Securing long-term influencer partnerships and their amplifying effect on marketing

56% of brands use the same influencers across different campaigns and it’s not just because it makes influencer logistics easier.

Long-term influencer and brand partnerships have been cited as on the increase since as far back as 2018.

It’s only recently though that the statistics and agency feedback seem to show that the rise in long-term partnerships is not only happening, but developing into a new evolution of creator and brand relationships.

Our recent whitepaper, ‘How agencies and brands influence consumer decision making through the messy middle’, collected feedback from 10 major agencies and brands, almost all of whom mentioned long-term partnerships as being an important part of their influencer marketing. 

Influencer Marketing Hub cites a statistic which claims that 56% of brands use the same influencers across different campaigns. Whilst this is not quite the same as the influencers being in long-term partnerships with the brand it indicates that the majority of brands consider influencer relationships to be more than one-off ‘fire and forget’ posting campaigns.

Why create long-term influencer partnerships?

There are some core reasons why brands and influencers seem to be willing and eager to engage on a long-term basis.

Convenient logistics. Influencers get the security of a long-term contract. Brands need to find, sign and manage fewer influencers over the long-term. In short: long-term relationships solve a common problem for influencers (uncertain work levels) and two of the most common problems our report found brands experience (finding and managing influencers).

Creative familiarity. With more time spent working with a brand, influencers can gain a better understanding of what the brand prefers creatively and pitch content appropriately. Brands can also better appreciate the influencer’s content and, as trust increases, perhaps grant more creative freedom than they would usually.

Increased trust transfer. A long-term partnership, across multiple posts and campaigns, says that the influencer really trusts in the brand and vice versa. If you look at influencer marketing as primarily trust-based marketing, then this increased potential trust is hugely valuable for all parties.

What campaigns suit long-term influencer partnerships?

With an influencer signed to work with your brand for the long term there’s not necessarily any pressure to create specific campaigns to suit the relationship. Your brand and your influencers could carry on generating campaign and content ideas that are simply over time, taking advantage of the time savings by not needing to find new influencers each time you run a campaign.

But, the change in long-term partnerships that we’ve seen recently, is that brands and influencers are thinking strategically about what these arrangements allow them to create. An example here might help.

Case study: Starling and Jack Harries 11-part docuseries

Seat At The Table was the brainchild of UK challenger bank Starling and filmmaker and activist Jack Harries. The series premiered on YouTube in October 2021 and concluded one month later. Harries set off for the trip he documents during the series in July 2021, spending 100 days on the road creating the content which would become the docuseries.

In a post on Google’s Think with Google site, Starling highlights the incredible resulting metrics. Harries’ series “amassed 50M YouTube views from 12M unique individuals — the equivalent of more than 17% of the population of the U.K.”

Along the way, Harries was able to interview David Attenborough and Barack Obama and Starling were able to help him to project part of the film onto the side of the COP26 conference hall.

Starling brand awareness reached 72% and visits to the bank’s sustainability page increased 300%. The project is still promoted on the bank’s website, some 12 months after the series finished its first showing on YouTube.

How to start working with influencers on long-term partnerships

The scale of content collaboration involved with Seat At The Table is simply not possible without a long-term influencer agreement. But it could also seem overwhelming. Given that the possible outputs of such a relationship include over 12 months of work and a major series, where should you start?

Ideation. A longer term partnership should give more creative and collaborative options when it comes to campaign generation. In a long-term partnership, try to set time aside for considering big, bold ideas that may take more time to execute but will really make an audience stand up and take notice.

Discovery. All influencer relationships start with discovery and a long term partnership is no different in that respect. This sort of partnership though can mean that discovery takes a different form. Firstly, you can take more time over your discovery, working to give yourself a better chance at finding the right fit for you and the influencer. You can also take the time to shape your discovery around beliefs and values, rather than simply looking for aligned audiences and interests. The shared beliefs and values will help over the longer term and may produce more interesting content.

Prepare cross-channel promotion and response. Longer, bigger, broader campaigns, from influencers aligned to your brand for the long term, will justify more promotional spend and the chance to feature on other channels. This will then also increase the audience response and brand counter-response. The resources needed are greater, but the potential returns are even greater still.

Jump start your long-term influencer partnerships now.

Get expert help from Influence Network, with a no-commitment trial campaign that delivers outstanding results like this “Influence Network outclassed the competition so clearly that we didn’t even need tracking”

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