In working with many different brands through agency life, I’ve noticed that brands tend to think mainly about their “gets” with building a network of influencers. Essentially, what will the brand get out of each influencer relationship in terms of exposure, engagement, and eventual sales? But this kind of one-sided thinking often leads to low participation and minimal results from influencers. In order to maximize influencer relationships, brands must construct mutually beneficial relationships where the get for both influencer and brand is well-balanced.
If you’ve been following GroupHigh, you’ll know that there are multiple paid avenues brands can take—like with affiliate marketing and sponsored posts—in order to boost influencer value. But if offering monetary compensation is simply not possible for your brand, you can add value in other meaningful ways.
Below are 3 possible ways for how your brand can provide more value for influencers.
Offer a memorable experience
Crafting unique experiences beyond product reviews is a great way to add more value for influencers.
One way to do this is by hosting an influencer event. Events are great in that they give a chance for influencers to connect with your brand on a more personal level. If hosting your own in-person event is not possible, consider connecting with influencers who are attending the same event you are. For instance, if your brand attends blogger conferences—the upcoming BlogHerFood being a great example—aim to connect with a few influencers while you’re there. You can also create a more unique experience at conferences by coordinating off-site happy hours and lunches.
Beyond in-person events, brands can also offer memorable experiences through creating online events or special moments in time. For instance, brands can work with their influencer network to create holiday-themed blog hops. A blog hop is where bloggers come together under a centralized theme and link to each other’s post so readers can hop along to each blog. An example of this is with Balsam Hill’s annual 12 Bloggers of Christmas. This tactic takes the average brand collaboration a step further, which translates into a unique experience for influencers.
Offer something for them AND their audience
Thinking of how to benefit both the influencer and their audience is another fantastic way to provide more value.
One way to do this is with offering giveaways—whether by having influencers host their own giveaway through tools like Rafflecopter or by having influencers direct their audiences to your own hosted giveaway. Influencer’s love giving back to their communities, which in turn, helps them grow even more. So when brands make it easy for them to give back, they’re more willing to participate.
Another idea would be to challenge influencers’ audiences through a social media contest where participates have to use your branded hashtag and tag both the influencer and your brand in order to enter. For instance, I once worked with influencers for a Twitter challenge where audiences had to tweet creative answers in order for a chance to win the brand’s products. This was great because the influencers were able to boost their own social media engagement and followers just by hosting the contest.
Offer added exposure
Providing more exposure for influencers and the chance to grow their own audience is another easy way to provide more value.
For instance, every brand has its own communication channels that serve to grow an audience, like with having social media profiles, a blog, email newsletters, etc. A great way to offer incentive for influencers is with featuring them on these owned channels by posting tagged social shares and featuring a snapshot of their post on both your blog and newsletter. The goal here is to help create new fans for the influencer, which in itself is super valuable for them as influencers only exist with having dedicated audiences.
In addition to owned channels, brands can also integrate their influencer marketing within their paid media efforts. Through the use of Outbrain and by putting paid behind social posts via Facebook and Twitter, brands can pay to promote influencer content and earn more exposure for them.
With being on the agency side, it’s part of my job to help create mutually beneficial relationships between brands and influencers. How I do that is by thinking through how the brand can incorporate more incentive and value for influencers within earned media campaigns where additional compensation is simply not possible.
Through my experience, I’ve learned that brands can create a more well-balanced relationship with influencers by offering a memorable experience, enabling both the influencer and their audience to benefit, and providing added exposure for influencers.
How does your brand provide value for influencers? Share in the comments below or on Twitter @GroupHigh.