Did you know that 63% of marketers today work with ten or more influencers on every campaign? Why do you think brands and marketers rely heavily on influencers for marketing?
It’s because customers trust social proof and recommendations from real people way more than advertisements from brands.
Influencers are trusted by their followers immensely. They can help you convert people into your loyal customers. That’s one of the many reasons behind the increasing popularity of influencer marketing among brands across all industries.
If you’re trying to strategize your next influencer campaign, here are six types of influencer collaborations you need to know.
6 Popular Types of Influencer Collaborations
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most effective types of influencer collaborations you can leverage.
1. Sponsored Social Media Content
Partnering with influencers in exchange for sponsored social media posts is the most common type of influencer collaboration. An influencer creates and posts content to promote your brand on their social media accounts.
You need to provide the influencer your content guidelines and campaign objectives so that they know what you expect from them. Accordingly, they’ll create content based on the brief you share in exchange for a fee.
Here is an example of a paid partnership between an influencer and a beauty brand.
Image via Instagram
Influencer collaborations for sponsored content have become quite popular among brands. You are most likely to come across them on Instagram. In fact, 59% of micro-influencers have reported that Instagram is the most effective platform to engage their followers.
When you collaborate with Instagrammers, a good practice is to work with multiple influencers in a single campaign. This can create a lasting impression of your brand on Instagram.
Another way to collaborate with an influencer for a sponsored partnership is to gift your product samples to the influencer. You can encourage them to use your products and create content around them for your brand.
Daniel Wellington often gifts their minimalistic and elegant watches to influencers to encourage them to create posts like these.
Image via Instagram
Gifting is a great strategy that works for books, clothing, makeup brands, and many others.
However, if you are simply gifting your product to influencers (and not paying them), they’re not obligated to promote you. Unless of course, you have a legally binding agreement in which the compensation is limited to free products.
If you don’t have any such agreement and are only gifting products hoping that influencers would promote them, it may go the other way too.
Influencers may share negative reviews if the product is not relevant to them or if it isn’t good enough for their liking. So, make sure to first build a connection with them.
Some influencers may also ask for monetary compensation to promote the products you have gifted.
3. Sponsored Blog Posts
Other than the popular social platforms, consumers also turn to blogs as the most trusted sources of information online. Brands are thus turning to influencer bloggers to leverage the trust of their audiences.
Sponsored blog posts include two types of posts. One is a dedicated post which revolves around your brand’s products or services. The content focuses on your brand and may also include an exclusive discount code for purchases or a custom giveaway.
You can also ask the blogger to mention your brand in a roundup post of products or services. In this case, the blog post will include a number of businesses including yours.
Away, a brand that offers quality luggage for the modern traveler, partnered with the fashion blog Man Repeller, to give away a luggage set.
Image via Man Repeller
For sponsored blog posts, you can offer a fixed compensation for each post. You can also sweeten the deal with something extra. Say, if you want them to promote your gym, you can offer them a 3-month free membership.
Points to remember:
- When you collaborate with bloggers, choose someone who resonates your brand’s values and aesthetics.
- Make sure that the proposed collaboration is relevant to the influencer. If you’re a fast food chain, collaborating with a fashion blogger will certainly not make any sense.
- Make a generous offer.
- Writing a blog post takes time so don’t expect an immediate turnaround.
- Send them high-resolution images that they can use to promote your products or services.
- You can also provide them with a custom discount code to include in their post which can help to drive sales.
4. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a uniquely effective way of collaborating with influencers to promote your brand. In this strategy, you need to identify a set of influencers who own blogs or websites that have a high Domain Authority. Make sure that they belong to your niche.
Next, reach out to them to check if they accept guest blogs on their sites. Additionally, pitch them some ideas for guest post topics that they may be interested in.
If they agree, create some well-written, informative posts that they can publish on their blogs. Also, include a link back to your website that doesn’t look spammy or overtly promotional. This can not only expose your brand to the influencer’s audience but also drive traffic to your site.
Bryan Harris, the founder of VideoFruit, shared his experience with guest blogging in a post. Within two days of his guest post on OkDork being published, he got 215 new subscribers and an overall conversion rate of 12%.
