Becoming A Brand

Brands and agencies research influencers before they decide to work with them. They want to know an influencer’s niche, audience, reach and level of engagement, before deciding to spend the time and money on a partnership. As Tushar Bharadia, from marketing and advertising agency DDB Canada, explains, “When there is a brand or campaign [he] knows will fit an influencer, [he] looks at their reach and engagement to maximize the coverage the person can generate.”

So, to help brands and agencies get a clear picture of who you are and what you do, it’s a great idea to create your own “media kit”. A media kit is a document that sums up your influence and how much it will cost to work with you. Once you have a media kit you can email it to brands and agencies you’re interested in working with, or that are interested in working with you. It’s a starting point in contract negotiations and can save a lot of time by weeding out the businesses that won’t pay what you’re worth. 


BRAND OF ME: THE BUSINESS OF INFLUENCING

Accidentally or intentionally, you have gathered a large social following. Your social channel – whether Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Vine, Snapchat or beyond – is no longer just a feed of random selfies, #ootd and #tbt shots. It’s a stream of strategic posts that have the potential to reach thousands of followers and encourage them to choose one brand over another. Your social channel has become a powerful source of influence, and businesses have noticed.

Social influencers are individuals (or groups) that are significant to a particular scene and have the ability to reach and engage with a valuable audience. They are not entirely new to marketing, but have become much more popular thanks to today’s digital world. The appeal of being an influencer is not surprising for kids on social media. The experience can be incredibly rewarding; it can provide new and exciting opportunities, propel a middle-schooler to internet-stardom, build the foundation of a dream career and generate (big) revenue. However, to reach these heights as a social influencer, you need to partner with brands and agencies and negotiate contracts – you need to delve into the world of business.

In order to be successful at the business of influencing, it’s important to hone a few different skillsets, which will undoubtedly help you along the way.

SOCIAL INFLUENCERS NEED TO UNDERSTAND BRANDING ESSENTIALS.

As a social influencer, with a unique identity and audience, you become a brand. You provide something unique and consistent to your audience. Whether it is fashion, gaming, sports, foods, music or knitting, your social feed offers your following something undeniably YOU. So, you need to understand the business of managing a brand.

Omnia Media Influencer Pitch

photo courtesy: omnia media

As a brand, you made a promise to your audience. You made the commitment to deliver something of value to your social following. Whether it is worldly architectural wonders or dogs wearing costumes, your brand promise is what will guide your posts and provide value to your audience on a daily basis, and through all your feeds. To maintain your credibility and authenticity as a brand, you have to follow through on your promise.

Whatever you are and whatever you promise, you want to uphold that through your brand identity: the physical, intellectual and emotional attributes that define your brand. Of course your brand can grow over time, but you don’t want to lose the unique character that led you to “influence” in the first place. For instance, if you gained your following because of your delicious recipes and obsession with the food world, you wouldn’t want to start posting photos of sports cars. Your followers want cookies and cupcakes, not Porsche 911s. Stay true to your brand identity. If you’re brand is pink and cheerful, then maintain that look and feel; again, it is part of your promise. Be consistent in the culture you share, your personality and how you present yourself. Your followers will thank you, and brands and agencies will recognize your value as a true social influencer.

As a brand, you also need to know your brand value. Most influencers have different rates for different types of promotion. Contracts can range from $500-$3000 (or more!!!!) depending on the campaign, product, contracted number of posts/uploads and the reach of the influencer. Tushar Bharadia, from marketing and advertising agency DDB Canada, works with influencers and suggests that influencers who create “original and organic content” have a much higher value. Brand value is influenced by your unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP is how you are different (and better) from others in your niche/vertical or social scene. What do you do that makes you more valuable than those around you?

You brand, your promise, your identity and value all deliver your overall brand performance. Your audience appeal, your “sticky” qualities and the ROI for the marketer, determines the ultimate performance of your brand.

What else do you need to know to be successful in dealing with the business of influence? You need to deliver quality content.

SOCIAL INFLUENCERS MUST BE WELL VERSED IN ‘MAKER’ SKILLS.

‘Maker’ skills are the technical abilities you have. When we asked Bharadia the top maker skills for social influencers his immediate response, “Adobe, (Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) and photography.” Creating original and high quality content is critical for social influencers. Brands want to know their products will look amazing on your feed. Professional looking photos get better engagement scores. More engagement means more value. It’s that simple. Video is also an extremely useful maker skill to master, especially if you want to go beyond six-second clips and produce full-on videos for YouTube or Vimeo.

What is the next skill that marketing professionals request of social influencers?

SOCIAL INFLUENCERS MUST HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS.

The ability to build genuine relationships in the influencing business will provide you more opportunities, and a more enjoyable experience. If you have relationships in the business you are more likely to secure your “dream” contract, be asked onto a second campaign, secure fun projects and just be in the know in general. People skills will get you far in every realm of influence (and life in general).

So, what was the final skill that would be useful for kids wanting to be social influencers?

SOCIAL INFLUENCERS SHOULD MAINTAIN THEIR ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT.

Being a social influencer is not easy. The ability to remain passionate about your cause, even in stressful or frustrating circumstances, is so important. You need to hold on to magic that had you motivated to influence in the first place, and stay driven. Stay true to the brand of YOU.