In the good old days, creating awareness about a product or service among consumers was a lot easier. Everyone read newspapers, watched TV, and listened to the radio. But the world today is much more competitive and noisy. Millions of messages across different media scream for our attention.
In this world of social advertising, new voices are emerging every day. The voices of influencers are some of the most important among them. Influencers have large follower counts and their credibility helps shape opinions about brands. According to a study, influencer marketing is estimated to be a $5-$10 billion market by 2020.
However, influencer marketing has its fair share of challenges. Brands have the tough job of finding the right influencers and engaging with them meaningfully. A study found that 59% of marketers consider attracting, engaging, and collaborating with influencers their biggest influencer marketing challenge.
In this post, we’ll discuss how to collaborate with influencers in meaningful ways.
How to Collaborate with Influencers
1. Brands Need to Have Clear Goals
As a brand, you need to have a clearly defined plan. You should be clear about your campaign objectives. What exactly do you want your influencers to accomplish for you?
Do you want greater visibility? More followers? More traffic to your website? Once you know exactly what you want, and the role the influencer will play, craft your campaign accordingly and proceed.
Image via Sephora
Sephora, the cosmetic retailer, collaborates regularly with beauty experts, popular bloggers, and vloggers. They’ve created a community where customers can ask for and share tips, reviews, or recommendations from other users. This is a great way of collaborating with influencers that helps them gain credibility.
How to Collaborate with Influencers: Tip #1
Convey your campaign objectives and your expectations clearly to your influencers.
2. Make Your Influencers’ Lives Easier
Influencers may not have exhaustive information about your brand and your messaging. So it is your job to familiarize them with it.
You can share your branded collateral such as photos, screenshots, or videos with them. Create a basic template that includes these and then customize it according to the personality of the influencer.
You should also provide samples of well-crafted posts and deliver them in formats which are most convenient for their use.
Virginia Varinelli is a fashion blogger and popular Instagram influencer. Chanel invited her to their flower fields and production facilities so she could experience how their perfumes are made. Their intent was to have her share this experience with her followers during the launch of Chanel No.5 L’Eau. It would be something unique and authentic and hence, more likely to engage audiences better.
How to Collaborate with Influencers: Tip #2
Understand your influencers’ personalities and enable them to deliver their best work for your brand.
3. Share Coupons or Discount Codes
If you want to encourage people to buy your products, share discount coupons or promo codes with your influencers. They can include them in their posts and give their followers a gentle nudge to make a purchase.
Watchmaker Daniel Wellington leverages influencer marketing quite effectively. Besides gifting influencers watches to promote them on Instagram, they also share promo codes to pass on to their followers. These coupon codes are unique for every influencer which helps them track and calculate conversions.
Image via Instagram
How to Collaborate with Influencers: Tip #3
Share exclusive coupons, discount codes or affiliate links to help influencers engage their followers effectively.
4. Encourage User-Generated Content with Giveaways
Brands can offer their products, services, or experiences as giveaways. Influencers can host or promote such giveaways among their followers.
Their followers are encouraged to carry out certain actions such as liking, commenting on, or reposting content. Winners are then announced who get to take home the prizes.
Image via Instagram
Giveaways are a great source of user-generated content which prove to be very useful for brands. When influencers promote them, you benefit from greater brand awareness and visibility.
How to Collaborate with Influencers: Tip #4
Leverage influencers to encourage user-generated content in your campaigns. Ask them to host or promote giveaways for greater engagement.
5. Hold Contests for Influencer Followers
Contests or competitions attract more eyeballs than traditional advertising. Holding a contest is an easy way to get the attention of the followers of an influencer. Here’s an example where an influencer is seen to promote a contest for a brand.
6. Collaborate with Influential Bloggers and Vloggers
Blogs and vlogs are great ways of promoting your products or services. Not only do they have a long lifespan, they are also discoverable in searches and are pretty informative and useful.
They are a great way of getting feedback on your products from influencers too. And their honest reviews and recommendations improve your brand perception.
Image via Rawdorable
Good Greens, a nutrition bar company, partnered with micro-influencers bloggers like Rawdorable to promote their products.They did not have a big budget for marketing. So they provided free samples of their products to these bloggers and asked them to post their reviews on their blogs.
How to Collaborate with Influencers: Tip #6
Share free samples of your products and encourage influencers to write a blog review or create vlogs.
7. Use Unboxing Videos in your Campaigns
Unboxing videos are an art, and brands are slowly waking up to its allure. There are influencers who have mastered this art form. And their expertise lies in building suspense, keeping their followers on edge, and then revealing the products. Brands should use this in their influencer marketing and send their products for unboxing.
Image via YouTube
Youtube star, Ryan excels at unboxing toys. He is one of the highest paid YouTube influencers. Toy manufacturers send him their latest offerings. And Ryan unboxes these toy surprises for millions of his followers who are mostly young kids like him.
How to Collaborate with Influencers: Tip #7
Understand audience preferences and make sure to follow current trends in influencer campaigns.
8. Encourage Influencers to Promote Branded Hashtags
Thoughtfully created hashtags are easy to use for everyone and encourage a lot of user engagement. Influencers can be encouraged to use these brand hashtags in their content. These hashtags can ensure long term momentum.
Image via Instagram
Instead of drinking water from bottles, you can drink it from recyclable cartons. Boxed Water was born using this premise.
To extend its eco-friendly appeal, Boxed Water worked with several influencers like Jaime King and Aidan Alexander.
They also collaborated with National Forest Foundation for the #Retree campaign. Boxed water promised to plant two trees for every post with the hashtag #Retree. The campaign was very successful and the hashtag continues to provide mileage to Boxed Water even today.
How to Collaborate with Influencers: Tip #8
Encourage influencers to use your branded hashtags in their content as it pays long-term dividends.
For effective collaboration with influencers, you need to know them well, understand them and their personalities. You need to be sure you share the same values. Your goals need to be aligned for effective collaboration.
Try to understand their follower preferences, and enable them to work with your goals comfortably. Their authentic voice drives their audiences, so don’t try to change it.
Be on the lookout for the latest marketing trends, and leverage them effectively. Most importantly, build long-term relationships with your influencers to get the best results.
Can you think of any other ways in which brands can effectively collaborate with influencers? Let us know in the comments below.
Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.