Donna Jackson is an Influencer of The Curious Mummy and founder of Suped Up Social, a digital marketing service for small businesses, startups, and creatives. 

Suped Up Social shows brands how to identify & connect with their audience by using a blend of pr, events, marketing & social media to form a kick-ass digital marketing strategy.

EPISODE NOTES

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Today I am speaking to Donna Jackson, an influencer known as The Curious Mummy, and founder of Suped Up Social – a digital marketing service for small businesses, startups, and creatives. Donna offers a unique perspective on working with influencers, as she is both an influencer herself, and advises businesses on how to work with influencers through her company, Suped Up Social

Today Donna is going to share all her tips about using influencers to help promote your products. This is such a fantastic episode. I think you’re going to learn a lot and there are lots of practical things that you can go away and do.

Listen in to hear Donna share:

  • An introduction to herself and her work (1:37)
  • What influencer marketing is (3:22)
  • Why your brands need to align (6:35)
  • The benefits of working with influencers (10:43)
  • How to find an influencer with the right audience for your product (15:47)
  • The ideal influencer audience size (21:24)
  • The importance of creating authentic content (30:55)
  • Ways you can work with influencers (34:11)
  • How gifting works (39:40)
  • The best ways to find and contact influencers (42:51)
  • What you can expect to pay (46:36)
  • How to build a successful relationship (52:11)
  • Her main piece of advice for working with influencers (54:59)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

Suped Up Social Website

The Curious Mummy website

The Curious Mummy on Instagram

Suped Up Social on Instagram

Suped Up Social on Facebook

The Curious Mummy on Facebook

The Curious Mummy on Twitter

Also mentioned:

Emma Paton

Shell and the Littlies

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Transcript
Vicki Weinberg:

Welcome to the, Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here's your host Vicki Weinberg. Yeah. Today I have something really new and exciting. We're going to be talking about on the podcast. Um, today I am speaking to Donna Jackson who is an influencer known as The Curious Mummy and founder of Suped Up Social a digital marketing service for small businesses, startups and creatives. So, as I mentioned, Donna is an influencer herself and she knows lots and lots about working with influencers. And today she's going to share all her tips about using influencers to help promote your products. This is such a fantastic episode. I think you're going to learn a lot and there's lots of practical things that you can go away and do by the way as well, which I absolutely love. So, um, I'm going to stop talking now and introduce you to Donna. Okay. So hi, Donna. Thank you so much for being here.

Donna Jackson:

Hello. Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be on your podcast.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, thank you so much. Um, I'm really excited to have you here to talk about the topic of influencers. So before we get started, could you tell us all about yourself and who you are please?

Donna Jackson:

Yep. Um, so I'm Donna. I, um, um, so I'm an influencer. I have a blog called The Curious Mummy, which I think has been going for five years. I've stopped counting. Now I've stopped counting. Um, and I, and that blog is centered around family life, uh, with my children and my husband, mainly me and the children. Um, and there's a big element of food and sustainability within the blog. So that's one part of me. And then the other side of me, I, um, I have, um, consultancy, uh, where I support small businesses, startups, and creators with their digital marketing strategies. Um, And with I manage clients, but I also train lots of clients and that business is called Suped Up Social. So I'm a very busy woman, but it's all good. And today I am going to tell you all about influencer marketing and hopefully deliver some really sound advice. Not only from an influencer's point of view, because I think it's really good to understand that, but also from a business point of view. Um, so with, um, the businesses that I work with, we do run influencer marketing strategies. Um, and I think because I come from the other side because I am an influencer and I work on this side, I understand the needs of the business, but I also understand those needs of an influencer. Um, so yeah, that's, that's me in a nutshell. I can talk more about me and how I got here, but, um, I don't think that's why I'm here today.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much. And actually one of many reasons I wanted you on today is because you have you have both sides of spectrum, that you are an influencer that, and you work for influencers. That was one of the reasons I really wanted you on here today. Cause I think you've got a really unique perspective and I'm really excited that you can share it with us. Um, I think a good place to start is could you just explain to us what influencer marketing is just for anyone listening, who hasn't heard the phrase or has heard it but isn't entirely sure what we're talking about.

