Never underestimate the endorsement of a savvy social media star. Their honest and authentic approval of your products and services can work wonders for your brand. These individuals can use their platforms and personalities to increase traffic to your website, convert leads and generate sales. They’ll also create content that fosters trust with current customers while expanding brand awareness.

Some brands choose to stick with an influencer for a short period of time. But long-term influencer partnerships come with lots of advantages – for both the brand as well as the influencer.

What Are the Benefits of Long-Term Influencer Partnerships?

It could be that you’re debating whether to pursue a short-term or long-term influencer partnership. These benefits just might lead you to the latter option.

Trust

An influencer who spends a week praising a product only to stop mentioning it the next week isn’t very convincing. This type of short-term endorsement might be better than no endorsement at all, but the impact is limited. And, at worst, consumers will see the messaging as insincere or halfhearted.

Audiences will see ongoing praise and references to the brand as a more authentic endorsement. When an influencer genuinely likes a brand, it shows. Both the business and the influencer gain more credibility with the target audience.

Increased Influencer Commitment

When an influencer knows they’re in it for the long haul, they’re more likely to contribute to the brand’s overall success. When your business fates (and credibility) are tied, the incentive to help each other out is higher. A committed influencer is often willing to share their knowledge and even guide the brand when it comes to audience engagement strategies. Influencers are expert content creators after all.

Experimentation

Influencers in long-term partnerships often have more space to flex their creative muscles. This is a benefit that stems from the trust and commitment that develops between the influencer and the brand. The brand can assume the influencer will only test content that will reflect positively on the business. This creative freedom might even lead to more effective content strategies.

Contract Benefits

During a long-term partnership, both the influencer and the brand can benefit from a well-defined contract. All expectations are in writing, including payment timelines and content deadlines. This reduces the chances of costly surprises, such as an influencer suddenly backing out of the project or a business refusing to pay the influencer. Both parties should agree on the conditions outlined in the contract before moving forward.

Starting a Long-Term Influencer Partnership

If the benefits to a long-term influencer partnership sound enticing, you’re probably wondering how to get started. Consider the following steps:

1. Make a list of potential influencers.

Social media has no shortage of influencers, so narrowing down your options is the first step. Use hashtags to determine which influencers are already talking about your products or services. Keep an eye out for individuals who have lots of followers and seem active. If you have a hard time finding suitable influencers, consider turning to an influencer marketplace. As the name suggests, these online spaces help brands connect with reliable influencers.

2. Follow those influencers.

By “follow” we mean spend time reading their updates and the way they interact with others on social media. As you keep tabs on them, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many followers do they have? The more, the better.
  • Are they very active on social media or do they post infrequently?
  • Are they using a platform that’s best for you? If they’re active on multiple social media platforms, this could be a plus.   
  • Are they engaging an audience that overlaps with your brand’s target audience?
  • What’s the influencer’s saturation rate – their rate of sponsored content versus organic content?
  • How’s their voice? Does it match your brand’s desired tone? For example, if your brand aims to be family friendly, you won’t want to work with an influencer who relies on crude humor.
  • Is their content high quality? You might want to steer clear of influencers with poor grammar or low-quality posts in general.

As you ask yourself these questions, you’ll likely narrow down your options to a suitable candidate.

3. Have a budget ready.

You can’t expect an influencer to work for free. Since you’re already thinking about a partnership, you probably have a general budget in mind, but you want to have a range ready for negotiations. Do a little research on influencer pay averages to make sure you’re able to make a fair offer. 

4. Engage.

It’s time to make contact. Send an email or direct message to the influencer. Formerly introduce yourself and your brand (although if they’ve already posted about your products, they likely already know this part). Tell them what you like about their content, and lay out your expectations: You’re hoping to form a long-term partnership with the right influencer.

If they seem interested, it’s time to move onto specifics. Start negotiating pay rates and content creation details. You might even decide to do a trial run before either of you commit to a long-term partnership.

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