One of the absolute worst things (on a mundane, grating day to day basis I mean – there are plenty of more critical things I know) about the rise of social media is the rise of “influencers”.
And by that, I can probably go even narrower and focus on the ones who built up a bit of a following and then think it’s perfectly ok to approach small businesses and ask for freebies in exchange for “exposure”.
There are genuine people out there who would fit the mould of influencers who actually use their platform for good or work hard and build their own business off of it.
But for the ones I’m specifically referring to, it shows a complete lack of respect and disregard for the time and effort you put into your products or services.
So how do you handle influencers as a small business?
If someone has to ask for a freebie, I wouldn’t go anywhere near them personally.
Like I said it’s disrespectful to you.
So I would just politely decline.
If you’re curious though, I would push back and ask some questions like this:
- How many sales do you think you can get me and what you’re basing that on?
- Who have you worked with before and how many sales have you got them?
- How do you suggest we quantify and track sales so I know I’m getting a positive return out of this deal?
If they can answer those with a genuine answer then they might actually be worth a shot because they can quantify results.
It means they’re least have some understanding of business and aren’t just after the freebie.
Chances are you’ll never hear from them again though…
If you know them, you can give them a freebie
And when I say you know them, I mean they’re someone you consider a friend and can genuinely trust.
Or someone you’ve worked with before in some capacity so the trust is pre-existing.
The irony is that if you have the right kind of relationship with them, they won’t even ask you for it in the first place.
Try these instead
They pay and you refund when they fulfill their part of the deal
Especially if you work on a low budget and aren’t tech-savvy, influencers are a bit easier for promotion than running ads and quicker to get working for you than organic.
But you still don’t want to get screwed over.
So how about they pay full price and then once they do whatever you asked them to do you refund them.
Turn them into partners
Depending on what you offer, it might be a great way to build long term relationships.
In the fitness industry, most gym wear and supplement brands have like an ambassador program where they give you your own discount code to give to your followers and when someone uses that code you get some commission or credit to use in their store.
It means they can provide value to their audience while you can track sales from them and build a long-term partnership too.
In any case, don’t rely on influencers
The influencer marketing industry is still relatively new, unregulated, and easy to get ripped off because a lot of the time it is hard to quantify sales and track results.
Plus it’s easy for influencers to disappear overnight with their “business”.
From time to time it can be a nice added extra promotion to your business but focus on learning how to promote your business in a way that keeps things in your control above all else.