We have a client interested in learning about the potential impact of influencers to their business, so we went to the source and asked for insights from an influencer friend. From this conversation and the insights from an influencer friend, we enlisted our friend to help in contacting a list of other influencers in the clients space. The number of interested influencers was good but that was not the greatest impressions we were left with from the influencers. Every one of the influencers our friend contacted asked to meet her by name. The connection and relationship between influencers was remarkable. So remarkable, we asked our influencer friend to share her insights into being an influencer. Here is what she shared.
The Influencer Trust Factor
Being a communications professional literally means that my full-time job is to communicate. Yes, I am paid to find a thoughtful, meaningful and different way to tell the right story, through the right platform, at the right time and through the right communications pillar. For clients, and for myself.
What is a communications pillar?
I’ll tell you. Want the press to cover your brand? As a media relations specialist, I am here for you. Concerned about something that came out publicly that could be controversial? I will polish my crisis communication and reputation management expertise to prevent any concerns. Interested in communicating that you have something notable to celebrate? Guess what, I also happen to know all about event planning. From planning, to facilitating to executing and to definitely attending your event, start-to-finish.
Finally, unless you’ve been under a rock since 2018, you’re likely aware that another communications pillar has been catapulted into this chatty world, with enormous success. Influencer marketing, where brands are leveraging influencers to expand their message, product and ultimately sales.
The easiest way I have found to describe what an influencer is and why they’re successful, whether they have 2,000 followers on IG or 69K Tik-Tok followers, is because the people paying attention to them TRUST what they’re saying.
Basically, influencers communicate to their existing, (always growing) audiences, brands they like through cool photos, videos, blog posts, etc. and as their followers begin to trust that what the influencer is communicating is something they really believe in, creating the trust factor.
What the hell is the trust factor?
In layman’s terms it simply means that successful and desired influencers are those that are consistent and selective with the brands they promote, with the “voice” they put behind what they’re promoting and always put their audience before a free product or sponsorship check.
Oftentimes people assume that in order to be considered an influencer you have to have like 69K Instagram followers. However, that is not necessarily the case. I am nowhere near that number but I slowly become an influencer for fitness brands, beauty and skin care brands, athletic apparel and all that is lifestyle, by using a voice that I find hilarious. My mom calls it, “edgy” but tomato, tomato.
How can a person become an influencer?
My go-to answer is “the worst thing someone can tell you is no” when asking if they’d like to collaborate or partner with you to enhance awareness for both parties. The brand, and the influencer.
A few other ways that I’ve seen work many times through experience of my own or those that I follow include:
Affiliate marketing allows brands to provide influencers with automatic kickbacks from sales generated through unique affiliate links. Many startups use this method when dealing with limited budgets since it allows them to secure sponsored posts with minimal upfront costs. I recently signed a partnership with Farm House Fresh, so any time I post about their products (which I LOVE), and someone uses my affiliate link code at purchase, they get a discount and I get a certain percentage of those sales.
Product seeding or gifting is another great way to gain visibility from influencers on a smaller budget. This works by sending influencers your product in exchange for a shout out. Personally, this is my favorite way to initiate a partnership with a brand because you get to try their product that you’re curious about and share it to your audience who knows when you’re promoting a product it’s because you have actually used that brand.
It’s actually funny because this post was inspired by my office closet, which is filled with products I’ve received. When my parents come over and my mom goes straight to the closet to see if there was anything she wants. During one of these visits, we were hanging in my living room and a package of Laura Geller products arrived at my door because they wanted me to post about it after trying.
Similar to product seeding, sponsored content works by directly paying influencers a flat fee in exchange for an agreed upon amount of promotional posts or other types of sponsored (paid for) content.
Guest blogging is commonly used as a means to raise awareness for a business through a trusted communicator in that particular space. Be it beauty, hospitality, travel, sports or food, the influencer is considered a trusted thought leader so their words will bring the brand additional views.
If you’re looking for the best blogger on the planet and my personal hero, read anything Matt McDermott writes.
Brand ambassador partnerships are longer-term partnerships between brands and influencers. In these partnerships, influencers become the “face” of the brand and promote its products or services on an ongoing basis. This can include creating content for the brand’s social media channels, attending events on behalf of the brand, or providing exclusive offers and discounts to their followers.
With this, recently Draper DNA went to the International Builders show which was in Las Vegas. Knowing trade shows are long days and Las Vegas gets very hot and dry, I was able to ask a few of the brands I work with for products to send products for us to put into a “refresh kit” that were given away as a memorable take-home for attendees who will now be using those brands in hopes that they will want to purchase more from home.
Does influencer marketing work?
Yes, through clearly targeting brands that can get their products into the right consumers’ minds. Influencers focusing on specific niches tend to have easily identifiable audiences, which is ideal for companies since reaching the right audience is essentially built-in.
I’ll reiterate here that the best influencer for a brand may not necessarily be the one with the most followers. Instead, it is best to find an influencer with an engaged following that makes sense to your target audience, making sure your message reaches the right people and has the greatest impact.
Some of the most successful influencers I know, love and trust immensely are Colin Owens, Jamie Greenberg & Emily Foley. Colin has been a trainer of mine for years, Jamie is a celebrity makeup artist who actually sends out a monthly swag bag with products she loves for recipients to try and ultimately then buy. Emily is the cutest style, beauty, wellness influencer who once posted about a $500 red-light mask that I immediately purchased simply because she uses it.
Understandable. To keep it simple, I encourage you to not be afraid to hear “no”, it’s the worst anyone can say; Tell the truth and tell it to the right audience.
If you’d like to talk further about influencer partnerships or campaigns we’ve created or that we’ve actually executed with a partner on our own personal channels, feel free to reach out!