Although influencer marketing has become a common strategy across many industries, many marketers still aren’t getting as much value as they could out of influencer collaborations.

Even marketers who are effectively using influencers to communicate their messages and promote specific products within a campaign are often making the mistake of treating influencers as tools and a channel, rather than advocates. By neglecting to form a genuine relationship with influencers, these marketers are often missing out on the full value of their collaboration. Here are a few crucial tips for CMOs looking to get more long-term value out of influencer marketing:

1. Choose Alignment Over Audience Size. Start by taking the time to find influencers who truly represent your brand, rather than simply choosing the ones with the biggest Instagram following or the lowest compensation requirements. Opting for bigger influencers might benefit your immediate campaign, but you may miss an opportunity to form relationships that will benefit your brand in the long-term. Look closely at each influencer’s content style, engagement, and blog demographics to get a sense of who they are and who their audience is before engaging them.

2. Think ‘Relationship’ Over Results. This might seem counter-intuitive, but you will see better long-term results if you prioritize the influencer relationship over immediate gains — for example, by relaxing your message requirements or hashtag requirements to better fit an influencer’s voice and cadence. Working with an influencer to create content that genuinely conveys your brand while staying true to the influencer’s own style will always resonate most positively with viewers.

One simple way to build a strong influencer relationship is to personalize gifting by choosing products that match the influencer’s personality and style. Many brands gift products based purely on their own promotion needs. Not only will your brand really stand out for putting in the extra effort, but if you choose a gift that an influencer loves, they will be much more likely to mention the brand by their own volition after your collaboration is over – these are the dividends of a strong influencer relationship.

Another way to form stronger relationships with influencers is to think of collaborations as part of a bigger-picture campaign focused on your brand, not just a specific promotion or product. The more a single influencer’s audience sees your brand in their feed, and the more confidently the influencer can speak about you, the more effective your message becomes. This is why we have added functionality that enables brands to reappoint past bloggers – so you can continue to build long term partnerships with your selected influencers

3. Leverage Influencer Content. One final way to get more long-term value from your influencer collaboration is to capitalize on the content itself. The most obvious value of a collaboration is exposure to an influencer’s audience, but there is also great value in promoting an influencer content on your own channels. When determining the parameters of your collaboration, consider incorporating an Instagram takeover to draw the attention of the influencer’s followers and making photo rights for social media part of your contract.

The Bottom Line

Although you may achieve success with short-term influencer marketing campaigns, investing some time into forming genuine relationships with the right influencers can greatly increase the value of influencer marketing for you and your brand. Think of collaborations as opportunities to make an impression and to cultivate relationships that inspire influencers to become real advocates of your brand.