Since the dawn of media (Okay, maybe not THAT far back), companies, brands, and organizations have been building content to reach YOU, the consumer.
Since the dawn of SOCIAL media, they have been reaching out to get YOU to build that content and share it FOR them.
It's brilliant, really. We consumers trust strangers' reviews and endorsements over paid advertising, so why not PAY the consumer rather than a billboard? A billboard can reach a set number of people that pass it, for however long they pay to keep it there. Once the money stops, the billboard goes away.
A consumer, on the other hand, can share content to be talked about and shared more. This cycle of sharing is potentially infinite. All this happens in the social media world without a brand/company/organization having to keep the flow of money going.
This is where "sponsors" and you come in, new SM athlete rockstar.
You were reached out to by Company A. They are offering to send you their product for a placement in you page. AWESOME!
And maybe they will even offer you a discount code to give to your followers so that they may try this product. COOL!
AAAAAND you get commission off of that code being redeemed.
This is fairly standard brand-influencer collaboration. This is NOT a sponsorship. Don't fool yourself into believing it is. It can be mutually beneficial, of course. Company A is getting a free or dirt-cheap salesman out of you, especially if offering commission.
But you can certainly benefit. This is the way of advertising now, and it's a pretty awesome change to marketing! The average Joe (or PPAnna) wins free stuff and companies get help with content creation and brand building.
But don't cheat yourself or cheapen your worth. Your social media influence has a monetary value, and companies will try to undercut you. Hard. Know thatmost big companies have a completely separate social marketing budget to work with, so you can nudge them back in your favor, whether that means monetary compensation or more product.
(Don't be greedy. If you have 200 followers you can't ask for cash for wearing a shirt Company A wants to send you. Just take the dang shirt and rep with pride, bruh. Or don't. I don't care.)
Let's be clear:
If a company is NOT even offering free product, only a discount for their product as collaboration for content creation, they are being disrespectful to your brand and suggesting you're pretty much a puppet in their eyes.
I see this especially in OCR. There *may* be a time and place for it, which I'll discuss in my follow-up post to this:
How to pick and choose collaborations as a new fitness influencer.
You need to know:
1. Your worth
2. Your platform's focus and design
3. Company A's wants
If you take Company A's offer, know that your page is a nearly unpaid advertisement to them, which is great if you're new to the game and they are a small/start-up business. If that's not the case, it's time for you to learn how to navigate these offers with grace and clear intention.
Your TIME and Social Platform's SPACE = MONEY.
You get annoyed with friends and family wasting your time. Don't do it to yourself by accepting random crap from random companies you don't really care about. It'll show in your posts and the company benefits from free content creation and endorsement, while you're out that time and potentially credibility with your following.
To successfully collaborate with companies, not "sponsors", it must be mutually beneficial.
- What do I gain from accepting this offer?
- What am I out by accepting this offer?
- Does this align/is this relevant with my personal beliefs and design?
Based on these answers, you'll know if the discount code, free product, and/or commission is worth the work it'll take you to create shareable content for Company A. Don't waste your time if it's not.
While you're painfully waiting for my next blog post, work on cleaning up your social media to make it more appealing! Here's a quick read on the Topo Athletic blog on Building a Personal Brand.