The Ins and Outs to a Successful Influencer Partnership

If you’re in the marketing industry and work with a client who has a desirable product or location, you’ve probably received requests from influencers to use your client’s product or stay at their property for free in exchange for Instagram posts. With influencer marketing soaring in popularity, it’s important to know how to select the influencers to work with and how to set up their agreement so it’s smooth sailing once they receive the product or arrive on property.

You’ve Received a Request from an Influencer…. Now What?

Once an influencer has reached out to you, the first step is to view their profile and assess how much engagement they receive from their followers. Having a large following on Instagram isn’t enough to justify free products or a complimentary stay at a hotel. Unfortunately, some people buy followers to make it appear as if they have a dedicated fan base but it isn’t legitimate. The best way to tell if an influencer has an engaged audience is to look at their posts and see how many likes and comments they receive on a regular basis. You want to make sure that your product or property will not only be seen by a large audience but that those people will read the posts and hopefully become interested in what you’re selling.

Once you’ve decided that the influencer’s engagement looks good, the next step is deciding if their content fits your audience and flows with the type of content your client’s brand typically produces. For instance, if you’re working with a hotel located in the heart of downtown and focuses on date night promotions, happy hour, and other items pitched at adults, it may not make sense to accommodate a mommy blogger or influencer who posts about traveling with young kids. Instead, you’ll want to work with influencers who fit your niche market so their followers are more likely to want to try your product or visit your property.

What Should the Influencer Agreement Include?

Now that you’ve found an influencer who looks like a good fit for your brand, the next step is coming to terms with what they’re willing to provide and what you are willing to do for it. Before proceeding, everything must be in writing. Typically, an influencer will approach you with what they’re looking to do in exchange for your client’s product or service. This leaves you to approve their request or modify it depending on what they approach you with. The most important part is making sure you have a written document stating what they will provide in exchange for what your client will provide. Other important details to include in the agreement are hashtags that you’d like the influencer to use, the rights you have to re-use their photos/videos on your client’s own social media profiles, and anything you don’t want the influencer to mention in their posts regarding possible competitors, and any other guidelines you’d like them to follow. Pro tip: Try to limit what the influencer is not allowed to post about so they have creative freedom to create posts about your client’s product or service in their own way.

Instagram Takeovers…. How Do They Work?

Instagram Takeovers can be extremely valuable for a brand, but they can appear risky at the same time. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, this is when an influencer logs into your client’s Instagram account and does stories directly through their account. The risk comes into play knowing that this person has access to your account and can leave you feeling vulnerable. The best way to make this a smooth process for both the influencer and the brand is to set up a call in advance to discuss what type of content should be shared and if there is anything off-limits. For example, if working with an influencer who will be staying at your client’s hotel, you may want to mention not to promote local restaurants if there is one at the hotel and let them know which amenities you’d like them to showcase. Once again, you’ll want to give them as much creative freedom as possible, but since they’re posting directly as the brand, you’ll want to have a plan in place in advance.

Instagram Story by  @hannahavison

Instagram Story by @hannahavison

The Influencer is Posting…. What Do I Do Now?

Once the influencer has received the product or is at the property, it’s important to engage with their content and to look out for any DMs in case they have any questions or need anything. You’ll also want to share any of their stories they’ve created on their accounts to your brand’s profile to increase viewership.

How Do I Know If the Partnership Was a Success?

Typically, a good sign of success besides an increase in sales is gaining new followers in a short amount of time while the influencer is posting about your client’s brand or shortly after. You may also notice an influx of messages inquiring about future partnerships or about your client’s product. These are all good signs that the influencer’s posts are driving traffic to your brand’s accounts. Earlier this year, Kat Gaskin stayed at Waimea Plantation Cottages and made several posts and stories on her personal Instagram account during her stay. We saw a spike in new followers, had more interaction on our posts, and received several DMs asking about reservations and potential future partnerships. It was a wonderful return for the property in exchange for a complimentary stay.

Influencer Blog Photo 2 (1).jpg
Photos by  @katgaskin

Photos by @katgaskin

Now that you have the tools to create a successful influencer partnership, respond to those requests you’ve received and have FUN! And remember, repurpose their content on your client’s social media accounts to get the most return on your investment.