Why 2020 is the year to do long-term influencer partnerships. - MG Empower
Written by - Daniel Shale

Why 2020 is the year to do long-term influencer partnerships.


As our world becomes more digital, it might appear that it is growing more ephemeral as well. Information is constantly being exchanged, TikTok videos flashing by, one fifteen-second interval after another, our attention constantly being diverted. For brands trying to make a connection, leveraging influencers in one-off campaigns has become the norm, a way to keep up with the speed at which the industry moves and meet their target audience where they are. But as we move through 2020, our interpersonal relationships have taken center stage. Genuineness and authenticity, while always important factors in marketing, have taken on renewed significance , with influencers and brands being held to higher standards by their followers.

And while modern-day social media stars are cultivating more personal relationships with their audiences, their relationships with the brands they partner with can be glaringly contractual in nature.

So, for brands looking to get more out of their relationships with their current stable of influencers, long-term partnerships can be a valuable tool.

A Smaller Stable of Influencers

Whether long-term or short-term, researching the influencers who represent your brand is a must, and one of the first steps in forming a successful influencer campaign. However, short-term campaigns and one-off influencer partnerships tend to differ in what they’re intended to do and how they are measured.

For brands looking in to break through on social media and court new demographics, short-term partnerships with numerous influencers that align with your image can be an ideal way to raise brand awareness. The reach of the campaign, though targeted, is spread out across multiple influencers all with their respective audiences.

However, this can add a layer of complexity when tracking deliverables as well as scheduling campaigns and content rollouts.

Long-term partnerships, while requiring more research up front, simplify things in the long run. When recruiting for long-term partnerships, brands want to use more discretion in their selection, taking into account an influencer’s content history, prior brand and campaign results, and KPI’s available. This rigorous selection process leads to a smaller stable of more reliable ambassadors that are easier to keep track of moving forward.


More in-Depth Strategies and Planning

Having a smaller stable of influencers to manage is also beneficial when it comes to creating in-depth campaign strategies. Not only can deliverables be mapped out in detail, but longer engagements with influencers means that multiple campaigns can be scheduled and rolled out, building off the momentum of the previous engagements. This gives brands a lot more control going forward.

Furthermore, long-term partnerships allow for more detailed insights. Data can be tracked and analyzed over time, and then used to inform future campaigns.

We’ve already spoken about how AI is changing the industry when it comes to analyzing data sets and predicting trends. With long-term partnerships, this data can be used to create more targeted campaigns around what specific influencers do best. And in scenarios where this data isn’t available, long-term engagements provide the freedom to experiment with different approaches and really figure out what works. This kind of freedom just isn’t available with one-shot campaigns.


A Deeper Relationship

As we mentioned earlier, short-term partnerships tend to be defined by a somewhat transactional nature. On the other hand, long-term partnerships provide influencers with an opportunity to know your brand and take on a greater role in the overall campaign.

With a better understanding of your brand and more well-defined deliverables, user-generated content can be more robust and insightful. Furthermore, an influencer’s followers are more inclined to trust content that has an established relationship behind it, rather than a random product placement which can feel out of place and lead to backlash. The good folks at Listerine recently found this out the hard way.

Long-term partnerships, along with giving influencers increased responsibility, also give them a greater stake in the outcome of any campaign. Your brands are essentially attached, with success for one meaning success for both. This can serve as an incentive and really push the level of content being delivered.


Increased Stability

The influencer marketing space moves fast. But long-term partnerships are proof that not everything in the world of social media needs to be so transient. These kinds of relationships trade the novelty of newness for stability that both parties can enjoy.

On the influencer side of things, expectations and goals are laid out clearly, as is their value. From the brand perspective, you’re gaining a partner, someone you can invest in over time rather than have to constantly search for the right creator to represent your brand.

It should be noted however, that there are trade-offs with the increase in stability. For one, part of the allure of short-term influencer partnerships is the constant exposure to new demographics, tapping into newer and more niche audiences with each campaign.

With longer-term partnerships, while there is always potential for a content creator’s core audience to grow, brands are essentially locked in to the same audience over time. But while this might not be the best-case scenario for growing brand awareness, it does make a major difference in regards to trust and authenticity.


A Face For Your Brand

As influencer fatigue sets in in the aftermath of a hectic year, social media users are demanding authenticity. For brands, long-term partnerships provide them with a face for people to relate to.

Major brands have always had faces. From Charlize Theron to Natalie Portman, these larger than life figures were meant to provide consumers with something to aspire to. But they were untouchable, static.

Today, when brands partner with content creators over longer-engagements, they aren’t so much giving social media users something to aspire to, but a window into their relationship, one that will evolve over time and that the followers will share in.

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