If you’re reading this, you’re probably an Influencer
How peeps with 500+ followers can get things for free
If you have a Twitter account, an Instagram, or a Facebook, you are probably already a Micro Influencer. And you can get cool stuff for free. Read how.
Twenty years ago, I was a college student and a devoted writer and editor of student publications. I also performed and published poetry, and even won a national competition to have a collection published. I volunteered my time editing the creative writing section of a national youth publication dedicated to publishing other young writers, and ended up managing the whole website which went on to win a UN youth Community Engagement award for our efforts as a team.
Being a student, a volunteer, and a writer, didn’t rake in the dollars for me. Obviously. This was before social media, before Instagram and Facebook, and I had a love for edgy fashion and shoes, but no budget to match.
I brainstormed one day. What if I wrote to the brands I loved and wanted to wear, and asked them to send me their samples in return for promising to wear them at readings, performances, and events? To my extreme delight, they said yes, and I had my dream packs of clothes and shoes delivered— all for free.
Motherhood hit, and so did a new form of poverty — time poverty — and although I’d been my own inventor of what is now known as “the influencer”, the wave of millennials with their millions of Instagram followers passed me by — I was just grateful for a warm piece of toast and a cup of tea found discarded on a bench around the house less than two days old.
I didn’t go out to events anymore (although I have performed stand up comedy with my baby parked in a pram off-stage) and the idea of getting brands to keep sponsoring me didn’t seem viable.
Well, I was wrong.
Millennials are the age bracket 18–35; and 35–38 year olds (or let’s extend that a little shall we!) who still have the millennial mindset of prioritising beneficial values in a cost-benefit approach are considered Millennials at Heart. Whether outdated CEOs of extractive companies hell bent on ecological destruction of planet Earth and indigenous human communities know it or not, Millennials are the largest buying segment in the economy. And because we have the tools for mass connection and communication at our fingertips (think #metoo or #mymum) we have the strength in numbers to not sell out.
If you run a business or plan to market yourself as a brand, you should know that Millennials are the largest living generation on the planet. By 2020, at least one in three adults will be of the millennial generation. With 200 billion in annual buying power, Millennials are a consumer force to be reckoned with. We are the least frequent in-store shoppers, the most responsive to online shopping deals, recommendations from friends and family, and are motivated by frictionless shopping experiences that businesses are expect to provide as a basic human right.
When my daughter asked me last night why her favourite store, Toys R Us, closed down, the realisation popped in my head as an answer — “Because Millennial parents don’t go to stores anymore, honey, and the generations that do go to stores don’t buy toys anymore. So they couldn’t afford to keep those stores open.”
If you are a Millennial you are, probably like I was, cash strapped. There are college and university debts you need to repay. Whether renting or buying, housing prices are likely out of reach, and you live at home or are still supported by your parents somehow. Maybe you use public transport or shared micro-mobility rather than own your own car, or the car you are driving is a hand-me-down, too.
Does getting things for free sounds like a really good idea? If the answer is yes, read on.
In marketing, there’s something called a “brand ambassador.” These are people who are so enthusiastic about a brand, they do the marketing for us. Basically, as a brand ambassador, you tell everyone you meet how cool something is that you bought. Maybe you regularly get complemented for it and you say “Yeah, I got it from Jones and Jones.” I used to do that with my sponsored shoes and clothes which were very unique and got complemented all the time.
Brand ambassadors are worth their weight in gold, because something that is said honestly by an objective third party is worth far more weight in a potential buyer’s mind than anything a company can ever say about itself. Word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising, but something a company can’t ever do for itself without going to great lengths to manufacture it (i.e. the scourge of “fake reviews”).
Brand ambassadors also address the hardest part of the marketing funnel to overcome — the “Awareness” phase — where a potential customer has to realise that that they actually have a need for something, and transition to the “Interest” and “Consideration” phases. Basically, if you went back to the Dark Ages, you would have a hard time telling a serf that they had a “need” for a smart-phone. Now, just about everyone who wants to participate in the digital transformation economy knows they need a smart-phone.
