marketing your business globally

Influencer marketing is a million dollar industry today, and a key part of any company’s marketing strategy. If you’re a small business owner or an influencer in any capacity, the opportunities to create partnerships with brands are everywhere. Your social media and website platforms an generate real money for you.

However, not every brand is the right brand to work with. Not every offer will be worth it. Small business owners need to think carefully about the company’s they work with as well as the type of work they create for them. Don’t sell your soul for a $100 blog post or a free watch.

Here are three questions to ask yourself before you work with brands.

Am I going to get paid?

When brands are just beginning to reach out to you, they may offer you product, promotion, or affiliate only options. While getting free clothes might be great, you can’t pay your bills with free products.

Similarly, offers to promote you or to give you exposure are usually a waste of your time. Unless a brand can give you specific numbers on how many people will see your work, or how many new followers you can expect to pick up, they’re probably just looking for free work from you.

Is this a good fit for my audience?

Don’t be surprised when brands that have nothing to do with your market reach out to you. I once got an offer for free floss and mouthwash if I wrote a post about the products to my personal finance audience.

Some brands send out mass emails to every blog, podcast, or photographer they can find. To them, it’s a numbers game. They send out 10,000 emails (all copied and pasted, of course) and figure they’ll get at least 1,000 who are new enough to say yes to their offers.

If you want to maintain your integrity and keep your business on track, only work with brands that are genuinely a good fit for your audience.

Do they want me or do they want a gateway to a market?

Influencer marketing has grown in leaps and bounds in the past few years. It’s now a critical part of any marketing strategy. That means that you’ll get a lot off offers, but you need to be hyper critical of the ones you work with.

Many companies will come to you. Ask yourself if they care about working with YOU and your messaging, or if they’re just trying to get in front of as many people as possible. For example, if you see the same brand splashed across every blog you regularly read, you can pretty easily determine that they just want the airtime. They’re not picky about who they choose, but you should be.

Small brands need to protect their integrity. It’s the most important thing you have when you’re a small business. You’re not a household name, you aren’t too big to fail. People are coming to you because they like and respect you; don’t waste that on a brand that doesn’t align with your values.

It’s easy to start feeling competitive with other influencers or businesses, and it’s easy to be swayed by flattering emails. Stay strong and stick to your business principles as you work with brands.

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Kara Perez is the founder of Bravely, a company that connects women and money. She freelances in the areas of personal finance and travel, and she eats peanut butter straight out of the jar.

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