Influencer marketing is a lot like dating.
For your campaigns, you want a loyal, genuine partner that’s willing to make a long-term commitment. Sound familiar?
But in the hunt for the perfect match, many marketers are tempted to speed up the process with “blind dates” or “speed dating.” They reach out without knowing the influencer personally. They’re too forward with a weak relationship. They send out generic mass emails to try and get the attention of multiple suitors. Suffice it to say, these tactics just don’t work.
So, don’t put yourself through the pain of blind speed dating when it comes to your influencer marketing strategy. Instead, use the advice below from 15 influencer marketing “dating” experts to ensure you’re building the right types of relationships with influencers.
Owner | Bootstrap Business
Mike Schiemer is no stranger to social media and content marketing campaigns, working on projects for Allstate, Reebok, GNC, DuPont, and other globally recognized brands. And many of those campaigns involve micro-influencer marketing — one of Mike’s many areas of expertise.
What’s Michael’s influencer relationship advice? Encourage collaboration and provide clarity.
“It’s your responsibility as the brand or business to work collaboratively and provide your influencer with the right tools to get the job done. Be completely clear from the onset about your expectations for the campaign and share your performance metrics with the influencer on an ongoing basis.”
Read more of Michael’s advice: Invest In Instagram Influencers
CEO | Maximize Your Social
Imagine being so knowledgeable on a subject that universities use your book as a textbook. That’s how much of an expert Neal Schaffer is when it comes to social media strategy. His book “Maximize Your Social” has made the required reading list for many marketing and business classes.
What’s Neal’s influencer relationship advice? It needs to be mutual.
“There is no company that cannot benefit from tapping into the power of influencers in their particular industry, and when you start to see the potential and the different ways in which you can collaborate with an influencer in authentic and mutually beneficial ways, you begin to unlock the power that is influencer marketing.”
Read more of Neal’s advice: Influencer Marketing Is About Community, Not a Campaign
Millennial Marketing | Chelsea Krost Productions
With an early start in media at the young age of 16, Chelsea is now one of America’s leading Millennial marketing influencers. Today, she coaches entrepreneurs and businesses on how to market to Millennials through social media, influencer marketing, and other digital marketing strategies.
What’s Chelsea’s influencer relationship advice? Spread the love.
“Developing relationships and partnerships with multiple influencers can raise social clout and helps expose your brand to various different niche audiences. In order to build relationships, give influencers social love by following, endorsing, engaging and re-sharing their content.
“Network within influencer communities by taking it a step further and connect offline. Host your own meetup or attend social media conferences, blogging conferences, or other industry related forums.
“The stronger your relationships are with key influencers the bigger impact you will create together.”
Read more of Chelsea’s advice: Six Ways to Work With Influencers To Grow Your Brand
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer | Unilever
Their products live in nearly every home. From Dove to Axe to Lipton, Unilever’s brands are unmistakable. And Keith Weed is the man responsible for making sure those brands are household names through tactics like influencer marketing.
What’s Keith’s influencer relationship advice? Think of it as a partnership.
“At Unilever, we believe working with creators is an important way to create engaging content to reach and build trust with our audiences, and so we strive to establish mutually beneficial partnerships. In this sense, influencer marketing is so much more than just paying people or groups to post content with #ad or #spon. Fundamentally, it’s always been about creating and nurturing authentic and credible relationships with people who understand and are close to the brand.”
Read more of Keith’s advice: When It Comes to Influencer Relationships, It’s Complicated
Customer Marketing & Advocacy Manager | Hootsuite
Alicia Taggio’s expertise is in her job title: advocacy. After all, that’s what you want to produce from your influencer relationships — loyal and engaged brand advocates. At Hootsuite, a favorite tool for social media managers everywhere, Alicia helps develop advocacy through customer and influencer relationships.
What’s Alicia’s influencer relationship advice? Leverage the strongest relationships.
“The customer success team at Hootsuite has been key in helping our marketing team discover brand ambassadors. The nature of their role involves constant contact with our clients, and as a result, their team has established strong ties to our customers. With this kind of rapport, it makes sense that the customer success team can identify and recommend clients who would fit our brand advocacy program.”
