It can be tricky to navigate the influencer space — especially if your brand has never collaborated with one before. This is why it is vital to remember that when your brand works with an influencer, you have to see them as someone you work side by side with and not someone employed by you. Think of it like two partners planning their next strategic step to reach a specific goal.

While your brand is busy managing the partnership with the influencer, it is important to focus on the human side of it — real people building and maintaining a strong and genuine relationship with these partners.

It’s a lot to do, so how does one juggle all of this? Let’s jump right in:

Building and maintaining relationships with influencers

Building a healthy relationship with the influencers that your brand works with is vital for the success of the campaign, as well as the future of the company. If the influencers you work with do not feel that they are treated right by your team, they could hit the highway — leaving your brand behind in a smoke trail of online negativity.

This is why the experience that these influencers have with your brand needs to be flawless; the results must be beneficial for all parties involved. So, how do you build a strong relationship with these individuals and allow all parties involved to truly benefit?

Here are four effective ways to manage and build relationships with influencers:

1. Communicate:
Your brand needs to be able to communicate well with the influencer. They are not there to be told what to do. To avoid this, focus on rather being a point of communication to them and provide advice on how to reach your own brand's target audience. Let them do the rest!

2. Get to know the influencer first:
Your brand might have been following an influencer online for a while now, thinking that they will be a perfect match. But it is important to first meet with them and get to know them better — like you would do with any other supplier of services to your business.

This is not a partnership that should be rushed, so be sure to meet with the influencer on a few occasions and choose the right one for your brand. They are an extension of your team. You can take note of their personality, their perspectives, their style — as well as the way that they present themselves — to make a final call.

3. Be there for their needs:
Once your brand has found ‘the one’, it is time to treat them well and with respect. Find out what they need from your brand to ensure that the content they create for your company will be spot on. Be there for any of their public relations needs and be sure to have their back.

4. Build trust:
Trust and loyalty should be one of your brand's main focuses when wanting to build a long-lasting relationship with influencers.

A great way of showing that you support them is by showing up each day and reminding them that your brand is in it for the long run. Prove to them that they are the perfect match for your brand and that you want to continue building and working on the influencer and brand's objectives. If you know your influencer well enough, you will know how to go about doing this. 

Managing influencer 101

Now that your brand has found the right influencer and has started building a good relationship with them, you will now need your brand to effectively be able to manage them. And no, we are not talking about micro-management!

Your company needs to ensure that you provide the influencer with all the details from your side so that they can make the campaign a success.

You will also need to read the room when it comes to management. Know when to step forward and get your hands dirty in the project, but also know when to give the influencer room to work their magic!

So, here are three ways to ensure that your brand is managing an influencer correctly:

1. Listen to what the influencer has to say:
This individual knows what they are doing on social media and they know what their audience likes and dislikes. This is why it is important to listen to what the influencers suggest when it comes to marketing your brand on social media as they know what content their audience will engage with. So, be sure to listen to what they have to say.

2. Have clear objectives:
Your brand needs to have clear objectives and communicate them with your influencers. If your company is not sure what the objectives of the campaign are, you are going to make the influencers feel uncertain.

Not having clear objectives to meet will make their task all the more difficult and they might feel that you're deliberately setting them up for failure.

3. Give them feedback with regards to the campaign:
If you have ever written a test and only got back the marks but not the actual paper, you know how frustrating it can be. The same goes for influencers not receiving helpful feedback. Be sure to provide them with insightful news on how the campaign performed.

This can include what worked and what didn’t. Have an open line of communications throughout and don’t pin the blame on anyone too quickly if things go south; this will cause further wreckage on the partnership.

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