The keys to boosting business with social media collaborationBy Lawrence Dy
A whopping 75% of marketers use influencers to anchor their social media collaborations, and many plan to pour even more money into those partnerships in the future (ANA). Why are these collabs so popular, and could they benefit your client’s business?
Social media is an important communication channel. Ensure you create content that connects with your audience by downloading our free “White-label social media checklist” now.
The truth is that there’s never a reason to go it alone when you’re building your client’s social media presence. But knowing how to find and vet potential partners and what goes into a fair and transparent contract can help you get your new coalition off to a roaring start.
Check out our experts’ take on social media collaboration and prep your team for an alliance that could usher your brand into the next era of success.
Table of Contents
- What exactly is social media collaboration?
- Benefits of social media collaboration
- Enhanced reach and exposure
- Increased brand credibility and trust
- Access to new audiences and potential customers
- Opportunities for co-creating content and campaigns that resonate with the target audience
- Sharing knowledge with and learning from industry peers and experts
- Building valuable relationships and networking within the industry
- Tips for successful social media collaboration
- Identify and research potential collaboration partners — with brand values and audience alignment in mind
- Establish open and effective communication channels with collaboration partners
- Create a mutually beneficial agreement or contract
- Collaborate on content creation
- Promote collaborative efforts and engagement across social media platform
- Monitor and measure the performance and impact of social media collabs
- Maintain positive and professional relationships with collaboration partners
- Learn from collaboration experiences and adapt strategies for the future
- Stay up to date on industry trends and emerging opportunities
- Best practices for social media collaboration
- Foster a collaborative culture within your organization
- Encourage creativity, innovation, and diversity of ideas
- Be open to feedback and input from collaboration partners
- Respect and honor the commitments made during collaborations
- Prioritize transparency, honest, and authenticity
- Continuously evaluate and assess the success and impact of social media collabs
- Build long-term relationships and explore ongoing collaboration opportunities
- Frequently asked questions
What exactly is social media collaboration?
The social media landscape can feel incredibly competitive, so it makes sense that brands might feel like everyone who isn’t on their team is the enemy. But social media collaborations, when businesses team up with each other or with proven influencers, can bring a host of benefits and big wins for all involved. By sharing jointly created content on their respective platforms, collaborators can increase engagement, reach new audiences, and showcase their authority.
Social media collaboration examples include:
- Working together on sponsored posts
- Launching giveaways or contests
- Social media takeovers/guest posts
- Joint lives, Q&As, and webinars
Sometimes collaboration comes in the form of white-label media management, where an agency collaborates with an outside social media team to build and execute social media strategies for their end clients.
Benefits of social media collaboration
The power of social media collabs goes far beyond making friends with other business owners. Done correctly and with the right goals and partners on board, collaborations can help both parties reach the next level of success.
Enhanced reach and exposure
Pick a collaborator that’s in your industry but not your exact niche and you can put yourself in front of a new pool of potential customers. You get to piggyback off your partner’s success, putting your brand, your message, and your products or services in front of thousands or even millions of eager eyes. It’s like pressing fast-forward on your plan to scale your reach.
Increased brand credibility and trust
Associate with reputable brands or individuals and their authority and status will rub off on your business’s public image. With 82 percent of consumers saying they’ve previously based purchases on posts made by friends, family, or influencers, a respected partner who endorses your brand could result in a significant rise in follows and/or revenue (Business Wire).
This can come in handy when selling social media packages, too. A potential client who’s unfamiliar with your business may recognize a listed collaborator and be more inclined to sign up.
Access to new audiences and potential customers
Cross-promotional efforts put your brand in front of your collaborator’s audience, and vice versa. Tag each other in fun posts or show pics of you together on site at an event and watch the likes and follows flow in.
Growth-minded brands interested in mastering social media for multi-location businesses can use collaborations to reach audiences in new-to-them markets, too. Partner with a company that already has a foothold in that area and learn the ropes from those already in the know.
Opportunities for co-creating content and campaigns that resonate with the target audience
Two heads are almost always better than one. Combine your budgets to bring on expert-level content creation via freelancers or a content-focused agency and churn out posts that will resonate with your combined following.
