If you’re someone who views your social media success as a means to share your latest sartorial conquest, it’s likely that monetary rewards are not on your mind. But if you view your influencer status as the road to a successful career—you have undoubtedly asked yourself the ultimate question: “how do I make money and not become a sell out?”
It’s no secret that influencers have personal impact on consumer behaviour, especially when those consumers happen to follow them religiously. But how do influencers actually make money, or better yet—how do they make sure which relationships are good for them?
It all starts with a collaboration, often prompted by a brand, an agency, or the influencer themselves—one that is of mutually beneficial nature, giving the influencer a chance to share an authentic opinion with their audience, while simultaneously allowing the brand to receive coverage and customer exposure. With a growing generation of YouTube and Instagram stars-on-the-rise, many companies are coming to the realization that influencer marketing is the way to go. There are many reasons why a brand should be reaching out to an influencer.
But let’s talk about working with influencers—is it best to partner up with one person and establish a long-term working relationship or are you better off creating one-off engagements with a variety of influencers. Is there one way of doing things that outshines the other? Not really.
While it’s likely that one approach may work better than another, the end results vary based on the brand itself, with their industry, budget, goals, and other factors coming into play.
Long-term partnerships are born from an ongoing support, as both parties invest time and interest to grow awareness while collaborating together. With long-term relationships, comes the power of continuous support, repetition and the notion that an influencer’s audience will believe the authenticity behind a growing relationship, thus building trust and starting conversations. Penning that long-term deal with an Influencer, allows for the creation of a digital communication about the product or service.
Long-term relationships are also considered much more formal—often carrying a signed agreement with them and cover things like monetary benefits, exclusivity to the specific influencer and many more. In the end, this type of relationship is helpful to both parties, as it guarantees protection on both sides.
Long-term collaborations often mean long-term value with traffic generated from the relationship translating to loyal customers, based on a genuine affinity for the brand and influencer they follow.
While there are many more points to factor into the idea of long-term relationships—and with influencers having the potential to become further involved and provide insight from a consumer stand point, don’t be in a hurry to discredit the fact that there are some cons to the whole arrangement.
Return on investment isn’t imminent, as many influencers require a larger fee to cover their time, effort, and audience reach. The customers targeted are often the same, unless an influencer is a quickly rising star with their follower numbers growing exponentially on a daily basis. It further adds more pressure to choose the right influencer, allowing for a bigger room for error when it comes to the “vetting” process.
So what then?
In comes the one-off engagement, which can ultimately allow for a brand to “test the waters” and decide what direction is best for them to take, while the chosen Influencer has the opportunity to study their audience. Contrary to long-term engagements, one-offs involve less resources, a shorter amount of time and allow a brand to explore a broad variety of collaborations. This opens up doors for them to engage larger audiences and persuade customers that their product or service has reached the “must-have” status desired for it to succeed and convert into sales.
In general, one-off collaborations are ideal when testing a target market and exploring the results it provides.
One of the main shortcomings of a one-off partnership is that it doesn’t open up an opportunity for the influencer to start a long-lasting conversation about the product/service at hand and a one-time mention on their platforms can easily get lost within their feed. A single mention of a collaboration—if we can even call it that, in this case—is less genuine and doesn’t have the same impact on their audience as a long-term one. A one-off lead may convert into a sale but it could end up being just that—a one-time sale.
It’s all about the big picture and a brand has the responsibility to determine whether they have the time, finances, and interest to invest in a long-term relationship or merely want to have their name mentioned.
An influencer has the opportunity to decide what works for them and how much time and effort they’d like to invest in the brand. Some of them would often choose to “test the waters” and move onto the next thing.
There it is—a round up of the main pros and cons of long-term vs one-off collaborations.
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Featured Image via MrPorter.com
Raya is a Bulgarian-born, internationally-bred lifestyle blogger who has immense love for good music and tacos. She is an aspiring writer with an affinity for hip hop [auto]biographies, who is always on a search for the next graffiti wall and can be found on Instagram under @stylecontroversy. Raya is a member of #ThePaidCrew editorial team.