"Collaboration is critical. While the brands have to be comfortable giving up some power to the influencer so they can speak and operate in their own style, we're seeing the benefit of true collaborations that result in long-term relationships, not one-off transactions." Jessica Clifton, U.S. managing director, strategic growth and development at Edelman.

Each influencer of the Target Art Class Program used Instagram to tell his or her audience how much fun they had working with Target to create the unique, personal designs. The posts racked up hundreds of thousands of likes and thousands of comments.

Unlike one-off collaborations, these deeper, longer-term, more engaged relationships give brands the time to work with influencers to make sure each post is transparent and meets the legal regulations while also creating content that will get influencers' fans interested in buying their products.
In August, CoverGirl launched a new influencer program featuring nine social stars on in-store displays. The point was to help consumers shop the looks they love on social media more easily.

"By working with the influencers to create specific makeup looks using the brand's products and featuring how-to posts on their social feeds, we were able to bridge the gap between online content and offline commerce," Laura Brinker, VP, influencer marketing, consumer beauty at Coty.