Sharing knowledge with and learning from industry peers and experts
Reach out to influencers who specialize in a certain product, service, or audience and you’re only benefiting from their followers’ trust, you can also learn from that influencer’s interactions with your target demo. Say you’re a beauty company creating a makeup line expressly geared toward the festival crowd. An influencer who makes the festival rounds will be able to give you an inside look at that niche that will help you improve authenticity and tailor your content.
Or, in some cases, you may be the influencer with top-notch knowledge. Lending your authority to a quality brand breaking into a niche that you already comfortably lead could still pay hefty dividends. Just make sure that you’re getting something valuable in return, like help from their graphics or marketing team to help you execute ideas you couldn’t easily bring to fruition on your own.
Building valuable relationships and networking within the industry
Build bridges whenever and wherever you can. You never know when you’ll need a helping hand. Establish partnerships now and be thoughtful about how you interact, so you have that network to call on even after your contract is complete.
Tips for successful social media collaboration
Collaborations require more planning and finesse than simply picking a high-profile influencer and mailing a check. Here’s how you can find a partner that’s the right fit and ensure your alliance is both fruitful and friendly.
Identify and research potential collaboration partners — with brand values and audience alignment in mind
In the same way you’d use an onboarding questionnaire to get to know clients before you craft and kick start their social campaigns, you need to vet potential partners before agreeing to and building the rules of a collaboration.
- Do your brand values line up?
- Do your audiences overlap or at least complement each other?
- Do you have the same style/brand voice, or at least feel your voices work well together?
- Does the candidate have value to offer? Are they authoritative, authentic, knowledgeable, popular, etc.?
- Do they care about your product or service? Are they invested in your outcome?
- Is their reputation solid? Are you comfortable with their track record, both professionally and on social media?
That last thing you want is to hitch your wagon to a partner that makes poor decisions. Not only will your collaboration be on shaky ground, you may find yourself in need of reputation management experts to help dig you out of a hole that’s not even of your own making.
Establish open and effective communication channels with collaboration partners
Transparency is an essential part of a successful collaboration. Lay out the details of your agreement from the beginning, but also spell out how you’ll keep in touch, how often you’ll touch base, and what the approval process looks like for joint content.
Use platforms with shared access and a central dashboard to streamline conversations and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Create a mutually beneficial agreement or contract
All partnerships should start with a contract that outlines:
- The length of the partnership. Some agreements may last for a single post, while others could go on for months or even years.
- The shared goal. Are you trying to increase your followers or drum up attention for a collaborative event taking place in a few weeks? Remember to agree on a goal that’s SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
- Who pays for what. How will your resources be used, and what right do you have to your partner’s team or assets? Understanding from the outset how you’ll pay for outside talent (like a consultant or designer) that you both benefit from will also help reduce friction and confusion.
- An overall framework. Decide together when you’ll check in with each other, what milestones you’ll use to gauge the success of the project, and what platforms or content types you’ll use during your social media collab.
- A style guide. Decide whose style guide you’ll use for collaborative posts or merge your two POVs to create a style and voice unique to the current campaign but also authentic to both businesses.
- Who’s responsible for what. There should be a clear-cut list of roles with associated responsibilities and expectations, including representation from both partners and explanations about how things are divided up when roles overlap.
Collaborate on content creation
The ideas for social media posts should come from both sides. Hold brainstorming sessions so you can volley concepts back and forth, turning tiny nuggets into more innovative content that will surprise consumers and increase the likelihood of engagement and conversion.
Promote collaborative efforts and engagement across social media platform
For the length of your agreement, you and your new partner are a team. So, think like a team and work like a team, sharing tips for social media management strategies and striving for success across multiple profiles and platforms.
- Hire a PR team and drum up some buzz.
- Create posts that share discount codes for each other’s products/services.
- Share your partner’s social media posts.
- Jump in on each other’s lives.
- Duet or stitch content on TikTok.
- Trade guest posts.
- Share the costs of ads and sponsored posts.
- Promote the collaboration off social media as well, through email marketing, newsletters, blogs, and website banners.
- Engage with each other’s followers on collaborative posts, reinforcing the partnership and increasing the feeling of authenticity.
