woman smiling relationship influencer marketing

How to Build a Relationship-Based Influencer Marketing Strategy

The newest generation of consumers is slow to trust in the advertisements of old. Millennials and Gen Z alike don’t like to feel as though they’re being sold a product. In fact, 25.3 percent of online consumers in the United States alone use an ad blocker on their computer to deliberately avoid ad over-saturation.

While that may be convenient for them, it’s less convenient for advertisers. That redirection of attention, however, has allowed for the rise of the social media influencer. While there are different degrees of influencers, they all offer consumers something that traditional ads can’t–a personal connection.

Influencer Marketing in Practice

Take Chrissy Teigen, for example. While she is famous for many of her endeavors, she’s also recently become a non-traditional, social media influencer representing Pampers. By connecting to the business through her daughter, Teigen makes other new mothers feel more comfortable using Pampers’ products.

Not only that, but she’s maintained a long-standing relationship with Pampers as her family has grown and grown up. Instead of a one-time campaign, the influencer-brand relationship has evolved and grown too. 

If you’re looking to do the same, you’ll need to break down the relationship-building process that defines influencer marketing.

Relationship vs. Transactional Influencer Marketing

To start, you have to know the difference between a relationship-based influencer marketing strategy and a transactional influencer marketing strategy. Neither of these strategies is a bad one. They differ, however, in the ways that they generate authenticity.

Transactional

Transactional influencer marketing is a hands-off approach to influencer marketing for most businesses. In these situations, businesses scope out a relevant influencer and bring them into their marketing portfolio. From here, the two parties negotiate. 

Will the influencer post a review of the business’s product? Will she attend a corporate event? Whichever direction the influencer and business choose, both parties will move ahead with an agreed-upon marketing plan knowing that the relationship between them will be a short one.

That’s the cornerstone of transactional influencer marketing. You’ll receive the benefits of working with an influencer, but you won’t always be able to cultivate trust in the long-term with that influencer’s audience. 

Likewise, the influencer won’t continue to represent your brand after you’ve moved on from your partnership with them, making the original transaction seem less authentic than you’d like.

Relationship

On the other hand, you may want to consider relationship-based marketing strategies. These two different strategies begin in the same way. You need to find an influencer that your company clicks with to see the best success.

Once you’ve scoped out your preferred influencer, you need to outline how her audience’s interests fall in line with a product or service that your business can offer. Make it clear from the start that the partnership you intend to develop is less about your business and more about the influencer’s reach – not to mention the benefit of the consumer.

You’ll also want to make it clear early on that you’d like to be working with your influencer of choice for an extended period of time. Unlike transactional marketing, you’ll have the opportunity to build up a rapport with the influencer you’ve chosen in this scenario, like Teigan and Pampers. They’ll be able to bring additional creative freedom to your table, crafting content that fits in with their platform goals while also properly advertising your product.

The longer you work with your influencer of choice, the more natural consumer brand buy-in will be. This, specifically, is where transactional influencer marketing strategies fall short. What seems like a temporary, unnatural partnership to start turns into something akin to an actual relationship, and consumers will learn to trust your business by watching that development play out through social media.

Long-Term vs. One-Off Influencer Marketing Strategy

That said, it’s tricky to know when the best time is to build a long-term relationship with an influencer. This is where tools like Sideqik’s discovery searches come in handy. Some influencers are only interested in one-off marketing strategies. They’ll bring professionalism and creativity to your partnership, but after the content review or other form of media has gone live, it may be best for the relationship to end.

The trick to finding the right influencer for a long-term marketing strategy is a) looking for someone with the same priorities as your business, and b) treating the partnership like the two-way street that it is.

There are easy ways to do this from the start. Something as simple as using an influencer’s first name in an outreach email will let them know that they’re not receiving a form document. You’ll want to include information about the posts you like from their social media, as well, to make it clear that you’ve done your research and are serious about a potential partnership.

Do what you can, too, to treat your influencer of choice as though they’re the expert on their audience. Why? Because they are. The title of “influencer” represents a new career that businesses are still coming to understand. Influencers need to do just as much marketing work as traditional businesses to build up a social media following (all the more reason to let your influencer have significant say in the kind of content they produce for you, too!). That kind of work requires an intimate knowledge of a person’s working audience.

So long as you acknowledge the work and expertise that an influencer has used to build up that knowledge, you’ll be able to use it to your business’s advantage. That kind of respect, after all, lays the foundation for a lasting relationship between your business and your influencer. If you establish it from the get-go, your consumers will come to see it, too.

Interested in taking your influencer marketing to the next level? Chat with one of our influencer marketing specialists about how Sideqik can help.

Nancy Rothman

Nancy Rothman

Nancy is a passionate, results-driven marketing executive with more than a decade of experience in building robust integrated marketing programs for brands of all sizes, with specific expertise in the martech space. Prior to Sideqik, Nancy held roles at four successful martech startups, each of which received multiple series of fundraising and included two acquisitions. At CallRail, specifically, Nancy served as the director of marketing where she built the company’s brand and established it as a leader in its space. She also held roles at MeetEdgar, where she oversaw the entire sales and marketing practice, increasing the company's user base and annual recurring revenue, as well as PureCars, which was acquired by Raycom Media in 2015. As vice president of marketing for Sideqik, Nancy is responsible for developing and executing on the company's marketing strategy to drive overall business growth.

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