As social media marketing tactics evolve, we’re seeing more businesses partners with social media influencers.
Influencers help generate awareness about your brand. By sponsoring one or multiple social media posts, you’re tapping into the influencer’s audience. And if you did your influencer homework well, you only reached out to influencers who shared your customer demographic.
A partnership with an influencer can boost sales and brand awareness, but you must be strategic and cautious when initiating an influencer partnership.
Here are three tips for a successful collaboration with a social media influencer:
1. Be clear about what type of collaboration you’re seeking.
You’ll likely have several solid influencer candidates on your list when you begin reaching out for collaboration opportunities. To ensure you don’t waste your time – or the influencers’ – be very clear about what type of collaboration you’re seeking. If you have a specific idea in mind, say so. For instance, if you’d like the influencer to post about your store while she’s shopping in it, then do another social post a few days later, state this in your initial communication.
Clearly communicating what you’re looking for will alleviate confusion with influencers. If you don’t communicate your needs well, you risk an influencer being interested at first, then becoming disinterested when they learn what you’re actually needing. It will be a much smoother and rewarding process if you omit any confusion from the early stages of a collaboration.
2. Discuss expectations and compensation upfront.
So, an influencer has responded with her interest to your partnership opportunity. Great! The next step is to lay all expectations out on the table. This includes timeframes, social media accounts, number of posts, products, relevant hashtags, brand guidelines, etc. (But don’t throw out compensation just yet.)
Combine all your guidelines for the collaboration in an email, and send it to the influencer. From this email, she should be able to understand exactly what the collaboration will entail and what’s expected of her. When she replies, she’ll likely provide her compensation rates for the type of work you’re proposing. (It’s also possible she may lose interest at this point, in which case you’ll start back at tip number one. However, if you were clear in your initial communication with her, she’ll likely still be interested.)
If the influencer doesn’t mention pay rates, don’t assume that she doesn’t require payment. Instead, ask her what her rate is or suggest a compensation rate. If you don’t discuss payment up front, you risk an uncomfortable conversation later. Remember, influencers expect to be paid for their time curating a quality photo and crafting the perfect caption. That compensation rate may vary, however, depending on the price point of any free product you may be providing.
Always discuss the details – whether big or small – before the partnership begins so both parties are fully aware of what’s required of them.
3. Have a contract in place.
After the details have been discussed and agreed to, it’s time to put them in writing. A contract elaborating on all the items you discussed helps protect both your store and the influencer. You could use an independent contractor agreement, and add in the specific details about your collaboration. In the contract, include things like when photos should be posted, if you need to approve a post before it’s published, when payment will be sent, etc.
Sign the contract, then scan it to the influencer for her to sign as well. When you both have written documentation of what your partnership entails, you set yourself up for a more positive collaboration experience.
Working with a social media influencer can be instrumental in spreading the word about a campaign, new product line or your store in general. But, though it’s an exciting opportunity, be sure to leave no stone unturned when it comes to discussing what you expect of the influencer and what she expects of you. When both parties communicate well and are aware of guidelines, you’ll have a successful partnership that could continue in the future.