Short term influencer campaigns or long term ambassador contracts?

Influencer marketing is a powerful way to reach your target audiences. Influencers have spent years building up trust with their audience, and are therefore rather successful at influencing their actions. Hence the term “influencer.”

Brands all over the world are jumping on this exciting opportunity to market themselves. And as more and more people jump in on this game, the range of opportunities available to companies is expanding. You’ll need to make some decisions to make sure you’re influencer relationship is set up to really support your brand.

For example, you’ll have to decide between  a short-term campaign and a long term contract. There are upsides and downsides to both. Let’s take a look at what these are.

Short-term contracts

The definition of short-term is not set in stone. These arrangements can be one-off agreements where an influencer features your brand just once. Or a short-term campaign can last several weeks, with influencers running a range of content that promotes your brand. Here are some of the pros and cons of short-term campaigns.

Pros

  • Teaming up with an influencer for a short period of time is going to be cheaper. It might even be free if you can offer enough value in return. For example, if you write a good guest post, the influencer may let you publish for free. But just because it’s cheaper, it doesn’t mean it’s less effective. This quick exposure to your target audience can turn people on to you and your products, directing them towards your brand when they decide to make a purchase.
  • Specificity. When you work with an influencer short-term, you can focus on what’s most important. For example, instead of trying to convey everything about your brand, you can focus on what is going to bring the most return. This maximizes the efficacy of the relationship by eliminating excess.
  • Flexibility. It’s relatively easy to get out of short-term influencer deal. You can either wait until everything is complete, or since there is no long-term commitment, you can simply terminate the arrangement whenever you see things are going in a wring direction wrong way.

Cons

  • One-shot deal. Influencers have good relationships with their audiences, but even the best influencers don’t reach everyone with every piece of content. When working in the short-term, you can spend lots of time and energy creating content, but then that content might not receive great exposure. Not because of something you did wrong, but rather because your timing was off. With short-term deals, there’s not really much you can do about this. You need to be prepared for the possibility that your efforts won’t have the desired impact.
  • Securing a relationship. Influencers are aware of their value. And good influencers don’t give access to their audience unless they feel strongly about the brand or product they are recommending. You may find it more difficult to engage with quality influencers when seeking a short-term arrangement due to imbalance, i.e. they feel they are giving more than they are receiving.

Long term contracts

Again, defining long-term is tricky. It usually refers to agreements that include more than just one or two interactions between the influencer and your brand. Some long-term contracts are indefinite. Here are some of the pros and cons of long-term contracts:

Pros

  • Flexibility. More time means greater freedom to try new things. If something is not working, you have the opportunity to adjust. Iterating lets you learn more about your audience and maximize return on investment.
  • Sustained exposure. If you’re looking to build brand awareness with your audience, a long-term influencer contract is a great option. You’ll be able to showcase more of your brand since you’ll be in touch with your audience through the influencer for a much longer period of time. New companies, or companies looking to establish their brand as an authority, can benefit greatly from this type of influencer arrangement.

Cons

  • Cost. Just like short-term deals can be cheap and efficient, long-term deals can be expensive. Influencers know their value, and if you want to work with them for a long time, or on an exclusive basis, you’re going to need to pay. Make sure you know exactly what you want before entering into this type of arrangement so that you can justify the investment.
  • User fatigue. Having an influencer repeatedly promote your brand sounds great, but you need to be careful of audience fatigue. People trust the influencer because they believer his or her opinions are their own. Overpromotion of one brand, or doing so in a clumsy, tacky way, can erode this trust and diminish the effect of your influencer campaign.

There’s no clear-cut winner in this debate. Each arrangement offers something different, and both have their own sets of disadvantages. Take a look at your needs and capabilities. Then, consider your options and make an informed decision that will allow you to leverage an influencer campaign into a successful marketing strategy.

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