Chapter 5: Relationship Management

As your campaigns progress and you add more influencers, you will be able to identify your top influencers.

As your campaigns progress and you add more influencers, you will be able to identify your top influencers. This leading performer could create top-tier content, drive the most conversions, or rally their friends, family, and followers to support your brand. So fostering that kind of performance makes effective relationship management key. 

As your campaigns grow and you add more influencers, you should be able to identify your top content creators based on the goals you’ve set. Lead performers should create top-tier content, drive the most conversions or largest reach, and rally their friends, family, and followers to support your brand. So fostering that kind of performance makes effective relationship management key. 

Relationship management in the early stages of managing an influencer marketing campaign deals primarily with the onboarding experience. A good relationship manager will ensure smooth onboarding by providing clear instructions, answering all questions, and making a creator feel like they are becoming a part of the team or active community.

However, relationship management takes on its true meaning as you identify those star performers over time (we’ll call them your core influencers). Like client success representatives in other businesses, managing influencer relationships ensures your core set of creators is informed, motivated, and overall happy with your working relationship. As your program grows, you’ll need to manage these core relationships on a larger scale.

This guide aims to get your influencer program from 0 to 100 creators. While we don’t guarantee it will happen overnight, the time will come when you have a roster of star performers. These core influencers will appreciate the extra time and attention you can give them because you can effectively manage your influencer campaigns without the stress and drama that often accompanies disorganization. If we can educate you on best practices for maintaining happy, productive relationships, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Effective influencer relationship management involves five key areas:

  • New product seeding
  • Share brand updates.
  • Creative & fresh campaign ideas
  • Listen, respond, and communicate
  • Show your appreciation.

New product seeding

You’ll want to ensure that you consistently send new products and styles to your core roster of influencers. In addition to being an effective means of product promotion for your brand, this also serves an essential purpose in relationship management. Keeping your influencers stocked with the latest releases ensures they always have something fresh and new to share with their fans. This upkeep will keep fans more engaged with your brand as they anticipate new arrivals. Things can go south if an influencer begins to notice that their followers are bored or indifferent towards your brand or products. Happy, excited fans means a happy, excited influencer.

Share brand updates

Not only should you be seeding new products to influencers, but you should also keep them up-to-date on your brand’s latest updates. It’s best to inform your creators of any upcoming sales, promotions, contests, or pertinent news related to them regularly and beforehand. You can provide weekly or monthly digests or a recurring memo to accomplish this task. For example, let’s say you have an upcoming sale with specific information about discounts, what products are eligible, and the start and end dates. Sending this information to influencers will help them adequately prepare and prevent any potential confusion. 

By keeping your influencer in the loop, you not only have the ability to share essential information, but you’ll also make them feel included in the marketing efforts of a product they like. Feeling included will help foster a stronger bond. You’ll also be demonstrating your brand’s competency, which can help build trust. In the same way that you can recognize when an influencer professionally handles their business, they too can pick up on when a brand has it together. Staying on top of your program and promptly distributing necessary information will garner more trust and build a healthier working relationship.

Creative & fresh campaign ideas

There may be times when you might not have exciting new product releases to send. Or, by the nature of your business, there is only a specific set of products. In these cases, it may be challenging to provide the influencer, and ultimately their audience, with exciting new products to share. In this context, you must be creative about how to keep your brand and messaging fresh. Brainstorming new ideas for how your influencers can promote your product will show them you’re actively participating in the partnership and encourage them to feel like they are part of the team. For example, brainstorming with your creator could include running a promotion exclusive to an influencer’s audience, offering a free product as a reward for sweepstakes on the influencer’s social, or building an interactive campaign experience that involves the brand, influencer, and their audience. 

Knowing your influencer is the most critical factor that will help you develop creative integration ideas. What are they passionate about? What do they do outside of social media? Do they have any pets? Are they in a relationship? By knowing your influencers (which you should strive toward), you’ll have a much easier time brainstorming ideas. You can work toward developing a list of ideas that apply to all influencers and audiences; however, the best ideas almost always involve a single influencer. 

Even if you aren’t limited in the products your brand offers, you must always think beyond new product releases to promote novelty in your messaging. Influencers will significantly appreciate this, and their audiences will undoubtedly consider your brand creative and innovative.

Listen, respond, and communicate

A successful influencer-brand relationship is not a one-way street of communication. Beyond sending brand updates and new products to your core roster, you should ensure an open line of communication where the influencer can seamlessly talk with someone from your brand. This person should be a dedicated individual on your team who builds and maintains the relationship from the start. There will be many times when your influencers will need to communicate with you regarding an area of the campaign or partnership. Whether it be audience feedback about a recent promotion, inquiring about their sales performance, or questions about an upcoming campaign, you must always prioritize having an open door and respond to them accordingly.

Most importantly, don’t always make it about business. Sending over a simple ‘Hey, how’s your day?’ email or text message can go a long way towards building a relationship beyond business. Developing a level of friendship with your influencers will unlock a whole new world of possibilities.

Show your appreciation

Last and certainly not least, remember to acknowledge the efforts of all your enthusiastic, hard-working, and devoted core influencers every so often. Let them know how appreciative you are and how much you value having them as a brand ambassador. Whether it’s a small gesture or a more grandiose, bespoke experience, there’s no limit to the number of ways you can show your appreciation to an influencer. 

Small gestures

Small gestures are easier to execute, can be done with little-to-no budget, and will likely make up most of your recognition efforts. This type of content, in this context, is invaluable and carries a unique effect and benefit that usually doesn’t arise from a typical influencer integration or promo. This results in increased brand perception and sentiment from the audience (i.e., your target customer) as they witness how considerate and authentic your brand’s efforts are. While there may be no direct call-to-action as the influencer publicly shouts out your brand for the nice gesture, there is undoubtedly a significant leap in brand perception—and sometimes, that’s all it takes for a conversion to occur.

Small gestures can include the following:

  • Engaging with or reposting their content
  • Sending a handwritten birthday letter and gift
  • Meeting up for coffee or lunch with your local influencers
  • Simply touching base frequently and sharing praise

For any creator you consider a core influencer, you should consistently demonstrate small acts of appreciation each quarter.

Big gestures

There are numerous ways to reward your highest-performing core influencers. Depending on your brand and budget, the opportunities are practically endless. Bigger, more personalized experiences will cost more, and you should choose the recipients wisely, but these can elevate your relationship with an influencer and their community. 

More significant gestures can include the following:

  • Concert or sports tickets
  • Dinner for two (or the entire family)
  • A destination trip
Influencer Marketing 101 - Chapter 5 9

Pro Tip

Despite your influencer’s public recognition, ensure this is not the primary reason you send lovely gifts or thanks. These gestures are about sincere recognition. They are not just a cunning way to get more shout-outs. Keep your intentions clear, and the benefits will surely follow the public recognition from your influencer—ensure this is not the primary reason you’re sending nice gifts/thanks. This is about sincere recognition and not just a cunning way to get more shout-outs. Keep your intentions clean and the benefits will surely follow.

There are a few things to note about showing recognition. Regardless of how you show your appreciation, it will often result in additional “value-add” exposure from the influencer as they openly share with their followers the “thoughtful, handwritten letter” they received from your brand. Although they may seem trivial, even small gestures can have a tremendous impact. Sometimes all it takes is a little recognition to strengthen your relationship’s bonds. No matter the gesture, make sure it remains personal and feels authentic.

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© Grin Technologies Inc. 2022. All rights reserved.

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