SMARTY SAYS

5 Ways to Build Ongoing Influencer Relationships

AUTHOR: Chelsea Latimer
DATE: APRIL 1, 2019
While many brands were initially hesitant to invest in influencer marketing, one thing has become increasingly clear: The power of the influencer is here to stay. Agencies and brands are hiring influencer managers and directors at a rapid pace because the need is great — and where there’s a need, there’s money, sales, engagement, and influence to gain.
Luckily, we’re OGs to the influencer game and have a few Smarty-tested and -approved tactics to ensure brands we work with are happy with the outcome of these influential relationships. Check out our top secrets.

1.    Pay Attention to the Team

Depending on the level of influencer you’re working with, you’ll find they have various team members. The truth is, influencers are raising brand awareness and raking in the dollars just like celebrities — which means their team is invested in making sure the product they’re pushing is top notch.

Securing productive, transparent calls with the influencer’s manager or agent establishes expectations for both brand and agency up front. This is also when you should get a sense of how easy or difficult an influencer will be to work with. If the manager or agent is difficult, this may be the time to jump ship. Likewise, if they’re a dream to work with, consider asking for their roster and continue to foster relationships with additional influencers inside their agency. Don’t be afraid to reach out to agents directly or via LinkedIn — they want to bring their clients great deals just as much as you do.

2.    Make Expectations Clear Up Front

Influencer relationships can sour quickly when client expectations are not outlined from the beginning. Be up front about timelines — if you have a client who takes particularly long to approve something, let your influencer know so they understand what to expect. Clearly outline do’s and don’ts, deliverable formats, the approval process, and anything else that is relevant to the brand. You’ll save yourself, your team, and your influencer a lot of time if you offer all the information early on.

“Make sure you’re engaging with them on a personal level”

3.    Get Comfortable with Money Talk

Let’s be honest: Most larger influencers (especially the ones with agents and managers) aren’t interested in post-for-trade deals. Micro-influencers may be game, but there will be other trade-offs. Create a tiered outline of potential influencers, paying attention to type and audience size. Instead of writing off an influencer because of budget, consider other creative ways you can work together to benefit both parties.

During the contract process, be very careful to read the fine print. How long are you allowed to use their content once the contract expires? How many ways are you able to repurpose their content and on what platforms? Instead of trying to squeeze as much out of your influencer deal as possible and risk putting a bad taste in their mouth, outline how you intend to use their content VERY clearly from the get-go. Don’t be afraid to talk money and be honest about your budget.

4.    Support Their Creativity

The best and ONLY way to get great content from an influencer is to make sure your ask is: authentic, interesting, and creative. Period.

While you can work with people who aren’t afraid to hawk a product with little more than an affiliate link and a selfie, you’ll also have influencers who are fiercely protective of their content. When approaching influencers, consider each creative outline you give them from their lens. Does this sound like them? Does this concept resonate with their audience? Is this authentic to their voice? These questions are not only important to consider for stronger engagement, but will also show consideration and thoughtfulness to your influencer.

5.    Treat Your Influencers Like Real People

Obvious, right? But how quickly we forget that an influencer isn’t just a brand, they’re a real person. They want to establish a human relationship and feel comfortable when working with you.

While getting to know your influencer, make sure you’re engaging with them on a personal level as well. If they like you, they’ll give you better content. If they feel like you care, they’ll care a little more as well. You know, Relationship Building 101.  

And, like my momma always says, “You get more bees with honey than vinegar.”