Donna Jackson:

Okay. So in a nutshell, so it's a part, I would say it's a part of social media marketing that endorses products and services. So you've got person, um, it could be a celebrity. It could be, you know, the lady down the road that you're following because she's got an amazing life and there's lots going on in her life. Um, and that person would, uh, incorporate a product and service. So let's say it's your business, Vicky in their lives and display that on their social profiles on blogs, et cetera. Um, and I'd say that they would represent that product, um, in a way that's authentic. Um, so for instance, uh, one of the things that, um, I do a lot is work with lots of food brands and I don't take food brands that, um, you know, that are not sustainable that don't have that element and angle. Um, so there's lots of things that I won't work with as, as an influencer, but, um, but it's making sure that that brand, um, firstly represents me as an influencer, but secondly, um, I represent them. So I wouldn't want to take on a brand that, you know, doesn't have the brand values of my brand and equally I I'm sure brand wouldn't want to take me on if we didn't have aligned brand. Sorry, I've gone off on a tangent. So I'll do that a lot. So Vicki will need to pull me back.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's right thank you. Because I'm assuming that what we want is for both sides to be representing the product or service in a really positive way.

Donna Jackson:

Yeah, absolutely. That's the, that is the main key. It's like, that's the kind of, there's no secret to it, but that is the secret is making sure that you're picking up a brand or a brand is working with an influencer that, you know, harnesses, um, those brand values. Um, I think. Like a lot of there's lots of ways to find influencers. I know that we will go on to that, but I think it's really, really important to kind of understand your customer. So understanding what your business is about. So you might make, I'm looking at pens, you might make pens and they might be lovely and sustainable and made from sustainable products, et cetera. Um, You know, and I know that you, as a business owner are going to target people that, you know, that really encourage those values of a brand. They're buying it because they want to be more sustainable to the planet to the planet. It keep talking about sustainability, but it's just an example. Um, and I will say that a reason, um, you know, you would want to work with an influencer that, you know, maybe using pens in their life, let's say they've got small children. Um, you know, then they might be a brand. That's doing lots of activities with that tool there with their children. Um, but they might have a lovely, sustainable angle within their, um, within their brand. Their followers may be coming into them because of those reasons. So you would always want to partner with, with a person that really does represent what your customer is about and what, um, you know, kind of what your brand is about. Um, so I'd say that's probably a quite a key thing. Um, when you are beginning to look at influencer marketing for your brand,

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that totally makes sense. Thank you. Because I think one key thing I've picked up from what you've said is it is a partnership. So it has to work for, for both parties. So there's, you know, you might think your product's amazing and I'm sure your product is amazing and you know, it would be great to have this person use it cause it's such a good product but if it doesn't fit in with their lifestyle or their ethos or. Well, who, who they are then actually, it's just not a good fit is it.

