Managing influencer-brand collaborations – Edge

Managing influencer-brand collaborations

We know that influencers are an indispensable bridge between the brand and the community. With that in mind, we have put together a list of tips and everything you need to know to master and ultimately land the best long-term collaborations.

In early 2021, there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide. The surging  with it creating vast swathes of content creators and influencers across an ever dazzling array of social media platforms. This has facilitated the springboard for an enormous amount of cutting edge and metaverse busting collaborations between content creators and brands. Nowadays, influencer marketing has become such a popular tool that millions of marketing departments are looking for influencers that resonate with their brand values. The vast market size is of course a double edged sword – that massive volume of users, means the challenge of standing out with meaningful, differentiated and powerful content with brands and building relationships has never been harder or more perilous to navigate. 

If you read any blog out there on the subject, it will tell you that for any aspiring content creator to stand out from the crowd, then content is king and likes do not tell the entire story. While all of that might be true to a degree, something which is perhaps less talked about but it mission critical, is the crucial importance of of managing the relationship when engaging in any successful influencer-brand collaboration.  This is however no easy feat, maintaining a relationship with a brand can be pretty challenging from both the brand and the influencer perspectives.  54% of marketeers mention that the most challenging aspect of influencer marketing is finding the right influencer and cultivating a positive, long-lasting relationship with content creators. 

We know that content creators are much more than just an advertising vehicle, they understand innately their community and share passions and ideals with their followers. We also know that influencers are an indispensable bridge between the brand and the community. With that in mind, we have put together a list of tips and everything you need to know to master and ultimately land the best long-term collaborations.

Be professional

While your communication with your audience might be informal, one should always remember that a brand is a business partner and it must be treated as such. So make sure you have a contract in which  both parties agree on the frequency of content, which platforms to post on, and what each party is gaining from it. This will allow you to understand what the brand is expecting from your content and how much room you have to put your own personality in the campaign. Make sure this is done right at the start of the relationship, so that the brand and yourself are aligned and always on the same page! 

Plan ahead and take a stand

When negotiating with the brand, make sure you highlight your performance, bringing in essence your “CV” summarising your social media successes and impact. That should include some of your accounts’ performance metrics and a narrative of what that means for them. A lot of brands communicate better with numbers, so it is important to understand how you have performed historically so you can forecast accurate results for the brand. Another important aspect is to showcase your personality, what you stand for, and past collaborations. That way you and the brand can assess if you are the perfect match for each other. A bonus point would be to present content ideas for the brand and have a list of reasons why you resonate with the brand. 

Be Honest

A lot of content creators believe that a massive amount of followers or likes might impress some brands, but be careful about fake likes or followers as they could harm your brand relationship. Buying followers or likes might look impressive at first glance but it will set campaign expectations that might not resonate with your social media accounts.The key is to be true to what you have achieved so far as a content creator, there are so many metrics that marketing teams look at beyond number of followers. Nowadays, micro and nano influencers have become an even more powerful tool. This type of influencer has some of the highest engagement rates in the industry, which makes them a valuable asset to any brand. So make sure you present yourself with honesty so both parties can achieve their goals throughout the campaign.

Understand your audience’s behaviour and limitations

You as an influencer are the one who understands your community the most. However, there might be cases when your audience might not behave as you were predicting. Make sure your brand partner is aware about potential fluctuations in followers’ behaviour and what can be expected from that. It is totally normal, so make sure you are aware of the type of content that resonates best and when is your audience most likely to interact with you. 

Know your brand partner

A lot of influencers are chosen by brands based on numbers and performance metrics, but in certain cases the brand and the influencer’s values might not align. For that reason, it is important that you research the brand and the product you are going to showcase on your account. Make sure you feel comfortable with it and that you see the advantages of the product. Influencers were born as almost an online form of word of mouth, and communities tend to believe what the content creator says. So make sure you stay true to yourself and what your audience loves from you. 

Find a space for creativity

Your content’s personality is what differentiates you from the vast swathes of other influencers, so it is important that you celebrate your individuality and creativity. Often brand-influencer contracts tend to have specific guidelines on the type of content that is requested, so make sure you understand what it means for you. For example, some brands might prefer to give you specific content for your channels while others might prefer for influencers to adapt the content to their personality. Whichever type of brand you are collaborating with, make sure you understand how much room for creativity you have. And if the content is provided for you, evaluate if it aligns with your content’s personality.

Stay true to yourself

The power of an influencer comes from the relationship with fans. Fans feel connected and have a personal bond with the influencer. Representing brands only for money and profit without aligning the brand’s and influencer’s values, can harm the relationship with the influencer’s audience. In this case, both the influencer and the brand can suffer a loss of credibility and ultimately make the partnership unsuccessful. For that reason, it is important to discuss with the brand ways to keep the message genuine while staying loyal to your values.

Be ready for compromise

We’ve focused on protecting yourself as an influencer and your image. However, relationships are always a two-way street. Being open to negotiations and finding a middle ground can be beneficial for both sides. It also allows the influencer to gain a new perspective and show respect for the brand. Often brands have an idea of why they want to work with an influencer and how they made the connection between the product and the influencer to reach the audience. A good example of this is the Fortnite icon that is Lebron James. During that collaboration, Fortnite wanted to connect with gamers that were into basketball. At the time, Lebron was starring in Space Jam, a movie popular with young kids. This collaboration was designed to attract the younger audience by including basketball lovers, gaming lovers, and young teenagers and kids to play the game. It also attracted attention to the film, as gamers in Fortnite would notice the new Lebron icon. 

Get familiar with Edge

Navigating the world of influencer can be pretty confusing and is filled with opportunity but also complexity. For some it’s even a little akin to the Wild West.  Edge understands that influencers spend a lot of time planning and creating their content, and managing a brand relationship requires a lot of back and forth screenshots and spreadsheets to assess the success of the campaign. Edge Analytics can play an important role in providing all the data you need to support your collaboration. 

Edge Analytics allows influencers to see the performance of all their social media channels in one place, and in real-time. That way, both brands and influencers can track performance and improve their relationship automatically. The best part? Edge Analytics is always free for influencers.

Want to know more about the power of Edge Analytics? Book a demo here. 

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