Effective Strategies for Managing Influencer Partnerships for DTC Brand Growth

Jade Cottee
Jade Cottee
Content Marketing Manager
influencer partnerships

Whether you have a big or small DTC brand, increasing its online visibility is the key to success. 

The good news is that influencer marketing can help you achieve that.

However, before you can start working on your first influencer marketing campaign, you should learn the fundamentals of influencer partnerships.

Here are some of the main aspects covered in this guide:

  • Benefits of long-term partnerships with influencers
  • How to nurture influencer partnerships
  • How to measure the success of an influencer partnership

And more.

After covering these topics, you’ll know the most effective strategies for managing influencer partnerships for DTC brand growth.

So, let’s start.

Benefits of Long-Term Partnerships with Influencers

While you can have one-time collaborations with influencers, it’s best to aim for long-term influencer partnerships

That means that the same person will promote your brand for an extended period of time.

But why is that important?

Let’s take a look at how social media influencers can help your business long-term.

  1. Increased brand awareness. Successful influencers have a growing number of followers. Thus, by regularly sharing content with an increasingly wider audience, they boost brand exposure.

Let’s take the example of NutraChamps, a DTC brand that wanted to spread the word about one of its products. 

Using Insense, it identified 322 health and wellness creators who matched their brand. 

Then, each was asked to create 1 reel per week for 4 weeks to engage with the brand audience consistently. 

As a result, most of those reels gained 99K views, a.k.a. 99K people found out about the brand’s product.

  1. Greater brand authenticity and trust. Once social media influencers familiarize themselves with your brand, it becomes easier for them to create more authentic content. 

At the same time, customers trust influencers’ opinions and recommendations. So, over time, they’ll perceive your brand as more authentic and trustworthy.

  1. More audience engagement. Customers are more likely to engage with user-generated content because they consider it more relatable and genuine. Plus, a more-engaged audience can lead to increased conversions.
  2. Higher return on investment (ROI). Traditional marketing strategies are no match to influencer marketing in modern times. 

Due to their reach, authenticity, trustworthiness, and engagement, influencer marketing campaigns can drive more sales than traditional marketing efforts.

Clearly, there are many benefits. But let’s see how you can nurture long-term influencer partnerships.

How to Nurture Influencer Partnerships

To build long-term influencer partnerships, you need to nurture your relationship past the first collaboration.

This usually translates into influencer relationship management (IRM). You can think of it as customer relationship management that focuses on influencers, rather than customers. 

More precisely, your objective is to make influencers happy and encourage them to stay on for extended periods of time. In exchange, they will help you grow your DTC brand.

Step #1: Express gratitude after a collaboration

Keep in mind that you’re not the only business out there using influencer marketing. Therefore, if a content creator accepts to promote your brand, you should express your gratitude for their work.

So, how can you show your appreciation effectively?

  • Send them a personalized thank-you note expressing your gratitude for all the great work they put in. Make sure you address them by name and, if possible, write the note by hand to make it more personal.
  • Tag and thank them on social media platforms to help them grow just as they help your brand grow.
  • Send them a gift. It can be one of your products, as long as it’s not part of an influencer gifting strategy, a.k.a., sending creators free products in exchange for content. This is just a thank-you gift.

Step #2: Seek influencer feedback and insights

Another great way to nurture successful influencer partnerships is to seek their feedback and insights.

Why? Because you can use constructive criticism to optimize your future influencer campaigns. Also, it shows the content creators that you value their opinion and collaboration.

So, ask them what they liked and disliked about the previous campaign and seek suggestions for improvement. 

You can collect this information through one-on-one discussions or surveys.

In addition, you can even ask them to share their opinions on Instagram or TikTok to boost your brand’s authenticity. Still, you should avoid getting defensive in case of negative feedback.

Step #3: Provide exclusive opportunities for the influencer

Surely, everyone likes to feel valued and influencers are no different

So, if possible, you should provide them exclusive opportunities to make them feel special.

Here are a few ideas you can try:

  • Invite them to product launches or various brand events;
  • Provide them behind-the-scenes access to product photoshoots; 
  • Offer them discount codes and early access to new products.
Source: Instagram

All these opportunities foster exclusivity, which is mutually beneficial. 

It shows the influencer’s audience that they are loyal to your brand. That, in turn, will make your brand stand out and boost audience engagement rates and conversions.

Plus, if you play your cards right, over time, this partnership can even turn into brand ambassadorship. That is when an influencer becomes the face of your brand long-term.

Step #4: Collaborate on content planning 

Collaborating with influencers on content planning is a very effective influencer marketing strategy.

By co-creating content for your influencer marketing campaigns, you can generate more relevant and authentic materials. 

After all, these people know their audience better than anyone else. So, they can offer valuable insights on what type of content works best.

Surely, you should clearly explain your campaign goals, timeline, and budget so that the influencer knows what you want and expect of them. 

However, you should also offer them creative freedom to come up with unique content.

Step #5: Recognize milestones and achievements

If you want to build a lasting relationship with your influencers, it’s important to recognize and celebrate their milestones and achievements.

Once again, it’s about showing your content creators that you care about more than your business collaboration and that you truly value them.

Thus, you should avoid congratulating them only for the success of the influencer marketing campaign. 

Instead, take the time to congratulate them for other milestones, like anniversaries or reaching a certain follower count.

To celebrate these important moments, you can share their achievement on social media and add a personal congratulatory message. 

