In an online environment that prioritizes quick results and instant gratification, there is something to be said for slowing down and taking the long view of your influencer marketing strategy.

Brands have substantially increased their partnerships with influencers over the last few years. According to Linquia’s State of Influencer Marketing 2018 survey, 86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2017, and 92% found it effective. Of those surveyed, 39% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2018; only 5% planning to decrease their investment.

While weekend Instagram takeovers and stand-alone campaigns can be part of a robust influencer strategy, it is more valuable to cultivate long-term collaborations with trusted influencers. Indeed, close to a third of marketers participating in the Linquia survey said they plan to move from one-off, tactical campaigns to an ongoing approach to influencer marketing.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of focusing on long-term influencer collaborations:

User-generated content is effective.

User-generated content – photos, videos and written posts created by real people – is an engaging and effective way to connect with your audience. Research shows that consumers find UGC more trustworthy, memorable and influential in their buying decisions. Fostering lasting partnerships with creative, talented influencers gives your brand access to a wealth of content that would be impossible to create with in-house staff.

Influencers are invested in your brand.

When you build long-term relationships with influencers, you make them an integral part of your brand and customer engagement. It’s not simply transactional – a way to get a quick boost in traffic or likes. These deeper connections offer more authenticity and value to customers.

Brands like Target, CoverGirl and Johnson & Johnson’s Band-Aid are moving in this direction, partnering with influencers who are helping develop product or retail designs on a continuous basis. Lifestyle blogger and influencer Joy Cho of Oh Joy! has worked with Band-Aid for the last three years to design colorful, whimsical bandages

“This has resulted in a better quality of content that is being produced by the influencers and contributed to a higher level of engagement with consumers,” a Band-Aid spokesperson told Adweek.

And last summer, CoverGirl debuted a new influencer program highlighting nine social media stars on in-store displays. The influencers created original make-up looks and how-to social posts using CoverGirl products as a way to inspire consumers and drive offline sales.

Quality influencer content is affordable.

In the past, long-running advertising and marketing campaigns came with a hefty price tag. Influencer marketing has made it possible for brands of various sizes and budgets to expand their reach. You will still need to invest time and money to work with influencers who create quality content and reach your target audience, but the costs will be far lower than those for traditional ad campaigns.

Influencer campaigns are diverse, versatile and adaptable. You don’t have to work with a celebrity influencer with a household name and millions of followers; micro-influencers often cultivate a small but loyal and highly engaged audience in their particular niche.

Interested in developing a long-term influencer marketing strategy? Learn more about what we do.

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