Monitor and measure the performance and impact of social media collabs
Pick metrics to track and monitor them continuously to see how your collab is performing. One of the best ways to ensure a successful partnership is to be willing to adapt on the fly if something isn’t resonating the way you thought it would or if a smaller piece of content starts performing beyond expectations.
Maintain positive and professional relationships with collaboration partners
You might be friends with your social media collaborators, but you’re professional allies first and foremost. Keep communications professional, commit all expectations and agreements to paper, and avoid negativity — even if things don’t go according to plan.
The internet is a surprisingly small place, especially within a certain industry or niche. It’s best to keep posts positive and strive for shared success rather than giving into the temptation to rant or let your professional veneer lapse, even momentarily.
Learn from collaboration experiences and adapt strategies for the future
Every social media collaboration is a unique experience and an opportunity for growth. Log all your wins and hiccups and see what you can learn from them to better inform your next partnership — or even the next iteration of your current collab.
Stay up to date on industry trends and emerging opportunities
Collaborations on social media are often living, breathing entities. While you should always start off with an agreed-upon blueprint of how the collab will go, be open to changing your plan based on emerging industry trends or other possibilities that could pop up.
For example, say a chef is partnering with a company that produces top-of-the-line spices. There’s already a plan in place, but now there’s a garlic rice recipe trending on social media. It would be silly to miss out on all that engagement, so it’s time to come up with some garlic-based collaborative content ASAP.
Best practices for social media collaboration
Before you wade into those collaborative waters, be sure your game plan is up to standards by employing these best practices.
Foster a collaborative culture within your organization
Get everyone on your team onboard with the collaboration. You want everyone from customer service to marketing to C-suite executives to consider the partnership and drumming up ideas as they go about their daily routines.
Encourage creativity, innovation, and diversity of ideas
Be completely open-minded about the ideas your team or your partner’s crew submit. If you want to stand out, you need to consider concepts that go beyond everything that’s already been done. An influencer might not seem like a good fit right off the bat, but sometimes the unlikely partnerships are the ones that are most memorable.
Be open to feedback and input from collaboration partners
Refer to the golden rule and treat your partner how you’d want to be treated. There has to be room for compromise, and that includes adjusting your posts based on how messages or graphics are perceived by collaborators.
Respect and honor the commitments made during collaborations
This one is simple. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. And do it on time, every time.
Prioritize transparency, honest, and authenticity
Make use of the social media collaboration tools discussed earlier to keep the lines of communication open and ensure everything that’s published feels authentic and true to your brand and aesthetic. It’s good to be creative, but not if it’s at the expense of the brand identity you’ve already built.
Continuously evaluate and assess the success and impact of social media collabs
The only way to know for sure if your collaboration is paying off is to use data to prove success or understand failure. Part of your initial agreement should be choosing which metrics to track and how you’ll track them. Social collaboration tools can also be used to:
- See how campaigns are performing, including monitoring specific campaign elements like hashtag use or post clicks
- Streamline workflow
- Keep separate teams in constant contact
- Track social media collaboration by platform
Build long-term relationships and explore ongoing collaboration opportunities
Experts say that long-term influencer partnerships are more convenient, require less time, come off as more trustworthy, and have exponentially better results (Promoty). Think of these relationships as investments — the more energy you put in, the more impressive the output and ROI will be.
Of course, none of that is guaranteed, but it’s almost definitely true that long-term agreements give you more room to discuss, adapt, and work together to accomplish those shared goals.
Frequently asked questions
How does social media collaboration differ from traditional collaboration methods?
Social media collabs take place almost entirely online, with teams meeting virtually and the final output shared on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Traditional collaboration methods involve a lot of face-to-face meetings, with brainstorming sessions occurring in the “real world” and assets often published both digitally and through traditional methods like print media and direct mail.
What are some tools or platforms that can facilitate social media collaboration?
There are many social media collaboration tools that can help streamline your collaboration workflow. Vendasta’s Social Marketing software helps with everything from planning and posting content tracking and sharing analytics. You can even find new customers by tracking what your current audience is saying, and the built-in customer service tool helps manage post comments and social media mentions, too.