Welcome to Business Tip Thursday! In this week’s episode, I’m exposing influencers. You see, I’ve been blogging since 2010 so I find the influencer space fascinating. This whole “influencer marketing” stuff was not a thing back in the day.
Now it seems as if everyone and their mom wants to be an influencer and none of them even know what that means.
My background as an influencer
As I mentioned, I’ve been blogging since 2010. I’ve also worked with a lot of brands – especially in the last couple of years as my social media presence has increased.
I’ve worked with brands like Progressive, Florida Prepaid College, TransUnion, Better Mortgage, Capital One, and Intuit just to name a few. I’ve also done everything from participate in social media campaigns to full-blown satellite media tours on behalf of brands.
In other words, I know what I’m talking about.
So, without further ado, let’s get into the 5 things influencers are not telling you.
Influencers Exposed: Sharing referral codes does not make you a brand ambassador
Lots of brands are reaching out to bloggers and influencers and saying they want brand ambassadors. When you ask them what that entails they say they’ll give you a code to share with your audience and you’ll get a cut of the sales.
Let me be clear about something. This is not brand ambassador work. This is called affiliate marketing. Two totally different things.
Influencer work is when a brand hires you to be a spokesperson – perhaps for a social media campaign or a satellite media tour.
(That being said, you can totally monetize with affiliate marketing if you have a following. In fact, this is one of four ways you can monetize your brand. I cover all the ways you can monetize your influence in my free training here.)
Influencers Exposed: It’s an investment of time, money and effort.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to be an influencer in the personal finance space. Reason being I don’t have to buy a bunch of makeup or clothes to keep up and compete (it doesnt really go with the whole saving money thing).
Depending on your industry, you will be investing money up front to get in the game. Perhaps you need to buy products to review. Maybe you need to book trips.
Furthermore, in every industry, you will have to invest time, money and effort into social media marketing and networking. It’s just like any other business where you need to invest first and then get the rewards later. I paid for my own flights for years before brands started flying me out places.
Influencers Exposed: It’s a hustle
Brands don’t just come to you – especially not in the beginning. Ultimately, this is a sales game. That means you need to pitch as many brands as possible in order to get a few.
Influencers Exposed: Cash flow sucks
Cash flow with corporate brand work totally sucks. Cash flow is the money you have coming in regularly in your business needed to meet your expenses. People don’t realize that with brand work the payment terms can take a while. It can take a while before you actually see the check.
This is why I teach my clients to not solely rely on brand work as a source of income. It’s also why I create and sell coaching and consulting packages – because that’s money with a shorter sales cycle and I get paid faster. (Not to mention, it gives me more control over my money and business. It also gives you more leverage when negotiating with brands because you don’t actually need their money.)
Influencers Exposed: This is a business, not a hobby
If you want to be an influencer, don’t aim to just be an influencer. At the end of the day, this is a business. What you should strive to be is a business owner who creates multiple streams of income. Your influence just allows you to get paid.
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