Terms like influencer marketing and influencer relations have become integral parts of the marketing departments of modern brands. Collaborating with influencers such as bloggers, YouTubers or Instagram stars is a popular tool and can – if implemented wisely – promise enormous success of campaigns. With that in mind, the management of relations in terms of long-term collaborations with influencers is far more important than pure influencer marketing.
Short Product Hype – The Advantages and Disadvantages of Short-Term Influencer Marketing
It is undisputed that collaborating with bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers is promising, if the goals are targeted sales of a specific product and quickly increased brand awareness. Many companies witness the success of widely spread campaign placement and are happy about increased sales numbers. They are, however, not aware that exactly this kind of influencer marketing – widespread and designed for one single product posting per influencer only – can lead to long-term damage to the brand’s image and its authenticity. If you book many different influencers on a one-time basis, you have to take the risk into account that the exact same influencers might advertise competing products only days or weeks later. Not only will the authenticity of the influencer suffer from this seemingly indecisive behavior, but especially that of those brands which enforce short-term collaborations with bloggers or YouTubers.
Important Factors When Choosing the Right Influencers
To ensure permanent success of influencer marketing and to build and strengthen a brand’s image, many factors have to be taken into account when trying to find the perfect influencers to work with – not only the KPI reach, which appears to be the center of attention when agencies make their choices. If you only rely on reach and ignore further hard factors, such as engagement rates and cost per click, and soft factors, such as establishing positive brand images and affected buying decisions, you will not be successful with your marketing strategy in the long run.
Besides reach, detailed research is a must: If you want to book an influencer, you have to know about their content and target group. A large reach is useless, if the target group and the demographic data of the influencer’s following aren’t compatible with the brand’s statistics. The engagement rate of an influencer shows how strong the connection and personal relationship between him and his followers is and, accordingly, how well he can influence them and their opinions.
A compact and comprehensive overview of these facts is usually given in the media kit of an influencer. But as numbers are likely to be inaccurate, it is recommended to ask for up-to-date daily exports, for example from Google Analytics. If you prefer building influencer relations over one-time product placements, it will lead to a transparent and trusting relationship with the influencer in the long run, with no need to necessarily control their numbers.
Influencer Relations: Building a Lasting Brand Image
A single post featuring one product surely can’t influence buying decisions of users in the long run. If, however, an influencer keeps writing about certain products and mentions the corresponding brand regularly, doesn’t feature any competing products and always finds new ways to present the brand, you are on the right track. If the influencer then doesn’t desperately try to plant the product in the followers’ minds but rather shares a passion for the brand with them, he will make up for a long-term testimonial. That way, he or she will be associated with a brand, even when there is no specific advertisement currently running.
To analyze the success of influencer relations and to find out to which extent the buying decisions can be influenced, there are a number of specific payment methods that come in handy. One example is a participation model, which allows the tracking of sales by handing out personalized voucher codes to the influencer who shares them with his followers. That way, conversions are transparent for both sides.
To sum up, building long-term relations brings a lot of advantages both for companies and the chosen influencers. A respectful and honest collaboration in which a relationship can grow organically is worth a lot more than one single sales boost that can even bring image loss when choosing the wrong influencers. Let us hope that companies will move to building influencer relations and adapt their marketing strategies accordingly.