Samsung is a good example of a brand that is focused on building long-term relationships with influencers. Source: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Samsung/AFP

Samsung is a good example of a brand that is focused on building long-term relationships with influencers. Source: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Samsung/AFP

In it for the long haul: Why ongoing influencer partnerships are trending

INFLUENCER marketing has proved a highly effective marketing strategy for brands.

Eighty-nine percent stated that the return on investment from influencer marketing is comparable to, or better than, their other marketing efforts. However, the industry is still learning about how to maximize these relationships.

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 realize the benefit of repeat collaborations.

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.

Sometimes, high profile influencers this will go a step further, offering their advice to the brand or collaborating on product ranges.

It’s a trend we’re seeing our clients take to more and more. It makes sense that as influencer marketing has proved its worth, marketers are willing to invest more time and money in the channel.

In ongoing partnerships, both parties will have an invested interest in the relationship’s success and will work hard to achieve a goal collaboratively.

The influencer will come to learn more about your brand and the campaigns will feel more authentic. One of the most valuable outcomes of a long term partnership is audience trust.

Sustained posting about a brand brings greater credibility to a content creator’s recommendation – allowing social users to believe in it more.

Sustained 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.

Or by monitoring which creators resonated most with their audience in terms of engagement. These insights give future campaigns a greater chance of success.

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

Alternatively, one-off engagements will see a brand seek new and ‘fresh’ influencers to participate in a social media activity or content creation.

If going it alone, 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 – which is where the risk comes in.

It’s important or brands to remember that 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.

But it’s not all bad. Often, 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 or format is most effective, learning for future marketing campaigns.

No one-size-fits-all influencer marketing

There is no ‘holy grail’ or one-size-fits-all influencer marketing strategy. 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 the latest popular influencers, but if managed badly, run the risk of wasting time, money and resources that could have been poured into thorough relationship management.

The 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 realize the true potential of influencer marketing.