Although I’ve titled this post an introduction to influencer marketing, the truth is, the first-half of this episode of the WP Elevation podcast is chock-full of wisdom about resilience and resourcefulness. So, even if you’re not interested in getting in on the influencer marketing game, tune into the episode to learn how these two characteristics and mindsets have helped both Shane and Troy get to where they are today.
Shane Barker is a Sacramento-based serial entrepreneur, veteran of the digital space and now a teacher at UCLA, with a strong focus on influencer marketing. What’s more, he’s been involved in digital for over 20 years.
When you see a number like that, you have to wonder how the heck someone figured out what to do in the digital space, especially without the loads of courses, videos and blog posts we now have readily available on the subject.
The thing is, he’d already owned a number of profitable businesses before he graduated from school, so Shane was no stranger to working hard and figuring things out on his own.
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Shane acknowledges that none of his successes have been easy. And that he’s had to learn to be really resilient and resourceful in order to make it to where he is.
“You’re going to continuously be punched in the face here and there and you have to figure out how to get through that.”
What he suggests then is that you figure out who you are first.
How do you ingest new ideas and techniques?
How do you solve problems?
What are your strengths?
When you’re in business, no one is going to pick you up when things get in your way or cause you to fall down. And there are going to be a lot of things that do. So, figure out how to embrace failure, coach yourself through the hard times and get back up on your feet.
As Shane explains:
Influencer marketing is trying to sell your product through influencers who have a large social following and whose audience you can sell your product to.
However, he stresses the fact that size is relative. An influencer with millions of followers doesn’t automatically bring with it millions of new eyeballs on your brand. You as a business owner need to find one that runs their business the right way and who has a viable audience for your brand.
There needs to be more education on both sides of the fence, which is why Shane sheds some light on the most common mistakes he sees businesses and influencers make today.
From a business’s perspective, the #1 mistake is this:
Assuming that a large number of followers makes an influencer a good fit for their brand.
But as Shane says, those numbers aren’t always accurate, especially because many influencers have learned that if they can boost their follower levels to a certain point, they’ll get paid more.
So, while you might think an influencer with 50,000 followers can maximise your reach, you might actually be paying to get in front of a bunch of fake followers that’ll give you nothing in return.
On the other side of the equation is, of course, what influencers are doing wrong, which Shane says is this:
Focusing on short and shallow wins.
In other words, trying to game the system by raising follower numbers with fakes will only fool people for so long.
There’s also the issue of grabbing at any and all sponsorships that come your way. People pay for the products influencers promote because they believe them to be genuine recommendations. When there’s no loyalty to a brand and no consistent message about what you support, your audience won’t stick around for long.
Clearly, there’s some value in getting involved in influencer marketing from both sides of the fence. However, there are a lot of things that could go wrong with it, which is where Shane comes in.
“I’m a pimp for influencers and brands.”
Really, what he does is educate brands on how to find and judge the quality of influencers. He helps influencers find the right brands to work with, too.
But, as he explains in the episode, everything is foundational. In other words, if an influencer doesn’t yet have a strong base of brands and data to leverage to get better sponsorship deals, they have to be willing to take those great opportunities for little or no pay.
Again, it goes back to this idea of being resourceful and resilient. Pay your dues, get the backing of big brands and then you’ll have the proof you need to convince others to work with you.
As Shane mentions towards the end of the episode, influencer marketing is not for the faint of heart.
For brands trying to build awareness and close more sales, you stand to lose a lot of money if you don’t pick the right influencers.
For influencers, you have to make a long-term commitment to your business and not just on the random sponsorship you might pick up tomorrow.
Have questions about becoming an influencer or finding the right influencer for your business? Email Shane.