How Brands Can Create Long-Term Influencer Relationships

I have been blogging since I was 16 years old. Back then I produced content that only a young adult grappling with every day life could enjoy; compelling stuff, really. Now it’s been 10 years and despite a journalism degree, a career and a blogging upgrade, my underlying content focus seems to remain the same…what are these relationship things?

Nevertheless, I was delighted when I took a job with Ignite Social Media to work with bloggers, or Influencers as we call them. These were my people—fellow writers lost in introspection—and I was getting to pay them to do what they love.

While the connection was always there, my past intertwined with my present, I wasn’t able to find the true marriage between the two until I attended BlogHer this past week. I got to be face-to-face with Influencers, creating an open dialogue where I taught them what I know about brands and they inspired me with their ingenuity.

A weekend-long blogger conference, BlogHer is made up of wonderful keynotes (Sheryl Sandberg, anyone?), educational sessions, networking events, and enough estrogen to begin a new era of feminism.

BlogHer Sheryl Sandberg

I was able to attend several great sessions while I was there, but I felt particularly inspired by the “Long-Term Relationships” course. It was designed to help Influencers develop long-term relationships with brands. However, I was there to learn the reverse: how brands can create long-term relationships with Influencers.

I posed my question before the expert panel and a room full of eager Influencers and got an interesting answer: make your relationship personal. It was an answer I knew, but hadn’t fully explored before.

See how excited we were?

BlogHer session Influencer Relationships

But why would brands want to have long-term relationships with Influencers? It’s just one more thing to keep track of, right? However, having quality Influencers in your back pocket can be great when you need to execute crisis management, when you have a tight turnaround for an Influencer program or when you simply need someone you can trust. Check out some of the ways you can maintain long-term, quality relationships with your Influencers and consider attending BlogHer next year; it’s definitely worth it.

Building Long-Term Influencer Relationships

1.  As I mentioned in my previous post, Seven Tips and Tricks for Ensuring Successful Blogger and Influencer Outreach, it’s important to get to know your Influencer. Don’t just scan their pages to see if they are a match. Take the time to dig in and learn about them, so you can make an actual personal connection when you reach out.

2.  When you do reach out, limit the communication to just you and the Influencer. This makes your brand seem approachable, as it is just a one on one conversation versus multiple people reaching out them. It also gives your Influencer the chance to really get to know you, which in turn, increases the level of trust and friendship.

3.  When the promotion has gone live, consider including shout outs on the brand’s social page that will direct your audience to your Influencer’s social pages. Not all Influencers are concerned with tapping into your audience, but it is a nice kickback to throw their way.  It shows the Influencer that the brand appreciates the partnership.

4.  Follow up with your Influencer once your initial campaign has ended. Thank them for the work they did and share some of the campaign’s success metrics that their partnership ultimately contributed to. While you can do this through email, several Influencers at BlogHer noted they were particularly impressed when they received hand-written thank you notes. So bring back the snail mail.

5.  Stay up to date on your Influencer by continuing to read and follow their social pages. This gives you the opportunity to reach out at times to congratulate them on a recent successes and let them know that you continue to keep them in mind for future campaigns.

6.  Consider meeting some of your Influencers at BlogHer. I was able to run into some of the Influencers we have utilized on previous campaigns while attending the conference. It’s nice to put a face to a name and really build a connection. It shows that you really are a person who cares, and not just a faceless brand.

7.  Finally, take the opportunity to partner with the Influencer again when the right campaign comes along. You can tell an Influencer all day that you want to work with them again, but it doesn’t mean anything until you actually do.

What’s your method for building lasting relationships with Influencers? Share with us in the comments.

Ignite Social Media