Influencer Partnerships: Comparing Long-Term Vs. One-Off Relationships
Relationship building is no walk in the park. Whether it’s a professional trying to establish a life-long career network, or a brand looking to build partnerships with valuable influencers, strong relationships are tricky to master. Recently, influencer marketing has become a more viable method for brands to reach targeted audiences without harassing online shoppers with forceful retargeting ads. Instead, marketers can engage audiences in a more authentic way. This is why marketers are allocating more budget for influencer marketing.
When building an influencer marketing strategy, brands must decide between investing in long-term versus one-off influencer partnerships. What determines whether or not a partnership is “better” will differ across industries, brands, influencers, goals, campaigns, and KPIs. Nonetheless, we’ve spelled out a general guide for understanding the pros and cons of both long-term and one-off partnerships.
Long-Term Influencer Partnerships
We’d be doing your brand a huge disservice if we didn’t underscore the importance of building a trusting and enduring relationship with the influencers you partner with. When executed in this way, influencer partnerships lead to a variety of wins.
Long-Term Relationship Pros
- Clearly defined expectations and understanding of brand objectives.
- Stable agreement terms and ongoing ambassadorship, leading to stronger rapport with influencers and audience.
- High-quality content generation since influencers are more inclined to understand your brand and perform at a high level in order to remain a partner.
- Prolonged brand awareness, leading to brand credibility and affinity.
- Deeper learnings into what works with influencers, which can be applied to future collaborations.
- Lifetime value due to longer-lasting partnerships with influencers who maintain trusting audiences.
- More trust and loyalty between brand, influencer, and audience.
- More reliable influencer partners who are equally invested in long-term success.
On the other hand, there are associated drawbacks to long-term influencer partnerships, primarily if a brand doesn’t have the time, resources, or budget to support them. In this case, a collection of lower-effort tactics may suffice. Despite more rapport and longer-lasting results, long-term relationships simply may not be within a company’s means.
Related Post: What Is A Brand Ambassador?
Long-Term Relationship Cons
- More upfront work to select the right influencers who will be invested long-term in your brand’s mission.
- Continued exposure to the same audience that can result in stale messaging (caveat—this can be a positive if brand awareness is the goal of the campaign).
One-Off Influencer Partnerships
At times, one-off influencer partnerships prove to be the preferred option. A brand considering this shorter road to execution should understand why one-offs are more valuable along with the associated negative impact.
One-Off Relationship Pros
- Less time invested in sustaining relationships as there’s no need to uphold and nurture longer-term agreements.
- Less time-consuming and fewer resources needed to identify influencers, vet them, reach out, outline goals, and define terms.
- Ability to test multiple influencer collaborations, leading to more expansive learnings.
- Audience insights across a larger, more varied audience in a given timeframe.
In spite of the above, we see several drawbacks to the quick-hit approach to influencer marketing. By focusing purely on quick wins and vanity metrics, brands risk appearing lazy in the eyes of consumers.
One-Off Relationship Cons
- More time spent researching new influencers to work with for each new campaign.
- Lower chance of aligning values, which can lead to inauthentic messaging.
- Greater possibility of fake influencers who’ve built audiences based on false pretenses.
- Less creative and impactful content since influencers have less incentive to create and more to take the cash.
- Greater likelihood of core message getting lost in social media noise (unless you team up with a large sum of influencers and distribute content simultaneously).
- Lower conversion rate over a longer period of time due to inconsistent marketing.
- Fewer key learnings and the inability to apply them to future collaborations with the same influencers.
- More instability with future campaigns without assurance of having long-term partners.
- Potentially bad reputation within the industry and/or influencer space as a transactional partner rather than a long-term partner.
Further still, there are times when a combination of these two different types of influencer partnerships make the most sense. So long as brands do their due diligence to find the right influencers, follow FTC guidelines, and derive key takeaways from their partnerships, then the road to more successful influencer relationships is likely in their future.
So, What’s Best For Your Brand—Long-Term Or One-Off Influencer Partnerships?
Boiled down, long-term influencer partnerships require more upfront work, but the return appears almost immediately and over time. One-off collaborations require seemingly less effort but can bog down a marketing team’s productivity with wasted time, money, and resources that could have been poured into thorough relationship management.
A brand that brings influencer marketing in-house should be well-educated on the industry to ensure optimal performance. The chemistry between brands, influencers, and audiences has many factors at play, so take time to investigate what approaches work for your brand and stay the course to nurture it. There are undeniable advantages to thriving relationships.
Partnering with an influencer marketing agency can also help your brand bypass all the complexities of influencer marketing to formulate more cohesive campaigns. We are proud of our track record for producing long-lasting influencer partnerships, and we encourage you to check out our guide to building relationships with influencers to see how your brand can maximize efficiency with a little bit of TLC.