These days, social media is overrun with content creators. Even niche, specialized industries seem to have dozens of influencers all competing for a voice, and all competing to be the frontrunner for the space. And if you’re invested in the world of social media marketing, this can be intimidating, or even frustrating; after all, these people are competing with you.
But there’s a way to harness the power of this competition: partnering with those content creators.
Why Partnerships Are Beneficial
Working with other content creators, instead of directly competing with them, can have several benefits:
- Follower cross-pollination. First, you’ll have the opportunity to cross-pollinate your follower pools. At least some of your followers will discover this person for the first time, and at least some of theirs will discover you for the first time.
- Mutual support. If you co-produce an impactful piece of content, both of you will be willing to distribute and promote it. That means twice as much effort, and hopefully, twice the results.
- Link opportunities. Regardless of who hosts the finished content, each partner will build links to the other’s site and social media profile. More, higher-authority links lead to more referral traffic, but more importantly improved search engine rankings.
- Reputation by proxy. This is especially beneficial to newcomers in a given industry, but you can grow your reputation simply by being associated with other high-authority figures in your industry. The more people see you with the top brass, the better they’ll think of you.
- Competition softening. Working with someone else gets them to stop seeing you as a competitor. Accordingly, you may enjoy more friendly offers instead of territorial pressure.
Types of Partnerships to Consider
The term “partnership” is vague, so what does that actually mean? You can team up with another content creator on social media in many different ways, with varying levels of commitment and intensity. For example:
- Commentary and discussion. Engagement is always a good thing on social media. Sometimes, simply commenting on the same thread or having a friendly discussion is all it takes to start building a partnership—especially if you have a respectful disagreement or different points of view on a major topic in your industry.
- Interviews and round tables. You could also conduct interviews, shining a spotlight on your partner while getting some visibility for yourself. If you bring multiple partners into the fold, you can host a bigger, more involved “round table” discussion on a given topic.
- True collaboration. In one of the more advanced types of partnerships, you can truly collaborate on a piece of work together. For example, you can co-author an eBook, or share research to create a comprehensive piece on a given topic.
Over time, you’ll likely gravitate from lower-intensity interactions to higher-intensity ones, but there’s no surefire recipe to follow; do what works best for you.
Building an Initial Partnership
The hard part is finding a potential partner and convincing them that collaborating will be good for both of you. There are a few best practices that can help you in this regard:
- Choose the right candidates. Not everyone is going to be open to partnership, and not everyone would make a good partner. Keep your eyes out for people who seem friendly, chatty, responsive, and good at creating content. Also make sure they have similar interests and a similar background.
- Start slow. Don’t let your first message to someone be, “Hey, you want to write a book together?” Start slow, with friendly comments and questions, and build the relationship from there.
- Be sincere. Be sincere and honest in your interactions. If you’re only partnering with someone to get access to their followers, they’ll probably be able to tell.
Nurturing Your Successful Interactions
Inevitably, you’ll run into content collaborators who shirk their responsibilities, dismiss your ideas, or otherwise make themselves difficult to work with. Don’t worry about these people. Instead, focus on the partnerships that were really successful—the eBooks you cowrote that got thousands of shares, and the people who are eager to work with you again. You may be tempted to search for new partners, but it’s equally important, if not more important, to spend time nurturing the high-quality partnerships you’ve already established. The more you interact, the stronger your potential collaborations will become.
Too many people view social media marketing as a solitary venture. They want to outcompete everyone else in the space and foster a gigantic audience for themselves. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, spend more time and effort interacting with your peers, even if they are your direct competition, and work together on something better than either of you could have created individually.