Donna Jackson:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And if they're not, if they don't readily talk about a specific value that you talk about a lot within your brand, it's going to feel foreign to that audience and they won't expect it. So, um, you know, if there's some Mother Pukka, for instance, she's very much about, um, she is an influencer, but obviously there's a bigger dimension to her and there's lots about, um, you know, flexibility working. So, you know, a brand. Oh, I don't know a bike brand, for example, you know, may be the wrong fit for her because, you know, why would she start promoting anything to do with a bike? When all she talks about is flexibility in the workplace, unless she features her children on her brand and her blog. And yeah, then maybe that would work. But I think, I think it's really important to, if you found an influencer that you want to work with, look at what they're doing on a daily basis, you know, check out their stories, check out content they're making for their grid. I mean, I'm talking about Instagram, but they might be, um, you know, more, um, around in there, on their website. So check out what they're doing on a day-to-day basis and see if you fit, you know, that brand in any way with your consumers, does that person represent, you know, your consumers? Cause that's another way of looking at it. Um, somebody that would maybe come to me would probably be, um, uh, targeting, uh, females, um, you know, 35 to 45 I'm in that age bracket now sadly. Um, and they would, you know, maybe with children and I've got small, small, young children's for would probably be right. Somebody that. You know, similar sort of, um, demo to me, I live in London. So it could be that they're more London centric a London centric brand, right? I mean, these are all sorts of small things, but they're actually quite big things because a lot of my following on The Curious Mummy are London based. So it's really important to kind of look at those demographics, I think, but then also look at, you know, who's following me and I know a lot of the followers that are following me are similar to me. So I, um, I put something out on my stories today for one of my clients. Um, and she's a sleep consultant. She's absolutely lovely. Um, and she, and we did this reel about, um, uh, about baby sleep cries. Anyway, I put it out on my stories. Um, just because I know that there are some younger parents that are following me and she's already had loads of people go over and check out her reel, which I'm so, so happy about. But I think it's because, um, you know, the brand, her brand is very similar to people that are following my brands. So if my children were a little bit older, That reel would probably be completely redundant on my page and wouldn't work. And then I wouldn't be doing that person at any justice. So, um, yeah, sorry to go into those intricacies, but I think it's quite important to think about different layers of that person, because I think with a lot of brands there, you know, if you are working with an influencer with, you're paying them with your gifting, when you're gifting and paying, however, whatever the arrangement might be. I think, you know, you've got to remember that you're putting out something that person's going to represent your brand. You are physically using some of your budget to get that person, to get people into your brand. So it really has to make sure it's right. And I think a little bit of research is, is one of the big things that needs to be done, um, with lots of brands that work with influences, um, particularly small brands that work with influencers because you know, budgets in the first couple of years are very, very limited.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you for that. I have so many questions about finding influencers. Um, but I'm going to hold off for now because the next one, I just want us to cover. Cause I think it's important, particularly as it does seem like finding influencers is possibly more complex than it might look on the surface. Um, so what would be good to have an understanding of now is it's sort of why, why is working with influencers a good way to promote your products? Because it does sound like it can be hardwork. I don't think it's just going to be, you're not going to tell us just to send a couple of emails. Hope for the best. Um, there, is going to be obviously a lot of thought and research and work that goes into it. So why should we think about doing that? What the benefits are for us as products, business?

Donna Jackson:

Right. Okay. So I've made a list because I was thinking about this, the why there, there are loads of why why you should. Um, and I think if you can re if you can think about these, which I'm going to start talking to you about, I think it will then give you the understanding the framework, right ok, I am sure that I want to invest part of my marketing budget or part of my money for the year. On working with influencers. So, um, one of the things is working with an influencer will give you, um, a bigger reach. So you are going to reach their audience. Um, if they do a Sterling job and you've got a continued relationships, you might have worked on a paid influencer campaign with them. But they absolutely love you nurture this relationship. You may find that they will use your product and feature it without payment in the future. And that's where the authentic thing comes in. So just bear in mind that it gives you huge exposure to bigger audiences. And if you kind of get into bed with them, I hate that phrase. But if you do. You're going to find that they're going to want to champion and support your brands, um, you know, for everything. So it might be that you can one paid project that you can't afford anymore. Um, but you want to work with them in the future, then it definitely worth you know, just trying to build that relationship but just remember they can give you a bigger audience give you a bigger reach. Also. working with an influencer can build can give you social proof. So let's say you've just started your product business and, um, you know, not, you've not had many customers and they've, you know, therefore haven't got many reviews or you haven't had much social proof online that people are using your product, um, using an influencer to do that job it's going to be great. And then you can obviously repost that piece of content time and time again, because I think people now they've got the mentality of, they might check out a Google review or an Amazon review on a certain product, but actually nine times out of 10, they go into social media pages to get that social proof. So, um, lots of females, generally of a certain age group, generally go to Instagram to have a look. Um, I know that. You know, for instance, I'm looking at Hush today and I wanted to get a dress, but I wanted to make sure it was, it was nice. So I was checking out how it looked on other women. Um, so that I think is really, really important. It will build nice, a nice level of loyalty and trust for your brand. So it was a really big, a reason why you could consider using influencer marketing. Um, also, uh, if you've got the right influencer, um, you're going to grow a nice social following. So, um, Uh, I'm just gonna reel off names. Sohope you don't mind, but, um, Emma Paton, who is, um, a fashion influencer. She, you know, she posts daily and then lots of outfits, et cetera. But I know that lots of, um, like fashion brands will go to work with her and they do get a really, really good, um, um, you know, following, they will pick up new followers off the back of that. So, um, and she's very good at promoting people and, and I think that's key that. Um, it will, it can, if you're using the right person will help you grow your social following. If you use the wrong person and you pick up one or two, uh, followers from it, it means it might mean that they weren't right. The influencer wasn't right. Or the campaign or the product wasn't right. So, um, there's lots of things to think about there, but, um, it can grow your social media. Um, also it can increase traffic to your website. That's ultimately what you're using social media for is to kind of drive traffic for people to make that purchase. So, um, you know, use it for that. Get people to click on links in bio's or swipe ups to get people to, to your website. Um, also another, another big thing about influence marketing it talks directly to your audience. So, um, for years and years and years, there was no sort of direct way of speaking to the audience unless she was spending thousands of pounds on, you know, radio TV, all the above the line stuff. But now we don't have that problem because we've got influences which are far cheaper um, To work with, to speak directly to your audience. So if you've got a brand that you've just launched and there's lots to, um, you know, you kind of want to say all this stuff, you can do it through an influencer. And then ultimately the main thing is to drive sales. So working with an influencer that is if you've got it right, it's going to help you drive sales.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you thank you so much for that. Um, let's talk a little bit now about how to find out which influencers you could or should be working with because, um, basically everything you said so far away, and I picked up on a few things. I think one is it would be good to talk about is the influencers audience, because there's a little chat before we started recording and this is something that I think, um, people could easily fall into the trap of is thinking, well, this person would be a great person to use my products, but it might be the people following that person. Aren't going to be the people that would buy your products. In which case, the influencer may love your products and email might be really nice for them to use it and they might genuinely like it but actually it possibly, isn't going to get you sales or website views or social media following or anything like that. And then I guess the other thing is, is how much do you need to think about and, sorry, I'm asking you so many questions. Donna is how much do you to think about where people are? I mean, should we just be looking on Instagram for influencers], for example, or are they in other places I don't know.

