A Long-Lasting Relationship Between Brands and Influencers Radiates Authenticity
In the fast-paced world of social media stars, digital trends and platform popularity, the pursuit of longevity drastically impacts how marketers plan their social strategy. For brands, establishing and maintaining longevity in influencer marketing is about choosing the right influencer and locking into the right activation strategy, one that is aligned with the right tone and message, has the right audience and is engaging with their followers. For influencers, longevity is about maintaining a loyal and engaged core audience and growing in relevant categories, whether that means a fashion blogger expanding to beauty and lifestyle categories or taking on efforts to grow their following outside of their base city.
By aligning with creators who have continued relevancy as well as strong growth and momentum, brands can save money and increase return on partnerships. Creating these lasting, successful relationships with influencers can lead to more integrated and creative campaigns in the long-term as well as help marketers build stronger relationships with their core audience. As an influencer grows, new followers serve as additional engagement on past collaborations, especially on platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube where past content can be discovered and viewed. It’s also worth noting that the more familiar an influencer’s audience becomes with a brand, the more receptive they become to the key messaging.
How brands maintain longevity
Longevity partially rests on choosing the right influencer. Brands can utilize deep metrics on the influencer’s audience demographics, engagement and growth rate to ensure they are a sustainable choice and will grow alongside the company over time. There are also qualitative factors that come into play, like the relevant projects that an influencer may have in the pipeline. For companies who maintain a portfolio of brands, it’s important to consider the current life stage of the influencer and where their life and content may be headed in the years to come. Today’s newly engaged influencer could be tomorrow’s new mom, and there’s an opportunity for brands to integrate into these life moments. An example of this is Chrissy Teigen’s partnership with Pampers.
Brands are starting to recognize the advantages of working with an influencer continuously or for multiple campaigns. As reported in Mobile Marketer, studies are showing that influencer-brand relationships are lengthening and one-off campaigns are becoming less and less frequent.
A firm’s influencer marketing strategy can also be directed to increase campaign effectiveness and build a more authentic narrative over time by aligning with influencers they’ve previously worked with rather than jumping around to new influencers for each project.
When activating influencers, brands focused on longevity often consider a diversified approach to content creation and distribution. Charging influencers to create content that spans photo, video and hits across multiple platforms is common. With brands becoming increasingly reliant on paid distribution and whitelisting, this is added to the mix to increase the lifespan of assets.
Sustaining longevity for influencers
On the influencer side, creators can maintain a dedicated social following by staying true to their original value offering and core audience while continuing to test and learn new content formats. By serving that strong base audience and branching out to grow in additional categories that are authentic to their daily lives, influencers can reduce follower turnover and create a recognizable brand for themselves.
With platforms like Instagram and Snapchat continuously offering new features, creators have no shortage of opportunities to engage with audiences. Engaging with followers in as many ways as possible is vital for influencers to build and maintain loyal audiences across platforms. For example, a YouTube vlogger with a presence on Instagram may expand their following by posting teasers of their videos on IGTV, motivating Instagram followers to go to the influencer’s channel and subscribe. Maintaining owned platforms like blogs or email lists is another way for an influencer to differentiate themselves and build up a following that transcends social platforms and algorithms.
Maintaining relationships and increasing authenticity
When brands and influencers maintain lasting relationships, both parties benefit from what consumers perceive as increased authenticity. Influencers who promote products aligned with their personal brands are consistently seen as more trustworthy by their followers, and the products they promote are more likely to be taken as a genuine recommendation, resulting in higher conversion rates. Growing alongside an influencer is a great way for brands to benefit from a smaller initial investment while being seen by a loyal and growing audience.
From sponsored activations to organic content benchmarking to new product rollouts, correctly forecasting longevity in brand and influencer collaborations can result positively in future growth for both brands and influencers.
Lauren McGrath Shaftel
Lauren McGrath Shaftel is VP of ACTIVATE Studio and Strategy where she leads the team responsible for managed services and SaaS.