I may or may not have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to people’s misconceptions about influencers and influencer marketing. So today, I’m joined by Julianne Fraser, founder of the digital marketing consultancy specializing in influencer marketing, Dialogue NYC. She’s here to school us about the validity of an influencer career. And if you’re brand new to the scene or if a small following is holding you back, this conversation about the power of micro-influencers and how to attract brand partners (even if you’re just starting out) is for you.
Let’s dive in…
The Power of Micro-Influencers and How to Attract Brand Partners
To paint a clearer picture for you, a handful of the comments that I receive on my ads for The Influencer Bootcamp are plain bananas. They say, “this isn’t a real job,” or “why are people paying you to do anything?” If you’re reading this — you and I both know that that cannot be farther from the truth. Being an influencer is a full-time job (and a half), but comments like those can deter anyone from taking a huge leap of faith and starting a career they know they’ll love.
It saddens me to say that the term “influencer” has become a sort of dirty word. Julianne admits that she herself has encountered many people within the industry who share that opinion. “There’s a lot of poorly run influencer campaigns out there that just gives the entire industry a bad name.” Julianne shares.
Part of the reason why Julianne started Dialogue NYC is that “there is such potential for brands. There are so many amazing creatives out there who are making big changes and really impacting people.”
Like every industry, there are people who give the space a bad rep by buying followers and falsifying analytics. But slowly and surely, the importance and impact of influencers are coming to light.
“So many brands are investing in it [influencer marketing] and really doubling down on the importance of this in their marketing strategy. But I think it’s just a matter of weeding out the negativity behind it and really seeing it for what it is. This is why it’s important that creatives are telling really transparent and honest stories and partnering with brands that are genuinely aligning and coming up with great dialogues.”
Recognizing the Power of Micro-Influencers
The days of having a near celebrity-status following are long gone. Today, we’re recognizing that the power falls in the hands of nano and micro-influencers.
Julianne recognized this shifting landscape very early on. This is why she has spent a lot of time working out an in-depth strategy that defines what an influencer is.
“It is so diverse nowadays, the way that we think about it is by type of influencers. So a digital content creator or someone whose full-time dedicated career is focusing on their channels and social creation. So that’s one bucket of type. A second being what we define as a tastemaker. So someone who might be an entrepreneur or an athlete or an activist, and they’ve amassed a social following as a result of their passion, but it’s not their role. The third type being an expert. So a lot of doctors, nutritionists, stylists, makeup artists, people who really stick to one concrete element of their content and their expertise. And they’ve amassed a following because of that credibility.”
While Julianne says there are many different types on top of the ones Dialogue NYC focuses on, recognizing this is key to attracting the right brand partners. “The approach with all three of those influencers is immensely different from a brand perspective. You just wouldn’t propose the same kind of partnership and ideas.”
Within those tiers, you’ll find influencers of all sizes. As such, Dialogue NYC takes a layered approach to brand partnerships. By understanding and identifying what the brand’s needs are, they can pinpoint several influencers who are hyper-aligned with the brand’s overall mission. And it’s through working with influencers of all sizes that brands build what Julianne calls a “halo effect – where you see the brand everywhere, and you just can’t ignore it anymore.”
How TikTok Brought the End of Curation
When I first started my influencer career, getting that perfect shot was the ultimate goal. With the emergence of short-form videos like TikTok and Reels, we’re seeing an end of an era. Julianne believes that this is an inevitable change that came with the last year in lockdown.
“I saw a huge shift to people who normally were really focusing on aspirational content. They really shifted to this relatable, authentic, and genuine content. We’re all stuck in our homes. We’re all leveled out, nobody can go on luxurious trips.”
The overwhelming consensus is that people crave relatability, authenticity, and most importantly — value. And in order to deliver on all those aspects in the most efficient way possible, you need to narrow your focus down to one or two platforms. I know it can be tempting to hop on to the latest apps like Clubhouse or TikTok, but if it isn’t aligned with you and what you value, you’re better off without it.
If you need permission to stay in your comfort zone, Julianne has some advice for you. “If you’re not comfortable speaking in front of audiences or like being on YouTube, then don’t. Really, if it’s not authentic, it’s not going to work.”
How to Attract Brand Partners
Aside from authenticity and relatability, delivering value is a must especially if you want to attract brand partnerships. “Everything that you share on social should offer value in one way or the other.” Julianne says. “And that doesn’t have to be educational. And it doesn’t have to be formal, but it should offer value to people, and it shouldn’t be just showing off.” Julianne shares that value is what Dialogue NYC looks out for when it comes time to scout creators to work with.
Another tip that Julianne has for attracting brand partnerships is to look closely at what the brand is working on.
“What are they focusing on? Check out their website, check out their Instagram, Google them, and read about them in the press. Are they launching a sustainable initiative? Or are they launching in a new market? Have they launched a new product? Find out what’s important to them, and then pitch a sentence or two in a genuine way that you can connect with that brand.”
This doesn’t mean pitching the brand with your stats and your “about me” speech. It means sharing a unique perspective and how you’re aligned with their mission and initiatives. Take the time to tell the brand why you’re interested in their brand and their product, why your audience would love it and the ways that you can work together.
And of course, be prepared to present your analytics, audience demographics, and the nitty-gritty details.
Redefining What it Means to be an Influencer
Whether you like it or not, Influencers, especially micro-influencers, hold a lot of power when it comes to sharing value and building a community. While there will be influencers out there who start their careers off for the wrong reasons, authenticity and value will always win. If you’re on the fence about starting your influencer career, whether it’s because you think the market is too saturated or you’re afraid of judgment, this episode is for you. Julianne shares a behind-the-scenes look at what it means to be a micro-influencer, how to attract brand partnerships, and the impact that your role as a creator can have.
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Dialogue NYC’s Website: https://www.dialoguenyc.com/