Inside the Influencer-Marketer Partnership: Tips from Julius



“Be informed and know as much about the influencer as you would like them to know about your brand.” — Karin Swanson, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Julius


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Influencer marketing has become much sought after, but as the field grows, it is important to explore and understand the priorities within an influencer and marketer partnership.

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During #SMWLA, Karin Swanson, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Julius, a company that specializes in influencer vetting, spoke with several influencers to break down what marketers should be asking themselves when working alongside them and in order to execute a better campaign.

What do influencers want from their marketing partners?

Swanson touched on this need with a slide that advised, “Be informed and know as much about the influencer as you would like them to know about your brand.”

There are often strict standards which require influencers to know the brand’s mission, aesthetic and team structure, to name a few things, prior to working with it. Yet the brand itself is does not meet those same standards when working with an influencer, according to Swanson.

It’s about authenticity and building trust.

To prove the point, Swanson shared statistics that showed that 66% of influencers polled said they are motivated by the opportunity to share a passion and expertise with a marketing partner. So it should not be simply the other way around.

What can solidify a partnership?

While influencers care about compensation for their work, experiences and creativity are sometimes valued over money.

Matthew Nadu, an actor, host and producer, relayed that when brands offer things (products, dinners, experiences) as part of the compensation, they stand out to him because he is gaining an access that is not typically available.

“It’s things that you wouldn’t normally get to do…You can authentically enjoy it,” Nadu said.

In addition, there can be value to the brand in providing these things to an influencer: Nadu talked about working with Australian brand Traveller’s Autobarn, whom was converting Ford vans into camper vans, and receiving access for two-weeks to drive around in one.

“We basically just took this thing, ran it 3,000 miles, all over the west coast, and we hit every national park that we love. That was awesome because they were like, ‘Here, we trust you guys. Just make whatever the content is that you want to make. Just make our van look cool.'”

For a company that was having trouble connecting to the American audience, that worked. And it also worked for the influencer, adding truth to Swanson’s stat. that 74%  of influencers polled were motivated by the ability to be more creative.

How can advertisers build better relationships with influencers?

It is important that influencers feel like they can still be themselves while working with a brand, Swanson has found.

Tyler Grove, who has the podcast and website We Traveled Where, advised brands to build organic relationships, as she experienced with COOLA Suncare, which she described as her favorite partnership to this day.

Because she feels there is an honesty in their relationship, she also feels free to test and tell them her true opinion about their new products.

In addition, she reminded brands to capitalize on people that are excited and loyal to the brand from the start.

“Don’t forget about those nano-influencers, or people that you might be seeing on social media, posting about your brand, that might have two or 3,000 followers because in three to five years from now, they might be the people with 100,000 followers,” she said.

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