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What Is a Social Media Partnership?

“Do you want to form an alliance with me?” No - we aren't writing a blog about The Office. This week we’re talking about all things social media partnerships.

Partnerships are mutually beneficial collaborations between two or more parties—These can be brands, influencers, non-profit organizations, or special events. They help to build audiences and expand awareness. Think of them as the opportunity to create unique content that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to achieve alone. But remember … The key factor of a partnership is that both parties gain value from the collaboration. As a result, partnerships are usually unpaid (unless the value balance is significantly unevenly distributed between the two parties).

Partnerships are all about trust—Both the trust you secure between the two parties and the trust you have with your audiences. Collabing with another creator is telling your audience, “Hey, check out this brand. They have my stamp of approval!”

So how does a brand choose the right partnership? Let’s break it down.

How to Create a Social Media Partnership

1. Find a partner (a brand, influencer, organization, or event) that aligns with your brand. Search social media, by hashtags, location, mutual followers, etc. Alignment is key! This means your partner should either:

  1. Share similar (but not identical) audiences

  2. Operate in the same or related industries

  3. Have shared goals

  4. Work towards a mutual mission

You need to align in ways that make sense. Think a haircare brand partnering with a beauty influencer, a nutrition coach collabing with a greens or protein supplement, and a winemaker sponsoring a local art festival.

2. Ask yourself, What are we looking to achieve? Perhaps it's more leads, higher engagement, a boost in sales, greater awareness, stronger credibility, or just a general buzz around your brand. Whatever it is, make it known to your partner. And…it’s not all about you! You need to have a clear understanding of what they’re looking to accomplish as well.

3. Reach out! Connect with the person or organization you want to partner with either by DM or email. Share why you want to collaborate and what value you can bring to the other person or company.

4. Create a written agreement. It may feel unnecessary especially if your partnership is casual and between friends. But it is crucial to set boundaries and expectations on paper in order to assure follow-through. Make sure your agreement is clear, concise, and transparent and includes all responsibilities and deadlines for both parties.

What Does a Social Media Partnership Look Like?

So what does a partnership actually look like? Below is a list of the different ways a social media partnership can manifest itself as part of your marketing campaign:

  • Giveaways encourage engagement in exchange for the chance to win a prize from one or both parties. Lay out your criteria for the giveaway (i.e. tag 3 friends, share to stories, or follow both parties’ accounts, etc.) and, of course, make sure to follow through with the winner(s). Giveaways are a great way to boost your follower count and build brand awareness.

  • Social media takeovers offer your followers an inside look into your brand or business. In these events, an influencer or employee “takes over” a brand’s social media account for a day, posting numerous stories and engaging with followers. The takeovers can either showcase a “day in the life” or a “behind-the-scenes” look at your brand. Social media takeovers are engaging and interactive. But remember that since another party will have access to your account for up to a day, you’ll want to delineate expectations and protocol for password sharing, login, and responding to comments in your signed agreement.

  • Guest posts are exactly what they sound like—having your partner create a post for your social media account. Nowadays, you can also create a collab post (with two owners). On guest posts, make sure to include all your partner’s preferred hashtags, account tags, etc. And because you may want to adjust fonts or colors to match your feed, just be sure you run all edits by your partner for approval prior to posting.

  • Shoutouts literally cheer for and share your partner’s account. You can do a shoutout by tagging them in a tweet, raving about them in a TikTok, or linking their website/offerings in your story.

  • Live segments can be on numerous platforms like Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram. Host a live interview or Q&A with your partner to discuss their brand, upcoming launch, top 5 favorite [insert products here], etc. After the live segment, don’t forget to save the video to your feed so viewers can watch and refer to it later.

  • Referrals reward your partner for every customer they help direct to your brand. It can look like an influencer saying in an IG story, “Use my code MALC15 for 15% off your next order at ____.” Referral programs can boost sales and are also great because you can directly track the success of the partnership.

Collaborative promotion provides value for your brand, the other party, and for your audience who gets to engage with new content, perspectives, and offerings. It’s a win-win-WIN!—if done right.

Ready to get going on your first social media partnership? Media À La Carte can help recommend and manage your partnerships so you can boost your reach, engagement, and value. Schedule a discovery call with us today!

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