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One of the common questions we get from brands is “how do I work with creators?”

In what is still a relatively new industry, the specifics of how to best work with creators aren’t always so clear. One thing is for sure, the more effectively you can work with creators the greater your chance of running a successful campaign.

Though some of it is fairly common sense, it’s good refresh yourself of some key guidelines to help ensure a smooth relationship that benefits both brand and creator.

Next time you work with creators, keep the following in mind.

1) Be clear about your expectations up front

Before you finalise anything, get specific about your expectations. It’s important to work out the details of a campaign before the campaign actually gets started to avoid last minute changes or frustrations. That means being clear about your objectives, what you want included in the posts, what the broader concept is and any other specifics that the creator should know.

E.G. do you want them to include promo codes or hashtags in their posts? What specifically do you want to communicate with your campaign?

Discuss these requirements in your initial conversations and then finalise them in a campaign brief. The clearer you can be about your guidelines and expectations the better. Try and put yourself in the creators shoes and think of specifically what would help you create the best content possible.

2) Let creators do what they do best

With that in mind, remember not to be too specific or prescriptive. It’s not your role to creative direct the creator or tell them exactly how to create their content. You want to give them guidelines and parameters to work within. Any mandatories (such as a promo code) should be outlined in the brief, but other than that give them the freedom to create.

Remember you have chosen to work with them because of their own style of creation. They have built their audience on the back of their creativity and personality. It’s up to you to help them bring your message to life in their own way. Help them understand your vision and objectives and then let go of the reins. You obviously can approve the content, but avoid creative directing. Too much creative meddling only leads to frustrated creators and mediocre content.

3) Be professional

Remember that this is a business relationship. Approach the project with professionalism and you are more likely to get the same in return. That means clear, courteous and prompt communications. The same as you would expect in any other business relationship.

Avoid talking down to creators or treating them with disrespect. This can happen when creators are perceived as somehow inferior or just social media people.

Successful partnerships are built on trust and transparency. Remember that the more effectively you can work with your creators the better the results will be. And the more professionalism we can bring to the industry the better.

4) Don’t expect the world

Be realistic. Going into a small scale campaign expecting to triple your sales volume immediately is going to end in disappointment. Creator marketing can be very effective and can have a positive effect on sales, but it is not a direct sales channel.

Before diving into a campaign, set realistic targets and expectations. Remember that creator marketing forms part of your overall marketing strategy. It shouldn’t constitute the whole of it.

Also be aware that creators put time and effort into their content. What you may see as “just taking a photo” likely has a lot more creative planning behind it. So be realistic about how much you expect your money to get you. The bigger the audience and better the engagement, the bigger the pay.

5) Focus on partnership and the connection

Lastly, remember that creators are people. Although they can be a vital business asset, they are real human beings also trying to build their own business. Treat them with respect and don’t be afraid to put some effort into building the relationship. The better you understand the creators you work with (and vice versa) the greater chance for developing outstanding content and successful campaigns.

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