As much as some of us on the Sprocket team like to hermit (ahem, Kate), we recognize that relationships are the stuff of life. They make our personal lives better, and they make business better too.

It’s like they always say: influencer relationships are the best ships. Right?

Relationships are key for PR professionals. But, just like personal relationships, business relationships can go south if either party exhibits bad behavior or acts in bad faith.

So we’re here to impart some wisdom, specifically as it pertains to influencer relationships, that, like the rules of maintaining any good relationship, can be summed up like this: don’t be an asshole.

1: Make it as easy as possible. Look, people are busy. And even though busyness is a trap,  the bottom line is that people have a lot of stuff going on, and that isn’t going to change. Influencers do, too—they have a whole life that goes on outside of the Instagram grid. So brands need to make it as easy as possible for these people to become partners.

How do you make it easier? By developing clear outlines and style guides for content development, a standard method for submitting that content, and a process for being reimbursed. Creating an influencer handbook that lays out your brand’s expectations for the partnership is a great resource for potential influencers.

2: Don’t repost social media content without crediting the originator of that content. These days, it’s pretty kosher to use another person’s image, especially if he or she is an influencer. But always, always credit the original poster in your caption.  Better yet, comment on their post of the photo first and ask if it’s cool that you regram it. Otherwise, you’re taking their content as your own and giving no credit where credit is due. 

3: Plan ahead. Think about it this way: social media managers plan ahead to make sure they’re creating and lining up content for events and holidays relevant to their brand. Influencers are their own brand, and they’re trying to plan too. So even though much of influencers’ content might seem like they just stuck it up on a whim, they’ve likely been working behind the scenes to create the content and get it slotted into their personal SMCCs. Give them some notice.

4: Talk publicly about your relationship with influencers. Assuming your contract with an influencer doesn’t say you have to stay mum about your partnership, it’s a great opportunity to shout it from the rooftops (metaphorically speaking, of course). A brand posting about an influencer can help raise that influencer’s profile, and can be beneficial to the brand, too.

5: Listen, and give creative freedom. Partnership is a two-way street, and the influencers you’re working with are humans. Ask what they want to get out of the partnership. Ask them what kind of content they enjoy making. Then give them the creative license (within brand guidelines, of course) to make the kind of content and copy they want to make. They know their audiences, they know what resonates with their people, and they know how to maintain the authenticity they’ve cultivated on their channels. Let them own it.

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Related posts: 4 Tips for Building Relationships in PR