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Overcoming Common Challenges of Growing an Influencer Relations Program 

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There’s no denying that influencer marketing can serve as a viable part of a marketing strategy — the industry is impactful, one of the most authentic methods for building trust with target audiences and is only continuing to grow. At the same time, this is still an industry that is constantly evolving; not all influencers operate the same way and there is a need for more standardization across the board. Areas such as contracting, determining the size of an upfront investment, and general work processes can all vary depending on the type of influencer a brand aims to work with.  

Whether a brand has tested the waters of influencer marketing through experimentation with one-off campaigns or is looking to integrate efforts more closely with a larger marketing program, there are several areas to consider to better optimize results and experience along the way, especially as a brand begins to expand its efforts. We identified the following strategies to get ahead of challenges and ensure long term success for Influencer marketing programs.  

Plant the Seed with Early Outreach

It’s not uncommon for project timelines — from the initial influencer outreach to campaign kick-off — to be a lengthy process due to impending client approvals, signoffs and other factors. While this can appear to stall any meaningful progress, project timelines can be made more manageable by planting seeds with key “wish list” influencer contacts ahead of time.  

Conducting outreach to help seed the idea of a partnership is an effective way to make progress when other campaign components are still undetermined. Having these connections ready to leverage will save valuable time while simultaneously fostering relationships with leading experts in the industry. Think about it — the more connected an influencer feels with a client, the greater the chances of additional organic interactions, mentions and engagements across their social media and other networks. This is an effective way to ensure a program can move forward while also maintaining a mutually beneficial approach with influencers.   

Streamlining Program Processes

When considering a partnership with an influencer, there are various logistical steps at the conceptual phase that lay the groundwork not only for successful activation but also for the success of the future program. Some of the most important items to consider here fall under scope-of-work contracting and compensation — key elements that will be revisited an endless number of times as a brand continues to expand and scale the program.

Whether a brand has tested the waters of Influencer marketing through experimentation with one-off campaigns or is looking to integrate efforts more closely with a larger marketing program, there are several areas to consider to better optimize results and experience along the way. 

These timely and tedious areas can interfere with the ability to complete projects and demonstrate the value of influencer marketing to a client. It goes without saying that failure to show value should be avoided. To get ahead of this issue, defining processes to whatever extent possible upfront is critical. Using standardized templating for scopes-of-work, cementing a clear approval process and timeline for a client, or ensuring how and when invoices will be paid are all critical blocks in the foundation of a successful long-term program. How are payments being handled internally? Who will approve the scope of work? Finding and sticking to the most efficient processes here is key.   

Optimizing for the Long-Term 

If a brand finds itself past the concept phase but still running into repetitive stop-start patterns with ensuring client approval to effectively move forward, mapping out a game plan for the quarter will provide a two-fold benefit for the program. The immediate bonus here is the ability to showcase how each individual influencer activation will be connected to larger program goals. 

For a client that wants to get involved with influencers but may be somewhat new to collaboration from a brand perspective, this type of prescriptive plan is key. Establishing this alignment as early as possible will help to expedite the output of campaigns and the ability to showcase success. Greater flexibility to think big picture will enable partnership with influencers on a longer-term basis. Building upon the strongest influencer relationships is essential to move beyond a brand awareness advocate to become a trusted, invaluable evangelist for the client.  

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