Donna Jackson:

Yeah. So I think, I think the big thing that we should actually answers both your questions is how well do you know your, your audience? Um, like I, when I work with all my clients or if I work with people that we are training, I always, the big question we worked through is, um, you know, how well do you know your audience? And I'm not talking about Oh right, this person. 39. She's got two kids. Um, she's got a dog. She lives in south London. This is part me part not. I'm not 39, a lot older. Um, but I think, well, I think what is quite important is to understand where your influencer is hanging out. Most people are online, uh, for a large part of the day. So where are they going online? Are they going to the BBC website? Are they going to, uh, I don't know, are they going on Instagram? Do I spend most of the time on that? Are they on Twitter? Um, you know, where are they going? In some ways you will get them, you know, dependent on your understanding of that person. And also it's the time of the day. So, um, let's just go back to the sleep consultant I work for. Well, we post a lot of her content out based on sleep schedules. So children have an algorithm, uh, a circadian rhythm, which is very similar to Instagram's algorithm completely mind blowing. Um, but we know that when we put content out at say 8 30, 9 o'clock in the morning, nine times out of 10 babies sleeping at that time, and mothers are getting their coffee and they're maybe wasting a bit of time on Instagram. So we know that's when we should be posting content. And also it's the content where they've had a terrible night's sleep. They either want to see some remedy or some idea of how to fix getting a better night's sleep. So it's always looking at what that content might be. So I'm going off a slight tangent. So I'm going to go back to your question. So what I'm trying to get to is, is you have to understand your audience, but I mean, I would, you know, create, um, like a documentation on who that audience is get a Pinterest board look at who they are, what they look like, are they married are they not really break down where they are and their patterns throughout the day. And I think sometimes it's nice to base it on somebody, you know, who you're targeting and then you go through that, that level. Then I think then you can then understand who that is and what they're really interested in. So, um, you know, you might, let's go back to the pen example. They might be interested in sustainable pens. Um, then even if there is one, but there is for this example, so they might be interested in a sustainable pen. Um, and then you'd look at all their kind of values on top. So, you know, they're probably going to be looking or following influencers that, um, you know, are experts in that or talk about it. That offer really good tips for, you know, a family, uh, for the lady 39. It lives in south London. So, you know, the mother that lives in south London. So, um, yeah, I think you really have to get under the skin of your audience in order to then work out who are, who you want to work with in terms of influencer. And then finding those influencers, I think are really, um, good ways looking at your current if you want Instagram, for example, look at who's following you and you might have 400 followers. Probably a small percentage of those followers will be influencers. Um, and if that is the case, brilliant, you've got somebody that firstly believes in your product and is following you for a reason. It might be simply because they like your brand, or it could be that in time they'd like to work with you or they do just want to work with you. Um, and I would look at that influencer. If, if someone, you, one thing, okay, she's following me or he's following me. I quite like them. Have a look and see if, you know, they represent what your brand's about. Is there a way that you can create a really good meaningful campaign? Um, and you know, what's the longevity of that. So I think, yeah, I think the big thing, um, to answer your question is just to get under the skin of your, of your audience and find out who they're following. It might be that you pick your, your audience and you look at your following and you go, right. Okay. There are commonly there's a certain age demo women and I think, and a lot of them are following. Um, I kept following lots of the similar influencers. Then you've almost found your pool of influencers that you could possibly work with as a kind of starting point. Um, and then I'm sure, and there is lots of ways. I mean, we can talk about it now if you'd like, but there's lots of ways then you can then work with influencers. But I think ultimately, um, once you've kind of worked out what your audience wants and who they're looking at and what their behaviors are, then I think its fairly straightforward and quite easy then to face. It really is research-based, but it's then easy then for you to go off and then find an influencer that would then best represent your brand and your audience.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you. Um, and I would like to talk about different ways you can work with them, but before we do that, um, and this might be really basic questions Donna, but what sort of, is there an ideal audience size for an influencer? I mean, what I mean is, um, you know, do they need to have a certain number of followers? Is it in your opinion, in your opinion, easier to. Um, get influencers on board. If they've got a smaller audience, does it not really matter?

