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Mae Karwowski FP | How Micro-Influencers Can Land More Brand Deals
Mae Karwowski FP | How Micro-Influencers Can Land More Brand Deals
How Micro-Influencers Can Land More Brand Deals

September 9, 2020

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How I Built a Half a Million Dollar Biz as an Influencer

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The influencer industry is booming. Because of its fast-paced growth, many nano and micro-influencers get discouraged over their seemingly smaller numbers as they compare themselves to mid-tier or macro-influencers. They often give up, thinking that brand collaborations are harder to come by when numbers aren’t in the 100k range. 

Mae Karwowski, founder and CEO of the influencer marketing platform — Obviously, joins Her Life By Design. She discusses why micro-influencers are better positioned in the influencer marketing space than they might think. Mae explains how micro and even nano-influencers can take advantage of the evergrowing influencer marketing space. She shares why they are the perfect candidates for landing more long-term brand collaborations and deals.

Mae Karwowski 01 | How Micro-Influencers Can Land More Brand Deals

How Micro-Influencers Can Land More Brand Deals

Before starting Obviously, Mae found a job right out of college as a community and social media manager. She has worked on Facebook pages for the Real Housewives, JC Penny, and the Coke Zero twitter account. During that time, she noticed the huge potential social media had.

“What social media is really amazing for is that it gives a voice to all these really amazing creators who otherwise would’ve been doing who knows what? Why don’t we get brands talking to people who are organically building a following whether they’re in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Jacksonville Florida who all of a sudden have 6000 or 100,000 followers because they’re really good at telling an interesting story and they’re really fun to follow.”

When starting Obviously, she called up everyone she knew and networked with as many people as possible. She advises all aspiring entrepreneurs that “really getting something from 0 to hovering off the ground” takes real grit and hustle.

Her networking and hard work paid off, landing Uniqlo as one of Obviously’s first brand clients.

What Obviously is All About

Obviously is an influencer marketing platform that matches influencers with brands. But what really differentiates them from the rest is their ability to identify the right influencers for any brand partnership. They also provide peace of mind for brands who are looking to handle scale; managing all the moving parts that allow brands to work with large groups of influencers on a campaign.

Obviously puts both brands and influencers through a highly-curated application process. This ensures that everyone involved in this partnership is the right fit for the project. “Every time we get something in front of you, we want to make sure it’s exactly perfect and that you love it as much as the brand loves working with you.”

Breaking it Down: PR Agency vs. Influencer Marketing Agency vs. Influencer Management Agency

PR agency, influencer marketing agency, or influencer management agency — what’s the difference? It’s easy to see why many influencers don’t know the difference since the terminology is so similar. Mae clears up any confusion with this break down:

  • PR agency – A PR agency (public relations agency) specializes in working with media, be it print, online, or television. It’s common to find a lot of PR agencies working in the influencer marketing space. Since PR budgets are shrinking, more funds are directed towards the growing influencer marketing industry.

Pro-tip: Mae advises all influencers to gauge where your PR contact is at with their knowledge of the space. This will help you advocate for yourself and your work as an influencer. Some PR agencies that are newer to influencer marketing make rookie mistakes. Be sure to ask for all the details you need prior to agreeing to a collaboration.

  • Influencer Marketing Agency – This is what Obviously is. Influencer marketing agencies specialize in the influencer world. They know everything from how to vet brands and influencers, to what goes into a creative brief. They are up to date with the latest features on each platform, and whatever drama goes on in the TikTok Hype House.
  • Influencer Management Agency – The keyword here is: management. Influencer management agencies manage and represent the influencers on their roster. They also take a percentage from any brand collaboration they negotiate. The management agency (or manager) handles all the negotiations of a contract, making sure everything is right and in place for the collaboration.

Want to Land More Brand Deals? Here’s What You Need to Know!

As the founder of Obviously, Mae knows exactly what brands are looking for before they consider a collaboration with any influencer. Starting with:

Engagement rate 

Brands aren’t as interested in your overall follower count, they want to know how engaged your audience is. How many likes, saves, shares, and quality comments are important metrics when determining your engagement rate. Are your followers leaving comments that truly engage with your content? Or are they dropping random, irrelevant emojis? Brands also look at how fast you’re growing, and if your engagement rate is dropping, staying the same, or accelerating.

