Ask an Influencer: 6 Tips For a Successful Brand Collaboration
Hello, world! Karina here.
I’m a fashion blogger and model based in Miami, Florida. I started creating content before the age of Instagram, as I was pursuing a degree in film. Fast forward 5 years, I created my Instagram account to share the content I had been creating and people seemed to enjoy it! Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to work with brands like NYX Cosmetics, Guess, and Body Boss.
The influencer marketing industry has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Now, there are countless influencers creating high-quality content and helping thousands of brands build their presence online. But from time to time, I still come across some common mistakes that brands make when working with influencers, that may in fact affect the performance of their campaigns.
Here are 6 tips and tricks to avoid those mistakes and get the most out of your influencer campaigns.
1. Understand where you want to take your brand
Oftentimes, brands just starting up have yet to establish their marketing goals. This makes it harder for influencers to pitch to our audiences the value your brand can provide. So, ask yourself what you want out of your campaign. Do you want more brand exposure? Do you want to increase your following? Do you want to drive more conversions? It’s extremely important to have a strong sense of where you’re taking your brand. It is always easier for influencers and brand ambassadors to work with brands that have a clear goal or an important message they want to share.
Once you build a solid plan on how you will reach your brand goals, find influencers who fit authentically with your brand. After all, it’s a partnership — your brand’s reputation is on the line, but so is ours. Make sure to do your research on each influencer’s niche, their aesthetic, and more. You can use a tool like AspireIQ’s Audience Demographics Search to choose creators who are on-brand every time.
2. Personalize emails when reaching out to influencers
74% of marketers say personalization increases customer engagement. Well, it’s no different when it comes to engaging influencers. It seems careless when there is a lack of personalization to an email, because it’s clear the brand hasn’t done their research. I may just be one of 1,000 influencers on a random list.
Here are some things to include in the email to catch an influencer’s attention:
- Name – This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many emails I get that just open up with, “Hi.” Overall, you’ll get better responses with personalized emails to influencers, over emails that don’t even include the influencer’s first name.
- Unique comment about content – Whenever a brand reaches out to me, I want to know why they think I’d be a good fit for their campaign. The best brands include something specific about a post I’ve done in the past by simply saying something like: “I love the content you produced for [brand], because of [XYZ]. And that’s exactly what we’re looking for!”
- Background about your brand – Tell me more about your brand mission, story, or message you want to share. I always like to know that my values and the company’s values are aligned.
3. Use the appropriate platform to reach your goals
Don’t just limit your influencer marketing to Instagram. YouTube and Snapchat are equally popular among Gen Z-ers, the generation many marketers are shifting their focus to. At the same time, many millennials still use Facebook on a daily basis. Each social media platform has a different user base, so pay attention to which channel you use when targeting a specific demographic.
Additionally, think about what kind of content will perform better based on the product you’re promoting. For example, if you’re selling tanning oil, you need high-performing images. So, ask influencers to create a carousel post with before-and-after transformation shots. On the other hand, if you’re selling an app, you need informative videos. So, work with YouTubers to create detailed videos that give consumers a better idea of your product.
4. Build long-term partnerships with creators
Consumers today ignore traditional ads, making it difficult for marketers to generate sales through brand-directed content. Audiences are more trusting of authentic content and word of mouth recommendations from people they trust, like friends, family, and — you guessed it — influencers.
So when you find an influencer who aligns well with your brand, hold on to them. People will trust your products more if they see someone raving about it time and time again. As an added bonus, long-term partnerships eliminate the need to constantly recruit creators and allow for faster campaigns because there are fewer misunderstandings.
For example, I’ve been working with Body Boss for a couple years now and I absolutely love the brand. Our long-term partnership is very authentic — not only because I’m a big fan of the brand, but also because I have truly engraved Body Boss into my daily routine. My audience constantly sees me using my Body Boss program and gear, so they’ve also become very familiar with the brand and many of them have even tried it for themselves!
5. Establish clear guidelines for influencers
Setting clear expectations from the get-go is extremely important, so make sure to send over straightforward content guidelines. That way, neither the influencer nor the brand wastes time miscommunicating or hastily sending edits back and forth.
Here are some things your brand should definitely include:
- A timeline laying out when you want to review the content and when influencers should post (especially if the campaign is something time-sensitive, like a product launch)
- Examples of similar content your brand wants to see
- Elements about the product that you want us to mention in our post
However, don’t go overboard with the instructions. Influencers want to create content that is relatable to our audience. If you push too many rules, it will seem inauthentic to our own brand especially when the post is already tagged #ad.
6. Use a platform to build trust and streamline partnerships
I always receive collaboration inquiries through my Instagram direct messages or email. And although there have been many brands I loved working with, after years of collaborations, I can say there have been mixed experiences.
If influencer marketing is a recurring effort for your brand, I would strongly encourage you to look for an established platform like AspireIQ. It’s 10 times more secure for both the brand and the influencer. And overall, it helps both parties eliminate any uncertainty and give peace of mind that the collaboration is legitimate.
Not to mention, brands that use influencer marketing platforms get all the benefits that platforms have to offer, like the seemingly endless database of influencers, analytical tools, and best practices for their influencer strategy. It’s worth investing in a tool if you often find yourself asking questions like:
- How many influencers should I work with?
- How will we send the package to the influencer?
- How will we evaluate the campaign ROI?
Using a platform will not only help your brand streamline partnerships, but also build trust between your brand and the influencers you work with.
Now, get out there and build your strategy!