Yesterday we talked about creating loyal brand ambassadors for your small business. This is one of the first way I would suggest growing your business from its local roots into becoming a national sensation. The next would be collaborating with influencer’s — lifestyle specialist, trendsetters or bloggers. However you want to phrase it, this is a person who can help sell your company to their legions of followers.
When I started my first business, I bought advertising on several bloggers sites and did not get return on the investment. Almost five years later, I see where I went wrong with the process.
Influencer with Similar Audience
This was my first mistake, doing advertising with a couple local bloggers at the time. I kinda knew these people and they seemed awesome. They had a nice loyal group of people following and supporting THEM. My company was not something their audience was interested in. They liked high-end designer items and actually wanted to buy new items verses pre-loved ones. In addition, they did not get the concept of resale items in general. One site that I paid to advertise on probably got ten clicks off the sponsor introduction post; and over the three months on her side bar, I probably got another fifty hits total. Was the fee I paid equivalent to a return on investment? No, it wasn’t, her audience was not my audience.
Know & Determine Their Real Social Media Numbers
There have been countless articles, tweets and stories about bloggers to companies buying social media followers. People will always try to cheat the system to make themselves look better. You can use several programs to see if they actually have the numbers they say they have. I personally don’t care if you have a million followers because if no one is actually buying what you sell, it does my business no good. Check the engagement. Are they getting comments? Yes, I know social media has kinda replaced leaving actual comments, but there are a HIGH number of bloggers who still get hundreds of comments on a post. Are they engaging on social media or are there timelines just filled with sponsor ads?
Have A Budget
If you want Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere to partner with you, trust it will not be a $95 ad. That’s not logical for her company that supposedly brings in millions a year through strategic partnerships. When I decided to advertise for my resale boutique I had a budget and a focus. I knew I wanted to push the Camo jackets. I contacted Trina of The Baby Shopaholic to get her Media kit. We discussed all the information and came to an agreement. Her series of post yield me a great ROI for my business. I knew I wanted to partner with her because I have interacted with her and I have personally bought what she has worn in her post. Having said that, never ever approach a influencer without a budget. You want to know what you can afford and what you can’t.
Contracts, Contracts and more
In business you need EVERYTHING in writing. It is really sad that you cannot trust everyone with their word. Amy of CJW Design Company shared her experience on why everything written is necessary with clients. After you and said influencer have agreed on advertising, sponsorship or exchange of free product – get it in writing. You need to set deadlines for your business to be shared on their platform. Don’t rush them, but I always say within 30 days. Have payment in the contracts, in addition, how they will represent your brand. You don’t want them repping your brand in a negative light. Highly suggest getting a lawyer to write up a standard contract you can use over and over.
All of this is coming from the point of an avid blogger reader. There have been SEVERAL sites I stopped reading because it became a c/o fest on their site with sponsor post after sponsor post. Yes, if you send a product it MUST have “gifted or c/o” next to it. However do you want your product pushed in a post with 30 other c/o’s, or in a week of sponsored content? Lots of readers are over this. Ask the influencer if they will share products similar to yours this week and other questions along those lines?
Remember you want this to beneficial to your business. Have you thought about collaborating with an influencer or have?