Or you can send them a handwritten congratulatory card.

Step #6: Provide regular updates

Communication is the foundation of any successful long-term relationship, including influencer partnerships.

Thus, you should maintain open communication with your content creators at all times. This means keeping them informed before, during, and after your marketing campaign.

For instance, you should provide regular updates on things like company developments, new product launches and campaigns, and brand updates. 

Even if an influencer is not currently involved in one of your campaigns, this inclusion builds loyalty in your brand and makes them feel part of the team.

To keep the lines of communication open with multiple influencers, you might need to use multiple communication channels. And this is not always easy. 

Instead, you could use an influencer marketing platform like Insense.

Insense allows you to communicate with all your creators in one place by using the Direct Chat feature. As such, you won’t miss any message from them.

Step #7: Offer flexible collaboration formats

As your DTC brand will grow, so will your influencers. So, over time, both your preferences and needs will change. 

Thus, you should stay flexible regarding your collaboration formats. Here are some good examples:

  1. Sponsored social media content collaboration is one of the most frequently used and effective formats. 

It means that your brand pays the influencer for the creation and publication of user-generated content.

  1. Brand ambassador programs are probably the best types of influencer collaborations for DTC brand growth. 

They entail finding an influencer who actually loves your products and wants to use and promote them for a long time. 

As such, that person will become the face of your brand and increase its authenticity.

  1. Influencer affiliate marketing is a great win-win option. Basically, you create promotion or discount codes for your products that you provide the influencer. 

Then, they create content to share those codes with their audience. 

Ultimately, for each purchase made using those codes, you pay the influencer a commission.

So, now that you know how to nurture influencer collaborations, let’s look at some of the best practices for managing them.

Best Practices for Managing Influencer Partnerships

Long-term influencer collaborations are built on mutual respect, trust, and transparency. Here, then, are some best practices that you can apply to this extent.

  1. Be transparent throughout your collaboration by clearly communicating your goals, values, and expectations and ask them to do the same. As a result, you’ll be working toward the same end and have a successful collaboration.
  2. Keep in touch and engage with the content creators, even between influencer marketing campaigns. As a result, you’ll show them you genuinely cherish your relationship.
  3. Keep track of performance metrics at all times and provide updates to your influencers. This way, you’ll give them the chance to improve.
  4. Regularly seek their feedback and suggestions as a way to show them you trust their opinion and to optimize your marketing strategy.
  5. Sign long-term contracts with the influencers to show your commitment to the partnership. These contracts also offer creators stability, which will make them likelier to prioritize your brand over others.
  6. Pay them on time to show you are a serious business that values its collaborations.

However, even if you apply all the best practices, you should still measure the success of an influencer partnership.

How to Measure the Success of an Influencer Partnership

Clearly, a successful collaboration must yield good results. However, to make sure that is the case, you should constantly measure influencer marketing success.

In order to do this, you should first set clear and measurable goals and the key metrics and key performance indicators (KPI) that will measure them. 

Here are the main KPIs you should track:

  1. Reach and brand awareness are among the most important KPIs for DTC brand growth. 

You can track them through the number of new followers and impressions. 

Make sure you also check the campaign search volume and branded hashtags.

  1. Engagement can easily be tracked through the number of clicks, likes, shares, and comments generated by the influencer marketing campaigns.
  1. Conversion is a key indicator of influencer marketing success. 

To be able to track the conversions generated by a certain influencer, you should use trackable links. 

  1. ROI is what any brand is most interested in. After all, this is a business and your main goal is to make a profit. 

So, you should compare the amount of money invested in your campaign to the profit generated by it. 

Using all this information you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your influencer marketing campaign and work together with the content creator to make improvements. 

If that doesn’t work, you should consider ending the partnership. 

But until you reach this point, you should first find an influencer with whom to work.

So, next, we’ll walk you through this initial step.

Best Tools to Find the Right Influencer for Your Brand

Before you can start building long-term brand partnerships, you should find a collaborator. However, identifying the right person for the job can be challenging. 

Why? Because having a large follower count is not enough for the success of a campaign. 

You need someone who aligns with your brand’s values and goals and the target audience demographics.

The bummer is that identifying such a person in the ocean of influencers on various social media channels takes a lot of time and effort that you don’t have.

But fear not, because you can use influencer marketing tools to solve this problem in no time. 

For instance, if you’re a small business with a limited budget, a micro-influencer marketing platform is your best option. A prime example here is Insense. 

Insense is an all-in-one solution that offers an influencer marketplace feature with advanced search filters. As a result, you can narrow your search by location, industry category, audience age, and much more.

Plus, influencer outreach tools like Insense, also enable you to easily communicate with your content creators in one place. As a result, you no longer have to constantly switch among social media channels.

Another great advantage is that Insense lets you track and analyze the success of your influencer marketing campaigns. Thus, you can quickly optimize your campaign if it’s not yielding the desired results.

So, what’s next?

Ready to Start Working with Influencers? 

Now that you know all the effective strategies for managing influencer partnerships for DTC brand growth, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to business.

Keep in mind that finding the right influencers in your industry is only the first step. The real work begins afterward, with nurturing that collaboration for long-term success.

Also, should you need any help going into influencer marketing, don’t hesitate to book a demo with Insense.

Share this article
Jade Cottee

Get started with Insense today

Start getting UGC and collaborating with creators for organic posting and whitelisted ad campaigns.

Diverse images of creators

You might also like...