What is micro-influencing?
From what I see, it’s a non-celebrity discussing something they (hopefully) enjoy using or that is improving their life in some way. Celebrities are known for their influencing power, but regular people like me and you can also influence on a smaller level.
I finally stepped up my Instagram game this weekend, and was approached by a surprising number of “brand managers” who trilled about my content and how I would be perfect for their brands. Of note, this has not been the first time I was approached from my writing, but it has been the first time in years. I was wary but intrigued, so I followed up. Why not come along with me on my micro-influencing adventure?
After sifting through and separating the non-starters, I put together a simple system for you to follow and make it easier to find the sweet wine and leave behind the dregs. Is micro-influencing silly? Probably. Is it fun? Definitely! At least it is for me, and for now…
Red Flags from Brand Managers
- First, check out their profile. Does it have very few posts and followers? If so, hard no.
- Including flattery and emojis is standard in these "cold call" style messages from brand managers; roll your eyes to yourself, agree that you are gorgeous, and continue on if you like. Can’t stand flattery or attention? Influencing may not be for you, so walk away.
- Still intrigued? Inspect the site they are hawking. Is it well organized and compelling? Are there many spelling errors or does it require general localization? Do the items for sale look cheap or as if they’ve been heavily edited? If yes, leave.
- Check reviews for the site. Is it a known scam? Run away.
- Ask yourself if you would be caught dead wearing these items, or reading the books, or using the tools, or whatever they are peddling. If no, say buh-bye. For example, adorable as I am, I’m not about to squeeze myself into tiny shorts, take pictures, and share to the general public.
- If you would wear/read/use the items, consider if you would do so on a regular basis. You will need to model the items, so be honest with yourself. If it’s a no, part company.
- Would you buy these items? You might need to purchase something, or at least pay for shipping. If not, make tracks.
- Reread the brand manager’s message. Do they write clearly, and does everything make sense? You’ll be creating an account with the company to track your referral codes, keep track of your sales, and receive your rewards, so if any of their writing seems sketchy you must confirm what they mean. If you feel uncomfortable, nope out.
Dos and Don’ts for Micro-Influencing
Do recognize this is a type of multi-level marketing (MLM) strategy. Can you reach others? Is this worth your time?
Do stay levelheaded as you will likely not become the next Kim K. However, if you’re in it for the experience or fun (ahem, MOI, ahem) why not continue?
Do be realistic about possible earnings. You may get a single nibble, or you may receive many free items, and you may also receive none.
Do keep a spreadsheet of the companies that have contacted you so you don’t have to backtrack. Time is money, so don’t waste yours!
Do understand that no one needs to know you’ve entered an ambassadorship with a company. You can always share your referral codes privately.
Don't overwhelm (or even worse, bore) your followers with the same content again and again. For example, you love your new dress, and model it well, and share your referral code. But now the dress is out of stock, and the sight of you in a dress they can't have displeases them. Pay attention to your followers, because if you don't, you risk losing them and it could jeopardize your ambassadorships.
Finally, don’t ignore. You can call it karma, but I believe it’s still good manners to reply with a “no thanks” in words, and then you won’t have to receive another message from them again when they “rediscover” you and your always-fabulous content.