STOP! Collaborate and listen...
As it's the month of love, what better time to talk about collaborations. Collaborations are amazing PR tools and, if done right, have the potential to build epic relationships, genuine love and loyalty for a brand.
Partnering up with an influencer or another business to grow both your audiences is so simple and clever right? It is also a key emerging trend in social media which many small businesses are jumping on the bandwagon of.
In order for these to work, it's best to agree on some fundamentals so you both feel the benefits.
Here are my top tips for small businesses looking to get the most out collaborations and ensure the process runs smoothly…
When two become one
Synergy is the very first thing you should look at when scoping out potential collaborations. Ensuring that the brands, businesses or organisations involved are totally aligned is crucial to the success of a collaboration.
Partner with a brand that suits yours, or an influencer who loves and uses your service, products or industry. Consumers see through fake collaborations a mile off. A great example of how not to collaborate is when Britney Spears endorsed Pepsi but was constantly seen drinking Coke… awkward!
It’s all about the detail
If you’re using social media as part of your collaboration, provide a detailed brief on what to post and suggest how it could look. The influencer (or other businesses) can use what you provide and then put their spin on it to make it authentic for their audience, but also using the tags (@) or hashtags (#) you’ve suggested.
Don't assume that other people will know what you need – they’re not mind readers! If you want something tagged or included, get crystal clear on it to save any disappointment.
Timings are crucial
If you're collaborating for a specific event or launch date, make sure both parties agree on what needs to go out and when. Have an agreed schedule which lists the content and exact timings for both of you to release the information. This is a sure-fire way of avoiding things being missed or even spoiling the surprise by revealing your launch or product too early.
Know your numbers
Pre-agree the number of blogs, social posts, videos, etc... it will ensure that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them and both sides feel confident in what they’re posting.
Both brands and influencers have a responsibility to post accurate, honest content which informs and equips readers. Transparency is key. No one will judge if a post is #Ad or #Gifted but if it is misleading they will certainly feel unhappy and that leads to judgement - no one wants that right! Play by the rules and your collaborations can pay off.
Let's get some exact, simple clarity; if any payment has changed hands for promotion of an item or service, or an item has been given as a sample with the direct ask or encouragement of public posts in return, this is an #Ad.
If an item or service has been given with no expectation, agreement or ask, this is #Gifted. It is at the recipient's discretion whether they choose to post about it or not and that's what makes it a gift.
A verbal contract is not enough
I don't go in for formal contracts in most cases, but I do get any collaboration agreements and expectations in email, from both sides. This ensures everyone is on the same page and provides an element of protection if something happens to go wrong. It's just sensible to protect yourself, and of course, if a formal contract makes you feel more secure (perhaps for very high-value items or payments) then absolutely do it!
So there’s my tried and tested advice for ensuring your business collaborates happily ever after.
I’d be interested to know, what influencer/ brand partnerships have you seen and loved recently? Or have you seen any collaboration disasters over the years that made you chuckle or cringe a bit?
Email me on Rhiannon@garnetpr.com