Having managed hundreds of marketing collaborations between influencers and brands, we have seen our share of brand-blogger relationships. One question we often hear from brands is how to foster better relationships with influencers, and get more out of each collaboration. We went straight to the source for the answers, taking advice from bloggers themselves. Here were their top four tips:
Be Supportive About Disclosure
Although brands and influencers alike universally shied away from disclosing brand relationships in the early days of influencer marketing, this dynamic has changed. Disclosure is now an important concern for both brands and bloggers, particularly after the FTC issued a note to 90 influencers reminding them to properly tag their sponsored posts. The rules are not always clear, however, and bloggers have indicated that they’re looking to brands for guidance. To show that you support and expect disclosure, start by learning the guidelines that apply to your brand and make disclosure part of your collaboration requirements. Communicate with bloggers so they understand that following the rules is important to you. You’ll not only have problem-free content, but you’ll also build a stronger personal relationship with your influencers, which is the very basis of successful campaigns.
Put Your Expectations in Writing
A simple way to improve influencer collaborations is to put your ideas and expectations in writing. A vague invitation to “collaborate” isn’t likely to receive a response, influencers say. Bloggers, like editors, are overwhelmed with requests. You’re more likely to spark their interest if you have a clear campaign idea. A good digital influencer marketing platform will provide search parameters that allow you to filter bloggers by compensation preference, ensuring that your expectations are clear before the conversation begins. Finally, always specify in writing what you expect in terms of content produced for each channel, brand messaging and timing. Asking to review posts before publishing can ensure that you’re on the same page before the collaboration goes live.
Think Outside Your Wallet
If you’ve been hesitant about considering “high influence” bloggers because of the perceived expense, consider this: leading bloggers have indicated that exposure on your social channels can be as attractive as monetary compensation. When your audience closely aligns with an influencer’s, exposure to your social channels can help build their own following, leading to a cost-effective and mutually beneficial collaboration. Likewise, emerging bloggers chime in that they can be just as valuable as top influencers. In many cases, micro-influencers offer higher engagement rates and their audiences more closely follow their recommendations, which means a higher return on investment for brands.
Never Stop Engaging
If you want to build your brand’s social following, top influencers offer this advice: genuinely engage with your followers and potential customers. Many established bloggers attribute the growth of their Instagram audience to sparking genuine conversations with all kinds of accounts — from those with 100k followers to those with 100. The same goes for brands. The more people you engage, the more long-term followers you will attract. The key is to make your comments meaningful and original. Writing more than a thumbs-up emoji goes a long way.