Since the dawn of man, word of mouth was the primary means of information transmission. We shared information and knowledge by talking to one another. Not much has changed today in the dawn of the internet, except that word of mouth has been commoditization and is an invaluable tool for digital marketing. Word of mouth marketing, otherwise known as word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), is changing the shape of marketing and advertising as we know it at lightening speed, and the marketing industry is doing everything it can to keep up.
Understanding the ins and outs of running an influencer marketing campaign is a must, but this understanding reaches far beyond strategy. Brands and agencies can put together influencer marketing strategy for campaigns all day long, but the industry will not evolve or advance without a deeper understanding of how to manage influencer relations. This aspect of influencer marketing is so important that it has a term: Influencer Relations Management. Today’s article will take a closer look at this topic and pinpoint the best ways brands and agencies can manage their relations with influencer for successful campaigns and long-term influencer relationships.
Influencer Relations Management Tips
1. Back to basics
It’s easy to forget relationship basics when those relationships exist in virtual reality. Something happens to us when we are on the internet because it feels less real. A person’s identity now amounts to nothing more than images and texts, which somehow gives people permission to treat them as “less than”. In fact, we are all still the same people online as we are offline. This seems like an obvious statement, but some brands or marketers forget this truism when engaging with influencers.
Getting back to basics will improve influencer relations when brands connect with influencers on a genuine basic human relationship level.
2. Mi casa es su casa
“My house is your house” means, “What is yours is mine.” In the context of influencer relations management, it means, “Treat others as though you want to be treated.” Professionals seek to engage with influencers every day, many in a less than professional manner. Influencers will be more responsive and successful partners when treated as professionals.
3. The tortoise beats the hare
Slow, steady, long-term thinking wins in the influencer marketing game. Managing influencer relations successfully means taking the time to build a viable relationship with influencers. It also means cultivating a strong enough relationship with an influencer that they can work with you on multiple campaigns. In other words, you can secure a brand ambassador. Influencers respond best when they feel they are being taken seriously, their work is respected and appreciated, and a brand shows interest in a long-term partnership.
4. Bring value
The brand-influencer relationship is complex and mutually beneficial. Influencers benefit from brands as much as brands benefit from influencers. While influencers are in a position to help brands grow exponentially, brands can do the same for influencers in a number of ways. Will you offer a monetary incentive for the influencers’ work? There are different ways to bring value to an influencer alongside financial gain, including things like product samples, cross promotion, and long-term partnerships. Before you put an offer in writing, be sure that it is equivalent in value to the work your influencers will do for you. If you are unsure about how much work goes into an influencer sponsored campaign, ask your influencer how many hours and what they typically charge per post (or hour) in order to put together an agreeable campaign contract.
Diana Ross’ song RESPECT danced through my mind as I wrote this final influencer marketing relations tip. Somehow the concept of respect is forgotten in relations between marketers or brands and influencers. While the psychology behind this is unclear, what is clear is that no one wants to be treated with disrespect, and no one wants to work with people who do not show them respect. Below are a few ways you can ensure there is respect in your relationship with influencers:
- Know each influencer individually – information on their background, story, history, and more.
- Communicate in ways that convey respect and a desire to build an ongoing relationship.
- Commit to reasonable and sufficient wages – do not expect influencers to work for free (it’s called bare minimum wages, folks).
- Think about how you want to be treated in a professional setting, and treat influencers in the same way.
These tips are not groundbreaking. Will you be successful navigating influencer relations? Only time will tell, but follow these basic suggestions and you will be well on your way.