A fair question, that I receive often. Influencing is a new type of "job" and a bit of weird one at that. Let me explain best as I can using a typical influencer type role:
Let's say someone's a fashion influencer. Every day this person would create content (most often posted to Instagram) that provides value to their audience. When I say value, it means it's stuff people want to see (basically ideas on how to style cute outfits, information on what's in style etc.). This fashion influencer would gain a following of people specifically interested in this type of information. Because this influencer has access and influence over their audience (their audience would generally trust their expert opinion), brands that sell clothes are going to want that influencer to wear their clothes in posts so that the brands can reach their target audience (people who are interested in clothes).
The brand would reach out to the influencer and pay them to wear & post the clothes (an ad). Depending on the size of the influencer's audience, this isn't a small amount of money. (But for the brand, it's way cheaper for them to advertise with an influencer compared to a lot of other advertising alternatives that often cost more and aren't nearly as effective.) This way the influencer can afford to continue to make all that free valuable content, by doing an ad every 10th post or so (or however many).
I'm not a fashion influencer, I post Calgary events and restaurant stuff, but it's the same concept. Most of what I do I don't get paid for, but when I do that allows me to continue to produce all the free entertaining/informational content for my audience.
Some people don't like this system, (people love to hate influencers) but it works well for all involved. I'm essentially delivering a message to people who generally want to receive it (they are following specifically because they WANT information on events/restaurants). So while they are occasionally subjected to ads, theoretically, even the ads are good info and provide value similar to the rest of my content.
The biggest killer of small businesses is obscurity. Influencers help lead people down the path to purchasing by showcasing your business positively to a new audience.
Think of me as your positive introduction to a new audience. I make the introduction and you take it from there.
You are likely looking at other influencers to advertise for you as well. And that's good! Hiring multiple influencers can be a great part of your overall marketing plan. However, I'd recommend you do your research before hiring.
Here's what you don't want:
Personally, I have all real followers, all of which are located in Calgary. The vast majority of my posts relate to fun things to do and going out with friends (i.e. events, restaurants). If your message fits with that, let's talk!
Note, I am actually picky about who I choose to work with as it's important to me that I'm only delivering quality information to my audience. I receive a lot of requests but I only accept those where I feel I can have a real impact.
I'm actually not against using Instagram ads at times and I think they can be great when used smartly. The beauty of them is you can reach a targeted audience for fairly cheap.
Instagram ads work best for raising a very basic level of awareness (e.g. exposure to your business for the first time to a new audience) or they can be good for boosting something that is already doing well (e.g. a popular contest). Instagram ads are not good for generating additional followers or new business. They also aren't great for delivering a message, (e.g. a sale, happy hour, new product) for a business people are already familiar with.
Another downside to Instagram ads is that while they offer audience targeting it doesn't work great. Instagram will show the same ad to the same people over and over again, which can be good if you want repeated exposure, but it's also bad people when people get ANNOYED. You may actually lose followers and have people block you who get frustrated by this. Instagram will also show your ad to your own followers repeatedly rather than being "smart" enough to exclude your own followers and reaching out to a new audience.
One of the main benefits of hiring an influencer is having that person's face, brand, and positive reputation be associated with your brand, this is something you won't get with an Instagram ad. It's like the difference between you telling someone "I'm awesome" versus them hearing "This business is awesome" from someone else. People are way more likely to trust a recommendation from someone else versus the business itself. This is why people tend to gloss over and scroll past Instagram ads while they'll pay attention to an influencer's opinion on a business. It's that much more meaningful.
Email is the best place. You can reach me at email@example.com I'm also happy to have a phone call and answer questions about your unique situation. I'm also available to take a meeting with you.
(Note that DM's are a crappy way to communicate, it's basically text message but way worse because they get lost in a sea of messages never to be seen again.)
These are the most commonly requested deliverables but let me know if you want something creative!
Not currently available
The first step of advertising is getting people to know your business exists, (I can help with that) then through repeated positive messaging, people will start to like you and then eventually trust you enough to purchase your product/service.
If your goal is sales, I’d recommend working with me over a longer period of time to deliver a consistent positive message to the same audience and warm them up to purchasing. (Note, I cannot guarantee sales. I lead people to you, but you'll have to take it from there.)
It depends on the budget of the campaign, what the campaign is asking of me for a time commitment, and how well it matches my personal brand. (As you can imagine if you’re asking me to sell adult diapers I’m probably going to charge more! :D)
I've been doing this for 4 years, I am experienced and have a large local audience I've worked to build a relationship with.
It's easy! Here's what we need to get rolling!
Note, collab posts are great (when they are simultaneously posted to both our accounts). This feature allows the contest to reach more people. Let me know if this is something you're interested in as I can request it on my end when I post.
It's all done in 3 easy steps.
1) Email me to let me know what you're thinking or interested in.
2) I'll create it and send it to you for approval (video, photo, and/or caption).
3) I'll post and you'll gain positive exposure directly to your target audience.
Repeat for best results!
I find it's easiest for both parties if I take payment upfront. You'll receive an emailed invoice and you can choose to pay via credit card or etransfer. (I prefer etransfer to avoid fees, but whatever works best for you!). You'll receive a receipt after payment.
It's silly I have to explain this but here are the reasons I won't work for free.
I do sometimes accept gifts (provided there are no strings attached). However, because I have to prioritize the people who paid for promotion, any gifts I'm given are going to come second to that. I will only be able to fit in promotion if I have the space/time to do so. I'm sorry, but I cannot can't guarantee anything.
Note that "gifting" is different from an "exchange" (see next question).
I rarely accept an exchange as payment. In my experience businesses don't often see eye-to-eye in terms of the exchange value of products and services and one person usually feels shafted.
Also note, if I agree to take product/service as payment I am required to claim it as income on my annual income taxes as the CRA considers it taxable income. Because I pay taxes on this payment, I have to be careful regarding my decisions surrounding accepting products/services as payment.
*IMPORTANT* Those who are experienced in the influencer industry rarely accept an exchange of services as payment, you may find someone who will agree to work with you but they will likely be new to the role.
Yes, of course I will, if you hire me! We'll discuss what you are looking for and you are guaranteed a certain number of stories/posts/video because it was decided in advance and to be posted by a specific date. Technically a contract should be involved, but for smaller dollar amounts/faster turnarounds an email exchange will often suffice. The message I will relay will be positive and contain elements we spoke about in advance.
If you don't have a budget you can simply invite me as one human to another. But note, this falls under "gifting" and I would not be required to post anything specific or even anything at all. (This avoid complications with the government and taxes). Note that I receive a lot of these types of invites so don't be disappointed if I'm not able to fit it in. It's not that your business isn't wonderful and worth visiting, trust me, I'd love to go to everything! It's just that my paying clients are my highest priority and everything else comes second to that.
Ah I feel you! That makes it hard doesn't it? I have however created a resource to help out people hosting events who have $0 to work with. See it here.
Often these events are organized by PR companies or Social Media Managers, but really anyone can throw one. Here's what you need to know.