Over the past few years, influencer marketing has become one of the most popular and effective ways for brands to engage with customers and grow their following. Great for connecting with people of different backgrounds, influencer marketing is effective because it takes real people who’ve built their own social media followings and uses their ready-built platform to promote or give feedback on products.

At its core, influencer marketing is about building relationships and creating brand loyalty – which is why the best influencer marketing campaigns are long-term projects. After all, you’re not paying a celebrity to endorse your product; you’re paying to have a popular internet personality with knowledge in your field produce content and introduce your product in a way that comes across as genuine and authentic.

Going the Distance with Influencer Marketing

The mistake that a lot of brands make when rolling out an influencer marketing solution is that they treat influencer marketing like celebrity endorsements. While they may look similar on the surface, there’s not much that influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements have in common except that they’re both used to increase revenue and promote products.

With celebrity endorsements, brands are paying someone to use their notoriety to promote a product regardless of whether he or she has any knowledge or experience with that product. Since this type of marketing focuses on charisma rather than content, these short-term marketing campaigns are effective at generating buzz around a particular product.

Working with influencers is a little different. Instead of using one’s notoriety to connect with potential and existing customers, you’re using social proof. Effective influencers have already established themselves as voices of authority in their fields by producing quality content and building their followings, and you’re using that social proof to help promote your brand. Because of this, once- or twice-off marketing campaigns come across as forced or unnatural. Instead, you want to have your influencer casually using your product over an extended period of time so that their followers can see first-hand just how effective your product is and how it could be used to benefit them.

The Power of Influencer Marketing

Companies are beginning to realize just how important it is to build lasting relationships with influencers, which is why more brands are starting to treat influencers as part of the in-house team rather than an outsourced client. The challenge that comes with long-term partnerships between brands and influencers is making sure that both parties work well together and are able to develop content that people believe. Because if the influencer can’t market the product to his or her audience without making the promotions look forced or unnatural, you probably won’t get the ROI that you were hoping for.

The best way to ensure that you’re able to build quality partnerships with influencers who align with your brand’s mission and values is to research influencers before adding them to the marketing team. The good news is that platforms like Influential can do the research for you, using AI technology to look at influencers’ engagement rates, the demographics of their followers, and the content they produce to come up with a list of social media personalities that are the best fit for your brand.

Because once you’ve found the perfect influencer to represent your brand, you’ll have no problem maintaining a long-term partnership that gives you both the ROI you’re looking for.