Written by Hannah Sears

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You’ve identified, vetted, and connected with influencers who are in your niche and have an engaged and loyal following. But once you find your VIP influencers, what happens next? Partnering with influencers doesn’t stop after you launch your first campaign together. Influencers are effective because they’re authentic and their followers trust them.

When influencers promote brands and products, their recommendation carries a lot of weight with their followers. The trust has to go both ways — you have to trust your influencers and they have to trust you. To see lasting success beyond individual campaigns or launches, brands need to create relationships with their influencers.

Here are the six top tips for building and maintaining your relationships with influencers.

Engage with their content

Follow your influencers on social media! It’s an easy way to form a connection with your influencers and engage with them on a regular basis. Comment on their posts, like their photos, and use social media to forge connections. Interacting with your influencers is a great way to build your relationship with them on their preferred medium. Plus, they’ll reciprocate by engaging with and sharing your content.

When you pursue an authentic relationship with your influencers, the content they share about your brand will have a bigger impact on their audience. Meet your influencers where they are by following them and engaging with their content on social media.

Send exclusive product

Treat your top influencers like the VIPs they are and make sure they receive special treatment. Send them product launches ahead of time and ask for their feedback. This way, their voices are heard by your team and they have a chance to contribute to your products and your brand..

Sharing exclusive products with your influencers makes them feel appreciated. They can share honest feedback on new products before launches and offer suggestions for improvements or other product ideas. Sending products ahead of time gives your influencers a sneak peek into new launches so they can get their followers excited, too.

Give them a choice of products

When you send products to your influencers, don’t go with a “one size fits all” approach. Communicate with your influencers to ask what products they’re interested in trying or which ones would work best for them. Personalize the gifting experience with products that are specific to that influencer. Make sure they’re getting products that pique their interest and are relevant to them.

Treat your influencers like individuals with custom gifting experiences based on the products that appeal to them the most. Influencers typically partner with several different brands at a time and by creating a more personalized experience with gifts, you can strengthen your relationships with your influencers and stand out from their other partners.

Relinquish creative control

You partnered with influencers because their authentic content and product recommendations resonate with their audience. When you work with influencers consistently, you know they create great content about your brand that performs well with their followers. Don’t limit their creativity!

Treat your influencers like your partners for campaigns. Ask them what gets the most interest and engagement from their followers. Let your influencers put their own spin on campaigns and content. They know their audience best and you can trust them to create content that reflects your brand and engages their audience.

Give them an exclusive discount code or affiliate link

Rewarding your VIP influencers also means treating their audience. Give your influencers a unique (and generous) discount code or affiliate link they can share with their audience. This shows your gratitude and appreciation for your partnership and rewards their audience, too.

Affiliate links and discount codes also help brands track conversions from influencer campaigns more easily. You can treat your influencers to a discount for their followers and make reporting the ROI of your campaigns easier at the same time. Sharing a discount code not only drives conversions, it makes your influencers feel appreciated.

Meet them in person

Connecting with influencers on their primary social media platforms is great, but it’s important to go beyond comments and likes to create deeper relationships. Take time to meet with your influencers (digitally or in person) to create a more personal experience for them and for you.

You can invite them to an exclusive event, an intimate meeting with key members of your team, or 1:1 calls that focus on relationship building and not reporting. Communicating with your influencers outside a digital medium and beyond social media DMs will strengthen your relationship. Take time to get to know your influencers as people, not just as partners, and you’ll have more authentic, personal interactions that carry over into your partnership.

Influencers are trusted by their followers because they’re authentic and transparent and when influencers partner with brands, they invite the brand into their followers’ lives. A brand’s products and services should be a good fit for the influencer and their audience, but to create a strong partnership, brands have to build relationships with their influencers. These six tips will help you build and maintain influencer relationships, so your partnerships and campaigns will be even stronger!

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