As I’ve been swimming my way through the murky waters of turning my influencing/blogging endeavors to a profitable business, I have been learning a lot along the way. This field is so brand spanking new, nobody knows how to handle it and everyone does something different (no exaggeration there). I have been picking brains of fellow influencers, talking with small business owners, listening to podcasts and I feel the need to bring this topic to the table.
So let’s run through the process of working with an influencer, let’s say you are a small business owner who has decided to explore the influencer marketing field. You find an influencers to reach out to and they come back with their media kit which has some information about their work, their target audience, analytics, etc. Stop right there, don’t even roll your eyes!
Why am I saying that?? Well what they sent to you is actually amazing. Someone did the leg work for you to look and see if the demographic you’re trying to reach is who theirs is! Then let’s say you scroll to see a price and then think “well I’m giving them my product for free”. Yes, you are, but here is why you should pause and maybe consider paying them or at least keep the conversation going.
- Time. Depending on what you are asking for there is a huge time restraint. For example, Instagram posts have a lot of backend work with the creative thought process, taking/editing images, finding the best hashtags, posting and engaging with their audience (the most important part in my opinion)! Blog posts can take upward of 2 hours depending on the creative thought process, literal word count, SEO and taking/editing the imaging to go along with it. This is time away from our personal lives to promote your business.
- Engagement. Thousands of followers are nice and everything but have you heard of engagement rate? In the world of bought followers (yes people actually buy them) this is more important than ever. Hopefully, it will be easy to spot on the influencers media kit but if not, websites like this one allow you to look it up! Currently, the average engagement rate is about 5% for accounts less than 5k.
- Brand Exposure. Hiring an influencer is a way to get exposure to your brand from potentially thousands of new people. You are paying for a space on their billboard, which if you pick the right partner in this endeavor, it is going to reach a more targeted audience than the one people drive past on the highway. Hopefully then resulting in an actual new paying customers.
- Costs. Print ads and billboards can run anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars! So if you’re working with micro-influencers you’re probably going to get wayyyy more bang for your buck. Plus, a true personalized, authentic advertisement. That’s pretty cool if you think about it!
- Effort. Truthfully, I always put my best foot forward, but when money is on the line that means someone values my work and what I do, so I, myself and I’d say most would people go the extra mile and do more than what you’re paying them for. Whether it’s something like an extra Instagram story or promoting the blog on their personal Facebook page. These are all just little ways your brand/product is getting out there even more!
Overall, I would at the very least encourage you to keep the conversation going with an influencer, get to know them and see if you can come up with a mutually beneficial collaboration that respects both of your time. Are there risks? Absolutely. In general, advertising can be a gamble, especially to small business owners. So be sure to weigh the pro and cons, ask questions, set expectations and get to know who you’re working with before committing!
Can you find influencers that will do all this for free? Probably so, especially if they are up and coming who want to get experience working with brands or they are simply a friend that is open to helping you out. I do have a feeling that free work in this field will eventually come to an end though. If you’re an influencer reading this, don’t underestimate your time, talents and worth!
Unfortunately, people can have this negative idea of influencers, like all they do is get free stuff and just sit there talking about it, but I will tell you they put in A LOT of work and thought into what they are doing (at least if you pick the right ones). We all know that Instagram isn’t real life, so why are some still looking at influencers work like it’s just that one square image instead of peeling back the curtain and acknowledging all the hard work and time they put behind it. It’s time to start talking about it out loud and think about the influencers perspective.
What do you think? I’d say teamwork is the dream work, and nobody’s skills, talents and time should be undervalued!