Written by Hannah Sears

Influencer marketing is an awesome way for brands to reach a wider audience, create authentic user-generated content, and convert more customers. But it takes more than just reaching out to an influencer and asking them to promote your brand. Successful influencer partnerships are all about building relationships and collaboration between brands and influencers. Collaborating effectively with influencers requires a solid strategy and commitment to working together from both the influencer and the brand.

These are five of the best ways to collaborate with influencers!

No strings attached gifting

A big part of working with influencers is giving them your products to test, review, and promote. Gifting can be tricky to do at scale and many brands will be tempted to require something from their influencers in exchange for a “gift.” Instead, try no strings attached gifting through a PR list for your VIP influencers or for new influencers who would be a good fit for your brand.

Identify new partners by looking for influencers who are already organically posting about you already or about brands very similar to yours. By giving the products to your existing brand ambassadors and potential loyal fans, you can cultivate strong relationships without asking for too much.

Gifting for product reviews

One of the easiest ways to collaborate with influencers is offering products in exchange for content or reviews. You can use your own internal efforts to reach out and connect with influencers or leverage an influencer marketing program to gift at scale and track reviews.

If you decide to go this route, make sure to give your creators control over their content if there isn’t a contract in place or payment being exchanged. Trading products for reviews is a great way to get more buzz for your products and create user-generated content that can be featured on your eCommerce site, social media profiles, and beyond.

Paid collaborations

Many brands partner with influencers through paid collaborations for specific launches, new products, or other initiatives. Paid collaborations give brands and influencers a more official framework for their partnership and gives brands a little more control over the content. For these collaborations, brands should provide the influencer with a specific brief that outlines the campaign’s expectations and requirements and agree on payment terms.

When you’re working with an influencer for a paid partnership, partner with them to develop the scope of work, including deliverables and the KPIs for your campaigns. Influencers know their audience best and can be an invaluable source of information for campaign strategy. Make sure to clearly communicate the guidelines for the project and stay in touch with your influencer throughout the campaign to make sure things stay on track.

Brand ambassadors

A brand ambassador relationship can combine all the previous collaboration options. Choose brand ambassadors from your trusted, long-time influencers. Give your brand ambassadors personalized promo codes that they can share with their audience. Grant them exclusive access to new launches and to your brand, so they can continue to develop and strengthen affinity with your brand.

Remember that building relationships is a two way street. Make sure your brand ambassadors are up-to-date on your product line and that they’re educated about the products and upcoming launches. That way, they can share the most current and accurate information with their audience when the time is right.

Events

Face-to-face activations, whether they’re in-store, at another special location, or even digital, are key. First, they give brands an opportunity to get facetime with their influencers. Second, your influencers can create interactive content for their audience that they can share as an Instagram story or on an upcoming vlog.

When hosting an influencer activation, make sure to connect with your attendees throughout the event so that they can put faces to names. Improve IRL event attendance by allowing creators to bring a plus one so they can invite a friend or a photographer to support them and help capture the event.

Partnering with influencers is all about building relationships that are collaborative. From no strings attached gifting to events, creating a strategy to connect with influencers is key to your overall program success. However you choose to collaborate with your influencers, make sure to set clear expectations and get their input on what content performs well with their audience. Treat your VIPs and brand ambassadors to exclusive product launches and events to build brand affinity. With these five ways to collaborate with influencers, you can get the best engagement and results from your campaigns.

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