The unwritten rule (or is it written?) in marketing is consistency. It’s why we have brand bibles and guidelines. So the same colours, fonts, and tones are used across campaigns. This consistency in messaging is how a brand builds awareness, recall, and familiarity. When we do it in all traditional forms of marketing, then why should influencer marketing be any different? With that as the backdrop, let’s see how brands can play long-term influencer marketing and win. 

The current norm in influencer marketing

Right now, influencer marketing works – very effectively, we might add – by first identifying a creator who fits the brand’s ethos and has the reach and audience that they are looking for. The creator’s content and socials are vetted and then given the green signal.

That’s when everything sets into motion.

You share the influencer marketing campaign brief, give the creator(s) a set of deliverables, and the logistics and legalities are sorted. After this, the ball ends up in the influencer’s metaphorical court. 

They create content and promote the brand for the stipulated time. The campaign can last for a few posts over a period of days or weeks. Typically, it’s a one-and-done deal. 

The minute the influencer campaign is over, both the brand and the creator move on to new projects. 

The apparent gap between traditional marketing and influencer marketing

What we don’t get to see more often is influencers being used for a long-term association like with traditional marketing. Think: actors and models signing multi-year deals or brand ambassadors associated with brands over long periods. 

Yet, as we said, consistency is key. There are clear benefits to using long-term marketing strategies. They create positive feelings like trust by building continuity and stability. The holy grail for brands.

So, it follows that by playing the long game in influencer marketing, too, brands can win. And win big.

How can brands practice long-term influencer marketing?

Instead of a creator promoting a product in a single post, reel, or video and moving on, use them as brand advocates. Brand advocates are creators who already use the brand or aspire to, and brands partner with them on an ongoing basis. 

Think brand ambassadors, but with creators instead of celebrities. You work with them for months or years on multiple campaigns, not just 1 or 2 campaigns. 

The rule of thumb here is selecting the right creator

Choosing the right creator for long-term influencer marketing is like walking a tightrope. It looks good when done right, but one wrong step and you risk hurting your two standing pegs. 

Do your due diligence when selecting a creator. Choose one that your target market already follows, and it’ll be easier to push consumers through the purchase funnel using the influencer’s content. 

The benefits of long-term influencer marketing for brands

1. The key to the success of playing the long game in influencer marketing comes down to basic psychology. Human brains are simple. They are wired to like patterns, symmetry, and repetition.

While a wow factor and a surprise element are great to create curiosity and enthusiasm, long-term trust is created with consistency. And that’s the biggest benefit of long-term influencer marketing. It creates continuity, which lends brands a patina of authenticity.

2. Moreover, when an audience knows what the brand stands for and can associate it with a running theme, like the same creator, they are more than likely to trust the brand. The result? Better conversion rates.

3. Brands can also leverage the personal brands of influencers and create an overarching story that’s in complete synergy with the brand’s values to engage customers for a long period. 

What else can a brand expect from using influencers long-term?

Surely there has to be more on the table for brands. So let’s talk numbers. Long-term influencer marketing strategies can help brands get better ROIs

  • Brands get a better deal overall. Influencers usually charge a base fee per post. In collaborations that include one campaign, there is little wiggle room to negotiate for either party. But when brands partner with creators for long-term influencer marketing, they can ask for a lower rate and save money. 
  • When working with an influencer over a longer time, brands can see what works and what doesn’t. Then the strategy can be tweaked too. Keeping what works and abandoning what doesn’t. 

Does long-term influencer marketing benefit creators?

Long-term influencer marketing is a win-win for all. To creators, it brings stability. When an influencer is associated with a brand for the long term, it eliminates the need to constantly be on the lookout for more campaigns. A long-term partnership brings in a stable flow of revenue. 

For creators who solely depend on brands for their pay cheques, long-term partnerships are an ideal scenario.

The second and not obvious benefit is personal growth and image. No creator wants to look like a sell-out, doing one-off promotions for any brand. Being associated long-term gives creators the creative space to produce authentic organic and natural content. They mix and match what they believe in with the brand’s ideology, thus creating a perfect synergy of brand promotion and personal style.

The future is long-term influencer marketing

The current avatar of influencer marketing, using nano or micro-influencers at scale or mid-tier and mega creators for single campaigns, works. It works well, and we encourage brands to continue executing such campaigns (with a bit of help if need be).

But in the coming years, long-term influencer marketing will become a heavy part of the mix. And we said that the linchpin of a successful long-term influencer partnership would be discovery. Unsure how to find one?

Use an AI-powered influencer marketing platform like DYT. We take care of the thngs that don’t make sense to you, so you can continue doing your thng!

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About the Author

Abdul Mukeet

Abdul Mukeet is a writer and content creator with a passion for creator economy. Follow his posts for insights and opinions on the latest influencer trends.

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