Read more of Alicia’s advice: 6 Tips for Building Brand Advocacy
Head of Global Influencer Marketing | SAP
Influencer marketing is what Ursula lives and breathes day in and day out at SAP. Working for a global enterprise software company, Ursula knows what it takes to establish trust with a tough B2B audience through the right influencer relationships.
What’s Ursula’s influencer relationship advice? No trust, no relationship.
“Trust is the currency all brands must have when marketing to an audience. And if you can find trusted advisors to share authentic experiences about the purpose of your brand, you’ll make an impact on the world.
“Listen to someone’s story. Understand where they came from. And what makes them who they are today. You never know where that new relationship will take you.”
Read more of Ursula’s advice: The Power Of Connections
CEO | Shane Barker Consulting
Shane Barker talks the talk and walks the walk. As the CEO of his own consulting firm, Shane helps Fortune 500 companies navigate the world of influencer marketing. He’s also been named one of the Top Digital Marketing Influencers of 2018 by Whatagraph.
What’s Shane’s influencer relationship advice? Don’t be the clingy or controlling person in the relationship.
“It’s crucial for brands to let influencers be their creative and honest selves. Restricting an influencer’s creativity could significantly ruin your relationship with influencers. It will also take away the authenticity from your campaign. And as audiences identify this lack of authenticity, they could lose trust in both your brand and the influencer.”
Read more of Shane’s advice: How Brands Can Build Strong Relationships With Influencers
Chief Marketing Officer | Fanatics Media
Forbes Magazine has named Mark Fidelman one of the Top 20 Influencers of CMOs. Inc. Magazine has also dubbed him a Top Social Media Keynote Speaker. These titles aren’t just for show, either. As CMO for Fanatics Media, Mark has led and spearheaded some of the most recognizable marketing campaigns for brands like eBay, Oracle, IBM, Dominos Pizza, and more.
What’s Mark’s influencer relationship advice? Both parties have to be compatible.
“Influencers have never been ‘one size fits all.’ It’s not just a matter of different audiences, either. Sure, brands need influencers with audiences that align with their own target consumers, but brands also need influencers who share their values, their image, and to some extent their voice.
“This cuts both ways. Brands don’t want their images muddied or tarnished by the wrong influencers, and influencers don’t want their influence diminished by representing the wrong brands.”
Read more of Mark’s advice: Influencers: Full of Value, or Full of Bullshit?
Sr. Marketing Manager | Cox Communications
Forbes. Inc. Entrepreneur. Social Media Today. Martin’s thought leadership and advice is published regularly on some of today’s leading media outlets. Through social media, content, and influencer marketing Martin has helped Cox Communications grow to over 1 million engagements.
What’s Martin’s influencer relationship advice? Know who you’re going out with.
“Due diligence in researching the potential influencers’ social media history will reveal a lot about their personality, style, character and more. You want to ensure that the influencer will in no way put your brand’s reputation at risk.
“There is much more to a successful relationship than the dollar value and reach. Influencers that align with your company’s goals, objectives, and values will advance your organization in many ways beyond a marketing campaign.”
Read more of Martin’s advice: B2B Influencer Marketing Interview: Martin Jones, Cox Communications
Founder | Convince & Convert
Jay Baer is a New York Times best-selling author, an award-winning keynote speaker, and founder of Convince & Convert. And if that didn’t do the trick, he’s also the founder of not one, not two, but five multi-million dollar companies. There’s one thing we know for sure: Jay knows how to grow. And he can teach you how, too.
What’s Jay’s influencer relationship advice? Master your pick-up lines and icebreakers.
“To build a productive relationship with an influencer you first have to cut through the clutter so that your pitch is heard. Make it clear who you are. Take the time to really learn what the influencer does, why they do it, how they do it. Create an opportunity that describes what you want. Be explicit about how this helps the influencer.”
