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How should brands be engaging with digital creators?

Social & Digital

How should brands be engaging with digital creators?


Influencers and digital creators have responded to a survey by HypeAuditor about how they communicate with brands and how this affects the content and business relationships.

In September 2021, HypeAuditor released the results of its global Influencer Outreach Survey. The AI analytics platform promotes fair, transparent and effective influencer marketing. 

The survey was a deep dive into influencers, but from their perspective. Generally, focus is given to the benefits for business when engaging with influencers, but rarely are we privy to how digital creators feel about the communication between them and brands. 

Connecting with creators


One of the main takeaways from the research is that 43 percent of influencers report receiving an influx of generic PR messages, but never a personalised message from a brand. And these cut and paste, impersonalised messages have been criticised by the creators. 

A clear and concise message that feels personal to the individual creator is important. It’s as much about brand alignment for the business as it is for the influencer. Building their entire living around a particular aesthetic and message is vital for the longevity of content creators. 

Another revelation from HypeAuditor’s research is that only 15 percent of influencers are represented by a social media-specific talent agency. This is important for marketers who are paying fees or going through third-party sources, as the talent pool is a lot shallower.

Barriers between brands and creators


The survey reveals reasons that would deter influencers from engaging with certain brands, including the following:

  • non-alignment of values (51 percent)
  • budgets not being met (42 percent), and
  • lack of creative freedom in the deal (38 percent).

Research into the influencers and their past business relationships is also important. Thirty-eight percent of creators said that they had previously worked with a brand’s competitor. 

How to work with influencers


Thinking of engaging with influencers and digital creators to help boost your campaign? Don’t be put off, but make sure that you cover all bases. It’s about creating personal communication with the creator.

When asked what they’d like to see in messages from brands in order to make it easier to select potential partners, creators identified the following top reasons:

  • a clear idea of budgets and expected deliverables (59 percent) 
  • a clear description of the product and/or service to be advertised (61percent), and
  • more information on the business/brand with which they would be aligning (51 percent).

It can be a tricky tightrope to walk when first reaching out to creators. What are the best ways to go about creating a robust and successful partnership from the first point of contact?

  • Personalise the messages to the creators. They receive multiple messages a day, so it’s important to cut through the saturation of messages.
  • Where possible, email. Over 50 percent of creators have said that email is their preferred method of communication between themselves and brands.
  • Know your audience and the influencer. Research and use insight tools available to identify those who are relevant to the brand/campaign. 
  • Use clarity. Ensure that budgets, branding and the specifics are covered off in the first one or two messages, as well as deadlines.

The influencer and brand relationship is a new one that is still being navigated by both marketers and creators. Although the brands are the ones financially supporting creators, it is still essential that both are kept happy and the relationship remains positive. 

Creating positive relationships will only mean stronger and more powerful content is created. Both brand and influencer will win.

Liv Croagh

Liv Croagh was the Managing Editor of Marketing Mag from September 2021 to September 2023.

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