It is that time of year again; the season for change. From November to February the outdoor industry erupts; with contract renewals on the table, the newest and most innovative products hitting showroom floors, and influencers starting to look for new brands & companies looking for new professionals to promote their products. For some this is a welcomed season; new partnerships, new products, exciting opportunities for the year ahead. But for others, it is an uneasy season and not all good change. I have been on both the positive and the negative side of this season over the past several years. I have made mistakes and have learned some valuable lessons along the way when it comes to choosing brands. I am no expert when it comes to influencer marketing but when it comes to choosing brands I follow the big 3.
My simple acronym for choosing the right brands
Chances are if you picked up your phone, scrolled to Instagram and opened your account; you would see thousands, if not tens of thousand of followers watching your every move. They look to your account for your latest adventure, your go-to products, or who you are wearing. (let's be honest we all do this) Your audience follows you for a specific reason, whatever it be, they chose to actively partake in your social life. When choosing a new brand, be conscious of your audience! After all are they the ones you should be taking into consideration; they are the ones who will aid you in spreading the word about what you are promoting and purchase items using your discount code (if you have one). If you choose to partner with a new company, how much will you have to change? Will you be giving up your authentic vibe in exchange for product? Will you lose your authentic value just to post 2-4 times per month for a company?
Value. This may be the single most important item when choosing to partner with a new brand. What value will this bring to you, your business, personal brand, company, etc? Will this product/company add any value to your audience? If the answer is yes; it will enhance my audience's education, awareness, skill set, then go for it! That sounds like the perfect brand to align with. If the answer is no, step back. If this is a one time partnership, or a product for post, or sponsored post, think about the people who look up to you for advice. Does this brand help you gain anything or did you simply say yes to gain free product? Let me pause. I am NOT saying your followers are the only people you should aim to please, but as an influence marketer or a "InstaFamous Celebrity" your focus should be on producing the best, most current content you can provide. Adding value serves your audience in an authentic way, which in turn makes you more successful.
Go Deeper - Not Wider
Who am I kidding, we all love receiving the emails or DM's offering us free products, hunts, gear, etc. You name it, Instagram has now made it possible to sell anything using influencer marketing. Now more than ever, it is crucial to choose brands that deepen your connection to your industry. For instance, if you are fully emerged in the outdoor industry, dig deeper into that! Do not start picking up companies like; Skinny Tea, Vitamin Gummies, or Teeth Whitening Devices. What value does this add? Rather, choose companies that will enhance your outdoor experience, whether that be a new pack or new bow, choose a brand that will build on your well laid foundation, not spread you thin.
Social media marketing is not a race, let me repeat, IT IS NOT A RACE. It is also not a competition! There are 10's of thousands of outdoor companies, clothing companies, footwear companies, you name it, they are using social media influencers to develop their brands. There is enough to go around! And there are brands out there that are suited for different people. You are unique, you bring a different skill set, mind set, and background than the person next to you. Take the time to find companies that fit; both for you and for them. As an influence marketer, it is your job to be the voice for your audience. They have chosen to follow along with your journey for who you are, not who you are wearing or what fly rod you have in your hand. Be authentic! Choose brands that add value, align with your personal values, and brands that build up your foundation.
These are simply my options, my thought process, and what has proven to work for me. It may not work for you and it may not be your style, and that is 100% ok!