Read more of Jay’s advice: How to Pitch an Influencer
CEO | MM+CO
As the CEO of a full-service marketing agency, MM+CO, Marcy is very familiar with influencer marketing strategies and tactics. It’s a central pillar of MM+CO’s service offerings and is a crucial component of their client campaigns.
What’s Marcy’s influencer relationship advice? A little motivation doesn’t hurt.
“Influencer marketing is now mostly transactional in nature with the relationship taking the shape of contractual content creation with social syndication. Meaning a high majority of engagements are incentivized with payment, experience or product of value.”
Read more of Marcy’s advice: Influencer Marketing: It Has Changed, Have You?
Senior Social Media Manager | Sony
At Sony, Jeff Meltz is the man behind their social media strategy and management, including their influencer programs and activations. For the past decade, Jeff has specialized in content creation, global social media management, community building, and, of course, influencer marketing.
What’s Jeff’s influencer relationship advice? Social media stalking is okay.
“Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, those are our sort of three bread-and-butter social-media sites. Facebook highlights weekly events. Twitter is the campaign’s day-to-day chat room between users and influencers, and Instagram is the photographic evidence.”
Read more of Jeff’s advice: The Present and Future of a Content Strategy
Group Director, Social Media Strategy and Influencer Engagement | W2Ogroup
Taking a look at Missy’s LinkedIn bio and one word will stand out: influencers. From influencer engagement to sponsored content influencer campaigns, Missy is passionate about helping others build authentic influencer relationships and produce meaningful results.
What’s Missy’s influencer relationship advice? Be ready for commitment.
“At WCG, we work with global brands to identify influencers who are relevant to their business and engage with them in a meaningful way. Key word = meaningful. One of the biggest keys to working with influencers is to think of building long-term relationships, rather than a quick way to get someone to mention your product or company online.
“This means doing your homework to find the right people who might want to engage with you, study them and get on their radar (begin building that relationship) before you pitch them. Do they talk about topics relevant to your brand? Search for your company name or product within their blog to see if they’ve covered your company or anything like it before.”
Read more of Missy’s advice: Extending the Reach of Your Brand With Influencers
Director, Social Media Strategy | WPromote
While technically the director of social media strategy for WPromote, Stefan expertly ties in additional tactics like content and influencer marketing to amplify campaign results. He’s been in the marketing game for over 15 years and knows what it takes to develop highly productive campaigns that achieve ambitious results.
What’s Stefan’s influencer relationship advice? Earn their attention.
“If your content adds value and is well-written, you will begin earning attention from bloggers, websites, and news sites. While well-honed social media efforts ‘earn’ this attention passively, it’s possible to increase results by taking a proactive approach. Your marketing team could reach out to bloggers and journalists, for example, informing them of content and owned social media assets.”
Read more of Stefan’s advice: How to Successfully Integrate Owned, Earned, and Paid Social Media
Michael J. Lamp
SVP, Social/Digital Media | Hunter Public Relations
Believe it or not, public relations is a lot like influencer marketing. You have a target list of media publications and journalists you want to work with and you need to maintain the relationship if you want any real shot of being mentioned in an article. As the go-to digital media pro for Hunter Public Relations, Michael has incredible insight on how you can manage those vital influencer relationships.
What’s Michael’s influencer relationship advice? Never date a famous person.
“It isn’t the power of celebrity that drives people to act — it’s the power of digital influencers with dedicated, engaged followings. So how can brands identify who holds this power of engagement? Regardless of who has a higher influencer score or which brands become household names, content remains the most important key to unlocking the secrets of digital influencer success.”
Read more of Michael’s advice: Social Media and the Power of Influence
Connect First. Date Later.
Don’t go into your influencer relationships blind. Take the time to get to know them first. Then make your big ask. The last thing you want is to pair up with an influencer who will love you and leave you. You want them to be in it for the long haul. And the advice above can help you build relationships with influencers that will stand the test of time.
Wish there was an influencer marketing dating app? We want to help you find the right match, without snap judgments and over-eager swiping. Sign up for your free trial of GroupHigh to experience first-hand how we can help you identify, nurture, and track all of your influencer relationships.