Unsurprisingly, hiring an influencer (or influencers) to work with on a collaborative project is pretty much the most important stage of the whole IM process. No pressure right?
Luckily, here at CI we know a thing or two about how to give influencer marketing projects the best chance of success. In this blog post we’re going to be listing the checkpoints that we’ve discovered are essential to forging the ideal influencer-brand partnership, and throwing in a little bit of advice on how best to employ them for good measure.
1. Get to know your audience inside out
We’ve said it countless times before, but knowing your audience is not only important with regards influencer marketing, it’s the entire reason for it. Your audience in this instance are the people you feel you want to reach to take your brand and/or product further. When we say get to know them, we don’t simply mean know who they are. We mean know their age, profession, gender, location, interests and hobbies, digital habits, what social channels they are most active on, what else they buy and how they buy it. This information will allow you to identify an influencer with an audience as closely aligned to your findings as possible. There are countless ways in which to do this – we’ve got you covered in this previous blog post.
2. Stalk your potential influencers
Yes we know, stalking is bad. But before you reluctantly pick up the binoculars and balaclava, we’re talking about stalking your influencer’s online presence and personality – where are they active? Where are their followers most engaged? When do they post? How frequently? What do they post about? What have they recently been enthused about? Have they partnered with any brands before? This information will not only allow you to devise the best way in which to connect with your influencer(s) when it comes to approaching them, it will also allow you to make fully sure that they can reach the audience you want, and how best that could be done.
3. Decide between a single or multiple-pronged approach
Owing to the rise in micro-influencer based IM projects, you might want to consider the benefits of working with multiple influencers to achieve your objectives. Sometimes employing a handful of influencers to work on different aspects of a project can have a much more impactful result than working with just one. Here’s the concept in a little more detail.
4. Get in touch… with a personal touch
Once you’ve narrowed down your pool of influencers to the ones that you can be certain will build a bridge between you and your desired audience, it’s time to let them know. Your previous tireless research will have left you knowing the best platform through which to make initial contact, but you will also now be armed with some specific information about each influencer to use as an icebreaker, and to show that you are interested in them as an individual. While you’re at it, make sure you explain why you feel they would be such a great match for your brand – chances are, if you’ve done your research, they’ll feel the same. Here’s a few more detailed tips for approaching influencers, should you need them.
5. Buddy up
Influencer-brand collaborations aren’t so-named for nothing… So many IM endeavours fail because the brand and influencer haven’t truly collaborated and worked as unit. Planning out how you are going to do so is well worth spending time on. There are myriad different ways brands and influencers can work together, but at the end of the day, it absolutely MUST be mutually beneficial for both parties. Which brings us neatly onto…
6. Be open about your objectives
As much as working with an influencer is more a relationship rather than a business transaction, don’t be afraid to set out your objectives for your influencer(s). They will understand that, at the end of the day, you need to see results from any partnership, and will be more than open to helping you achieve them.
7. Be clear and concise when communicating what you want
So many marketing endeavours fail owing to lack of communication. Setting out your expectations, KPIs and ROIs as clearly and transparently as possible is so important when briefing your influencer. Jargon can be helpful, but can also easily muddy the waters if you’re not careful…
8. Respect your influencer’s expertise
In any partnership, there is a risk of miscommunication and grappling for power. It is imperative to remember why you are working with an influencer in the first place – they can reach an audience that without them, you can’t. Of course, your influencer won’t have the nuanced, inside knowledge about your company values, products, brand guidelines and long-term objectives that you have. BUT, they know how to talk to the audience you want to reach, and that’s what you’re paying for.
9. Be responsive
It’s all very well to set out your desired objectives and ROIs as clearly as possible from the start, but being accessible and responsive to your influencer is just as essential. Don’t assume that your involvement in the project ends as soon as the influencer sets to work – let them know that you are there to offer support and advice throughout the process, and that you are fully invested in its success.
10. Agree payment terms in advance
Payment miscommunications and discrepancies can easily turn an influencer-brand partnership sour. To avoid this as prudently as possible, be sure to agree your payment terms, including amount, any additional fees, payment method and timescale in advance. That way, everyone knows where they stand!