Follow-Up: An influencer's job is not just to create content
James: Welcome to a morning edition of Negronis with Nord. We have switched out alcohol for coffee. I am flying to Rome this evening. But I didn't wanna leave y'all hanging for a week, so we're going to record a quick episode here to kick it off.
We sparked a bit of a conversation in the comments of an Instagram post we took, we took a clip out of an old episode where I was talking about how as an influencer, when you're working with a brand, you know, your job is not just to create content, it is to sell the product. And that you are being naive if you, if you don't fully understand exactly what your role is in that relationship and why the brand is paying you. And I got a lot of a decent amount of pushback in the, in the comments people saying that, you know, 'they are storytellers, not salespeople,' that 'it is a slippery slope to assume that influencers should sell product from their influence alone.'
'We aren't salespeople standing at a male mall kiosk, unless your contract specifically states your job is to move X number of units. The onus is not on us, the influencer to sell.'
Obviously, like any internet take, you know, it didn't have full context. It's not completely, you know, a nuanced argument. But as an influencer, you have to understand if a brand is giving you their money for anything, their goal eventually is that they're gonna sell more product, right? They're not charities. And so while direct sales may not be the KPI of the campaign that you're working on with the brand, this industry cannot exist, it cannot continue to grow if we are not driving sales. That is the only reason it exists. And again, understand the nuance.
Yes, of course, we cannot expect an influencer post on its own to take care of the entire funnel from brand discovery to sales. I argue till I'm blue in the face about how hard attribution is on social and how unfair it is to judge an influencer's impact by tracking sales. Because ultimately it's just so difficult and it's, it's such a kind of discovery engine, not a conversion engine. Yes, we are telling stories, yes, we are trying to inspire people. All those things are true. But if you kid yourself into thinking that your job is anything other than selling product than you're doing yourself a disservice.
These brands are businesses. They have shareholders. Their only real purpose in the world is to make money for those shareholders. You know, if they can make the world better, if they can make people happy, if they can create some really cool, interesting stuff in the meantime, like that's great, but ultimately understand why these businesses exist and why they're paying you. I mean, this is true.
Even let's zoom back, like even the charitable things that brands do are marketing. Most of the charity that brands engage in is either to purchase influence or they're using it to soften their brand image. You know, if you are an oil company that is, you know, systematically setting the ******* earth on fire, then giving a bunch of money to environmental causes and trying to support those things is, is used to kind of clean up your image. So even the charitable donations brands are making are in pursuit of selling, and they are a marketing tool. Continue to have this conversation. Welcome any feedback on it.
When it comes to building a relationship with a brand, is follower count or content style / aesthetic fit a bigger barrier to entry?
James: We also got a question. So the question is, when it comes to building a relationship with a brand, do you think follower count or content style aesthetic fit is a bigger barrier to entry? I'm gonna assume by barrier to entry, you mean like creating the relationship in getting the deal?
This is a bit of a multi-part question here. I think for most brands, they probably have a minimum following count that would spark their interest, right? So for instance, you can be a content creator who has an aesthetic and a, a style of content and a mood and vibe that is absolutely perfect for a brand. You have a thousand followers, you reach out to them and they never get back to you because ultimately for them, a thousand followers isn't enough.
Now every brand is going to have a different number. For some they may not have one. For some it could be a hundred thousand, right? And so the number of followers is generally a kind of hurdle that you have to jump over. That is true as you scale up, right? Like if you have a million followers and you DM a brand, it's gonna be much easier to get a response because the scale of what you can offer them, which is eyeballs, is so much larger than 10,000 followers that they're instantly going to be more interested.
Now, once you cross that hurdle, then content style becomes really important. I'd say for most brands, right? That ultimately if a brand is trying to reach, like young professionals living in urban areas and your content is all like CrossFit workouts and you have 2 million followers, ultimately, like it's never going to work. The following count alone is not enough. So it's a bit of a kind of multi-pronged thing that first, again, we have to like, we have to kind of cross that, that kind of threshold they have of what following level is kind of worth their time. Cause you have to understand, like working with an influencer, even gifting them is, you know, there's a certain time outlay that that takes to do that, engage in that, and to build that relationship, go back and forth on sizing, on, on shipping, on, on expectations, You know, if they're paying, then there's negotiations back and forth.
All of these things cost, time, money. And so we have to make sure that we are like, it is worth the time to do it. And that's not saying that you're following isn't worth anything. It's just saying that like, as a brand grows, the scale that they need to make an impact also grows, right? For a brand that is just launching, getting in front of a thousand people is huge for Coca-Cola, getting in front of a thousand people is nothing. It's doing nothing for them, right? They need millions and millions and tens of millions of people. And so it's good to understand, again, where a brand is in their life cycle.
Content vibe really matters. It really helps. If you've talked about the brand before, you can go to your Fohr profile, go to content search and pull a report of all the times you've mentioned a brand.
Retaining your brand partnerships
I think we've talked about that in the past episode. We can, we can link to that, sending them that report saying, Hey, I've, I've talked about you, you know, five times in the last year and I've got a great engagement on it. All of those things then help to take it from a, they've answered your dm, they've answered your email to your're working with them in some capacity.
And then as we've mentioned before, you know, once you've done that, really important to try and retain that client, right? Make sure you're checking in with them every few months. Make sure you're kind of following what they doing. If, if they, you know, do launch a new line or a campaign with someone you love, send them a note, right? It's important as we build relationships with, you know, these individuals at brands that we don't just go to them when we want something.
Reaching out to them in times where you don't want anything where you just compliment them, right? It's even, you can, you can set a note every Monday to be like, I wanna send three emails out. Just complimenting people, right? And you mean you've got all these people that work in social for these brands. If there's a post that you liked, send them a link to it. Say, Oh, I loved this, this was really great. You know? It does a lot to like, keep you top of mind so that when the next opportunity comes, they're thinking of you. They think about how great you are, how nice you are, how much you love the brand, and you're gonna continue to work with them.
As always, send us questions like, subscribe, share this if you find it useful. And we'll be back next week.