Many brands and agencies (Blade included) are using influencers to help grow brand communities and push sales. But it’s not as easy as snapping a photo for Instagram, collecting a pay day and watching the brand succeed.
Here are three tips that all potential social media and online influencers can keep in mind when teaming with brands.
Be you, the person(ality) that fits the brands and products that you want to associate with. The internet can see through compliments when they aren’t genuine, and they can see through influencers when they aren’t genuine as well.
And faking it well enough to fool everyone can be costly. Take Australian teen Essena O’Neill as an example. The 18 year old has spent the last 3 years as an online influencer, amassing 600,000+ Instagram followers and making money from brands in the process. However, she recently exposed the fact that she wasn’t being authentic, posing in outfits that she never wore out of the house, worrying about her body size and look so she could keep representing her brand and the brands that were paying her.
That’s a lot of pressure that Ms. O’Neill felt she needed to live up to. It wasn’t easy on her, and it couldn’t have been enjoyable. And what’s the point in that?
If you’re doing product or service reviews as an influencer, don’t be afraid to share the lowlights as well as the highlights. Audiences are trusting your word when you tell them that you like something, so if you love the overall product that you’ve been asked to review, but don’t like a detail here or there – say so.
Also, readers want to know (and many people believe) deserve to know if you’ve been paid for your review. A paid review that is overtly glowing and full of compliments can sometimes feel like fluff, and end up carrying less weight for the brand, and for your reputation.
Brand’s should be smart enough and diligent enough to research you before they reach out to suggest a partnership. And if they are, they’ll know (or hope they know) if their product is going to be a good fit for you.
With that said…
Do your research when a pitch comes in. Whether it’s a brand new product, or something that’s been on shelves for years, look at the brand and see how you will fit in with their messaging and brand community. If you feel comfortable that you would be someone who uses this brand’s products, it just might be a great fit.
Tip: If a brand approaches you about influencer work for one of their products, but you don’t think it would be a good fit, suggest another product. It won’t always be an option that works for the brand’s plan – but asking opens the door to all kinds of possibilities.
The opportunity for influencer outreach and marketing is growing with the power of social media. The key for brands and influencers alike is to find a partnership that allows for clear, honest, authentic messaging that works for both parties. If everyone does their research and stays true to their brand’s identity, we can all be winners.