I check Instagram first thing in the morning. It’s also one of the last things I do before sleep.
In between, I check my other social media accounts, listen to some podcasts, watch videos, and read a few blogs.
And, I’m not alone. Adweek reported the average person will spend more than five years of their lives on social media.
It’s no wonder influencer marketing is growing in popularity and beginning to receive a big chunk of advertising dollars.
Demystifying Influencer Marketing
For advertisers, the concept is simple: Target audiences while they’re doing what they love, and don’t make them feel bombarded by sales pitches.
For influencers, it pays to be popular and, of course, creative. But, there’s more to it to make an influencer marketing partnership work.
We know a lot about why influencer marketing is on the rise. Rarely do we hear the side of the influencer and whether these partnerships benefit them, too.
Do influencers have boundaries? Are they only promoting products for money? Or are they genuinely interested in sharing great products with followers?
I recently spoke with Chelsea Williams, founder of ThatsChelsea.com, about her experience as an influencer. Williams has been featured in Thoughtfully Magazine as “1 of 26 Women of Color Changing the Face of Wellness.” She also was named to The Daily Record’s 2017 VIP List, which recognizes the accomplishments of professionals under the age of 40.
I was thrilled to talk with Williams about how these kinds of partnerships come about and how to make the most of them.
So, if you’re like me and are wondering what an influencer does — and whether it may be your calling — this Q&A is a must-read.
How do you establish yourself as an expert to stand out in a particular market?
I would not classify myself as an expert. I have formal training and consider myself to be very knowledgeable about certain topics, but I can always learn something new. I never want to stop learning.
It is my belief that consistently sharing credible, evidence-based information to my audience helps me stand out in my field. On occasion, I break down ingredients line by line to my audience so that they understand my selection process for a product. It goes beyond a beautifully curated photo. You have to provide valuable information to your audience.
Do you reach out to brands or wait for them to reach out to you regarding sponsorships?
I pitch to brands and also wait for brands to reach out to me regarding sponsorships.
Do you first post about products free of charge to get brands’ attention?
I personally do not post about products just to get a brand’s attention. I post about products that I genuinely like and enjoy. If a partnership develops as a direct result, it’s simply an added benefit.
What’s a large enough following to become a paid influencer? Is there a specific number required?
There is not a specific number of followers required to become a paid influencer. So many people and organizations purchase their followers. High engagement and consistent, high-quality content is king.
What kind of metrics are important for brands who pay influencers? How do you communicate this to brands?
Brands that pay influencers need to provide information such as a budget, scope of work and service agreement that explains the terms of the project and payment schedule. This is not an all-encompassing list. Most brands provide this information organically, however I don’t hesitate to ask for everything I need to move the project forward. This is communicated via email and/or by phone.
Influencers who want to be paid by brands should be prepared to provide metrics such as monthly page views, monthly unique visitors, total social media reach, audience demographics and press kit. Again, this is not an all-encompassing list as each brand has different requirements for their influencers.
Do you accept all sponsorship offers or do you practice exclusivity?
No, I do not accept all sponsorship offers. In fact, I turn down more offers than I accept. I only accept offers from brands that I actually enjoy.
What do you base your agreements on? For instance, do you fact check or research products to make sure they’re in line with your beliefs/values before you agree to promote?
I fact check, research, and test every brand and product that I collaborate with. I will not partner with a brand if I do not enjoy the product, or if they don’t align with my beliefs and values.
Chelsea Williams is a nationally recognized digital communications strategist and creative entrepreneur. She has been seen on various news and media outlets such as TV One, News One Now with Roland Martin, ESSENCE, Good Morning Washington, Let’s Talk Live DC, and WJLA News Channel 8.
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Tabresha B. Langham is a Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. She also is a social media junkie, foodie, music fiend and Auburn University Alumn (War Eagle!). Tune into her insights as a social curator at @PRNmedia, or follow @TabreshaL.