Creator Marketing Best Practices: 5 Keys to Building Authentic Creator Connections

Jeff Gray
Jeff Gray
Jan 16, 2024

In the dynamic landscape of the creator economy, forging impactful partnerships with influencers is a cornerstone of successful creator marketing best practices. 

Brands aren’t just selling products or services—they’re cultivating authentic connections with their audiences through strategic collaborations. 

At CreatorIQ Connect 2023, a panel of industry experts shared invaluable insights into what defines successful creator partnerships. We distilled their wisdom into five key best practices that can elevate your influencer marketing.

Creator Marketing Best Practices

1. Strategic Fusion: The Art of Balancing Long-Term and Quick-Turn Impact

There’s a perennial debate between long-term partnerships and quick, high-impact collaborations. Rather than choosing one strategy over the other, Jess Clifton, Head of Brand and Marketing Advisory at Media.Monks, advocated for a strategic balance. 

Long-term partnerships provide stability, enabling creators to become brand ambassadors. Conversely, quick-turn collaborations inject vitality into a brand narrative, especially during product launches or PR initiatives. The secret is to find the sweet spot that aligns with your brand's objectives. 

David Neyman, the Global Lead for Creator and Content Partnerships at Logitech, emphasized a hybrid approach. Logitech strategically combines the stability of long-term partnerships with the energy of short-term collaborations, ensuring a comprehensive influencer marketing strategy.

2. Clear Communication: The Linchpin of Expectation Management

Effective communication and thorough due diligence are linchpins for managing expectations in creator partnerships. Before approaching a creator, brands have to conduct internal assessments to understand their goals, KPIs, and the purpose of the partnership. 

David Neyman emphasized the need for clear communication from the start, in order to establish a mutual understanding of expectations and goals. Adeline Leong, the CMO of Kosas, underscored the importance of treating creators as an extension of the brand’s team. 

Providing clear objectives, defining success metrics, and offering support lays the groundwork for successful collaborations. Transparency is crucial—open conversations can generate alternative collaborations if a particular partnership doesn’t align with the creator's abilities, or the brand's goals.

3. Beyond Transactions: Fostering Authentic Relationships

In the fast-paced world of influencer marketing, it’s easy to fall into the trap of transactional engagements. However, building authentic relationships with creators is a critical factor for long-term success. 

Adeline Leong highlighted the importance of treating creators as an extension of the team, fostering an environment where these creators feel supported and valued. This approach transcends one-time collaborations, creating a foundation for future partnerships and positive brand advocacy. 

David Neyman emphasized the need for brands to invest time and effort in understanding their creator partners. Beyond metrics, evaluating creators' storytelling prowess, and their ability to connect with their audience on a personal level, is essential. Building a two-way relationship ensures that the collaboration has a lasting impact for both brands and creators.

luke peters logitech work from home setupPhoto: Luke Peters

4. Strategic Success: Tailoring Partnerships to Objectives

Tailoring partnerships to specific objectives ensures your influencer marketing succeeds. 

Jess Clifton shared an example from her experience working with Red Robin. When launching a new portfolio of burgers and grills, the brand focused on creating engaging content that resonated with the audience. Partnering with Ariana Maddox, a well-known bartender, to create a burger on her channel resulted in significant engagement and orders. This success underscores the power of aligning the creator's story with the brand narrative and leveraging cultural moments for brand recognition.

David Neyman provided insights into Logitech's strategy of balancing long-term partnerships with short-term collaborations. Engaging creators who embody the brand's values and partnering with cultural icons are part of Logitech's strategy to tap into cultural moments and broaden its appeal. 

Leong highlighted the significance of understanding influencer marketing as a media channel, considering various verticals, each serving specific purposes, from brand awareness to driving retail and converting for direct-to-consumer (DTC). Recognizing the different roles influencers play in the marketing ecosystem allows brands to create a comprehensive and effective strategy.

5. Navigating Challenges: Budget Constraints and Evolving Landscapes

Leong noted that tightening budgets pose a significant obstacle for brands aiming to scale their influencer marketing efforts, a finding that mirrors CreatorIQ’s annual creator marketing survey

Navigating the delicate balance between cost and value requires strategic planning and creative thinking. The constant emergence of new platforms, apps, and trends complicates decision-making for brands. Choosing where to invest time and resources is crucial to avoid spreading efforts too thin.

Neyman emphasized the need for internal education about the role of influencers. Influencers are not a silver bullet. Educating internal teams on the nuances of influencer marketing helps set realistic expectations and ensures alignment across the organization.

Navigating the challenges of influencer marketing involves a combination of strategic planning, clear communication, and a commitment to authenticity. Brands can forge meaningful connections with their audiences by embracing a holistic approach that considers long-term and short-term goals, treats influencers as valuable team members, and views challenges as opportunities for innovation.

Staying agile and informed is key to sustaining success and elevating your brand in the eyes of consumers and stakeholders alike.

Watch the Connect 2023 Sessions