Working with a brand or agency, we call them your clients, requires a certain amount of finesse. It is important, and often hard, to balance your vision as an influencer with that of your client’s needs for their campaign. As an influencer, it is important that you remain honest, transparent and accountable when working with a client in order to build a long-term relationship; because ultimately, you to build great relationships for repeat business.
1. Be honest and provide feedback
Always provide honest feedback to a client in terms of how you think their campaign objectives fit with your own ideas. You will also receive a ton of feedback from the client about your ideas so it’s important to keep an open mind. Ultimately, you should always speak up for what you think is best, but it is tremendously important to do so in a way that is thoughtful.
2. Provide context to support your feedback
If you don’t like an idea, it isn’t enough to tell them you don’t think it is a good idea without context. You should always provide examples of what you think might be more appropriate, or present a flushed out concept for the post that fits with your vision. You need to present an idea of your own, while keeping in mind that you should be respectful that someone else worked hard on developing it.
3. If you have data to back you up – use it
By the time your audience is large enough to work with clients, you should have developed a strong understanding of what motivates them to engage with you. If you know how you followers engage with different posts and have numbers to back it up it is much easier to convince a brand to see things from your perspective. Data is always king and if you can prove your opinions on what to post based on data you will have a much easier time convincing a client to use your vision and voice.
4. Be upfront about the results you expect
The benefit of being honest upfront in this way is that even if the client doesn’t compromise as much as you would like you will at least be sure that they understand why. An underwhelming post because of strict guidelines on their end helps absolve you of the guilt and criticism when you’ve taken the time to establish you opinion empirically beforehand.
5. The importance of transparency
Remaining transparent with a client around issues you are having with a post or perhaps complications in the timing of the post is critical to developing trust and rapport. People can be understanding when you tell them that there is an issue. It is best to tell them about a potential issue before it happens. If something has come up and you need to fix an issue, make sure to clearly communicate the issue and present how you will resolve the issue in a timely fashion. The more you remain in constant contact with your clients the better your relationship will develop. When you have great clients who continue to trust you to create compelling content for them it can extend the lifetime value of the relationship, which means more money for you in the long run.
You are accountable for a few things when running a campaign with a client. It is important you post on time, with the pre-approved messaging, and deliver high-quality content. Although you are technically not accountable for what happens after your post, clearly communicating the reasons why you think something may have underperformed, if it happens, when asked is important.
Working with clients is always tricky because there are so many different stakeholders in their process. Agencies have brand clients, brand managers have bosses, everyone has someone else to answer to. When, as an influencer, you ensure that you listen to what is important to them, respond with prescriptive ideas on how to improve, and respect that you are a part of a larger creative and business process, you will improve your ability to be successful when working with brands.