‘Love you long time’: Influencer and Brand Partnerships

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Guest article by Aaron Brooks, Co-founder of Vamp

Influencer marketing has proved a highly effective marketing strategy for brands. 89% stated that the return on investment from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing efforts. However, the industry is still in its adolescence and brands have a lot to learn when it comes to defining the best way to maximise these partnerships. 

Often, eager to be associated with the latest on-trend influencer, brands will launch into partnerships without a long term goal in mind. While one-off awareness-boosting campaigns can be effective, few marketers have invested in influencer marketing long enough to realise the benefit of repeat collaborations. But which is best for your brand?

 

Consistent relationships with loyal influencers

A long-term partnership between a brand and influencer sees consistent collaborative posting throughout an extended period of time. There has been an influx in this type of partnership with contracts being expanded to include licensing for rights and content creators are being treated more like official ambassadors or spokespeople. It makes sense that as influencer marketing has proven its worth, marketers are willing to invest in the channel more and more. 

Whether it’s a video, an Instagram Story or blog post, brands will benefit from the influencer’s continuous support. Both parties will have an invested interest in the relationship’s success and will work hard to achieve a goal collaboratively. One of the most valuable outcomes of a long term partnership is trust. 53% of women made purchases based on social media recommendations and sustained posting about a brand brings greater credibility to the recommendation - allowing social users to trust it more.

Long-term partnerships also give brands a chance to refine their strategy by selecting the most productive and highest-performing talent to represent them, based on previous campaign successes. There are big benefits for content creators too. Long-term partnerships give them the security of guaranteed work with a brand that fits with their message and target audience. Ultimately, the more trust they gain, the more freedom they have to experiment with creative content.

 

Partnering with ‘fresh’ influencers for one off engagements

One-off engagements will see a brand seek out new and ‘fresh’ influencers to participate in a social media shout out, sponsored blog post or hosted competition. We’ll often see a lot of this type of activity following a reality TV show final, like the flurry of partnerships sparked by Love Island. These high-profile influencers offer brands a chance to reach a wide audience. 

Alternatively, brands will select a number of new micro influencers to test multiple influencer collaborations. Brands will have the ability to test not only the content creators, but a variety of platforms including Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and blogs, in order to see what platform is most effective, learning for future marketing campaigns.

It’s inevitable that less time and due diligence will go into selecting an influencer for a one-off campaign than an extended collaboration partnership - and that’s where the risks come in. The authenticity of a campaign will suffer if an influencer is recommending a brand or service, when their content the previous week contradicted such a partnership. Or they were advertising their competitor. It also important to ensure you are investing in a content creator with a legitimate audience, not inflated by bots.

 

No One-Size-Fits All Influencer Marketing

There is no ‘holy grail’ or one-size-fits-all influencer marketing strategy, however, there are certain aspects that brands should consider. Long-term relationships may initially require more upfront work, but the return on investment compounds over time. One-off engagements allow brands to stay on trend, partnering with relevant influencers, but if managed badly, run the risk of wasting time, money and resources that could have been poured into thorough relationship management. 

Chemistry between a brand, content creator, and their audience is vital, so time spent investigating the right approach is time well spent. Finding a strategy that works for your brand, or enlisting the expertise of a platform, will ultimately land you with a partnership that allows you to realise the true potential of influencer marketing.