Build your influence beyond a single social platform. I work with some huge brands and am privy to how they think and operate.
Brands are getting smarter and more selective with who they want to work with –and pay. The better you position yourself up front, the more likely they’ll want to work with you. Here are some tips to make that happen, starting today…
1️⃣ ️Build a business, not just a social presence. Mitaka Di posted a great “how to” about building your IG presence quickly — once you do that, think bigger and more substantial. Brands (big and small) look for more than a big presence on a single social platform. Build a website and (for your own sake) start building your email list so you aren’t vulnerable to changes on any particular platform. I know an influencer who used to make $70K year just on Google ads until they changed the algo. Don’t get caught flat-footed.
2️⃣ ️Stop concentrating on the size of your audience and start showing how ENGAGED it is. Audience size is like eye candy … it’s really attractive at first … like that attractive person standing at the bar. You know what I mean, once you begin talking to them, you figure out there’s “no there there” and walk away. Its no different with agencies or brands. Be prepared to talk about your audience and what that audience wants/needs – then tell the brand how they can fulfill that desire by working with you. They’ll see this as more helpful than merely pressing them about the size of your audience — which can come off the wrong way. It also leads into the next point…
3️⃣️ Think relationships! All good business is built on relationships. Start by reaching out to agencies rather than going directly to brands. Brands work with agencies so they can scale their people power, so take advantage of that. Sign yourself up in some of the better online platforms that cater to both. As you start working with the agencies (or some brands) make an effort to get to know them and the people. Usually you’ll be working with a low level person like an Account Executive, but don’t discount them! They rise up through the ranks and in a few years could be a VP (and they’ll know and trust you). Also, if they make a career move to another agency, you’ll have an “in” there — expanding your footprint and your business.
4️⃣️ Ask for invites to events — company hosted events and industry events. These are gold if you use them well. Tell your contacts you are happy to cover the event for them for free if they’ll give you a free pass to get in. Once in, make sure you post cool content about it and introduce yourself to as many as you can. Network the hell out of it. And whatever you do, don’t sit by yourself at some lonely table at lunch. Sit at the most crowded table and introduce yourself. You never know who you might end of meeting — it could be an SVP of that company you want to work with. Remember, people are more likely to remember you if they meet you in person. Also, if you can, snap a selfie of yourself with all the cool people you meet and post them. Tag those people so they know you’ve posted the photos. They’re more likely to remember you.
5️⃣️ Never sacrifice your quality or values to work with someone for some quick money. Some well known tech influencers did this when a huge company dangled some money in front of them. They were hired to create some “co-produced” content. In reality it was scripted FOR the influencers. The result? It was a bad fit: the influencers got some intense blow back from their audiences, the target market was turned off by the content and it had to be pulled by tech company management. Money flushed down the toilet. Stick to your values and look for brands/agencies that have similar values to yours. You’ll be able to forge long term, profitable relationships with them.
6️⃣️ Don’t let any agency or brand tell you what content to publish. Ever. If they try to, see #5. The audience is yours, built up over time, so treat them with respect and honesty. Be up front and tell brands/agencies you are willing to collaborate with them to deliver the best possible content — but it must be in keeping with your goals and values. The good ones will understand this and work with you.
If you follow these principles, you’ll grow your business by working with companies to produce quality content and they’ll want to work with you long term. Don’t get caught up in the gold rush mentality. It could burn out tomorrow.