It’s hard, however, for a company to to identify and reward Brand Ambassadors, unless they have specific strategies in place. (Want to brainstorm some strategies based on your business, come and talk with me at strategygoto.com) So companies have found a far more repeatable way of manufacturing loyal brand ambassadors who do the advocacy for you — Influencers.
70% of internet users want to learn about products through real content than traditional advertising. And 74% of people turn to social networks for guidance on purchase decisions which is why influencer marketing content has been proven to deliver at 11 times higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. — Chelsea Krost
You might think you have to wait to have millions of followers until you are considered an influencer — those are celebrity influencers, and they are a whole different bracket. Actually, Micro Influencers are people like you and me with very niche personal brands. We are people who are consistently curating content (like Medium articles) and giving value to ours audiences on a daily basis. Micro influencers, would you believe, have a follower range between 500 to 10,000 followers.
If you have a Twitter account, an Instagram, or a Facebook, you are probably already a Micro Influencer. And you can get things for free.
Influencers feature a brand’s product or service in a way that’s native to them and relevant to their audience. An influencer’s perspective is more unique, relatable, and has that storytelling aspect that consumers seek out and trust. — Chelsea Krost
So I have a mission for you. Identify what brands do you use and love that you buy preferentially and enjoy telling your friends about willingly?
These brands don’t have to belong to a huge commercial operation, it could even be an organisation or charity — basically any enterprise that needs and uses marketing and benefits from word of mouth.
The next step of the challenge is to work out how you can add benefit to them. Perhaps you can do content marketing like writing a Medium article, or a social media post. Perhaps you can promise to attend their events and share the selfies you take with your connections. Perhaps you can offer to leave reviews or feedback.
Armed with your ideas, send out an email. I have a special secret sauce for you — the company you approach is actually going to be flattered. Creators love it when people appreciate their products. A whole lot of work went into designing and producing them, and generally we have to devise all kinds of ingenious ways to inform you about their mere existence.
If people contact us, willingly, it’s usually to complain; and whilst that is beneficial for fixing CMX, it doesn’t let us directly know where we are doing things right and we often have to rely on indirect measuring tools like through an increase in sales of traffic hits.
To succeed, your email is going to have to have three main ingredients.
1. Why you love their product
2. Why you are an influencer and can appeal to their niche
3. What you will do for them and how it will enhance their brand image
Keep the email short and sweet, so that they actually do read it; and be down to Earth, not gushy. You probably need 150 words max. Make sure you include a brief summary of your following stats. (i.e. “I have 10,000+ followers across social media platforms” — which I do, thank you!)
The marketing department of every brand out there wants it to be considered the leading brand in its market segment. For example, 200 brands want influencers on the Glambassador platform. We all want to be premium brands because then we are less dependent on price competition.
But the path to being a brand with premium value isn’t always straight and narrow, because it depends on unique individuals known as customers and how they interact with our touch-points over time — particularly the long tail of the past purchase relationship. Anything that you can do as an influencer that can remove the friction for us actually reaching the awareness of our target customer is of great value to us, and we will respond in kind.
If you want brands to find you, register at a platform for Influencers to be matched with brands:
Influencer Marketing Agency · Glambassador
Easy to use influencer marketing platform for Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle, and everything in between. Instagram…
Bonus for reaching the end of this article!
I like to give readers a bonus for reaching the end of my articles. Where did I find a lot of this cool info? It was in the “Marketing to Millennials” course on Linkedin Learning.
Linkedin Learning isn’t free, and if you want a free alternative read my Top Ten Free Startup Tools 2019
Top Ten Free Startup Tools 2019
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Did you use these strategies to get something for free? Tell me in the comments! or Tag me on Twitter @cryptokenwoman
Akasha Rose Indream is founder of WIBI.io an online group for women in blockchain leaders; consults on brand, content marketing and customer experience managing for startups; and is also Engagement Director at the multiple award winning Iomob.net.