How to Work With Influencers: 5 Tips for Partnership

Establishing a collaborative, fair, and mutually beneficial relationship with influencers will help you build a lasting partnership.

Finding an influencer who aligns with your values and brand voice can have a powerful impact on your organization. And when you find that partnership, you’ll want to stick with it. Problem is, influencers are in high demand—especially now.

But there are ways to get influencers to keep coming back to your organization, even in a highly competitive environment, and much of it comes down to developing a fair and equal partnership. Consider these tips as you work with and approach influencers.

Give Influencers Creative Control

One surefire way to chase away a creative individual is to stifle their imagination. While you should have guardrails when it comes to content tone and direction, there’s no reason that your influencer shouldn’t have some creative control and be in on content-planning discussions.

After all, the influencers you work with will be the ones delivering the message, and they’ll come off as more authentic if they believe in the messaging.

“Our clients, network of influencers, and their audiences have craved more meaningful conversation, transparency, and authenticity [since the pandemic],” says Jennifer Vento, vice president at Geben Communication, an agency that works with influencers.

How much control you give is up to you, but the U.S. Tour Operators Association found success in a 2020 campaign by giving comedian Harrison Greenbaum complete creative freedom.

Know How Much Influencers Are Worth

Influencer marketing is relatively new, and it carries a stigma among some, which can lead those who are unfamiliar with the industry to lowball influencers or offer “exposure” in lieu of monetary compensation. When approaching influencers, begin the discussion in good faith by using industry benchmarks as the starting point in negotiations.

Worried about the ethics of paying influencers? Not to worry, says Kristy Sammis, president and founder of influencer marketing agency CLEVER, who points out that you’re not paying for influencers’ favored opinions, but for the time, effort, and creativity they put into the partnership.

Offer a Mutually Beneficial Partnership

While pay is one way to check this box, there are additional ways to entice influencers. Ask why an influencer would want to work with your organization—say, access to exclusive content that benefits their audience, or a particular product—and offer it to them.

Depending on your campaign goals, you could also offer commission—rather than a flat fee—based on sales that the influencer generates, which you could track by giving him or her a unique coupon code. Tailoring your offer to specific influencers’ needs will probably put you in a good position to work with them again in the future.

Don’t Let Past Experiences Dictate Future Partnerships

Sammis says organizations still struggle with distinguishing bad actors from good influencers, which results in bad experiences that leave organizations skeptical of influencers in general. But to establish a good relationship with the next influencer, start fresh without preconceived notions of how that particular influencer operates.

Be Open About Your Expectations

Clearly stating the scope of work, KPIs, and timeline upfront will help ensure a smooth partnership during the creative process. For example, if influencers are under the impression they need to produce two short videos and you ask for five, they’ll probably think twice about working with you again.

Once the job is done, provide influencers with feedback and metrics that give them a sense for how effective the collaboration was.

Read the first two parts of our series on influencers: “How COVID-19 Has Changed Influencer Marketing—and What It Means for You” and “How to Find the Right Micro Influencer for Your Organization.”


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Michael Hickey

By Michael Hickey

Michael Hickey is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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