot of these people are working hard trying to pay their bills. They need to earn a living, and free samples won’t help them do that.
If you offer competitive payments, your influencers will remember that, and they will actively look forward to the next time you get to work together.
6. Facilitate networking.
Don’t have anything for an influencer to do right now, but know another opportunity that would be a perfect fit for them? Make an introduction. Everyone appreciates referrals. By helping your influencer to build valuable relationships with other businesses, you further develop your own relationship with them.
7. Share your stats.
For an influencer to succeed, they need to be able to demonstrate to businesses that they are able to give them a measurable boost. While they can point toward their own numbers as evidence (i.e. their views and followers), they may wish they could offer more.
You can help them out. After your campaign, you may be able to estimate what boost in traffic, views, and followers you saw as a result of working with them. Take the time to share that data with them. In doing so, you are giving them proof that they in turn can share with prospective clients.
That wraps up our recommendations. We know that it can be challenging to stay in contact with the people that you collaborate with, and we hope that our tips can help you to foster your relationships with your influencers. Taking the time to regularly nourish those relationships can help them grow, leading to abundant opportunities for future collaborations.