He replied to every comment on the guest blog to direct readers to his website, leading to a 523% increase in traffic.
Image via OkDork
Another popular format using which brands collaborate with influencers on Instagram is a takeover.
Instead of constantly striving to create engaging content, you can collaborate with an influencer to do a takeover. A takeover is a type of influencer collaboration where the influencer takes over your brand’s account and posts content on your behalf.
Takeovers are both interesting and beneficial to the brand since influencer content is more effective than your brand-created content.
Image via Instagram
Points to remember:
- You can either invite an influencer to do a full account takeover, where the influencer gets access to your company’s account. Or you can ask the influencer to send you the caption content along with the pictures so you can post on their behalf.
- For takeovers, it is important to choose an influencer that you have worked with and the one you trust.
- Takeovers happen for a fixed timeframe, be it a day, week, or longer. This totally depends on your campaign idea and the strategy behind your influencer collaboration.
6. Brand Ambassador Programs
Many brands are taking influencer collaborations to the next level by asking their trusted influencers to become brand ambassadors.
Brand ambassadors use the brand’s products on an ongoing basis and continually promote them online. As a brand ambassador, the influencer shares posts about their day-to-day experiences of using the brand’s products. They could also represent the brand at local events and share freebies with attendees.
Image via Instagram
Brands are making their trusted influencers the “faces of their company” for enhanced promotions. However, there are a few points you should consider while establishing a brand ambassador relationship with an influencer:
- Suggest a brand ambassador relationship to any influencer only after you have had a successful influencer collaboration with them.
- Ensure that the influencer’s beliefs match your brand’s values and aesthetics and they are ready to work with you on an ongoing basis.
- Develop clear guidelines and expectations to avoid any confusion or arguments later.
- Carefully lay out a proper plan for both online and offline promotions and practice regular communications with each other.
- Send them the brand merchandise regularly, including free samples to share at local events or through social media.
- Sending influencers to popular events can be a great move for brand promotions.
- Provide them a custom discount code to put it up on their social channels.
Clear collaboration guidelines can help to build a smoother, healthier, and more beneficial brand ambassador relationship.
Some Dos and Don’ts for Influencer Collaborations:
- Figure out a list of influencers who can help you grow your brand. Don’t just go by a huge following. Make sure you reach out to relevant influencers in your niche.
- Don’t just send an email pitch directly. Focus on interacting with the influencer and build a connection with them. Establishing real connections with influencers will provide long-term benefits to your brand.
- While writing an email pitch, add a personal touch. Use their first name. Refer to their past work and show your appreciation of them. Also, keep it concise, short, and simple. Such emails work best.
- Many brands make the mistake of not offering adequate compensation to influencers. You need to offer a fair compensation – this shows how much you value their efforts. The compensation would depend on your influencer’s follower count, overall reach, engagement, the number of posts, turnaround time, the complexity of the campaign, and the sales they drive.
- Be specific about brand guidelines and let the influencer know what you expect from them.
- Influencers value creative freedom. According to studies by TapInfluence and Crowdtap, influencers are more likely to partner with a brand that offers them creative freedom. You should not put too many restrictions or strict editorial guidelines while working with influencers. Creative freedom ensures that their audiences can relate to the posts they create for your brand. And this will drive greater engagement.
- Don’t rush. Provide your influencers adequate time to create the campaign content. However, do have deadlines in place and communicate them clearly.
- Create an influencer collaboration agreement. It should provide the answers to who owns content rights, what are the expectations from the collaboration, and so on.
- Don’t expect an influencer collaboration to boost your sales overnight. Successful influencer collaborations take time to increase engagement and improve sales.
Influencer collaborations can bring valuable rewards for your business. With meaningful collaborations, you can boost your brand’s exposure, build trust in your band, and drive greater sales. Now that you are aware of the most effective types of influencer collaborations, go ahead and put them to use.
Are there other types of influencer collaborations that you think are effective? If so, please share them in the comments section below. I look forward to reading more suggestions from you.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.