Donna Jackson:

I think to be honest. Um, so in terms of influencers, I think in terms of the size of, the influencers there are many different sizes of influencers. And I think, um, I think what we have to bear in mind is that those influencers that under 10 K they are, um, they're working really hard to get over to that 10 K on Instagram, because then it gives you the swipe up and just bear in mind if Instagram are talking about giving everybody access to that swipe up function. Um, so it might be that over time that that completely goes away. But I think what is important for lots of influencers is that they want to have and want to be in those double figures because cause they want to be seen as experts or someone credible, et cetera. And also it gives them the opportunity to work with brands. So. I think working with a smaller influencer is brilliant because they've got a fantastically engaged audience. They'll probably be posting every single day. And they're working really, really hard to refine their audience. Um, and also if you kind of get an influencer in those first couple of years, what you'll tend to find is that they're more open to working on campaigns. Um, you might find that they want to work for a lot lower fee because they understand that they haven't got as many followers. Um, Also, um, you're going to get some fantastic content from them and you can maybe steer them in a really nice, gentle way as to kind of what you want out the partnership. Um, I would say working with small influencers are brilliant. I think, well, uh, And also if they're on the up and they're climbing quite quickly, um, and they're kind of, you you've gotten from the early stages, you know, you'll have that continued relationship with them for many, many years to come. Um, so I definitely think it's worth doing, and also it's very easy to start conversations. with. Um, those smaller influencers, because you know, they are so keen to create that online presence, um, not just on Instagram, but just everywhere. And they want their pictures to be seen on your website and on your news feeds. Um, so I think you'll get a lot of value out of a smaller influencer um, with influencers that are over that 10 K I think the mentality is exactly the same. They are, you know, now they can command a, you know, decent fee. Um, but at that same point, they're not really sure what they should be asking for. So again, They have that same mentality because they've kind of got to the 10 K, but they're still growing and they've still got that hunger to develop really good content and align themselves with really amazing brands. So I think it's really, really important to kind of look at them. Um, I think what's important is to look at, you know, if that brand rep of that influencers best represent your brand, um, But I think in terms of the size, I think it really depends on how engaged that following is. So you might have an influencer that, um, you know, she's got 30,000 followers, but she's not getting much interaction. Therefore she's probably not reaching as many accounts. Um, and, and I would say she might not be the right person to work with. Um, so I think when you're, when you're going through your checklist and you've found your influencer look at their recent posts, um, that's a good start to see if their language is similar to yours. Also look at, um, I wouldn't always look at the likes because Instagram have given people the option to hide the likes, but look and see if there's lots of comments made in the comments. How people interacting with her, um, with her posts, uh, for whatever reason, and if it's a slightly controversial post or if it's something that delivers a level of value, let's say it's a tip, for example um, see what people's reactions are to that? Um, you know, she's getting one or two comments, then I would probably consider not working with her at that time until she's maybe worked out where she is and what she's trying to develop. And there might be other people that, um, that, that represent in a, you know, represent you in a better way and give you much more exposure to your brand. Um, but yeah, I would say. Don't look at the numbers. Don't look at the followers. Um, just look at their activity, look how active they are. If they're reposting lots of stuff. If they're, you know, if their page doesn't look very inviting, um, maybe think about using them in the future. But if you want someone super, super good, that's going to deliver. Don't look at how big their following is, unless you need that swipe up to get people over to your website. Um, but remember the, one of the reasons why you're working with influences is to deliver that social proof, um, which is what I was talking about in terms of giving people trust and loyalty to your brand. Um, so definitely consider like how they have a look and see how they do ads. Um, and if you can't see many ads on their page, just see where they're tagged into. And that that's a good idea and a good reference point to see like the ads they're doing and how they work with them. With other brands. Um, there's one more thing, actually I hope you don't mind me adding, um, if you are looking for influencers and, um, you looking in their tagged, so on Instagram, you've got, um, just under the highlights. These are these little, um, images and one of them is the grid. The next one is reels, one is IGTV. Uh, the other ones, uh, what is it? Um, I forgot what it's called now. It's, um, something where you can order all your pictures and stuff. Oh, I can't remember. Cool. And then the last one is tag, so it looks like a little tag. And if you go into that, then you can see where they're being tagged into things. Um, and you can see there've been, you know, if a brand has reshared their contents, you can kind of see almost what the competition are doing and who they're working with, which I think is sort of quite valuable. And people forget that because it's a really good way of kind of seeing their activity, not only on their grid page and on their stories, but also, you know, what else they're interacting with, um, on other pages.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's such good advice thank you. And I guess, presumably as well, you could look at products similar to yours and see what, what they've been tagged in to get an idea of who they've been working with as well.

