How to Successfully Manage Influencers
Remembering that influencer marketing is nothing without the influencers is critical in building long-lasting relationships with bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers, etc. Keeping a few things in mind at the outset of and during influencer marketing campaigns will lead to stronger relationships, higher quality deliverables, and relationships that extend past your one-off involvement.
This post, designed to help you successfully manage influencers, is the fifth in our “Comprehensive Guide to Influencer Marketing” 6-part series in which we discuss the 6 Things you Must do Before Developing an Influencer Marketing Plan, 4 Steps to Creating an Influencer Marketing Strategy, How to Create Results-Driven Influencer Marketing Campaigns, 6 Influencer Marketing Campaign Management Best Practices, and 11 Influencer Marketing Tactics to Rock Your Campaigns.
6 Steps You Must Follow to Successfully Manage Influencers
Following these 5 steps will lead to mutually beneficial partnerships and hopefully, drive repeat business for all involved.
1. Approach influencers as partners not as transactions.
Your goal should be to create partnerships—not transactions—where both brand and blogger win. Since relationships are two way, this means following basic steps of relationship building. Consider these things when reaching out to, talking to or about, or working with influencers:
Balance your outreach with information about them and the brand. Treating people as important, listening to them, fighting for what’s fair for them, and respecting their influence is key in both building and strengthening the relationship. Approaching them with an “it’s all about my brand and what my brand is demanding” attitude is one sided and can be a huge turn off. The goal is to build trust. You will get far greater quality and deliverables that exceed what the contract requires if you balance your approach in this way.
Understand that not all influencers have a background in public relations (PR) and most don’t understand the difference between earned and paid media and the nuances of how things should work were they in PR. This will help when rates influencers quote feel unfair or other “unbelievable” behavior or comments surface. Detailing requirements and information in a formal contract and giving influencers time to review and approve before committing to the asks helps to ensure you’ll all at consensus before kicking off a campaign.
2. Negotiate to agree on compensation.
Depending on a campaign’s amount of asks, criteria, and requirements, it’s important to remember that every influencer has different rate. You can negotiate as follows:
Set rates and find people to work for your established rates.
Be open to negotiation.
Identify influencers’ rates and engage with those you most want to work with according to their rate.
You can set a rate for a campaign, offer the rate to the community of influencers, and see who is interested in the opportunity. Determining fair market value can feel like rocket science, but the more you ask around, research, offer rates and get feedback, the more you will know what is and isn’t reasonable to offer influencers.
Once you set a rate and reach out based on that rate, you can vet the list of influencers who agreed to the set rate and requirements to see who is a fit for the campaign and sponsor.
If the posted rate for an opportunity is open-ended, then it is up to the influencer to review the requirements and tell you what their rate will be to complete the assignment.
Be Open to Negotiation
Whether you set rates or reach out and inquire about rates, be ready to negotiate since some rates might be higher than anticipated. But, don’t worry. Influencers are familiar with the negotiation process. And, at the end of the day, millions of influencers exist. Your chances are good of finding one or 100 who meet your specific criteria and will work for your rates.
Identify Influencer’s Rates at the Outset
To help you streamline the process, you can either reach out to influencers and collect their rates on an ongoing basis. How does this help? When you are presented with a campaign, you will quickly know who will do what for how much.
Another way to streamline the process is to go to an influencer with a rate based on what can be accomplished within the budget. The influencer will either agree to the rate or respond with a negotiation. Be understanding of the negotiation and either entertain the negotiation or decide to go in a different direction if the rate does not fit within the budget.
3. Contract to formalize the relationship.
Once you have your ideal influencer list compiled, reach out to each person individually and share the basic details of the campaign, including the requirements, the deadline(s), and the compensation. Negotiate if applicable. And then, send those that said yes a contract.
Your influencer contract should be a legally binding contract with standard legalese created for the layman and prepared by your legal team. Ensure it includes the following:
The asks (the campaign requirements)
Brand message points
Content they MUST and MUST NOT include
Creative assets, if required
Compensation expectations (date by which payment or product can be expected)
Social media IDs, if you’d like them to insert them into their social shares
FTC guidelines with samples, including disclosure statements
A sample post or other content, if style, tone, or something else is critical
Tip! A clear yet comprehensive contract in basic language (not legalese) sets clear expectations from the get go, ensuring you enlist more than less influencers who meet their requirements with decreased errors in the quality assurance phase.
