How to Cultivate Long-Term Relationships With Influencers

Brands’ partnerships with influencers set them apart from their competitors. Just like how influencers build long-term relationships with their followers, brands need to create strong, lasting connections for an effective marketing strategy. Influencers desire brand collaborations, especially long-term relationships that provide brands continual access to influencers’ creative content and loyal audiences. Strong influencer partnerships result in top-notch content, higher audience engagement, and stronger brand awareness which all lead to increasing ROI.

Why Brands Need Long-Term Relationships with Influencers?

Just like any relations, short-lived partnerships may not yield profitable results. That’s why investing in long-term relationships has a number of benefits. Influencers’ connections with brands affect their produced outcome. What influencers feel about brands they work with reflects on their content. Outstanding brand partnerships generate more committed influencers who value the brand’s success. Well-nurtured brand and influencer relationships will produce longer and more fruitful collaborations. Brands develop greater advantage in the fast-changing world of influencer marketing when they focus on building long-term relationships with influencers.

Although one-time partnerships do have positive results, here are some benefits of creating long-term relationships with influencers rather than one-time deals.

  • Long-term Value

If you’re looking for constant engagement for your brand’s influencer marketing investment, long-term relationships are suitable choices. Lifelong partnerships may yield long-term results. Collaborating with influencers connects brands to the creator’s audiences. A long-term partnership allows influencers to create continuous content for the brand. Influencers’ constant promotion of the brand can build stronger brand recognition and exposure to their audiences that may result in purchases. A brand becomes more credible when viewers see it often as part of the influencer’s daily life. Multiple brand promotion alis proven more effective than one-off posts, yielding better results for the brand over time.

  • Authenticity

One key component of a successful influencer marketing campaign is being relatable and authentic. Long-term relationships allow influencers to actively share photos and/or videos of the product(s) on a regular basis. Brand exposures then lead audiences to develop real connections wi

th the brand. Long-term partnerships also allow influencers to create honest and genuine content for the brands. Extended collaborations permit brands to develop real connections with influencers. As a brand and its influencers create a genuine relationship, the influencer content will be more authentic.

  • Brand Loyalty

Generally, influencers have a pack of loyal followers. Long-term relationships with influencers can help brands turn devoted audiences into loyal customers. When an influencer regularly promotes a particular brand in social media posts, viewers become more aware of the brand. Influencers’ loyalty on a brand may lead to followers’ brand purchases and loyalty in the long run.

  • Genuine Content

One of the advantages of working with influencers for a long period of time is the brand’s access to high-quality, genuine content. Long-term relationships provide influencers more creative freedom in developing content. Over time, influencers become more familiar and aligned with the brand’s goals and concept to help with content creation. Understanding the brand’s objectives helps influencers produce creative, high-quality content. Lengthened partnerships also provide influencers more time to analyze and craft outstanding, highly engaged posts. With long-term relationships, social media curators can expand brand promotions into several posts in an authentic and innovative approach.

6 Ways to Build Long-Term Relationships with Influencers

You already know the advantages of building long-term relationships with influencers. The next step is to get started. Developing a long-lasting collaboration is integral for an authentic and effective influencer marketing campaign. Below are six ways to create and maintain lasting connections with influencers.

  1. Get to Know Influencers Better

How well you know your partner is a key foundation of any strong long-term relationship. Brands that treat influencer collaborations as business deals will only acquire short-term results. Influencers may only value the brand for compensation. In contrast, a brand’s sincere interest in working with influencers may result in genuine and lasting relationships. Brands should take time to know influencers better even before they start working with them. Follow their social media accounts and take time to view their content by reading their blog posts or watching their YouTube videos. Discover their interests, know the causes they support, and leave genuine comments on their posts if possible. Getting to know your influencers will help your brand decide on which influencers align with your organization’s goals and values.

