In high school it was easy to spot the influencers. The ones who were always the center of attention and who seemed to always have both males and females aspiring either to be like them or be with them. They would win most likely to be prime minister or CEO, and everyone wanted to copy their manner of dress, talk, and drive what they drove.
Whether accidentally or on purpose you’ve discovered that you are in the enviable position of being someone that other people listen to and want to emulate. You can see the value you bring to your followers and how what you say and post on social media impacts sales of other people’s products and services.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you were recognized for this and able to get paid as well? Welcome to Influencer Marketing!
In the Caribbean, companies are often copying American campaigns and so believe they need to find influencers who have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers, but that is an expensive feat and not necessarily the right fit for the brand.
You, may be exactly what a Caribbean brand needs to increase their audience reach and sell more product. Here are a few things to consider if you want to build a name as an influencer.
100, 1000 or 10,000
10,000 followers is the magic number that many American corporations use to decide whether you are worth investing in. However, buying followers is usually a dead giveaway as the engagement is miniscule and it is easy to spot when you’ve done this. It is better to have 1000 followers who love the value you bring to their lives and trust that when you make a recommendation you are a believer.
The power of being a micro-influencer is that your fans are more engaged and they trust your opinion. We don’t believe that every celebrity has used all the products they endorse. You have earned their trust and it should not be taken lightly.
Maybe you haven’t hit 500 followers yet, that doesn’t mean you aren’t a micro-influencer. Evaluate your posts and how people engage with them and you with your followers.
Build a Platform
Your social media page/profile/account does not belong to you. Yes your name and images are all over it but it can disappear tomorrow and you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. If you plan to build a business as an influencer then invest in setting up a website with your domain. Use your name and/or brand identity to serve as the web address.
With the right support tools you can track how your content is performing and who it is reaching. This is much easier to manage on your own website rather than on a social media platform which you don’t own.
Invite people to find you there, not just on social media. You want them to see your web space as the home for all things YOU and make it special for them as well.
The One Thing
You cannot solve all the world’s problems. This is one of my daughter’s mantras every time I want to digress from the intended path. What is the one thing you are known for? Do people trust you for career advice, fashion trends, make up and skin care tutorials, eating healthy, parenting young children? Pick a lane and focus on that. It does not mean that from time to time you won’t digress but brands need to be able to see how you align with their mission. You should be able to say in one sentence what is your passion focus as an influencer.
Think Long Term
What’s in it for you beyond the warm fuzzies? It feels really good when a company offers you free product or access to a show in return for you saying how great it is. That won’t pay your rent. Even from the onset, consider what benefits aligning with the brand will bring to you as well.
You want to build a relationship with a brand that says you genuinely want to support their goals. It is hard to do this with only one post or a one-time payment. Think of how you can create a partnership that over time can grow and show that the investment they are making in you is worth it to their brand.
Caribbean people, like other cultures take time to eye a product before we buy. Show them how you can craft a campaign together that will have longer term benefits. It can also become a source of ongoing revenue for you and for the brand.
Vanity Metrics vs Social Proof
Caribbean brands love vanity metrics, the number of views on a video, likes and shares. They do stroke the ego and give some motivation to continue but what else is there? Show them what happens when you share a post of them using a product, the feedback from connections who go on to purchase it and come back to say thank you.
Talk Dollars & Sense
The big difference between a macro-influencer like a celebrity with a million followers and you is that you won’t charge as much. You serve a smaller niche but one that fits within their target audience and price range. Don’t be afraid to tell them how much your work is worth and what you would like to be paid. Be open to negotiating the price but do not start off only willing to accept a barter unless the financial value of it will significantly impact you as well.
For example, a software company wants you to sell their app as an ambassador, can you get the use of the app for free and with commission on future sales?
Be clear going into the discussion what you want to get out of it and what would disappoint you and affect your ability to deliver a great campaign for them.
Create Great Content
You are only as good as your next great piece of content. What keeps your audience connected to you is the value you bring to them in the posts you create and share. This in turn, helps them to share, like, comment and rave about you to their friends. This is what you need and what will set you apart from someone else with massive follower numbers. Brands want to see interaction on your feed and how you respond to them.
A highly engaged audience is a valuable commodity in a crowded social media world. Position yourself to make the best of the work you have done and leverage it to grow your business as a social media influencer.
Ideas of How You Can Work with a Brand
- Show how your values align with theirs
- Show your engagement and why this is more impactful than reach
- Focus on how their brand is relevant to your audience
- Offer to do unboxing videos
- Offer to give authentic reviews of their product
- Suggest giveaway campaigns that your fans would love and would be great for their brand
- Offer to do live videos from their office/warehouse showing how they do what they do
- Offer to be an ambassador
Would you like to get more information on content creation and growing as a Caribbeanpreneur? Subscribe to my newsletter for strategies direct to your inbox.
Nerissa Golden is media and business strategist and the author of seven books, including In Plain Sight and The Making of a Caribbeanpreneur: Strategies for Overcoming Fear and Building Wealth. Follow her on Instagram or LinkedIn for more tips and ideas to help you grow as a Caribbean entrepreneur.