Influencing the Way You Work with Influencers; A Cautionary Tale

For Millennials and Gen Z-ers alike, building and maintaining a personal “brand” reputation on social media has undoubtedly become a daily priority none of us saw coming. With the evolution of new social platforms and enhanced functionality features constantly on the cutting edge, people everywhere are taking advantage of these platforms to say what they want to say, exactly how they want to say it. Cue the social media influencer.

From staging the perfect photo (filtered several times, of course) to crafting a witty caption to match, the name of the game for social media influencers is to make their content relevant, grow their followers and watch the likes pour in. If they’re successful, relevant brands will be quick to notice and want to leverage their likeness and built-in audience in the hopes of driving consumers to buy their product.

Working in the world of PR, there’s no question that the desire for partnering with social media influencers is there, and that their opinions makes an impact on consumer behavior. What seems to still be in question is the best practices for collaborating with social media influencers to provide the best ROI for not only your client, but their personal brand.

Having worked with dozens of social media influencers on behalf of some big-name consumer brands, here’s some first-hand tips to consider when approaching an influencer for a brand collaboration:

  • Do your research: Before asking an influencer to partner with your brand, be sure they are a fit by digging through their posts for the type of content they are producing, the followers they attract and the amount of organic engagements they are generating. A common misconception is that a high follower count means the influencer has more impact, which is not always the case.
  • Make sure your values align: Picking an influencer who will truly appreciate your product and seamlessly integrate it into their daily life is one of the most important prerequisites in an influencer partnership. The more authentic their content is, the more likely their followers are to heed their advice and drive consumer behavior.
  • Be explicit about why you want to work with them: When making the initial outreach to the person you’ve decided to work with, be up-front about why you want to work with them, and more importantly, how the collaboration will benefit you both.
  • Set content and deadline expectations: Similarly, be clear about the amount and type of posts you expect them to deliver on as well as the messaging and deadlines for posting. Understand that your influencers likely have other ongoing collaborations in process, and work with their editorial calendars to produce the best ROI per post.
  • Don’t take media kit rates at face value: No two brand collaborations are alike, so compensation packages should be tailored accordingly. If your desired influencer presents fees that are out of budget, offer flexibility by negotiating the number of posts or by offering product on top of their sponsorship fee.

Cassandra Faro
Senior Account Executive


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