Knowing your influencers before working with them also gives brands ideas on how to approach them. A warm and sincere introduction helps create strong personal connections that can lead to long-term relationships.

     2. Partner with Relevant Influencers

Working with influencers that do not fit your brand is like wearing a pair of shoes one size too small, yielding to ineffective results. If you want to build strong long-term relationships with those that represent your brand, you must partner only with relevant influencers. A study conducted by Crowdtap found that relevance motivates influencers the most when working with brands. Among the participants of the research, 44% of influencers wanted to work with brands catering products and services suitable to their audiences. Many influencers were also interested in working more than once with brands that have suitable offerings.

crowdtap study on influencers motivation behind working with a brand

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Relevance is a key component of a lasting brand and influencer relationship. Brands need to capture audiences that fit their products, while influencers aim to provide content relevant to their niche followers. Most audiences follow influencers who have matching interests and are easily relatable. Thus, influencers seek to partner with brands that will appeal to their engaged audiences to remain authentic. Influencers who develop interest and appreciation for products will be genuine with their endorsements and will continue to promote those products for a long time.

Arts and crafts brand for kids like Crayola actively engage and partner with influencers who fit the brand. In one of the brand’s social media campaigns managed by Forward Influence, Crayola specifically chose arts and crafts mom bloggers to create DIY projects using the brand’s products. The influencers created genuine content since they personally used the products. In turn, Crayola successfully reached their target audience by working with the right influencers. So, if you plan to achieve effective brand campaigns while building strong influencer long-term relationships, choose to work with influencers who are aligned with your brand.

https://www.creatingreallyawesomefunthings.com/tips-for-cleaner-crafting crayola campaign blog

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     3. Provide Influencers with Creative Freedom

According to the research done by Crowdtap, influencers’ top reason for developing long-term relationships with influencers is access to creative freedom. Almost half of the survey showed that participants do not want to partner with brands that provide strict and limiting guidelines on content creation.

crowdtap study on brand partnership with influencers

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Influencers’ creativity made them different from other brand ambassadors and appealed to their audiences in the first place. Excessive restrictions limit an influencer’s creativity in producing engaging and artistic content which may affect relationships with their viewers and the brand. Though, it is important for brands to convey campaign rules and expectations, influencers must be free to come up with ideas for the brand’s projects that are true to the influencer and the brand. Social media creators know how to engage their followers. Allowing freedom to be creative shows that brands trust influencers to engage their audiences without losing authenticity. When influencers feel that brands trust them, they would want to work with them for a long time.

Shutterfly effectively maintained long-term relationships with brand influencers by entailing creativity in content creation. In one of Shutterfly’s campaigns managed by Forward Influence, the brand partnered with three influential mom bloggers to promote their home decor line. Through the course of the seven month ambassador campaign, the chosen influencers  showed creativity by creating DIY and craft projects promoted in their blog posts while using Shutterfly’s home decor products. The campaign produced high engagement rates and sales opportunities, as well as fostered lasting partnerships between Shutterfly and the influencers.

shutterfly home decor by https://thetomkatstudio.com

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     4. Interact with your Influencers Regularly

Consistent interaction with influencers strengthens partnerships and is a key variable in long-term relationships. Involving influencers in your campaigns regularly, even for a small presence, shows that they are important to the brand. Content makers will likely partner with brands for a longer period of time if they feel valued.

Even after campaigns come to a close, brands should keep in contact with influencers. Maintaining communication on a regular basis by following and engaging with the influencers’ content even after the completion of the project is a key component to maintaining a relationship. Brands should engage with influencers by commenting on their social media posts occasionally, initiate face-to-face meetings by inviting content creators to brand events, and become an influencer’s supporter and fan.

Avocados from Mexico collaborated with a number of  influencers in many of their marketing campaigns. The brand knows how important regular interaction with their brand ambassadors is.  When asked how the brand nurtures relationships with influencer partners, Ivonne Kinser, an Avocados from Mexico representative, said,

“We constantly engage with them to nurture the relationship so each of their impressions is more efficient than any purchased impressions… if we put a price tag on the impressions they brought to us, that would be around $2 million, so it’s pretty cost-efficient.”

