I strongly believe that marketing should compound. If your marketing only works when you work on it, you’re trading time for money. You won’t generate wealth this way, your business will have a hard time making 7-8 figures.
This is where my problem with (what I call) “transactional” influencer marketing lies. People look at influencer marketing in a twisted counterproductive way.
They look at influencers as mere promoters of the message, mediums of transport, and not actual living breathing people. They think “influencers” are the new television or the new Facebook.
But that is clearly not the case.
Influencers are people, just like you and me. So the approach we take when dealing with them should be radically different from the approach we take when running a Google ad.
The problem with influencer tools
I think part of the blame towards this approach to influencers falls on the way technology that enables influencer marketing is built.
There are two main ways you can find influencers to work with using technology: Marketplaces and Databases.
Databases force you to think purely in quantitative terms. Demographics, keywords, followers, engagement rate, and so on. While these have their place, you simply cannot discount the power of doing some qualitative analysis.
There is no database or AI tools that measure how charismatic a creator is and how good they are at speaking a persuasive message.
Databases force you to prioritise speed and bulk influencer imports instead of quality. Especially when you’re starting out, quality and handpicking creators should be your goal. Do things that don’t scale.
I believe these are worse. Databases have a place, they’ll help you scale eventually. But you should never use an influencer marketplace.
They’re literally selling influencer ad-spots in a market. Everybody is a commodity. You’re simply making a choice based on how good their numbers look, reaching out to them through the marketplace, and paying the marketplace a commission for enabling this. Plus it doesn’t scale either.
You know the worst part? The marketplace owns the relationship between you and the influencer. Not you. Can you build a robust revenue source out of something someone else owns?
This is why at Saral, we built our tool to enable relationship-based influencer marketing. Relationships that you own completely and don’t disappear if you stop using our tool. The tool is just an assistant that enables the relationship.
What is relationship based influencer marketing?
It’s marketing that treats humans as humans. It puts relationships first, people first. The creators that you work with are people, and they deserve to be looked at beyond metrics and creative briefs.
Relationship-based influencer marketing recognises that the long term value of a creator promoting your brand is much higher than the immediate sales you generate off the placement.
It’s a way of thinking that expands the way you look at influencers. Once you understand it, there would be nothing standing between you and the success of your influencer program.
The tactics involved
Your main goal should be to first build a relationship with the creators.
Most people ask them to promote their products on the first touch. This is not what you wanna do.
Imagine being an influencer and being approached by 10 brands every day, all asking you to promote their product that you’ve never even heard of. Would you say yes?
The overarching theme of relationship-first influencer marketing is the relationship between the brand and the creator.
- Do they already use your products?
- Do they like them?
- Are they already telling their audience about you?
- Have they heard about you?
- Do they have some philosophical alignment with your brand?
You should watch out for these things before you decide to make deals with them to promote your products.
Relationship-based influencer marketing helps you do marketing the right way. You do not need influencers promoting your products. You need influential customer advocates that cannot stop talking about your brand. The only way to do this is to adopt a relationship-first mindset, build authentic connections with creators and nurture them into healthy relationships overtime.
This takes patience and skill, but will make for outsized returns for your brand. You already know one tag, one shoutout can completely change the way your brand is perceived and generate $10s of thousands of dollars of revenue for you.
SARAL will help you put this philosophy into action. It’s time to move away from unprofitable transactional influencer marketing.