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Influencer Management: How To Build Successful Relationships

Mark Jackson

Jan 2, 2024

Strong influencer relationships aren’t built on chance. Here’s how an influencer management strategy can help you create better connections.

Influencer marketing is the key to brand awareness, growth, and sustainable success. It allows you to get in front of audiences that are likely to be interested in what you do. Plus, a recommendation from someone people trust can give you major street cred. 

But first, you need a way to connect with influencers and build a strong relationship with them. That’s where an influencer management strategy comes in. Implementing an influencer management program can streamline this process.

Just like with your customers, relationships don’t happen automatically. They’re the products of careful nurturing, marketing, ongoing attention, and beneficial terms for both parties. A well-designed influencer management program can help companies build successful relationships with their influencers.

We’re sharing the importance of a sound influencer management strategy and providing tips on how to do it right:

Table of Contents:

What Is Influencer Management?

Influencer management refers to the process of identifying, engaging, and maintaining relationships with individuals who have a significant online presence and the ability to influence the opinions and purchasing decisions of their followers.

These individuals, known as influencers, typically have a substantial following on social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or TikTok.

The goal of influencer management is to leverage the influence and reach of these individuals to promote a brand, product, or service.

Tip: Learn more about Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs).

Why You Need to Manage Influencer Relationships

In a world where anyone can be an influencer, it's more important than ever to have a strategy for managing those relationships. Whether you're looking to build brand awareness, drive traffic or sales, improve marketing, or simply create a better customer experience, influencers can play a key role.

But finding and nurturing those relationships takes time and effort. It's not enough to identify the right influencers – you also need to develop strategies for engaging them and tracking their impact.

That's why more brands are discovering the benefits of influencer relationship management (IRM). Influencer relationship management tools and platforms can help you track and manage your interactions with influencers, making it easier to identify the most valuable relationships and get the most out of them.

In today’s landscape, single and transactional relationships often fall flat. So relationship building should never be an afterthought. Building long-term relationships supports the long-term success of your brand. Aand effective influencer relationship management is built on trust, clear communication, and a win-win approach for both brands and influencers. It can lead to more authentic and successful campaigns. 

  • Pro tip for long term influencer partnerships: Save time and resources! Working with influencers for long-term partnerships means less time doing outreach and onboarding to a whole new group. As relationships grow, the more in tune you will be with your influencers, making content creation and collaboration more streamlined. 

What Is an Influencer Management Strategy?

We define an influencer management strategy as a documented, intentional approach to building and maintaining relationships with influencers. This strategy gives you a roadmap to follow so you can make each relationship a priority and track your results.

An influencer management strategy involves planning and executing a series of steps to effectively collaborate with influencers and leverage their reach and influence to achieve specific marketing goals.

A well-crafted influencer management strategy takes into account these elements and aims to create a mutually beneficial relationship between the brand and influencers, ultimately contributing to the overall success of the marketing efforts.

Why Is an Influencer Management Strategy Important?

3D Illustration of a phone for influencer management

Ultimately, your influencers promote your brand or products in a positive light. But without a good existing relationship, they may not feel connected to your brand enough to present you in a compelling way. Or worse, they might decide you’re not worth their time or otherwise don’t feel comfortable recommending you to their followers.

Influencer management helps you build stronger connections with each influencer. It helps them get to know your brand on a deeper level so they can put you in the best light when promoting you. It also makes each promotion feel more genuine for their followers when influencers care about the brands they work with.

An influencer relationship management program can help you keep track of these moving parts, and it all starts with a strategy. To get a headstart on your planning, learn how to build a successful influencer marketing strategy. With a blueprint in hand, you can continue nurturing the relationship, foster loyalty via an influencer loyalty program, foster goodwill, and make it easy for them to share some brand love.

6 Tips to Successfully Manage Influencer Relations

Photo of a young woman as an influencer

First time leading influencer marketing campaigns? We’ve been in your shoes and have learned some things along the way. As you’re crafting your digital influencer management approach, put the following tips into practice:

1. Reach Out to Relevant Influencers

It’s easier to build an influencer database if you start by connecting with relevant prospects. Not everyone with an audience will help your brand flourish.

The right influencer partners should share your target audience that’s most likely to care about what you do. A beauty influencer probably isn’t a great fit for a fishing brand. Make it easy for followers to connect your brand to whatever the influencer does best to build credibility and better brand recall.

Also, don’t confuse relevance with audience size. Even smaller followings (micro-influencers have as few as 1,000 people) can have a big impact on your influencer campaigns if they’re engaged and trust the influencer’s recommendations.

Tip: Learn how to find the right influencers to partner with your brand.

2. Set Clear Expectations

Building good relationships means starting off on the right foot. But you also wouldn’t want to make a first impression you can’t live up to. That’s why it’s important to think about what you want your influencer relationships to look like to set the tone for the relationship moving forward. An influencer proposal template can help you clarify your needs.

Tip: Download your free influencer marketing proposal.

The next step is to outline your expectations in an influencer agreement and provide it to the influencer. Include details about payments, how you’ll evaluate their performance, contract length, and other specifics.

Contracts work both ways. They give both sides some security and assurances that the other party will live up to certain expectations. It holds you both to higher standards, which can lead to a more fruitful relationship.

3. Give Influencers Creative Freedom

Here’s a tough pill for some brands to swallow – your influencers know their audience better than you do. They're experienced content creators and know what works when it comes to promoting products and services to their followers. This is their area of expertise, so let them influence the best ways they know how.

Allowing some creative freedom with your influencer campaigns can help you to get better outcomes. Remember, your influencer’s reputation is on the line, too. They’ll only present your products in a way they think will work because they wouldn’t want to risk damage to their own brand.

Tip: Learn more about risk and reputation management, learn how to create a reputation management policy, and take a look at the best reputation management companies.

4. Choose the Right Engagement Metrics

Tracking your influencer’s performance is a natural part of influencer marketing management. You want to know your influencers are making real connections on your behalf. This gives you a better idea of which influencers to continue partnering with and which ones to let go.

That said, not just any metrics or KPIs give you a clear idea of your influencer’s performance. Vanity metrics like impressions and likes mean little in the grand scheme of ROI. Fake influencers rely heavily on these metrics because they think they make them look more valuable.

A better approach to measuring the ROI of your influencer marketing is to look beneath the surface and track things like clicks, sales, conversions, website traffic, and measuring brand awareness. If your brand is steadily gaining more attention, it’s a good sign your influencer is doing their job.

5. Attribute Results to the Right Influencer

If you’re working with multiple influencers, you’ll need a way to see which ones are driving the results and which ones aren’t. One way to do this is to give them each a unique offer code to share with their audience. You can track conversions by offer code to see who’s bringing the most engagement.

influencer marketing hub demo Meltwater banner

Influencer marketing platforms like the Meltwater influencer marketing suite can help you keep tabs on all of your influencer campaigns from a single location. See at a glance who is moving the needle and which relationships you should keep nurturing.

6. Stay in Touch with Your Influencers

Ongoing communication is key in influencer marketing campaigns. It helps you stay top of mind to them, plus it helps them to feel more connected to your brand.

Influencer management platforms like the Meltwater influencer marketing suite can simplify communication. Set reminders for ongoing follow-up, send personalized emails, and keep learning and growing together.

How Meltwater Helps You Create Better Influencer Relationships

Klear screenshot of an influencer campaign workflow

Meltwater is a leader in social media influencer management.

Our comprehensive platform gives you a single source for all your hands-on activities and even automates some on your behalf. Quickly discover influencers that make sense to work with, then nurture and manage the entire relationship with ease.

Learn more when you schedule a demo by filling out the form below: