2019 continues to see the growth of the “influencer marketing” trend, but there’s one important caveat:
Don’t just sponsor an influencer, first build a great company, then build a great relationship
Too many brands put together a plan to sponsor influencers (pay them cash or give them freebies) with large followings on Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube. They want them to use their products, review their services, or even just throw out a few tweets about their latest app.
There are a few reputation risks with this approach.
You could pay money to someone with an artificial follower count, you may pick an influencer who has a reputation that doesn’t align with yours, or you could even just be called out by others.
Instead, spend your time and money on a different influencer marketing approach:
Build a product or service that is so amazing, key influencers will want to share and recommend it.
Cultivate a natural connection with influencers. Follow them, share them, praise them, and thank them any time they say something great about you.
Setting aside a budget that only sponsors influencers is akin to only relying on paid search ads or boosted social posts. You get a quick hit, but you’ll have to keep spending. Instead, follow a similar path to organic search or social follower growth–build it slowly, invest in something of quality, and then wait for the long-term influencer praise.