The new influencer marketing focus? Building community.
Although the term “community” might be overused, the actual practice of strengthening your creator relationships has proven to be a successful influencer program marketing strategy.
But building a community does not happen overnight. It takes dedication, consistency, and a lot of time. Influencer marketing professional, Alaetra Chisholm, knows a thing or two about building a loyal influencer community that can drive long-term impact.
Alaetra ran influencer marketing for Body Art Alliance which houses over 30 brands in the body art, permanent makeup, and body jewelry industry. Their main influencer program strategy was to build close relationships with artists and influencers in these spaces. In this article, you’ll learn Alaetra’s top three tips for building and nurturing an influencer program and community.
“It’s our responsibility, on the brand side, to know who we’re looking for and make sure the influencers we partner with are in alignment with the brand’s goals from the start. Use your brand standards as a guide to help you identify influencers that you think will positively align with your brand.” - Alaetra Chisholm, Influencer Marketing and Event Professional
In order to build a successful influencer program, you need to start with clear objectives for each partnership and campaign. If awareness is the goal, then one strategy is to partner with influencers who have a larger audience to gain more reach. Conversely, if the goal is conversion, it might be best to partner with a respected expert in your industry to explain your product’s benefits or an affiliate partner whose been successfully driving traffic to your store.
Determining the main goal will help guide your decision of which influencers to partner with.
According to Alaetra, it’s best to partner with influencers who already have a personal connection to your brand. Start by combing through who has already mentioned your brand and who continues to mention your brand on a frequent basis. An influencer marketing platform, like Traackr, helped Alaetra save time in finding influencers who were already talking about the Body Art Alliance brands or mentioning the brand’s best-selling products. It also helped her get recommendations for creators who had similar attributes to the brand’s top influencers.
Building and nurturing a community of influencers will be easier if you prioritize those who already love and are loyal to your brand.
Each influencer partnership should be, well, a partnership! Both parties should feel empowered and excited about the opportunity.
For example, when evaluating influencer partnerships, you’ll likely be thinking about how partnering with the creator will affect your brand’s reputation. However, it’s equally important to remember that creators need to consider how the partnership will impact their reputation and how their audience will respond.
Mutual respect for each other’s brands will be key to nurturing your creator community.
From the brand side, showing respect for influencers should be done at every step of the campaign process.
Alaetra’s top tip is to spend the time upfront creating a strong influencer brief and onboarding program. These tools will create clear expectations between you and your influencer partner - saving you loads of time down the road.
“Don’t be afraid to set up that video call, or, if budget allows, send your influencers a gift for a special occasion. The personal touches show them that they’re more than just a number or the content that they’re making for your brand.” - Alaetra Chisholm, Influencer Marketing and Event Professional
Focusing on analytics and campaign performance is critical for a successful influencer program, but it’s just as important to not overlook the people who are driving those numbers.
Your creator’s authenticity and storytelling are what is driving your revenue.
Don’t discount the little things like celebrating their performance and major milestones. These are critical when it comes to building a community with your influencers. Influencer marketing is a relationship industry, so showing your creators that they matter beyond the numbers will create lifelong, loyal fans of your brand.
Prioritizing connection and consistency over splashy, viral moments is a sure way to have sustainable success for your influencer program.