Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Great Creator Relationships

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If a significant portion of your influencer program still incorporates one-off creator collaborations… your influencer marketing ROI is lower than it could be. 

The magic of influencer marketing now (why it drives awareness, trust, and sales) all lies in long-term creator relationships. Creators are like any other partner — the more familiar they are with your brand, the longer they interact with your products, and the more they know and trust your team, the more effective they will be! Below is a guide that walks you through five elements that will help you get those essential creator relationships right.

The Ultimate Guide to Great Creator Relationships

1. Great creator relationships begin with finding the right partners

The first step to building long-term creator relationships is finding the right influencers for your brand. You can find influencer partners who are reaching your brand’s target audience by reviewing:

  • Audience demographics – age, gender, location, interests, etc. 
  • Brand affinity – check to see if the influencer mentioned your brand before
  • Performance metrics – engagement rates, video view rates, and more
  • Audience insights – see how many influencer’s followers are spam or bot accounts
  • Past content – check to see if the influencer mentioned products similar to yours, or themes that are relevant to your brand

Follow up by conducting a brand safety check to verify that influencers align with your brand’s values.

Once you’ve found influencers that reach your desired audience and are brand safe, narrow down the creators who are tagging and mentioning your brand in their content. If creators are already enthusiastic about your products, their audiences likely share the same sentiment. After all, a lot of the best influencer partnerships are based on organic love!

2. Influencer marketing briefs set the tone for creator relationships

Ok, so you’ve found some of the creators that you want to build relationships with…what comes next?

An influencer marketing brief is more or less an introduction to what creators can expect when working with your team. It’s one of the building blocks in forging strong creator relationships. Think of it as a first impression – of course, you’ll want to put your best foot forward! 

When writing an influencer marketing brief:

  • Do keep it short, but include essential campaign information – what’s the timing, where would you want them to post, are there any hashtags or tags you’d like included?
  • Do provide context on your campaign – what are your goals, key messaging, and target audience?
  • Do be very transparent on compensation and process – is it a paid or organic opportunity, what are the usage rights, what does the collaboration timeline look like?
  • Do get creative! Influencer briefs are hard, because you need to find the right balance of detail vs brevity. Check out how this brand infused some creativity and visual aids into their influencer brief for inspo!

The one thing you should not do when writing an influencer brief is provide a script. You don’t want to keep your partners in a box by overprescribing the creative output. Influencers know their audiences and the content that resonates with them. That’s why you’re working with them! If you dedicate time to listen to their insights and expertise attentively, you can shape your brief accordingly. This builds trust and will have your creator relationships off to a great start. 

Tip: if you are still a little unsure about how to nail this part, here is a free influencer brief template to help you get started!

3. Great creator relationships don’t falter during money talks

Money discussions are a difficult but critical part of building strong creator relationships. In fact, transparency and fairness in influencer pay isn’t just good for your relationships with creators… it’s good for your brand, and the industry as a whole. 

It’s important to approach any money discussion/negotiation as a partnership, not a transaction. Yes, creators are small businesses, but they’re also humans who are intimately connected with their work. 

In order to approach these conversations with your creator partners, it’s important that you:

  • Do your research, and come prepared with data to back up your initial offers
  • Refine your negotiation and pay strategy with performance data for each creator (e.g. establish goals and baselines with spend efficiency metrics like cost per impression, cost per engagement, and cost per view) 
  • Keep an open mind — if their fee is out of your range, is there some other value you can provide?

You can read more in depth tips on how to nail these conversations in this article all about influencer negotiation and pay.

4. Great creator relationships require regular engagement

Demonstrate to influencer partners that there is a desire to foster a connection beyond the content they provide. This makes your partners feel connected and valued! 

Some simple actions you can take to ensure that your engagement with your creator partners is up to par:

  • Communicate outside of email to meet creators where they are – of course, ask them what their preferences are first! But it’s possible that email is not their preferred communication tool.
  • Make creators feel seen and heard by being open to feedback – try hosting monthly “office hours” for creators to join and ask questions that may or may not be related to influencer programming, or set up individual sessions to talk through life changes and updates. 
  • Interact with influencers when their content isn’t about your brand – set up a system for “staying in the know” on their content so you can show off your knowledge in later conversations. And, make sure you engage with their content quickly, regularly, and meaningfully.

You can read more in depth tips on this topic in this article all building long-term influencer relationships.

5. Great creator relationships delight and empower 

While fair compensation is a critical component in building strong relationships with creators, it isn’t the only one! Whether your budget is limited or not, you can make your creator partners feel valued and special by paying attention to other needs. 

You would be amazed what you can achieve by making sure you’re answering things like:

  • Are you creating professional and memorable experiences for them? This could be as big or small as you want! You don’t always have to plan a big influencer trip – you could also ask for their input/feedback on the creative aspect of a campaign, send them handwritten notes, create an exciting unboxing experience for them, and more.
  • Are you tailoring your communications? It only takes a few extra minutes to add some personal details to your emails and dms!
  • Are you giving creators a chance to speak about your brand in their own voice? If you’re unsure if they feel they’re able to do that, it might be worth simply asking them! It’s important they feel heard. 
  • Are you actively supporting things they care about? If there are causes, themes, or topics your creators care about that are aligned with your brand, consider incorporating that into your work with them! Bonus points if you can incorporate those things into broader initiatives, too. 

You can read more in depth advice on this topic in this article all about creator management and relationships (featuring insights from Maybelline and Club Med!).

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