Just like every other brand, it's your dream to work with influencers or content creators for the long term.
Besides, finding an influencer or a content creator who knows the product so much as to be able to create top-tier and authentic content about it is premium gold.
But there’s a problem. Three of them actually ☹️:
- Well-established influencers may demand higher pay over time.
- The content’s quality may dip over time.
- The influencer’s audience may evolve.
Every brand faces these challenges. But fortunately, there are solutions 😊.
And you're about to discover them!
Below, we’ll compare short-term and long-term influencer relationships.
Then, we’ll let you in on strategies you can use to foster long-term relationships with influencers as well as content creators, and show you how to implement them.
Long-Term Partnerships vs. One-Time Influencer Partnerships
So, here's the thing:
Both one-time and long-term influencer collaborations have advantages and disadvantages.
Both can be great additions to your influencer marketing campaigns, depending on your goals and objectives.
For example, say you're trying out an influencer marketing strategy for the first time.
It would be better to run one-offs with several influencers and engage the one you loved working with on a long-term contract.
That said, let’s take a brief look at both, before covering the different strategies for effective long-term partnerships.
In long-term influencer partnerships, influencers work for one brand over a sustained period.
As a result, the influencer becomes an authority on your product and creates content that's authentic and engages your target audience.
They may even become brand ambassadors, joined to your business at the hip, like Michael Jordan is to Nike.
At this point, they see themselves as stakeholders of your business, and work toward helping you achieve your goals — be they conversions or brand awareness. They’ll also be willing to give feedback on your product from the viewpoint of a customer.
That's the least of it. Here are the other benefits of long-term influencer partnerships, and their drawbacks…
- They boost conversions
People buy after seeing your brand at least 7 times.
That’s the popular marketing rule of 7, which has been proven time and time again.
When an influencer posts consistently about your brand, their followers will have repeated exposure to your brand.
This increases the odds of them buying or signing up for your services, leading to greater conversions.
- They fuel word-of-mouth marketing
Over time, followers of anyone you have a long-term influencer-brand partnership with, will get cozy with your brand due to continuous exposure.
And before you know it, they're telling friends, family, and loved ones about your brand.
- They give your product or service a positive perception
An influencer constantly posting about your brand sends a strong message to their followers that your product or service is top quality.
Plus, their posts will be more authentic, since they've been using the product for a long time, and you can trust them with more creative freedom.
This boosts the trust of potential customers.
- They make it easier to predict performance
Using performance data from past campaigns, you can predict the performance of an influencer's post and the type of content that will resonate with their audience.
This helps you set realistic goals and near-accurate budgets for your influencer program.
Let’s flip the coin to the other side and look at the disadvantages of having long-term influencer partners.
- Financial gain is not immediate
Influencers usually charge large up-front fees for long-term partnerships.
This weighs down on your balance sheet. It can take months for you to start reaping the rewards of your investment.
- Repetitive audience
Putting your brand in front of the same audience repeatedly is great since it makes them more likely to buy.
But there’s a flip side to it: the influencer’s audience may evolve over time or stop growing after a while. And when that happens, you’ll end up hemorrhaging money instead of profiting from your influencer campaigns.
- Takes a long process to find the right influencers
Considering you'll be using them for the long term, it’s crucial to find the right influencer — one who aligns with your brand values and has followers that overlap with your target audience.
But the pressure of finding the right influencer can make it harder.
Luckily, you can always use the Insense platform instead to find influencers who align with your brand and target audience!
Just pop in the specifications of the influencer you wish to work with and the platform automatically matches you with any of its 20k+ influencers who fit your criteria.
When to use long-term influencer partnerships
A long-term relationship is the way to go when:
- You have a high-ticket product or service that people buy only after thinking about it for a long time or when they need it. For example, gym equipment.
- Your goal is to build trust with your target audience.
As the name suggests, a short-term partnership is when a brand engages an influencer for one-off partnerships or campaigns.
For example, a brand can reach out to an Instagram influencer to help with a new product launch or a holiday sale.
Most influencer marketing managers use short-term partnerships (in conjunction with long-term partnerships) for a variety of reasons.
For one, they’re great for trying out new formats and types of content. Plus, they cost less, compared to long-term contracts.
That said, let’s look at their pros and cons.
- They reach new audiences
Short-term engagements allow you to reach new audiences and markets.
Because each creator or influencer you partner with has a unique set of followers, who may not know about your brand…yet.
- They take up less time
Choosing influencers for one-off engagements consumes less time and fewer resources.
That's because the stakes for choosing the right influencer aren't as high as with a long-term collaboration.
So, you can try out different influencers, before settling on one for a long-term engagement.
- They allow experimentation
With short-term collabs, you can try out new content types, ideas, and angles.
This ensures you remain in step with algorithm changes and trends.
- They put your brand in front of a wider audience
Partnering with multiple micro-influencers lets you reach a wider audience.
Let's turn the tables and consider the drawbacks of short-term or one-off influencer partnerships.
- Tougher to retain quality influencers or creators
Most influencers prefer long-term contracts because of the financial stability and protection they bring.
So, it may be difficult to hold onto top-tier creators and influencers when you focus on short-term partnerships.
- Difficult to predict your campaign's success
If you're working with the influencer for the first time, there's no way to predict how your campaign will perform.
So, you can't forecast demand surges and make informed decisions about your marketing strategy.
- They are non-exclusive
There's no contract binding the influencer to your brand alone.
So, the influencer can promote your brand, and still post about your competitors.
When to use short-term influencer partnerships
You can use short-term partnerships when:
- You're running short campaigns or seasonal promotions. We're talking discounts, new product launches, holiday campaigns, or event promotions.
- You need to try out new stuff — new content types, creative angles, and strategies.
- You're dipping your toes into influencer marketing for the first time.
- You're looking to make a big splash in the market.
Now, to the juicy stuff…
5 Key Tips for Building Long-Term Influencer Partnerships
If you're opting for long-term influencer partnerships, here are some tips you can use for effective long-term influencer relationship management.
✅Keep in contact
Reaching out to influencers only when you need to launch a campaign, collect posts, or need help with something else, isn't great for building strong relationships.
It just shows you're only concerned with what you can get and don't see them as a stakeholder in your business.
So, make time to check up on your influencers frequently.
You can reach out to them to:
- Ask if they have ideas for new campaigns.
- Tell them about the performance of a current campaign — engagement rates, sales, leads generated, and so on.
- Get their input about the new products you're launching.
✅Keep track of engagement
Just like you, influencers want to know how well their campaign is performing.
So, don't leave them hanging.
Track the different metrics tied to the goals you agreed on for the campaign, and relay the results to the influencer.
They'll appreciate this gesture because it shows you're ready to grow their brand as much as yours.
✅Note behavioral changes
The social media space is constantly changing. Yesterday's trends fade fast, thanks to algorithm updates and evolving tastes.
Thankfully, influencers are always on the lookout for the latest trends and channels.
So, keep note of your influencers' behavior. Did they add a new channel? Or did you notice a change in their voice or content format?
You can reach out to them to find out the reason for the change.
They might be open to helping you implement the same change in your own campaigns and posts.
✅Build a reciprocal sense of respect
Many influencers and content creators are doing it full-time.
So you must relate with them as fellow entrepreneurs to show you respect their hustle.
You can do so by:
- Being clear about expectations.
- Listening to and implementing their feedback and suggestions.
- Giving them creative freedom.
✅Pay influencers on time
Influencers work as a functioning business. And as you know, running a business is hard work, especially if it's just one person doing it all.
So, influencers appreciate it when you ease their burden by paying them on time rather than waiting until they send several email reminders.
Also, don't forget that Influencers are your customers too.
If you wait until they chase you down for overdue invoices, you'll earn a bad name in influencer circles or, even worse, a boycott.
So, always pay on time.
You can even add incentives like free products and bonuses to show you appreciate the Influencers' efforts.
Before we leave you, we would love to give you a bonus…
Bonus: How to Find the Right Influencer for Long-term Partnerships
Picking the right influencer is key to the success of any long-term influencer partnership.
But, if we’re being honest, finding the right influencer is hard work.
We're talking hours hopping from one platform to another, and many hours more to vet each influencer.
Now, the good news is that there's a way around all that! Yippee!!
With Insense, you can evade the long process of searching for the right influencer on different social media platforms and Google.
That’s because Insense has 20k+ creators and micro-influencers you can choose from.
Plus, you can use filters like age, sex, social media reach, audience demographic, and previous engagement to find an influencer who aligns with your brand, goals, and target audience.
They can help you create user-generated content (UGC) you can use for other campaigns or promote your brand to their followers.
You can also manage all your long-term influencer collabs from a central location, so you don’t lose track of your campaign.
Loving it already, right?
You can book a free 1-on-1 personalized demo straight away.
Now Over to You
The ball’s in your court.
You can now manage long-term influencer relationships and reap the benefits that come with them.
But before you put pen to paper and take on an influencer, ensure it’s the right one. They should align with your brand values, appeal to your target audience, and know your niche.
If that seems like a lot, remember we’re always here to help you find the right influencer. Book a free demo today, to find out how.