3 Reasons Why You Should Maximize Relationships with Influencers

  • Categories:

    Influencer Marketing

  • Date:

    October 16, 2019

3 Reasons Why You Should Maximize Relationships with Influencers

Influencer Marketing

I was honored to speak about influencer marketing on the same stage as industry thought leaders from Houzz, Google, Harvard, HGTV, Hearst and more at the 2019 HIRI Summit in Chicago.

I covered a lot of ground during my short talk, but one specific topic seemed to strike a chord with multiple attendees at the conference: maximizing relationships with influencers past one-off content creation or affinity marketing campaigns.

Far too often, brands bounce from influencer to influencer, engaging for only a short period of time or a single project. While you can’t build lasting relationships with every influencer, it can be incredibly valuable for your brand to maximize your relationship with a select few influencers. This makes it possible to create brand champions who really know and love your product, stay loyal and can even help you drive product innovation.

Here are three of the main reasons I believe in building long-term relationships with influencers who are experts in the homebuilding, remodeling and design space.

1. Build a brand champion for life.

We’ve all experienced it. We identify an influencer with great metrics — large audience, great engagement, nice content — but the story for your brand falls flat. The influencer doesn’t understand what makes your product great, they aren’t in alignment on key differentiators that help you stand apart from your competitors and, frankly, you’re not even sure they understand the purpose of your product.

Finding passionate professionals or DIYers who align with your brand and its purpose can be challenging. So, when you make a great connection, nurture it. Extend it. Maximize it.

With each new project, the influencer will build a greater knowledge of your brand and products and how their audience reacts to them. That knowledge and passion will shine through the content you paid for and may find its way into the influencer’s other content as well.

Through numerous projects, an influencer will build a deep understanding of your products and brand and, in the process, become a brand champion for life.

2. Lock in category exclusivity.

Locking down an influencer for an extended engagement can ensure category exclusivity — not just for the time period of your paid agreement, but for an extended period.

Why? When your competitor researches influencers, they’re unlikely to choose an influencer who has previously promoted a competing brand for a long period of time or in a significant amount of content. While not a guarantee, long-term influencer relationships typically provide brands with an unpaid extension of exclusivity that isn’t available if you’re utilizing a one-and-done approach to influencer marketing.

3. Create a partner in product innovation.

If you’ve built great relationships with influencers, you have an early product testing and focus group at your fingertips.

Even if you’re a little too conservative to send your yet-to-be-released product to an influencer for testing, you should be gaining great feedback on your current products’ performance, giving you ideas for product enhancements or new product lines.

A few years ago, I was on a video production set with an influencer. We were creating product highlight packages and running through action shots of tool after tool. In the middle of filming, the influencer provided some unsolicited feedback on a drill to the product manager. That input was the impetus for a design change in the next version of the tool.

This product innovation came to fruition because the brand maximized its relationship with the influencer. The brand and influencer had been working together for more than a year. The influencer used almost every tool the company produced in his day-to-day work, and he was passionate about the brand.

There are many effective ways to evaluate influencers. Are they authentic? Do they speak to your audience? Is their following verified? Do they create compelling content? Will they drive their followers to buy your product? All of these considerations are critically important.

But to take your influencer marketing efforts to the next level, I encourage you to also maximize your relationships with key influencers. By doing so, you will build programs that drive greater organic reach, deeper audience connections through category exclusivity and product feedback that inspires new innovations.

If you have questions about how you can accelerate the performance of your influencer marketing campaigns, please send me a note.

Explore more articles from Wray Ward.