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     5. Compensate Influencers Fairly

Another way that brands show they value influencers is by providing them with fair compensation. Same with other employees, influencers are more motivated to work if they are equally paid. Though, money is not the only reason why influencers work with a brand, it certainly influences curators’ decision to build long-term relationships with brands.

Unfortunately, a few brands fail to recognize the significance of fair compensation. In the study conducted by Crowdtap, the biggest misconception that brands make when working with influencers is that they work for free or for samples alone. Even if some influencers accept payment in the form of free samples or other incentives, that does not guarantee lasting partnerships. Providing adequate compensation also shows how brands value influencers, including their time and work.

crowdtap study on influencer compensation

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Amazon nourishes relationships with influencers by creating influencer programs that provide suitable income. The brand enlists both macro and micro influencers to review and promote products on their social media channels. Influencers receive commission from the purchases made by their followers. Amazon also allows social media creators to make their own page on the site where their recommendations to their followers can be found. The influencers are paid with different incentive rates depending on the products that were endorsed and sold. By allocating suitable compensation, Amazon bolsters influencer connections that can foster long-term relationships.

amazon influencer program

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     6. Recognize Influencers’ Value

To establish long-term relationships, brands must see bloggers and YouTubers as brand ambassadors and not just promotional tools. A brands’ treatment of content creators affects the quality of their work. When influencers feel valued, they will produce outstanding content and create higher audience engagement which will benefit the brand.

Aside from providing campaign opportunities, brands can make influencers feel valued by providing free vacations or inviting them on brand shows and events. Sending influencers exclusive gifts will also make them feel special. When it comes to creating lasting relationships, being genuine matters. Brands must take time to know brand ambassadors’ interests and build personal and friendly connections. Crafting personalized messages and addressing influencers by their names will make your brand stand out from other generic partners.

Alaska Airlines cherishes brand advocates partnerships through influencer getaways. The airlines brand collaborated with social media influencers for its #Weekendwanderer Campaign. Alaska Airlines sent influencers to travel on selected routes and explored a city while recording their trips in their social media accounts and the campaign’s website. The brand received more than 50 million impressions and two million engagements. Alaska Airlines also obtained immeasurable success in the form of long-term relationships with influencers and brand ambassadors.

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Another way that brands acknowledge influencers’ value is getting creators involved. Brands may show that influencers’ voices matter when influencers are free to share their opinions on content creation and product developments. Most influencers have direct connections with their followers and know the latest market trends. Influencers may provide valuable feedback and new ideas that could positively impact brands. Allowing influencers to share their opinions helps build trust and maintain constant communication that enables long-term relationships.

Wrapping It All Up

Maintaining long-term relationships with influencers is crucial for a beneficial influencer marketing strategy. Strong influencer relations results in authenticity, brand-loyalty, high-quality content, and long-term value. By reviewing the helpful tips provided in this post, you can achieve long-lasting partnerships with brand influencers.

What other ways can your brand implement to build long-term relationships with influencers?

Sources:

Influencer Marketing Trends for 2019

Why brands need a long term relationship with influencers

Why Build Long-term Relationships with Influencers?

How Brands Can Build Strong Relationships With Influencers? (Updated December 2018)

How Brands Can Build Successful Relationships with Influencers

INFLUENCER MARKETING: LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS

5 Benefits of Long-Term Influencer Partnerships

Why Build Long-term Relationships with Influencers?

How Avocados from Mexico recruits 100,000 ‘brand ambassadors’ for the Super Bowl

Steph Curry gets Rudy Mancuso to drop bottled water in catchy Brita music video

Amazon amps up influencer marketing

Why You Need Micro Influencers to Increase ROI
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