One of the success factors in influencer marketing campaigns is the good relationship between brand and influencer. Once a loyal affinity is established in which both feel comfortable to discuss and create content, the work develops better and results tend to be satisfactory.
On the book “Influencer Marketing for Dummies”, authors Kristy Sammis, Cat Lincoln and Stefania Pomponi talk exactly about how a well elaborated approach can generate positive results on the influencer marketing strategy.
“Respectfully approach your selected influencers, as if you were asking them to get into a professional relationship with you – and you actually are! Point out clearly why you chose them among the other influencers on that social network (maybe you like their point of view, their ability to tell stories or photography skills) and tell them how they will be useful to you. This will bring you results in the future”.
However, creating a connection with an influencer isn’t something that happens overnight. First, it is necessary to understand who you intend to activate and follow some of the chosen individual’s steps. Brands should understand the 5 steps of the influence ladder, explained below:
Stranger: an influencer with whom the brand has had no contact yet, who therefore does not know it. At this stage, we recommend that you like or follow all the influencer’s channels and start interacting with him or her, participating in their networks.
Acquaintance: influencer who already knows the brand. This becomes evident when an influencer talks about your brand or interacts on social networks.
Interested: influencer who shows interest for the brand, replying to comments more frequently, liking pages, exchanging messages, and talking more about it. At this stage, you can propose the co-creation of content that may legitimately help the influencer grow his or her networks and improve engagement with the followers.
Engaged: influencer with whom you are communicating, and besides going through the previous steps, you may ask to participate in events, co-creation of content and even go for the hiring, if that is the case.
Promoter: influencers that you clearly see, through their contents, that they are brand promoters. Frequently, they use, suggest, and talk about the brand. We strongly recommend the relationship, and who knows, turn them into an official influencer, as a genuine promoter of the brand.
Tip: The print above was taken from influency-me platform, which has over 65,000 digital influencers. On this influencer marketing tool, it is possible to find the ideal creators for your brand based on the 5 steps of the influence ladder. Learn more
How to naturally connect with influencers
Initial interaction is the most important one. As influencers themselves use to say, first impression is also the last. That means you should get their attention and cause an interesting impact. You never know when there will be a second opportunity, and if there is, it means your first experience was successful.
For that reason, the connection model with influencers becomes essential. If you intend to contact someone on social networks, it is interesting to first follow their status updates and their regular posts. Then, share some content in your circle and comment so that the influencers know you are present in their online environment.
Mistakes in the relationship with the influencer
Brands that communicate with influencers directly increase campaign productivity by 21% – 32% on average. That means they reduce your campaign process in 10 to 18 days.
It is important for the company to understand that when they establish a partnership with a certain creator, they will know better than anyone how to communicate with their audience. Therefore, when the influencer has the freedom to produce content, the chance of the campaign to work is better. Journalist Edson Castro, one of the founders of “Manual do Homem Moderno” blog, spoke of a recent experience, when a certain brand tried to direct the content.
““When a brand comes to us, it must understand that I’m not being hired as an actor, but as their spokesperson within my content. That is the difference. I believe in their product, otherwise I wouldn’t be posting about it on my channel. However, we have our own way of speaking. Recently, a brand wanted our partnership, but said we could not use slangs. Right there and then I didn’t accept it, because I have always used slangs and it’s part of my communication. I’m not going to communicate with my audience like William Bonner, because I’m not him. The brand has to understand that it’s hiring an advertiser package, not a package of famous actors”.
The fact related by Edson Castro is far from being the only one. Many companies fail in that sense. Almost 40% of influencer bloggers say that the biggest mistake brands make when they establish partnerships with them in influencer marketing is the excess guideline restriction in the content they produce.
Antonio Tabet, from Porta dos Fundos, speaks from experience that freedom of creation is essential for the content to be good, original and to please both brand and audience.
“Whenever companies allowed us to work the way we know how, it has always worked out very well. When the company began to influence too much or wanted to direct our video, we didn’t create the material, or it didn’t turn out good”.
According to Econsultancy, 93% of influencers think they should be directly responsible for the storytelling of a campaign, with no interference from the brand. The Porta dos Fundos YouTube channel approached the subject in a fun way. with a satire about the mistake brands make when starting a relationship with creators.
Ask the influencers for help
When approaching them, remember that the idea is to obtain help from them. Therefore, be clear about it. Every successful mentor can effectively help when they understand the person’s intention.
From the moment you obtain the attention of a certain influencer, be specific and clear about what kind of help you are looking for, otherwise, they will certainly not waste their time reading your long e-mails with emotional stories and unwanted messages.
Make sure you have an effective and direct communication with them, always politely. If you are not sure yet of how to approach influencers and develop a spontaneous trust-based relationship, some tips may ease the process:
- Filter your research and choose up to three influencers, especially those you would like to contact the
- Prepare a strategy to get their attention. Being present and using social networks may be perfect ways to start.
- Write a message that goes straight to the point, clearly and politely. Writing a convincing e-mail on the first approach may win the influencers.
- Ask for help, but don’t beg for it. Avoid sending several messages and don’t show despair. That may kill the influencer’s mood.
- Study the influencer. Know their YouTube channel and other networks where they are present. Also, see how they communicate with their audience.
- Don’t be an opportunist with your approach, because influencers will know if you are only thinking of the benefits for your brand or product.
- Understand they are not poster-boys.
We can then come to the conclusion that if you are patient and follow the steps listed above in your influencer marketing, the chance of attracting influencers in your niche and being successful with them will be huge.
Focus on building a long-term relationship in influencer marketing
Throughout the time, while brand and influencer strengthen their relationship, they begin producing much better content together. Always with the influencer’s identity and format, giving him the freedom to create. Both sides learn how the other operates and the campaign becomes more effective every time.
Besides, the more you stimulate them and bet on the authenticity of the influencer’s content, the less will be your average cost per post. Never be afraid to negotiate prices, be it with the influencer directly or their management team. There will always be some room to negotiate a lower fee and discounts for various posts, or videos, depending on your strategy.
Brands and influencers, or everyone who worry about the marketing world, will face the terms owned, paid, and earned media. The media values are important factors when planning the allocation of a marketing budget.
Therefore, it is essential to define the distinct forms of media and know their results, as well as how they happen and how they can be processed. That way, marketing professionals can combine all three forms and reach their goals.
Understanding earned media
Earned media, or spontaneous media, refers to any communication related to a brand, such as sharing, replies, recommendations and reviews that are published by external sources, such as clients, partners, and influencers, for example.
For companies, being mentioned by the press or customers reviews generate backlinks, positive for SEO, and contribute for their earned media. On social media, all posts in which your brand is mentioned increase your media value (organic).
For influencer marketing, earned media is the best way. Having influent people as defenders of your brand and customers speaking positively about your business show interest and satisfaction, building a good relationship and opening up a channel of communication with the influencer. Pablo Peixoto, from the Quatro Coisas channel, reinforces that chain of through:
“If you want a campaign with 100,000 views, alright, we can add that to the quote. However, if you want 100,000 people to love your content, to love your brand, you can’t buy that”.
Besides, one of the most annoying things on the internet today are the banners that appear when you surf a website. That’s why many people nowadays install ad blockers on their browsers. According to a Page Fair report, the use of adblockers worldwide increased 30% in 2016 (615 million devices).
That doesn’t happen with influencers. They work as a channel, allowing your brand to reach other people without bothering them with ads, because they lead the content themselves.
Andrew Davis, author of the book “Brandscaping”, better explains how that spontaneous relationship between brand and influencer work:
“The best relationships with influencers are not superficial, they are authentic, and I think most brands simply seek the influencer who has an audience they want, and then send an e-mail offering a partnership, going through their agent or whoever they have to in order to obtain a unique success. Relationships with influencers that I’ve seen becoming successful are those that people from the brand began as fans in the first place so that the brand would be authentically engaged with the influencer’s content”.
As a counterpoint, we have paid media, which matches traditional publicity (purchase of advertising space) and owned media, which are the web properties that are prerequisite (website, mobile, blog, etc.). However, earned media is the best way to start a sincere and organic relationship in influencer marketing. Results can be measured in the future, but the partnership work is much easier when there is a mutual admiration between brand and influencer. In order to better understand between medias, see below an image by Titan SEO which sums up each one of them: