Right off the bat, I’ll tell you we don’t accept exposure dollars because WE sell it. Brands and businesses literally pay influencers to promote their product, event or service…. that is influencer marketing.
What is an influencer then?
Influencers (or bloggers) are people who make a living (yes, it’s a business!) by building a following online, and creating visual content for their followers while integrating these brands in an authentic, entertaining, creative and engaging way.
The way I see it, we are tastemakers that bring your product or service to life. You can buy an ad in a magazine and pop a flat image of your product. Or, you can pay a person like me, to use your product, play with your product, inspire uses for your product, and ultimately talk about your product to the people who already know, like, and trust me (my followers). And because they do, the odds of them being interested in your product or aware of it, are way higher and it may eventually lead to a sale.
If my following and influence are bigger than yours, and I’m the exposure expert…. it should be clear that it doesn’t make sense not to pay me, right? You wouldn’t pay a magazine in exposure dollars, would you? No, because you are smarter than that.
So please, don’t ask an influencer to work for free and remember to offer something that is valuable to them in return. When you prepare a proposal, think about the other person on the other end and why they should feel compelled to help you. And if you’re not sure how to work with them, tell them that. We are more than happy to propose something within your budget. And even if you don’t have a huge budget, tell the influencer what you’re working with and ask them what they can do within that limit. When you offer money, you will get way more out of your promotion. I guarantee you the influencer will go out of their way to give you more bang for your buck.
I have to admit, I’m struggling to write this without offending anyone. But I’m all about tough love. I’m not a complainer, I believe in fixing the issue by educating other businesses, and to help them put an end to all of this nonsense. I understand that influencer marketing is a fairly new industry, and a lot of businesses don’t know what it is or how to utilize it strategically for their business. I am telling you now, it is here to stay. So for your own sanity and the survival of your business, keep reading and take notes.
I want to provide some examples that make me really upset, so you have an idea of what I deal with every day. And if you think I’m pointing fingers at you, I probably am… but it’s not just you, it’s everyone else as well and that’s why you need to understand the reason behind my “No thanks!”
Here’s what makes me cringe the most:
- Come to my event, here’s a link to buy a ticket! TIP- Why tho? Why don’t you start by inviting me to your event for free and we shall see if it’s the right fit.
- Please come and share your secrets of your success for free! TIP- No. Pay your guest speakers a fair wage for their expertise and respect their profession, or at the very least, buy them a freakin’ drink! Remember, “what is in it for the person that I’m asking to do this for free?” If you’re not offering to pay the speaker, give them an opportunity to promote themselves and their work. And unless your TedTalk (or equivalent), I won’t accept your exposure dollars. Also, since I have a following, you can use me to leverage your promotions… not the other way around. I am not speaking at your event and selling tickets for it … that’s working for free to the power of two!
- I paid you and didn’t get any traction. TIP- We are not in sales, we are marketers. Yes, they are very closely linked, but I cannot be held responsible if my following does not resonate with your product or service. But I can guarantee you they know you exist! This is why it is important to select an influencer with the right target audience! More on that later.
- I don’t have a budget, this campaign is pro-bono. TIP- Give me second while I am done rolling my eyes. First of all, do we have a relationship? If the answer is no, then so is mine. Second, does it fit with my brand or my identity? Have you considered that I already chose what type of work I do for charity, or pro-bono? What exactly is in it for me? Please be mindful of “pro-bono” work and don’t abuse relationships with it.
- Your colleague did it for less or for free. TIP- Cool, cool, cool, cool.
Here are a few questions that keep me up at night, and will hopefully help you understand why am so frustrated:
- If everyone asked me to do work for free, literally how I can pay my bills?
- I too am a small business, so why can’t you support me?
- Yes, I love getting free products and services, but they are only of value to me if it was something I was going to purchase anyway. Contrary to popular belief, I can’t pay my Hydro bill with vitamins.
Guys, I don’t want to be mad at you or crusty about this. I hate being mad. So let’s talk it out, k? Please feel free to leave me your questions in the comments below and I’d be more than happy to help you and your business… provided it’s a good fit!