Social Media, Marketing

Becoming an Instagram Influencer (Even with a Small Following)

Episode 023: Show Notes

Today on the podcast we get to chat with Lauren Taylor of Letter Magazine (*please note, in the actual podcast, you will hear us refer to it's former name "Trend Magazine") — and she is such a sweetheart! We have known her for almost a year now, and have been following her and everything she does with her magazine. We are absolutely thrilled to see her growth and all of the amazing accomplishments she has had in such a short time. We dive into the super sexy topic of becoming an Instagram influencer. We get a ton of questions about this from many people wanting to incorporate being an influencer into their brands.  

Today on the podcast we get to chat with Lauren Taylor of Letter Magazine (*please note, in the actual podcast, you will hear us refer to it's former name "Trend Magazine") — and she is such a sweetheart! We have known her for almost a year now, and have been following her and everything she does with her magazine. We are absolutely thrilled to see her growth and all of the amazing accomplishments she has had in such a short time. We dive into the super sexy topic of becoming an Instagram influencer. We get a ton of questions about this from many people wanting to incorporate being an influencer into their brands.  |  The Strategy Hour  |  Think Creative Collective

Lauren shares exactly how she has been able to nail down big brands like Aerie and Campbell’s Soup. She breaks down all the steps that she takes in initiating that conversation, how to build that foundation, how she plans out her content calendar and captures the images, plus all of the tips and tricks that she has been using to grow the influencer side of her brand. She even reveals why she does not actually call herself a “social media influencer”, and how that can have a better impact on your brand. So get your notebook out, because there are a lot of action steps in this episode, seriously!

What the Heck is Influencer Marketing Anyways?

Influencer marketing is where you network with other brands through social media platforms. Your ultimate goal is to collaborate with them, whether it is through sponsorships or giveaways, or perhaps product reviews — it is just really all about that networking of collaborations. Working together really creates awareness for your brand and brings you to their audience and vice versa. It also gives you brand names that back you, and ultimately elevates your brand and opens up even more opportunities to work with bigger and bigger companies. People love those strong references, and they love to know that you are serious about this and you have some really great names behind you.

Reaching Out to Collaborate With Other Brands

Lauren’s first collaboration was with Campbell’s Soup, and it simply started with her tagging them in an Instagram picture. This led to a snowball of events and they ended up sending her a thank you campaign box filled with tons of goodies. From there, on Lauren kept tagging other brands in her pictures, using the designated hashtags, until more started to reach out to her for collaborations. The best advice is to always collaborate on something that you are truly passionate about. This helps it feel much more authentic and genuine when you are promoting the products.

Not Calling Yourself An Influencer Can Have A Positive Effect

The term “social influencer” can sometimes become somewhat intimidating in terms of the expectations that it places on the individual. For Lauren, she does not even call herself a social influencer, and instead just states who she’s worked with in the past and that she is always looking for new collaboration opportunities. This allows brands to interpret the outreach in different ways and does not put her into a specific box with labelled expectations. On top of this, not calling yourself an influencer also gives you the opportunity to connect with brands, regardless of whether you have a big following on social media or not.  

Getting Your Friends Involved Can Help You Deliver Authenticity

When it comes to taking beautiful photos and creating a well-curated Instagram feed, Lauren knows just the tricks. She believes that your Instagram feed is just like your wardrobe — you always want to look nice, but you dress in your own unique style. To keep her account authentic and true to her brand, Lauren relies on her friends to take her photographs instead of getting in a full-time professional photographer. She knows that she only needs that one good shot, and she is much more likely to achieve it in her own vision than in a big studio with the whole shebang!

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Communicating Your Deadlines

At a certain points, brands realize that you have a large influence on your following and oftentimes do not even ask before sending you products. So how do you effectively communicate your timelines and possible schedules with them? For Lauren, she believes strongly in deadlines. When dealing with brands, she always asks them to outline their ideal timeline, and the finds a date to agree on when they will receive the post. However, when there is no communication and the products simply show up at her front door, she sends a thank you email, but feels that you do not have to give them a post date or even agree to do it. That way when you do find a spot for it on your calendar, they are grateful either way.

A Person is Better Than A Product

Having a strong personal brand can do wonders for your business. Oftentimes people relate much more easily to a person than a product. For Lauren, she has used her influencer marketing in her personal brand and implemented it for Letter Magazine as well. She has allowed herself to ultimately become the face of the magazine to help it grow and influence a greater audience. Working with an actual person opens up way more opportunities, so Lauren set out to blend the two so that she could have the best of both worlds.  

Learning From The Mistakes Of Others

One of Lauren’s biggest mistakes was doing everything at such a fast pace. This was especially true with her publication. In a day she had an ideal all put together, within a week she had a team, and within a month they launched the magazine, which was insane! However, she feels like if she hadn’t made those crucial mistakes, then she would not have learned how to do many of the things that she is working on today. You do not always have to say yes to every opportunity. There comes a time when you need to allow yourself to pass opportunities up and really assess what is truly worth doing for your brand. You have worked hard at being fearless, especially in the creative community, so do not let the fear of missing out get you in the end.

Highlights

  • Find out what exactly influencer marketing is and how you can use it for you brand. [0:02:38.6]  
  • Learn Lauren’s tips on how to reach out to brands for opportunities to collaborate.  [0:05:48.2]  
  • Understand why not calling yourself a social influencer can have a positive effect on your brand. [0:11:28.6]  
  • Discover why Lauren always asks her friends and loved ones to take her pictures, and how this has kept her feed genuine and authentic to her brand. [0:20:28.2]  
  • Learn how to properly communicate your deadlines with brands to match your schedule and deliver on your promises. [0:23:37.7]   
  • Find out why Lauren believes that a person is better than a product and how she has implemented this strategy with Letter Magazine. [0:25:20.2]
  • Understand how learning from the mistakes of others can give you a winning edge. [0:36:03.7]  

#TalkStrategyToMe [0:40:00.5]

  1. Find out who your audience is.
  2. Figure out the brands you want to work with.
  3. Go to the feeds of those brands and look at the # they use and integrate them in your posts (about 10-20 of various brands).
  4. Send them an email and be genuine. Don't be afraid of the big guy. If you hear no response reach out a week later.