4. Keep communication to a minimum.
Influencers receive a lot of emails in any given day. Plus, they are working with multiple agencies, brands, influencer networks often all while managing their home and taking care of their children and/or working in or outside the home. In other words, influencers are juggling a lot of balls so keeping communication with them to a minimum is key when working with them.
The best way to communicate with influencers is to send them one email that contains all of the information they need to know for the campaign. By doing so, you know that all the influencer has to do is open the email/attachment when he/she is ready to write the post and/or promotions. Sending information here and there throughout a series of emails is bound to make requirements and messages slip through the cracks.
Now, don’t get us wrong. At times there are changes to messages, hashtags, links, etc. Edit, change requests, etc., are fine. But, try to keep your request-oriented emails to a minimum.
Tip! Once you enter into a contract with an influencer, you are legal bound to that contract as are they. That means that if you or your client changes their mind post contract signature and, let’s say, they want more social media promotion, an internal post review, and another round of edits prior to publishing, the influencer does not have to fulfill your requests. Sticking to the contract is the very best way to achieve a campaign’s results while creating a mutually beneficial partnership.
5. Streamline tracking and invoicing.
Find a way to streamline how you track a campaign, as well as the format in which you collect invoice and payment information. Having all of the links and payment information in one spot makes it easy to reference. Plus, you can ensure that all links within the tracking document are accurate before you issue influencers their payment. When streamlining, consider manual as well as automated tools.
Tip! To best identify which tracking and invoices tools to use, go back to your resources and budget to know whether outsourcing and subscribing to tools is an option.
Making sharing tracking and invoicing information via a Google Form a contractual requirement, not only ensures you’ll get the information but also makes it easier on everyone. Influencers don’t have to worry about creating reports and you don’t have to sit by your computer waiting for them to post and following up with them about how many views they got on their post.
What’s great is that you don’t have to get fancy when it comes to tracking. A simple Google form that shows data in a spreadsheet will go a long way in helping you and your team stay organized and on top of the campaign.
Other manual options exist, but we highly recommend using Google as it allows real-time collaboration and sharing.
Tools to Help You Automate
Technology has advanced to where creating, subscribing to, or white labeling a backend system that collects links and invoicing information is no longer impossible, difficult, or cost prohibitive. Determine the key components you are looking for (that you’d like automated) and identify your budget and research options. You’ll quickly find myriad choices that will work for you.
Tip! Regardless of the automation that exists, all influencer marketing campaigns requires the human element. Combining manual solutions with tools that enable automation leads to the best results.
6. Work on resolving issues.
As you manage an influencer marketing campaign, issues may rear their ugly heads. Be sure to carry out the tasks as outlined in the project timeline, modifying tasks and items as required but with the goal to stay within budget and on time, as well as deliver in alignment with the criteria included in the scope of work.
If issues do happen, tackle them with the interest of both the brand and the influencer in mind. The following are areas that could potentially encounter issues during an influencer marketing campaign:
Quality of content
By being aware of issues beforehand, you can try to set tasks in place to help avoid issues wherever and whenever possible.
Tip! The best way to solve a problem is through planning and prevention. Creating a very detailed Scope of Work at the outset, spelling out all the campaign requirements and including examples of what to do and not to do in the influencer contract, and clearly communicating while keeping communication to a minimum will give you the greatest likelihood of keeping problems at bay. If they do surface, always refer to the SOW or to the contract instead of allowing things to get personal. If the client is in the wrong, advise them (or take advisement). If the influencer is in the wrong, kindly help him or her see that and troubleshoot ideas that will lead to a win-win.
Now that you are successfully building relationships and lasting partnerships with influencers, enjoy 11 tactics that are helping brands rock their influencer marketing campaigns. Check out these posts in our series to learn more:
Not sure where to start? Let’s talk! Partnering with a professional influencer network, such as Mom It Forward Media, yields many benefits. We’ll meet with you to discuss your ideas, goals, and objectives. From there, we’ll develop a campaign that will meet (and hopefully surpass) your objectives.
Does that sound like a plan? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.