Regardless of the social media platform, having a loyal and highly engaged following is the most valuable asset an influencer can have. Nonetheless, it is no secret that while many micro-influencers have an army of followers on their side, they are still in the dark about how to build strong, durable, and profitable relationships with the brands they love. Well, the good news is that it might be easier than you think!
A lot of times, micro-influencers are unable to build long-lasting relationships with brands because they do not follow the basic procedures that are required of them in order to prosper. I have some first-hand advice to help you build valuable and lasting relationships with your favorite brands.
Know where you add value to brands
Before trying to sell yourself to brands, you must deeply understand your audience, niche, and content style. This will ultimately allow you to perform better for brands, and target the right brands when pitching.
Established labels like Fashion Nova or NerdyNuts send their products to micro-influencers because they are seeking an authentic, engaged, and highly relevant customer base. They gravitate towards micro-influencers as these creators allow them to connect with niche and tightly-knit communities. In many cases this can have a greater impact than celebrity influencers, ultimately giving you an advantage as a micro-influencer.
What makes you so valuable to brands is your engaged and intimate fellowship. Let’s imagine you are part of two Facebook groups giving influencers advice on their content, one with 2000 members and one with 200,000. In which one would you be more willing to share your thoughts and comment on new posts? Guessed right, the intimate one!
This little mental game is thoroughly backed up by research: The Mobile Marketer found that social media engagement increases with fewer followers because individuals feel more secure to engage in close-knit communities.
The level of genuine credibility micro-influencers have created with their followers means their voice is extremely loud in their area of expertise. In a market study, Conveto even found that 84% of consumers trust peer recommendations over brand advertising. Particularly those brands eyeballing small markets are prone to use the expertise that only niche influencers provide. Good news? And it gets even better!
Brands don’t just require your expertise; they want their product to be entirely and truly related to you and your unique style across your social media channels. Everyone knows that what makes micro-influencers successful is that they have dedicated themselves to an exclusive style and tone. If the fit between content and product is right, brands highly value the credibility and authenticity you create for them within your loyal followership.
Now let’s dive further and see how you can turn your value into long-lasting relationships.
Start your communication the right way
Let’s face it, Rome wasn’t built in a day. That’s why for cultivating a long-term brand relationship, you need the first contact to be right. Remember, you are about to enter a business relationship with a brand, so act accordingly. Even though influencer marketing is often seen as a more informal industry, businesses will evaluate your credibility at the very first interaction.
That’s why in your communication with brands you should be open about your interest and collaboration goal and transparent about your expectations on price and content. Furthermore, remember to respond rapidly to incoming messages and requests. These are the things that will have a brand come back to work with you on future campaigns.
If you want to take control and reach out to brands directly, first you need to find a product or brand you truly relate to. You’re much more likely to land a deal with a brand that fits your audience and aesthetic, as opposed to one that doesn’t. As soon as you have an authentic product fit, don’t hesitate to contact them! Feel free to reach out via email, interact directly via social media, or start off on a more formal level on LinkedIn. As a micro-influencer, it’s tough getting noticed, but by reaching out to these brands directly you’re giving yourself a chance to highlight your potential, so be sure to tell the brand why you’re a great fit for them!
Cultivate strong brand relationships
As a micro-influencer, your goal is to let your followers live through an engaging journey with your content, and your brand deals should follow this narrative as well.
Any content you create should be well thought out, creative, and aligned with the overall marketing campaign for the product you are promoting. With this in mind, you shouldn’t stray away from the content style you are known for, as it usually comes off as inauthentic. Keep in mind that your first post will be a strong marker of what the brand can expect from the collaboration in the future. This should prompt you to put some thought into the content before putting it together.
Working in the influencer world, I see lots of influencers confusing brand deals as one-time transactions: swapping exposure for money. You need to avoid this mistake at all costs, think about how much effort went into developing this relationship and landing the brand deal in the first place. You should strive to develop this relationship into a long one—it will ultimately save you time and energy when looking for more brand deals in the future, and it also allows you to become an ambassador of a brand you love.
In practical terms, this means engaging consistently. Tag the company in what you are posting about them, let people know every time you use their product and don’t hesitate to create several creative posts for one brand.
Nourish your brand relationships
Congratulations, you have run several campaigns and built a valuable business relationship with a brand of your preference. But what happens next?
What’s left is showing the people behind the brand your loyalty. You can follow their Instagram accounts and engage with their posts. Additionally, ask your contact at the company about things like company news and announcements, or even go a step further and suggest an idea for a campaign. If you know their anniversary is coming up, for example, it’s a perfect opportunity to create a celebratory post and win them over! They’ll appreciate your efforts.
There’s a simple marketing rule when it comes to advertising: Clients that engage with a product at least seven times are more likely to remember it and think of it next time looking for a similar purchase. Many companies have applied this rule to their influencer marketing campaigns, take Gymshark and Hismile Teeth, for example; both companies leveraged relationships with micro-influencers to build their multi-million dollar empires. As a micro-influencer, you have to follow the same tactic as brands: By constantly communicating with the brand, you will be at the front of their mind for the next campaign.
Building solid brand relationships might not be as straightforward as a single transaction, but it’s not rocket science either. By following some simple steps, remaining true to yourself, and focusing on nourishing engagement tactics, you can curate the long-term relationships you are looking for.
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