Influencer Relationship Management or IRM refers to managing your interactions with your influencers right from the moment they become strategic partners. This strategy draws inspiration from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which is about managing customer interactions.
Brands that successfully develop relationships with their influencers often gain an edge that other brands can't offer, and that's because your influencers are people, not advertising space.
While the influencer marketing industry is full of promises, much depends on your ability to create a successful influencer relationship management strategy. When you do this right, your influencers' influence can sway purchase decisions.
Here, we've put together our top 5 tips to ace IRM. But first, let's examine why this is important in your long-term marketing strategy.
Why Is IRM Important?
IRM allows you and your brand to build relationships with influencers who will be instrumental in your influencer programs. By partnering with creators who are popular with your brand's target audience, you hope they speak well of your products and services to your potential customers.
When you establish a long-term relationship with your influencer, they are more productive since the influencer gets to know your brand better over time. However, building good relationships with influencers can be a difficult task.
Without a well-planned influencer relationship management strategy, your marketing efforts may result in ineffective influencer marketing campaigns. And if your influencers are not invested enough in your campaigns, they will do a poor job of building your brand's credibility.
However, when you get it right, you do not only increase brand awareness and customer trust, but you also get impressive returns on your investment. Without further ado, here are five ways you can establish and build strong relationships with your influencers,
1. Work With Relevant Creators Only
You must work only with relevant influencers in your industry to get the most out of your influencer campaigns. The reason for this is glaring - audiences are very perceptive and can tell when something is forced or unnatural.
Working with irrelevant creators can damage your image rather than boost awareness and sales. But when you work with influencers within your industry, it allows for natural integration, and your target audience will most likely interact with it.
However, finding the ideal influencer is not a walk in the park. A Crowdtap study found that 44% of influencers want to work with brands whose offerings are relevant to their social media followers. That proves that relevance is the number one motivator for influencers.
2. Provide Creative Freedom
To build a solid influencer relationship management strategy, you must offer your influencers or creators creative freedom without constantly looking over their shoulders. First, ensure you share your brand guidelines to help your influencer better represent your brand.
So, allow your content creators to be their authentic selves because micromanaging their creativity can harm the relationship you have created and ruin your campaign's authenticity. Think about it; your influencers know your audience better than you.
After all, it's your influencer's audience you're targeting. Your influencers know the ideal content to trigger engagement and boost your brand awareness and sales. When you provide influencers with creative freedom, it shows you have respect for their ideas, and this goes in length to improve the relationship.
3. Adequate Time For Content Creation
Influencer Relationship Management is a long-term strategy, and for the best outcome, you must respect your influencer's time. Influencers or content creators need adequate time to create authentic and engaging content.
A Tapinfluence study found that 32% of influencers don't like working with brands that don't give them adequate time. Unfortunately, a Crowdtap survey found that brands have a misconception that content creation does not take up much time nor requires much effort.
For effective influencer relationship management, it's essential to understand that your creators also have personal and professional lives and likely work part-time or full-time jobs alongside being an influencer.
To get the best quality work from them, you need to give them time and agree on a deadline to deliver influencer marketing content. Clear communication is vital, as it will help your influencer determine the time needed to create your influencer marketing content.
4. Have Transparent Conversations
One of the biggest pet peeves of creators is when a client fails to communicate clearly and then complains when expectations aren't met. To avoid this, you must have transparent conversations with your influencers before, during, and after the campaign.
Making clear your expectations from the beginning of the partnership is key to your success. For example, what do you expect from the influencer? What should they expect from you? And what will the influencer get out of the partnership?
Be open to communicating, and never hesitate to compromise when the need arises. Remember, you're dealing with a person, not an advertising platform. Respect their needs and desires, and don't expect them to follow orders. Instead, build a relationship and earn their respect.
And when they do a fantastic job, praise them, and ensure they are paid instantly without hassles. Effective communication allows you to build an influencer relationship management strategy that stands the test of time.
5. Offer Fair Compensation
While respect and good treatment are intrinsic in influencer relationship management, your influencers also expect a fair monetary return for their work. Unfortunately, most brands fail in this regard and would approach influencers with freebies rather than a paid collaboration.
When you offer adequate compensation to your influencers, you show them that you value and respect their efforts in your influencer marketing campaigns. In addition, it makes you appealing to work with since influencers work more with brands that offer competitive compensation.
So before you get in touch with an influencer, ensure you understand influencers' rates and work toward adjusting your budget accordingly. For the best results, a long-term contract is ideal.
Best Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) Tools
Although some brands have an in-house team dedicated to managing their influencers and campaigns, an influencer marketing agency, on the other hand, can be critical to your influencer marketing success. With an influencer marketing agency, you save time and leverage their expertise, including access to the right metrics.
With the right influencer relationship management tool, you can easily track influencer analytics, such as engagement rate, user-generated content, and sales attribution, and ensure that no influencer management tasks go off the radar.
Some of the best IRM platforms worth trying include:
- Society Icon
Some marketers and business owners often objectify influencers as commodities they have purchased for a price, which is counter-productive if you're trying to build a relationship with them.
If you want the best result, you must build strong relationships with influencers, and hopefully, the tips in this article will help in that regard. And when it's time to pay your influencers after a collaboration, you must make it instant and hassle-free.
That is why platforms like Adrecord, Society Icon, and GroupM love working with Gigapay to pay their influencers after a great job. So feel free to book a demo, and we'll guide you on how our payment system works.
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