Influencers & Influencer Management

Gosh. This post has been in the making for a long time and I wish I had done it sooner but timing is everything. As a digital media strategist you have to take into consideration all platforms that can assist your client to win and sometimes it’s not just platforms but trends and people who could potentially help your client stand out. So I delved into the world of influencers and influencer management.

I quickly learned three things that made me make my mind up about influencers and influencer management:

  1. There is a global standard
  2. South African/Kenyan/Nigerian – which aren’t always the sa,e standard but are far ahead of the third standard
  3.  Zambian standards – An interesting case study of influencers vs brand ambassadors vs OAPS vs musicians vs celebrities competing for the same deals with the same brands. Not a judgement just an observation

I started talking to colleagues in the industry (especially those who were able to give me insight about how agencies create campaigns, pick their influencers and what the goals/strategy usually is). Again interesting results. The thing that stuck out for me? A lot of our Zambian influencers were often chosen for the same campaigns whether or not there was a brand alignment or not.

When I mentioned how global or say Kenyan standards were in the influencer world, I was bluntly told that Zambia was not Kenya and influencers had a long way to go to receive the sort of money and opportunities that was offered to their peers in those countries. I was diasppointed but not surprised. Influencers in Zambia are getting a raw deal. I knew it but ti was confirmed for me through multiple conversations but what cemented the conversations was how some people in charge of selecting influencers said “Anyway, it’s just copy and paste, what work do they really do?”. That’s when I said? “Oho? Bet”. Because if there is one thing I despise? Is people taking advantage of creatives or peoples hard work.

What also amazed me were the statistics available:

“We now know that almost 1 in 2 consumers will believe anything an influencer says online.
84% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends about the products and services they use.”

So I thought what if I sign on one or two influencers and see how I can assist them improve their content creation, their social media strategy and anything else that would make them stand out and be picked. Easy, right? Wrong. It’s a long process and made me realise WHY some influencers need management. For example:

  1. Everyone is busy. influencers and brands. How many proposals do brands receive everyday? Probably in the hundreds. How many influencers have the time to write proposals, submit and chase up the proposals? Not to mention that there needs to be a media kit and a proposal that is not a copy and paste but targeted to that particular brand.
  2. Having worked in digital media for a while I have built and continue to build relationships with brand managers, marketing managers, manage clients looking for influencers etc. It makes sense for an influencer to link up with a manager that has a credible network.
  3. A manager is also in your corner and wants you to create content. they can help with content creation ideas, set up photoshoots or even help you have a content creation strategy.
  4. You know what’s not fun about influencer life? Negotiating. Terms and conditions. Making sure contracts are favourable to the influencer and there aren’t any catches. Making sure that the rate offered matches industry standard and and matches the work required .

That’s how I linked up with the lovely LaZambiana aka In’utu. Passionate and patriotic Zambian. PHD student and mummy. One of these good days she may tell you why she wanted a manager *this is her hint to actually create content* LOL

Here’s another couple of tips for potential Zambian influencers:

  1. Get your media kit together. Canva is a great resource.
  2. Don’t limit yourself to the big brands in your country and to the country you are in. I managed to get a really fave travel blogger of mine a contract with a small travel company. A starting point and working with people who have less red tape and processes when approving budgets. Especially in our client, I pitched it on a Monday by Thursday/Friday it was approved and details were hashed out.
  3. Make sure there is consistency across all your platforms and remember to explore new platforms = new audience
  4. Understand your data/analytics/insight. Any brand worth it’s salt is looking at those numbers. If you really want to be sexy, participate in a trend and track the engagement (especially if you notice an uptick). Once the engagement dies down compile all data and put it into a report to be shared with a potential brand when they want to ask how well your content can do/fare in the competitive influencer market.
  5. Create a content strategy that works for you and fits into your calendar/schedule
  6. Follow people in your industry and engage with their content
  7. Listen to your peers that are already working  with small or big brands, those experiences they are sharing sometimes gives you knowledge or information that you weren’t aware
  8. Make sure your brand is tied to something you excel at. Do you know everything there is to know about books? Is your secret skill finding hidden foodies spots? Can you style on a budget?Do you give really good advice?

That’s all for today Fixers! Any questions? Send me an email or drop a comment below.