Donna Jackson:

Yeah, absolutely. It's a really good one. Um, and you'll notice that lots of bigger brands like the fashion brands and, you know, the household brands they are tagged into so much content and the bigger they are, the more people tagging them because they want that they want to be featured on their pages. So, yeah, it's a really, really good one to see. And it's a great way of finding influencers as well. If you look at a comp a competitive brand, you can see a lot of the, some of them will say ad on them. If they're being good and they're following the guidelines. And, but those that genuinely bought the product and have tagged that person into it. There's a good chance if they're not an employee, if they are an influencer that they are open to collaboration and working. So you could find people, um, quite easily that way.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, that's really interesting. Thank you for all of that. And I really liked your advice about you spending some time online, looking something I've noticed. Actually, some, sometimes I look at influencers and I see that their day-to-day posts do really well, but then they'll do an ad and the ads gets really little engagement compared to everything else on their grid, which I've always found really interesting.

Donna Jackson:

Yeah, I think, I, I think people just don't like being sold to and that essentially is what it is. So they might not, you know, support. They, they probably do support the ads, but they don't want to like it for whatever reason. And that's that's okay. And, but it is heartbreaking for the brand because they see the really great likes and really great interactions and all of a sudden it just goes down. Um, but I think if you look at the reach, if you go into the insights and looking at that ad and see reach, That will give you a good indication of how many people from that person's feed has seen that. So it is, it is good. And it's worthwhile, you know, kind of just bearing that in mind, but I know what you mean it's horrible. When you see that they've had like really high. Um, engagement and likes and whatnot, and then it goes down. But I think people just get turned off because it is an ad. And I think both you and I know that if you're scrolling through Instagram and you see an ad, you kind of know that it's not being, uh, you know, that person would have been guided ever so slightly into coming up with that copy or the image. But, um, I think that brings me quite nicely onto being authentic. I think it's really important. If you are working with, uh, with a, uh, influencer that they can produce authentic content. And, you know, after a while, what you will notice is that they will create a piece of content for a brand and, um, they'll get just as good or slightly lower, but generally speaking, fairly good to engagement, and that's kind of what you want. And you want that influencer, whoever you work with to not feel very false and, you know, Kind of work out from them. If it's something that would feature in their life. Um, I do lots of cooking, uh, on my page and I always, you know, there was a brand I was, I was going to work with, but there was things that weren't quite right for me and I knew that I couldn't produce authentic content for them. So I said, no, I'm sorry. I can't do it. Um, which was really hard because you know, it was great and I'd never want to turn, um, work down, but. I think it has to be authentic. And I think you have to say, I think you have to kind of go ask yourself whether or not that person can produce that authentic content, whether they would use it, that product or service in their lives on a daily basis. And I think those two things will then give you your answer as to not whether or not you work with that brand or that influencer