A Consistent narrative or aesthetic 

Consistency is key. It’s not just important to show up on your platform consistently, your content needs to have a consistent look and feel to it as well. Why? Because brands want to know what they’re getting. If your feed is bright and colorful, brands that work with you would like you to create content with that same look and feel. This way, you’ll be able to introduce the brand’s product more organically as opposed to it standing out as an Instagram ad.

The right fit 

Does the influencer really like the brand? Mae has discovered that “performance is really dictated by how much influencers like the brand.” It may seem obvious, but a lot of people are determined to work with a brand not because they love their product, but for the sake of getting paid. This is especially important because as an influencer, it doesn’t make sense to promote a product you’ll never use. Mae advises all aspiring influencers that “once you have a story in your caption about how you use a product or why you care about a brand, that’s just so much more powerful.”

Professionalism and being Reliable

When an influencer marketing agency like Obviously recommends you to a brand for a campaign, they’re hyping you up! If you don’t post or do not communicate in a timely manner — everyone loses. Not only is your reputation on the line, but you put the agency in an uncomfortable position for having recommended you to the brand in the first place. Being professional and reliable will only set you up for long-term success.

In this episode, Mae goes over some of the best practices that influencers, especially nano, and micro, should follow in order to land more brand deals. She also shares the best ways to show up for a brand in order to build long-term collaborations.

Quantitative Metrics vs. Quality of Community

A lot of nano and micro-influencers start to clam up when numbers are involved. They start thinking their follower count isn’t high enough. Additionally, compared to the mid-tier and macro-influencers, the amount of likes, comments, and saves they get just doesn’t compare. On the contrary, Mae reminds listeners that a small audience that’s really dialed into your content is an incredibly valuable asset.

There are so many factors that brands take into account when choosing an influencer for a campaign beyond the follower count. For instance, they’ll look at your audience demographics, which other influencers your audience follows, gender breakdowns, and the number of fake followers an influencer might have. Next, brands will want to know if their product will resonate with your audience.

Most brands that recognize the power of influencer marketing know that a small engaged audience within the right demographics is more valuable than a larger follower count.

Why Micro-influencers CAN Land More Brand Deals

If you aren’t convinced that being a micro-influencer can land you more brand deals, keep on reading. In the episode, Mae admits that more brands are looking to work with micro-influencers as opposed to mid-tier and macro-influencers. She reveals that “working with micro-influencers makes so much sense for a brand because you can hit a niche and their feeds aren’t completely saturated with ad content.”

Micro-influencers are in the perfect spot within this rapidly evolving marketing, opening a ton of opportunities as the industry expands quickly. It’s important to keep in mind that most mid-tier and macro-influencers have managers that are inflating their rates. Although that is a great thing, it also opens up a new consideration for brands. A brand could hire more micro-influencers for the same budget than they could with mid-tier or macro-influencers. Not to mention, micro-influencers do a better job of building their community by answering to all their DMs, responding to all comments, and interacting with their audience.

Macro-influencers are positioned in a celebrity role, whereas micro-influencers appear to their audience like a trusted friend. They are more in touch with their audience because they have less to respond to and keep track of. This is precisely why influencers with smaller audiences have higher engagement than those with larger followings. 

Tune in to hear Mae’s thoughts on why micro-influencers are in the best position of any influencer, and how they’re set up for success when it comes to building a strong community.

There’s Enough Room for Influencers of All Sizes

I’ve said it a million times: there’s always room for everyone.

And Mae couldn’t agree more. If you’re a micro-influencer who is struggling with mindset blocks that stop you from landing more brand deals, Mae will put any concerns you have to rest. This episode with Mae was one of my favorites I’ve ever recorded. It’s packed with lots of valuable information.

Mae discusses the power influencers have in changing the world, especially when it comes to diversity within our culture. We chat more in-depth about how the influencer industry has more than enough room when it comes to creativity. She also reminds listeners why having a blog as an influencer is so important.

From the future of Instagram, TikTok, Reels, and who knows what other social media platforms will come out next, Mae and Obviously are at the forefront of diving into how brands and influencers can better serve one another and work together. In this episode, she shares timeless advice on how micro-influencers can position themselves for more brand deals as the industry continues to grow.

relevant links:

Obviously’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/obviously/

Sign up for Obviously: https://www.obvious.ly/

Mae’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maewow/

Free blogging class: https://christinagalbato.lpages.co/freebloggingclass/

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xo Christina

Hey, nice to see you! I'm Christina, a luxury travel & lifestyle blogger and online educator teaching women how to build businesses as influencers online. If you found this post helpful or want to start a discussion, chime in in the comments below!

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