Influencer relations and influencer marketing are often confused with one another or used interchangeably but, while both are important, they aren’t the same. Influencer relations focuses on brands creating positive experiences with influencers, while influencer marketing is a larger, umbrella term that includes everything from influencer outreach to collaborations and tracking. Below we’ll walk you through the differences between influencer relations and influencer marketing, and the pros and cons of each.
Influencer relations aims to create positive experiences with influencers and build lasting partnerships with them through consistent, personalized communication. By engaging with influencers consistently before, during, and after their influencer marketing campaigns, brands can signal to influencers that their business is thoughtful, professional, and pleasant to work with. This is always in a brand’s best interest since word of negative influencer experiences tends to travel fast.
Brands who do influencer relations well send personalized outreach emails to influencers within their niche are clear about collaboration terms (a contract is always recommended), are available and supportive during campaigns, and maintain a relationship once the campaign has ended. They also pay attention to how individual influencers prefer to be contacted and engage with their content throughout the relationship. Never underestimate the power of liking and commenting on a post! Doing so could lead to future collaborations together, or even blossom into a brand ambassador partnership.
- Make a good first impression - Personalized communication allows influencers to develop a positive experience with a brand. It shows that the brand has done its research before reaching out and genuinely cares about having a positive collaboration, making influencers more likely to get on board.
- Long-term partnerships - By focusing on the influencer’s experience first, brands can begin to build long-term brand ambassador partnerships. This is good for both parties – clear, consistent communication makes the influencer’s job easier, and the influencers will develop a better understanding of the brand and its products over time, making them better advocates for the brand.
- Smoother campaigns - Being selective and taking a personalized approach around the influencers you collaborate with, communicating clearly upfront, and supporting influencers individually throughout your campaign all equal out to campaigns that are more seamless, more successful, and better meet expectations.
- Quality content - By communicating with influencers clearly, they’ll have a better understanding of your brand, products, and what is being requested of them. Plus, investing in positive, personalized communications = happier influencers. All of this combined translates into better content.
- Time-consuming - Influencer relations isn’t something you can phone in. It takes time and requires consistent effort and manpower to maintain. This could mean you’ll need to hire an individual, in-house team, or influencer marketing agency to help.
- No guarantee of an instant payoff - Sometimes a relationship just isn’t meant to be. Maybe the influencer wasn’t in love with your product or decided your brand wasn’t a fit for them. Whatever the reason, not every influencer you invest time and resources into will turn into a long-term partnership.
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing in which content creators use their platform to promote a brand’s product or service in exchange for a free or discounted product, a fee, or both. For example, a brand might gift an influencer a new product in exchange for the influencer posting about it on Instagram, telling their followers what they love about it.
Brands can use influencer marketing to achieve a variety of goals, from driving brand awareness to supporting e-commerce or growing their social media following. To make influencer marketing successful, Influencer relations should play a big role in running your influencer campaign.
- Word-of-mouth marketing - Influencers have – you guessed it – a lot of influence over their followers. According to Instagram, 87% of people said influencers have led them to make a purchase.
- Build social proof - Influencer recommendations build trust and credibility in your product. People rely on reviews to help them make purchase decisions, especially when those purchases occur online. Seeing someone they trust rave about a product can make potential customers more likely to give a new product a try.
- Increase exposure - Influencers have built-in, engaged audiences (for micro-influencers, this is especially true). If you’ve carefully selected influencers who are a good fit for your brand and its target audience, working with influencers can get your product in front of more of the right audience.
- Easily scalable - Depending on your goals and budget, you can easily scale your campaigns to match by adding on more influencers, or choosing them selectively.
- Grow user-generated content - If it’s part of the agreement you’ve established, your brand will be able to take the quality content your influencers have created and repurpose it for a variety of social media and marketing needs. Repost it to your brand’s Instagram page, highlight it on your website or use it for future promotions – the options are endless.
- Campaign management is a full-time job - Influencer marketing has a lot of moving parts. First, you have to find your influencers, then hammer out collaboration details, send them the product, ensure they’re meeting the agreed-upon expectations, track the campaign’s success, communicate with them throughout the campaign and more! If your team is small, you may not be able to manage an influencer marketing campaign in-house.
- Choosing the wrong influencers - If you aren’t selective about the influencers you pitch, you may end up with content that either doesn’t match your brand aesthetic, misses the mark, or isn’t seen by your target audience. This is one of the reasons we have a strict review process and limit the influencers we accept into our network.
Now that you know the difference between influencer relations and influencer marketing, the challenging part is finding the time to vet quality influencers to execute your campaigns. Luckily, Statusphere has the tools and resources to handle your influencer campaigns from start to finish. Click here to speak with one of our influencer marketing specialists about how we can manage influencer relations and influencer marketing for your brand’s next campaign.