In order to be successful when working with influencers today, brands need to offer more than monetary values. To cater to the challenges the fast-paced influencer industry provides, we developed the Influencer Community Management Framework that helps you to build, manage and activate your Influencer Community. The framework guides you through the Influencer Community Management process. In this post, we’ll focus on the Building part of the process and explain 5 easy steps that help you to build your own valuable Influencer Community.
What differentiates Influencer Community Management from Influencer Marketing and Influencer Relations?
While influencer marketing concentrates on transactions and brands see them rather as a medium, influencer relations focus on building a relationship with the influencer e.g. through personal touchpoints and events. Influencer Community Management is the balance between transactions and relations and combines the best of both approaches. It is not recommendable to only think transactional or long-term oriented, as one of these perspectives will be neglected. Therefore, to be truly successful when working with influencers, brands need to build their own Influencer Communities to use their power through activation. This approach allows you to plan more authentic deals as the community member is an actual fan of your brand and is not only inclined to promote your brand for money.
How to transfer this knowledge into practice in 5 steps
Start with the following 5 steps to build your own Influencer Community and utilize all members of your Community as your brand’s most powerful asset.
The first step in this process is your actual strategy. Influencer Communities need your sustainable effort in the process, so your strategy must be clear. You are implementing a change management process in your company which is based on your willingness to be the influencers’ partner. That means you are his/her point of contact at any time and you don’t only concentrate on one-time postings or campaigns.
Within your company, every department that is involved in influencer activities should be included in the process of building and maintaining your Influencer Community to make sure that everyone is on the same page at any point in time.
Anticipate Risks and Roadblocks
Like with any other strategy, establishing Influencer Community Management in our company will come along with some risks and roadblocks.
First, you need to be aware that you make a permanent commitment to your community members and it should always be in your interest that your partner is happy with the collaboration. In case of any failure, the consequences will be more painful for your company, as there is a personal connection included and your brand image might suffer. Besides, it’s important to choose your community partners wisely, as not every influencer is suitable for your long-term planning. One might argue that influencer communities require high upfront involvement and no direct ROI – and that might be true. An Influencer Community surely is more of a long-term process than simply booking a one-time post. However, the benefits of your partnership will emerge in the long-run and will be way more sustainable and invaluable than the outcome of one-time deals.
Think about which changes are actually necessary to adapt your business to the new strategy. We recommend to build a framework for your measures and to adapt your evaluations as these collaborations show more than short-term performances. Moreover, make sure that your whole team is informed about the processes and closely connected to guarantee consistent communication.
2. Value Proposition
To successfully build your Influencer Community, content creators need to be attracted by your brand so that they are motivated to become a member of your community. Show the influencer why your program offers personal benefits for him/her and what the added value of your community is. A community should offer more than just your own values – it should include the creator in your brand’s message and not just concentrate on earning money. Have a look at ASICS’ communication strategy surrounding their Frontrunner Program: They offer a purpose for their community and don’t put their products in the center of their communications.
3. Technology & Legal Setup
A community consists of communication and documentation that need to be done properly. These factors cause a problem for many businesses as they just have an easy setup with minimal involvement for that (e.g. excel sheets). These documents are often managed by one person and are neither scalable, nor compliant, made for teams, or sustainable. Our Influencer Management Community Software addresses these needs and offers a cloud-based solution.
- Technological setup: Our software provides you with a tool to manage your data and make it scalable and accessible to every team member. Your data will be stored securely and is scalable at any time. You can create your personal community setup form which you can embed on a landing page or simply share via e-mail. Once you receive an inbound request and accept the member into your community, the contact will be added to your Network automatically, so you can activate your new Community Member for upcoming activities. Through this procedure, you will always have full ownership of your contacts and all relevant data and information surrounding your Influencer Community.
4. Adapt your Communication
Spread the word about your Influencer Community to attract suitable members through well-chosen communication activities. Here is an overview of influencer groups and how to convert them into community members:
- Influencers that are already part of your network: The lowest-hanging fruits, as selected influencers from your network can easily be converted into more permanent Community Members.
- Superfans that talk (positively) about your brand: Identify user-generated content from superfans through social listening.
- Users and clients who already follow your brand: They are part of your inbound marketing, communicate with them e.g. via your newsletter or include paid ads for retargeting purposes in order to motivate this group to apply for your community.
- Creators and influencers you wish to inspire: Invest in outbound sourcing.
foodspring offers a great example of how brands can easily integrate their Influencer Community Program into their communication measures. On their website, the brand showcases their various Community Groups and visitors get valuable insights into foodspring’s Community members.
During the partnership, it’s important to keep up the value for your partners to guarantee satisfaction. Introduce new influencers and engage them in your community. A factor you should be aware of is the power of word-of-mouth. If an influencer is happy with your value proposition and being part of your community, he/ she might recommend your community to other influencers and encourage them to join your community as well. This procedure empowers you to grow your Influencer Community passively.
Watch our Webinar on the 5 Steps to Building our Influencer Community [in German] for actionable next steps!