Collaborations: Best practices for brands and influencers

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Influencer marketing and collaborations have become invaluable PR tools over the last few years, especially with the rise of Instagram. But what might seem like a simple photo is actually the product of time and hard work behind the scenes. Below, we’ve detailed the best practices to help your next collaboration go off without a hitch! 

Put your best foot forward 

For both brands and influencers, a good first impression is the key to kick-starting a successful collaboration. Whether you’re pitching yourself via email or on Press Loft, here’s some things to include in that all-important first message: 

  • Introduce yourself – include a little bit about how long you’ve been a blogger/influencer and the kind of content you focus on – but keep it brief.
  • Mention why you want to work with the brand – did their products catch your eye in the past? Does their aesthetic or ethos match yours? This extra detail just shows that you’ve done your research. 
  • And finally, the most important part, talk about what value you can bring to the other party. Simply saying “I’d love to work with you” isn’t enough. Instead, provide links to your socials to show that your curated feed would compliment their products, show evidence of previous successful collaborations and highlight stats that show that you have an engaged audience.

This also applies to any brands reaching out to influencers organically. Whether your business has a huge following or is just getting started, a good pitch tailored to each potential partner is far more likely to attract eager responses than a generic message. A few things to think about:

  • Would their content and platform would be a good fit for the type of collaboration you have in mind?
  • Have you enjoyed their work with other brands?
  • Do they provide a way to reach your target audience?

Be clear about your expectations 

Before any collaboration is given the green light, it’s important that both parties are on the same page. One way to do this is to establish a written agreement between brand and influencer. This will break down exactly what the collaboration consists of, as well as providing a way to hold each side accountable for the duration of your project.  

The agreement should contain a brief, in which the brand will detail what is expected of the influencer. These guidelines include the type of content they’re looking for (e.g. a blog review of a new launch), the number of posts that are expected, as well as a deadline for completion.  

While brands will obviously want collaborations to look and feel a certain way, it’s important not to be too rigid with your guidelines. Allow a little wiggle room for influencers to get creative by allowing them to bring new ideas to the table. 

Finally, and most importantly, an agreement should specify what is being offered in return for the work being completed. Do you have the budget to offer payment? Is the product gifted? Can you offer anything to their followers as well? Ensuring influencers are fairly compensated for their work during the initial collaboration will likely lead to a great working relationship both now and in the future, and can help bolster your brand reputation if they pass the word on to other influencers within their sphere. 

Communication is key 

From start to finish, open communication between all parties plays a vital part in any successful collaboration. During the agreement stage, it’s always encouraged to negotiate to find a compromise if either party finds something in the terms that they would like to change. Perhaps the timeline is a little too tight for you or maybe the proposed content doesn’t quite match your brand.  

Remember: if a compromise can’t be reached for whatever reason, don’t be afraid to politely decline. Even if you have reached this stage, neither party is obligated to complete the collaboration if they aren’t happy. Once the agreement has been set, maintain a clear line of communication to ensure that any potentially embarrassing mix-ups are avoided and everyone is in the loop in terms of progress.

The proof is in the post 

When it comes to collaboration content and completion, there are a few things to keep in mind to maximise its reach and ensure its success. 

  • Be authentic. Influencers have built an audience around their personality, so make sure this isn’t lost when highlighting the brand. 
  • Submit any content to the brand before posting. This not only ensures that they are 100% happy with your message, but shows a sense of professionalism that will stand you in good stead for any future collaborations. 
  • Once the content is live, don’t just post and ghost – engage with the audience! Be sure to interact with your following by answering any questions about the product and why you love it. Brands can also comment and repost the agreed content (which we highly encourage!). A great way for brands to get more involved is by creating a hashtag for both influencers and their followers to showcase products. This encourages more of a community-feel and attracts user-generated content that you can then highlight on your own socials. 
  • Finally, look at the numbers. Social media allows you to monitor reach in real-time, but the best way to review a collaboration’s success is to review the analytics. These provide valuable insight to see what worked (or what didn’t) to help shape future campaigns. 

Keep these tips and suggestions in mind during your next collaboration and we’re sure it’ll be a success! They will ensure a smooth and seamless process from start to finish and hopefully create long-lasting relationships for future projects. For more tips and tricks on influencer outreach and maximising your reach, check out our list of recent blog posts

What is Press Loft? 

Press Loft is a PR platform that helps thousands of brands to get their products into the press. Our platform allows companies to easily secure press coverage by connecting with our extensive network of 22,000+ journalists, bloggers and influencers. 

Brands using Press Loft can submit a Collaboration Alert detailing their campaign and follower requirements! These alerts are sent to our network of 1000s of bloggers and social media influencers that match the requirements. Influencers apply through our platform and brands then select who they would like to work with. 

Did you know that we offer a FREE trial of our PR tools (including Influencer outreach) for new brands? Click here to start your free trial and join over 1,000 brands already using Press Loft for their business.