Trendy Influencer Week is moving right along and tonight I'm focusing on tips for those of you rocking the side hustle like me.
Those of you who have made this your full time gig, rock on friend. I do still think you'll find value in reading this. After all, we can always make improvements right?
Find your niche and your "special" factor
Anyone with a phone and some kind of creative talent could potentially be an influencer. So what sets you apart? Why should a brand work with you over anyone else?
To do this, you might need to spend some sleepless nights (or whenever your creative time is) to write down your passions, your dreams, the things you're in love with. Maybe you love lipstick, healthy skin, and have killer hair then your niche might be beauty. Maybe you're a sports fanatic that loves style and keeps up with new trends, find a way to tie that together, and make it unique.
For me, my special factor is in my name. I'm passionate about the city of Indianapolis, its local businesses, and all it has to offer young professionals, families, and everyone in between. People don't think about the Midwest being "trendy," but I'm here to tell a different story. I also believe that the idea of trendiness is different for everyone. It doesn't have to be the hottest, latest, greatest whatever. It can be last year's over the knee boot with your mom's vintage leather jacket, but it's what you make it that allows it to be trendy.
For the love of all things trendy, tell a flipping story.
Why are you posting that OOTD? What's the purpose? Is there intention behind your caption?
Every time you post, post with purpose. In other words, ask your audience to engage in some way. Tell them something about your day or tell them an off-the-wall story. Be relatable and make your followers say "me too."
Jenna Kutcher would also tell you to serve before you sell. If your content is focused on sell, sell, sell your audience may think of you more as a scammy sales person than an approachable influencer.
Make a media kit
Praise the Lord for Maddy Corbin who changed my Trendy in Indy game and business last May. I did her mentorship program and she was like "girl, you need a media kit like yesterday."
This document should be something you can send to brands that tells your story, has your stats, and the services you offer. If you Google 'media kits' or get on Etsy, you can see what I am talking about.
Something generic or basic is not what I suggest. This media kit should represent your brand in the best way possible. Etsy has a ton of templates that you can customize and add your own touch.
Know how to pitch
This is probably my biggest pet peeve as a marketing director and someone who studied PR and advertising. Way too many so-called influencers have zero clue how to pitch to a brand in a way that would make the brand say HELL YEAH, we want to work with you! I'm going to share examples so you can see what I am talking about.
"Hi my name is Steph and I super love your clothes and I totally think all my followers would too. Let's collab! Can't wait to hear from you. (insert 3 emojis)"
This is a pitch I received recently guys, no joke. HELL NO is what I would respond to that on the marketing side of things and here's why:
- First of all, it's generic. You as an influencer did no research before sending that. You found a brand on Instagram, took a look at their first 9 photos, and thought "maybe they will send me free stuff." (Which is wrong on so many levels, but I'll get there).
- Your language is way too casual. I'm a casual person and write like I speak, but that's just bad. "Super love your clothes." Are we 12?
- You gave me no information on YOU. Brands and companies receive multiple pitches per day. Make yourself stand out, tell them something about you, your special factor.
- Stay away from emojis on email. Instagram DM, fine. But not email.
Let's look at a better option:
"Hi Sweet Olive-
My name is Steph and I am the creator behind Trendy in Indy, an Indianapolis influencer that believes in the power of collaboration through quality content creation.
I took a look at your site and think my audience would love your tops. I especially love this one because it is versatile and I could style it a few different ways for a post.
I'm attaching my media for you that details a bit more about me including my story, my stats, and past work I've done. Take a look and let's chat about how we can collaborate.
I look forward to working with you,
(insert email signature)"
Here's why this is better:
- I told the brand that I'm local (because this is a local company) and that I'm going to create awesome content for them, not just share 1 photo on Instagram.
- I use the word "audience" because it is more than just followers on Instagram.
- I told the brand that I had done my research by providing an example of an item I liked.
- I encouraged them to find out more about me by including my media kit and asking them to look at it.
- I finished with confidence by saying "I look forward to working with you" versus "I hope we can work together."
I always recommend email for pitching. Instagram DMs are fine, but if they don't follow you it goes straight to that darn requested folder and risks never being opened. Plus with email, you can send your media kit. If I can't find an email, usually I'll DM the brand on Instagram and ask if they have an email for collaborations.
If you can't handle rejection, this career or side hustle is not for you.
Not trying to be mean when I say this, but it's the truth. For every 1 yes, I hear probably 10 no's (or not at this time or our budget is maxed, you get the picture). Rejection sucks especially when you feel like the brand doesn't want to give you a chance based on the number under your name. But, I've learned that it never hurts to ask and to be thankful for the brands that do say yes.
It's not all about Instagram
Are you tired of hearing this from me? I sure hope not because I want you to really get that in your head. There's no way I could share all of this information with you on Instagram alone. So what other platforms are there to create content?
- Facebook: a page or a VIP group can be utilized. Facebook is so powerful, especially from an advertising standpoint.
- Pinterest: NOT another social media. You should treat Pinterest like a search engine and once you do, you'll get it. This drives up to 20% of my blog traffic most months.
- A blog or website: this is my creative space to share my very detailed thoughts, to inspire on a deeper level, and to teach more thoroughly.
- Email list: another thing I've learned from Jenna Kutcher, email marketing is a must even for me.
- Twitter: I don't use this a ton, but I know of people who do and they love it.
If Instagram died tomorrow or changed the algorithm again, would your brand die with it? If you answered yes, your heart may have just skipped a beat at the thought of loosing what you've worked for.
Think about why you want to be an influencer
If your answer has anything to do with wanting free product, making money, or being Instagram famous, you are NOT in this for the right reason.
If your answer has anything to do with: wanting to be more creative, developing relationships, networking, learning about something new, trying something new and writing about it, or inspiring someone through your niche, then you're on the right track.
Don't leave your audience hanging! How are they suppose to trust you if you post sporadically or not frequently enough? Find a schedule that works for you and stick to you.
Engage with your audience
I can't stress this enough. When someone messages you, emails you, or comments on your photo, engage with them. Even if it's a comment with heart eyes, share some love back. Even I need to be better about this, but one thing my followers comment on is how they love that I actually take time to answer their questions and say "thanks for following."
As always, thanks for reading and contributing to the Trendy Community. Speaking of, have you joined my Trendy Insiders group on Facebook yet? I'm sharing exclusive tips, tutorials you won't find elsewhere, and continuing to foster this trendy community over there. Check it out!