Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok give brands an opportunity to play a more meaningful role in authentic connections with their audience. This gives small, start-up companies the same opportunity to reach out and engage as big, national brands.
This is important because unlike traditional media (radio, television, print, outdoor, and direct mail) where building a personal relationship with the masses was not possible, digital marketing is more personalized. One thing that has not changed over time, is the value of building authentic relationships.
With so much changing daily, it is easy to be distracted by social media’s constantly evolving algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), and the dizzying rate of changing influencer marketing trends. Focusing on building genuine relationships with social media influencers is a cornerstone for brands seeking to create a lasting impact.
You may have noticed that I focused on the word “authentic”. A genuine connection means so much more than responding to a comment with a meme or one-word comment. The ultimate goal is to create a more meaningful connection that can boost your brand, resonate deeply with your target audience, and impact sales. This is the same concept if you are using Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter (X), etc.
So, how do you build these meaningful relationships in the ever-evolving landscape of social media influence? It definitely takes a lot of work.
Here are some practical and time-tested strategies for building authentic relations with social media influencers.
Understanding the Influencer Landscape:
Before jumping into relationship building, it’s crucial to have a strong understanding of the influencer landscape in your field. Some examples would be to:
- Conduct comprehensive research and identify influencers whose values and content align with your brand ethos
- Look beyond follower count and delve into the essence of their engagement, authenticity, and community. The best way to measure an Influencer is by seeing how many comments they get on their posts.
- Look at lists of influencers created by third parties like Fohr or Upluence — they have already done the legwork in identifying top influencers that you can work with.
- Identify influencers that comment regularly on other businesses.
By focusing on influencers whose interests and values are consistent with your brand, you lay the groundwork for a truly authentic collaboration.
Cultivating a Genuine Connection:
The biggest tip that I could share about building authentic relationships with social media influencers, would be to treat them as valued partners, not just promotional tools.
Ideas that would be well received by Influencers:
- Take a personalized approach by engaging with their content with meaningful comments. A heartfelt comment, a thoughtful message, or sharing their content can go a long way in showcasing your genuine interest in their work.
- Following the influencer
- Sending them a personalized DM
Ideas that do not resonate well with Influencers:
- Tagging them in your posts for no apparent reason
- Sending spam messages
- Requesting last-minute offers
Transparent Communication and Expectations:
The cornerstone of any lasting relationship is transparency. Clearly communicate your expectations, goals, and vision for the collaboration. Be open to understanding their perspectives, creative insights, and constraints. Foster an environment where both parties can openly express their ideas and concerns, thereby fostering a sense of trust and mutual understanding.
Creating Mutually Beneficial Partnerships:
While your goal is to promote your brand’s message, it’s equally important for you to ensure that the collaboration is mutually beneficial for the influencer. Of course, there are influencers who would collaborate with any brand just to get free products or services, but you will find that a genuine influencer cares about their brand just as much as you care about yours.
Provide influencers with opportunities to be creative in their own way — and encourage them to infuse their unique storytelling into the creative. Allow them to create content that resonates with their audience. A relationship that benefits both brands will help enhance your brand’s credibility and also strengthen the influencer’s connection with their followers.
Nurturing Long-Term Engagement:
Building authentic relations isn’t just about short-term gains; it’s about building long-term engagement and trust. Short term, your goal should be to have an influencer create content — but the long-term goal should be to continue to support their brand as they will likely reciprocate.
Continuously engage with your influencers beyond the scope of your campaign. Celebrate their successes, acknowledge their milestones, and show genuine support for their endeavors. By building this ongoing connection, you will cultivate a bond that transcends mere business transactions, establishing a profound sense of camaraderie and loyalty.
Embracing Feedback and Collaboration:
Authentic relationships thrive on mutual growth and evolution. Encourage open feedback and collaboration with your influencers. Value their insights, experiences, and suggestions, and leverage their expertise to refine your brand’s strategies. This collaborative approach not only enriches your campaigns but also strengthens the trust and respect within your partnership.
With social media, you shouldn’t regard building authentic relations with influencers as a strategy: it’s an art that incorporates sincerity, empathy, and mutual respect.
By understanding and respecting influencers’ narratives, fostering transparency, nurturing mutual growth, and embracing collaboration, you lay the foundation for enduring connections that amplify your brand’s impact and resonate deeply with your audience.
Authenticity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the heart of every meaningful and lasting brand partnership. Fostering genuine connections will allow you to capture the authentic voices of your trusted influencers.