Ramya started my career in advertising as an intern and slowly grew to becoming a social media strategist. She worked with a renowned ad agency for 2.5 years and started her entrepreneurial journey right after. Her first venture was into giving turnkey solutions to F& brands at a Pan India level – right from designing, social media content, PR to menu engineering, influencer outreach. When she saw real time sales in the outlets which was due to the strategic influencer marketing, She thought of founding whoppl – which is mainly strategic influencer content marketing.
Influencer relations is a protracted strategy for connecting with social media influencers that are a perfect match for your product and business. Brand advocacy is the ultimate goal of influencer relations. It seeks to convert influencers in the targeted industry into brand champions by cultivating successful relationships with them rather than merely paying them. This is the primary distinction between influencer marketing and influencer relationships. Influencers are viewed as brand partners and followers rather than advertising billboards in influencer relations. You want to appeal to their emotions and build a true connection with them over time in the belief that it will pay off in the long run.
The Transition from Influencer Marketing to Influencer Relations
The goal is to interact with influencers on a daily basis, have positive interactions with them, and become a part of the conversation in your sector. In that respect, it’s more of a communications effort than a marketing activity. It also helps brands build their credibility by leveraging the same influencers for the communication. Today, brands want a bunch of loyalists who can speak on behalf of them instead of being transactional.
However, influencer relationships are inexpensive. Making beneficial connections with relevant influencers can transform them into brand advocates who will freely reach the target market through their following. It is more genuine this way because customers are becoming more adept at spotting compensated commercial collaborations. Building a relationship will ultimately make campaigns more real, resulting in better results and enhanced brand image and recognition. You may improve brand knowledge and perception by being a part of the industry dialogue and “circle of influencers.”
The Perils of Influencer Relationships
Influencer relationships have numerous perks. However, like any other technique, it has its limitations and may not be appropriate for every brand out there. Here are some of the most important challenges you should be aware of as a business:
Influencers with whom you’ve developed a relationship may frequently mention your brand to their audience. Their efforts may result in sales later on, but it can be difficult to determine where such business comes from. Even if you provide trackable links for influencers to share with their audience, there is no guarantee that they’re using them. Instead, their followers may eventually buy anything from you directly through your website. Many times brands leverage exclusive coupon codes & affiliate programme links where an influencer gets an exclusive offer for their followers & also make a % of income through sales of the products.
Suggestions for the Transition to Influencer Relations
Now that we are aware of the difficulties involved with the move to influencer connections, the following are effective techniques for assisting the change:
Identify influencers who are a good fit and building a community
The first step is to find the appropriate types of influencers who would be a good fit for the company. Creating relationships with specific influencers will deliver the highest return on investment. This is likely the most crucial phase in the entire procedure. Make certain that the influencers you seek are relevant to your brand. Remember, it’s all about making genuine relationships – and that won’t happen unless the people concerned are a good match.
Identifying relevant influencers entails carefully examining the audience’s and values to ensure that they are aligned with the brand. Examine their findings and ensure that their audience demographics match your target population.
Develop your relationships
The initial email sent to influencers should be professional, polite, and individualized. Generic, mass outreach emails will not suffice here.
Each message must be tailored to a certain influencer. Do your homework first, and demonstrate that you are acquainted with their accomplishments as well as what they represent. If they don’t respond right away, try not to write too many follow-up notes and spam their inbox. Keep in mind that this would be a long-term plan. If you’re negotiating a strategy with them, make sure you fully spell out the conditions and intentions, and always communicate in a professional and respectful manner. Using an agreement for this is a fantastic idea.
Be open to discussion and debates so that you may reach an agreement that you both agree on. After all, this isn’t just a business deal. The idea is to create a positive connection, which means you should both be satisfied with the arrangement. Don’t just disappear after you’ve launched the campaign. Show your appreciation by checking in on a frequent basis to ensure that everything is running well. It’s also a polite effort to like, comment, and repost any content shared by the influencers. Remember that things don’t always go as planned the first time. If a problem occurs, check in with them to find out exactly what happened, but be prepared to listen to what they have to say. Maintain a warm and polite demeanor. Mistakes happen all the time!
When the campaign is done, thank them for their efforts and stay in touch. Continue to interact with their content and connect with them to strengthen your relationship. This will ultimately make collaborations run more smoothly and may lead to them becoming brand ambassadors.
The most crucial piece of advice is to always be genuine. Working with relevant influencers that share the brand’s values and sincerely believe in their products or services is the only way to go. The goal is to establish a relationship in which it is natural for the influencer to promote your brand. If their supporters assume the partnership is merely for financial gain, it will harm your brand’s image and have a negative impact on the outcome of the collaboration. Most professional influencers will only work with products they are passionate about or believe they can promote legitimately. They don’t want to jeopardize their relationships with their fans.
These are the influencers you want to deal with; avoid those who will collaborate with anyone who offers them a large sum of money.
Instead of advocating on behalf of brands, they will collaborate with them. They’ll cradle their audience against their chest. They will advocate for their own brand values and will collaborate with brands they use, themselves. As a result, influencer marketers have begun to shift their focus on influencer relationships. This shift in focus necessitates a brief understanding of the above listed strategy.Also, this gives them a chance to speak about the brand they truly believe in and love, so it becomes much more authentic & valuable than a transactional or a one off collab.