In our current economy, scoring a great influencer partnership can be invaluable to your brand marketing. Most marketers simply don’t have the budget that they once did, which means that they have to look for low-cost ways to market that offer high value.
Brand influencers are notable figures online with a large following among your target audience. Podcasters, YouTubers, even popular TikTokkers or Instagrammers can make excellent influencers. You can work out a sponsorship deal with a brand influencer in exchange for their promotion of your products or services, or collaborate with them on a project.
But developing an influencer partnership with the right influencer might be more difficult than it seems. Influencers are choosy when it comes to the brands they work with. Here are a few steps to securing valuable influencer partnerships.
#1: Step Back to Determine Your Goals
Before you reach out to your favorite podcasters, consider why you want to work with an influencer in the first place. Are you a new brand, or a brand with a new product line, trying to raise awareness? Do you need to boost your reputation or build trust with your audience? Are your sales plateauing and you want to give them a lift?
You need to have a clear sense of your goals so that you can communicate those goals to the influencer you want to hire. This will also help you determine what kind of influencer relationship could work best for your goals. Make sure to think about your budget, as well. If you don’t have a budget for a sponsorship, you may want to offer something other than financial support.
#2: Find a Mutually Beneficial Plan With Your Influencer
Not all influencer agreements need to be sponsorships. Social media takeovers are a popular trend, especially in the world of TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat. It involves one particular person — in this case your influencer — taking over your social media account for the day. It can be a boon for your influencer, boosting their audience and platform, as well as introducing their audience to your brand. It’s also just a lot of fun!
Another option is to send them an exclusive box of some of your products. The influencer gets to try your products for themselves for free, and in exchange, they post an unboxing video or write up a review of their experience. Remember that influencers are trying to make a career out of what they do, as well. You can develop all kinds of creative solutions for your influencer partnership, but it should be something that benefits both you and the influencer.
#3: Cater Your Offering To the Influencer
It can be awkward for a content creator to suddenly shift towards promoting a product that doesn’t align with their brand at all. Pitch your brand in such a way that shows the influencer why they are the right person to promote you. Maybe when you send them a sample of your products, you can send them a selection that is specifically curated for their interests and personality.
For instance, a candle making company may send a YouTuber a candle that they created based on that YouTuber’s brand. This will be a hit with both the influencer and their audience. A book publisher may send their new YA fantasy to a book blogger who specifically loves to read YA fantasy. The more your brand aligns with the influencer’s brand, the more seamlessly — and successfully — they can promote your product.
#4: Search For Long-Term Relationships
A truly valuable influencer partnership is one that will last for years, not just for one or two ad promotions. Try to find an influencer who truly aligns with your brand and seems invested in working with you for the long haul. When you find a long-term influencer partnership, you can invest more into the relationship — such as a regular sponsorship — knowing that the return on investment will be well worth it.
Consider, for example, the partnership between Critical Role and D&DBeyond. Critical Role is a famous actual play Dungeons & Dragons stream run by big names in the voice acting community. They’ve gone on to form their own corporation, which includes a publisher, a non-profit charity, and a number of various entertainment content programs. D&DBeyond is a digital aid for D&D, allowing players to create and track their character sheets. They have been sponsoring Critical Role for years, earning a fun ad spot at the beginning of most episodes. In exchange, D&DBeyond’s business has flourished. This is what you can find from a long-term influencer partnership.