Influencer Partnerships 101: Examples and Strengths
5 Minute Read
Influencer partnerships require a different set of skills from advertisers. Yet they offer a unique set of rewards conventional advertising cannot access. As seen in the video below: a hilarious bit with Fanduel and superstar Treshawn about how traditional advertising loses control over messaging and overall impact online.
Influencer marketing offers more opportunities for targeted advertising and potentially higher performance. Due to reaching your customers directly and with better content.
THE OPPOSITE OF INFLUENCER MARKETING
With the increase of revenue pouring into the influencer marketing industry, a wide range of partnerships with influencers have appeared. We review the benefits and strategies behind these different relationships.
The Commission Relationship
Influencers who use products or endorse mobile apps, and push viewers towards a specific link are most of the time simply recommending a service that aligns with their personal brand on social.
Most commonly, this marketing is for a flat rate of pay. The influencer’s asking price is often lowered by the offering of the product itself: whether that be a physical product, a stay at a hotel, or tickets to an event.
When a conversion is a key part of the influencer endorsement, the most common item you will see to track this in a given post is a Specific Promotion Code or Custom URL. This allows brand visibility on conversions and to see the direct ROI of an influencer.
For example, here is a successful commission relationship with Kim Kardashian.
Notice the FCC regulation – #ad – and a call to action to check out their sale.
In allocating budgets for influencers, companies who have a well-defined cost of customer acquisition will gravitate towards these campaigns
The One-Off Branding Play
Described as a one-off branding post, this relationship is by far the most common relationship between influencers and brands.
When influencer posts do not have a specific call to action, but rather position the brand partner in a positive light – this can be most accurately interpreted as a branding partnership. This type of post is more subtle. Often the influencer takes more creative control, so the post matches the influencer’s culture and aesthetics perfectly. This may happen over the course of single or multiple posts and may have a flat rate and a benefit, or simply a flat rate behind.
For example – Lucy here is a top travel influencer. She has 238K followers. Using NeoReach, we found Lucy maintains an impressive average engagement with 6,500 individuals per post. As you can see, this influencer marketing post performed above her average engagement.
Unlike commission focused relationships, showing ROI data on one-off branding posts tend to be more difficult. To measure ROI, take the engagement rate and compare it with other posts from that same influencer. As we have shown above with Lucy’s post.
Brand ambassadors don’t need to have a large social following to add value to your brand. In fact, many brands are converting their most engaged customers into brand ambassadors with social reaches smaller than a nano influencer. Despite the reduction in reach, the average ambassador in an ambassador program will have a 2 to 3 times higher cLTV and generate 5 to 20 referral purchases over the course of a year if a brand can keep them engaged.
Influencers who find a strong alignment with a product or brand may post about the product continually and on a wide variety of their social channels (a primary network, like Instagram or YouTube, as well as a more supplemental one, like Twitter or Facebook). The strongest benefit of such a strategy is the perception of a genuine affinity for the brand through continuous use. In the world of influencer marketing, this is the gold standard.
For example, take Alexander Megos – full time brand ambassador
“Alexander started climbing when he was 6 years old. By age 10, he was already climbing 300-meter multi-pitch routes with his father. . . He made his competition debut in the 2006 Bavarian Sportclimbing Cup and three years later won the first of two European Youth Cup championships . ”
Companies typically work out an one off branding post, but then the relationship continues because the influencer sincerely buys the product/service themselves. Megos as a brand ambassador happens to be wearing their shirt; its a part of his wardrobe. And most likely brings up Patagonia in conversation outside of social media. Patagonia turned it’s most ideal customer into a brand ambassador.
However, there are a few reasons brand ambassadors don’t organically happen in influencer marketing.
The emerging reality among mid to large influencers is that they have queues of brands that are eager to work with them. It is on the influencer themselves to balance sponsored and unsponsored posts. As well as organizing the posting schedule of their sponsored deals. Because of this, it is rare to see a brand continue to pop up on the influencers social channels.
Altogether, there are myriad of influencer & brand relationships out there, and these are merely the most common points along the spectrum. The budget, product strategy, and flight times of an influencer campaign help dictate which partnership strategy makes the most sense.