This article is for those new influencers and “have been” influencers who don’t know how to practice their crafts.
I’ve been on both sides of the table: an influencer and a brand; experiencing the bad practices thrown my way first hand. I think one of the benefits of studying business and receiving a college degree + an MBA degree helped me better position and present myself not only professionally but also personally.
It is crucial to have 3 things strong before you begin your outreach:
1) YOUR WORK:
I remember a time when there was true influence in the market. People would go ahead and make real purchases, review what they have bought, and reflect on them through a social platform. CLEAN AND TRANSPARENT; NOT FAKE and NOT MANIPULATED. Now everybody wants to be a PUBLIC FIGURE and/or an INFLUENCER with the sole goal to be “FAMOUS”. So before you aim at the sky, let’s start off from the basics and understand the core necessities which could ultimately make you a quality “what-ever-you-want-to-be”.
Are you a creative and a talented individual who can present quality work to your clients? Don’t answer this question “YES!” if you are just trying to feed your non-existing ego. Truly analyze and look in depth at what you are creating and to what purpose your work serves. Ask others around you, benchmark your work to other talented individuals, and force yourself to find mistakes. These will only make you a better artist and not some random “LIFESTYLE INFLUENCER” who keeps holding products in his/her hand and poses to a selfie camera. (fyi that is only considered marketing if you are a Kardashian)
Be genuine and original in your work, don’t copy off of someone else. Seeking our for original ideas will differentiate you from the Average Joe out there and hopefully echo out your social reach.
2) YOUR REACH:
The days of “FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT” is over!
Even some of the PR Agencies in Los Angeles, CA, used to buy fake followers, impressions, and reaches for their clients and believe me I had to clean through a shit ton of these useless trash to make our brand legitimate and clean. Personally, I think each brand should revisit their account and filter through. If there is any huge mess, go ask for your money back.
There are different types of brands with various purposes when it comes to business goals. Some, such as Sperry, don’t care about your social reach and actually look only at the quality of work. Some, such as Daniel Wellington, mostly look at your social reach to determine if you are worth advertising with. I think this boils down to you, as the influencer, to see where you’d like to position yourself in.
I’ve met tons of amazing artists who don’t rely on Instagram and make tons of money by practicing their crafts professionally. That doesn’t mean, however, that you could try to run them both and see if you can make some extra cash on the side.
DON’T RUSH to get to places: If you do original work and strategize your social media management well enough, then you can make it in a good rising trend.
3) YOUR COMMUNICATION:
Okay, this is the part that annoys me the most because most influencers lack the skill in properly communicating with a brand. I am going to list the things I’ve seen up until now below and tell you why you should NOT do any of these mistakes.
INFLUENCER TIP #1: Have a detailed and professional pitch. Don’t just expect brands to give you free products/services because you have X amount of followers. Remember, there are tons of influencers out there. It is competitive. Set yourself apart!
INFLUENCER TIP #2: Communicate fluently and effectively with the brand to deliver on what was agreed upon in order to facilitate and invest for future relationship with brand.
INFLUENCER TIP #3: Leave payment/product/service talk second. See if the brand is interested in you first. Demands can be deal breakers if you present them at the first email. They don't know you. How can they trust you? Establish communication grounds first.
INFLUENCER TIP #4: Never start your outreach to brands with “Hey babes” because not everyone handling such communication will like that, and probably is not a babe. It really comes off stupid to be honest.
INFLUENCER TIP #5: Don’t forget your role. You are trying to influence an audience with your creative vision and engaging lifestyle. Brands need content and ROI (Return on Investment). They don’t need followers who don’t engage and buy their product/service. Marketing is only as good as its ROI.
INFLUENCER TIP #6: AT LEAST FOLLOW THE BRAND FIRST BEFORE MESSAGING THEM ASKING FOR PRODUCT/MONEY. Don’t be an influencer who pretends to show interest in a brand but still not follow the brand to begin with while sending them a message. That is just FAKE!
INFLUENCER TIP #7: ALWAYS BE TRANSPARENT When giving your professional pitch to a brand make sure to include non-altered statistical information to your media kit. Always keep record of your past partnerships with solid examples and data.
INFLUENCER TIP #8: USE ORIGINAL WRITING Is there a website from which influencers copy their email templates from? All I see in every email I get is “I think your products reflect my style”. Let the brand decide on that, NOT YOU!