Collaborations with content creators shouldn’t be a one-time thing. If an influencer is the right fit for your brand, and you’re a good fit for theirs, there is a lot to be gained from thinking long-term. This is particularly true when it comes to working with Gen Z influencers, a generation that is driven by their values – namely authenticity, transparency and genuine, meaningful connections.
Like their influencers, Gen Z consumers crawled straight into the digital age. They have been exposed to social media, smart technology and digital entertainment since birth and have thus developed a high level of cultural literacy around online interactions. They can spot a disingenuous endorsement a mile off, and nothing says ‘I just wanted to make a quick buck’ as loudly as a one-off sponsored post on an influencer’s channel.
So how can brands build long-term relationships with the latest generation of influencers?
- Find content creators that align with your brand values. The influencer marketing sphere is awash with platforms and dashboards offering to automate the recruitment process, but long-term relationships require a face-to-face connection. Taking the time to research, talk to and engage your partners on a human level will reap rewards for both sides in the long run.
- Prioritise engagement over reach. Reach measures how many people have seen your posts, but engagement metrics are indicative of deeper audience connections and perception change. Working with fewer influencers on bigger, better collaborations will foster deeper relationships over time.
- Allow your partners the creative freedom to deliver your message in their usual tone of voice and favour natural, authentic content over heavily polished shots. It’s all about relatability as far as Gen Z are concerned. Putting trust in your partners to be themselves will keep them passionate about your product, and generate fresh, engaging content for your brand.
- Once established, nurture those relationships. Interact with influencers and their content beyond the brief and in between campaigns. Treat them as friends, rather than transactional business partners, and keep reminding them that you’re there to keep the door open for future collaborations.
- Finally, pay your influencers well. It’s a common misconception that influencers are paid exclusively in free samples and experiences, but influencers have bills to pay just like everybody else, and no volume of samples will do that. Show them you value their work through fair remuneration. The payback comes when that influencer develops into a long-term brand ambassador.
While there is a time and a place for short-term activations with influencers, sporadic campaigns lack authenticity and damage trust between Gen Z influencers and their followers. Brands should focus on fostering meaningful relationships with influencers in order to connect with the shopper of today.