Vicki Weinberg:

thank you. And actually, that's one of the things I wondered when I saw some of those posts. I did wonder if it was like it wasn't quite a F if the audience found that a bit, not quite a good fit. Cause I have to be honest, when you see someone who does influencer marketing really well. So for example, um, I can include you in this Donna. Sometimes I'll look at somebody's feed, I'll be reading a post and it I'd actually don't I don't instantly realize that it's an ads. I mean, it probably says it does. I know that you do have to highlight that, that the ads, but it doesn't feel like an ad because it feels genuine. And I think that's the difference where sometimes you might see an ad and it, it sticks out like an ad. They don't even need to tell you. Quite obvious. So I just wondered if that's what it was about, whether you know, how well it's actually done.

Donna Jackson:

Yeah. I think an influencer that does it, I think very, very well is, um, Shell and the Littlies. Um, so she's fantastic influencer. Uh, and um, if you look at her page, um, it does feel like you're walking into some dreamy, California in sunset and she's based in Cornwall, I think, but she just uses it. Like, it feels like whatever she's promoting on her page, it feels like that's actually what they're doing in real life. And I'm fairly certain Shell does use those products that she promotes in real life. And that's great for her, but she's a, she's actually a brilliant one. Like if you wanted to work with anybody, she's a fantastic one. I think she's got an agent, but she also works on her own because she knows that she doesn't need to be governed or guided by an agent. She can actually produce nice content without. Um, without that and work with brands really nicely. I've worked with her on one of the companies that I worked with on an events company, and we supply her with lots of party things for her son's birthday, and it was just done so beautifully. I would have paid a lot of money, you know, to get a photographer it, and I'll deal with that, but we didn't need to, because we know that she produces fantastic content. Um, yeah, it was done really, really well. So yeah, I don't mean to name, drop these people, but they're really good examples of people that do influencer marketing particularly well. Um, so if you're looking for people yeah. That's they, these two Emma and, um, Shell are really great ones to, look out for, and they work with small brands, which I think a Testament to, you know, them looking at their product as opposed to looking at a big brand, like The White Company, for example, or someone like that. Who's got huge budgets and can afford to pick whoever they want. So they, they genuinely choose people that are, I guess, aligned with their brand, but also, uh, produce things that they would probably use in their daily life.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, and I suppose it was something else you can look at when you're researching influencers. You can look at whether they've worked with small brands before and that, I guess that'll give you an idea of whether they might be open to it.

Donna Jackson:

Yeah, absolutely. Sure.

Vicki Weinberg:

So what, some of the ways that you can work with influencers?

Donna Jackson:

Um, gosh, there's lots of ways you can work with influencers. Um, I would say, um, if you're a small brand and you don't have that budget, gifting is probably the first way that you would begin looking and working with an influencer. Um, you can do sponsored posts. So you pay an influencer, um, a fee, an agreed fee between you and them. Um, you gift them the product. Um, you would, um, you probably would say, look, I, um, I'm going to give you a creative steer so you may say .To them, I'd like, it shot in really light, good lighting. Um, my brand values are this, and I'd like you to mention at. Least couple of them in the copy. Um, you might say that you'd want a reel .Or you might want a static posts. So, um, with sponsored content where you're paying somebody. Um, you can either say. Look, I want you to be authentic as you like, go for it and do whatever you like that if you want some styled content. Um, I think you've also got the, you know, you can definitely say I want it styled in this way, but I think if you are, if you've got lots of demands and you're asking people to do X, Y, and Z, then be prepared to maybe consider paying a little bit more. Um, for doing that, it's not always the case, but I would say just, um, just note that, um, you could also do giveaways, but, um, Instagram, um, have not frowned upon giveaways, but there's some legislation now in place. Um, so just be careful when you do them. There's been lots of talk on Instagram and I've seen it happen to influencers and brands where Instagram. Uh, sorry, a giveaway has been run and then a horrible cowboy account will come and close that not closing. They were cloning that account. So they'll copy that account. And then they'll contact everybody that's taken part and in that giveaway to try and get information out of them. So, uh, and then when that's been reported to Instagram, Instagram, and then close the two accounts that have run the giveaway. So what I would say is if you're going to run a giveaway, just be super careful. Don't use hashtags that say giveaway, contest, anything like that, because you're going to attract those horrible people that are out there on Instagram. Um, but it giveaways are a brilliant way to also grow, um, and a great way to start a partnership with, um, an influencer. Um, you can do blog reviews with influencers. Um, so you've got some content on your site and obviously that will then give you back links. If you add all the website links, um, you can also do affiliate programs where you give them the product, and then every time they featured it on their stories, or if they feature it and people click on the link and it takes a back to the website, then they earn a percentage. Um, there are some influencers that do this quite a lot. Um, you'll notice that lots of fashion influencers generally do this right. Yeah, lots of them, lots of them do it. Um, but there are influencers like me, um, who wouldn't touch affiliate marketing, um, programs, because sometimes brands want you to create lovely pieces of content and it's quite time consuming then you post and then you might only earn a pound from the sale, which is not really a great incentive. So if you do affiliate programs, think about what that incentive could be. Um, you can also, if you're working with influencers, you can ask them. Supply discounts. So if you've had somebody that posts something of yours, um, you know, in the past you might say, um, thank you for sharing that um, I'm going to give you a discount and your followerse as a discount. So if he wants to repost that or put it in your stories, um, here's a discount code. If they've got a swipe up functions that people can swipe up to your websites, a brilliant way to get them there. Um, Oh, so you might want to run, um, ambassador programs too you might put a little post now on Instagram to say I'm looking to, uh, take a group of, uh, parents on or influencers or whatever. However you want to frame that. Um, you choose the best. That you think fits your brand at that particular point in time, gift them whatever it is. Um, and then I think generally what people do is they do a cycle of sending them, uh, products, um, during certain periods and then getting people again and then getting them to promote it on their platforms. So ambassador programs are very good. Um, and it's a great way of developing a relationship. So essentially it's gifting, but it's gifting with a long-term sort of strategy behind it. Um, and then the other thing is paid social access. So you might work with an influencer. Might have worked with them last year. And, um, you might want to go into your Facebook ads and then, um, have gain a paid social access through their fees to then promote old, um, posts of theirs that obviously feature your product. So that's a really good way of reaching, um, you know, their audiences, not only on. Instagram, but also on Facebook, I could talk about this for a long time, but I'm not going to pay social access is a really good one. Um, and I think more and more brands are starting to use it, but with any kind of ads they're costly and they do take time. Um, and if you are a small brand, it might not be where you want to put your investment straight away, unless you've got a product that you're promoting that you're, that you've created, in mass. Um, but you need to kind of churn out and get sold really quickly then Facebook ads and paid social access is a really great way to do that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you. So I guess, especially for small brands or small budgets, so influencers might not always expect to be paid. Is that right? Right. But if you're gifting them products, um, do they have to use them? I mean, do you gift them on the basis that they're going to talk about them or do you gift them and hope for the best?

Donna Jackson:

So it's really, it's tricky. Um, I think when you gifts, I mean, essentially that is giving the money because you've given them something. Um, but I think. The influencer and the brand both need to be clear about what that gifting means. So if a brand has gifted a product to somebody, they should say we're really keen to see it or on your feeds or whatever, or you can say to them, I'm sending this to you. I'd love you to try it. Let me know. Let me and let your followers know what your thoughts are. And the, and the thing with that is you don't have any creative control over that. Um, and it might be that they just put one story up and then that's it. It's gone. So I think the way around, you know, getting satisfaction on both sides is to outline exactly why you're gifting that to them. And, you know, if you'd hope to see that in the future, I think a way to make gifting work for you, um, is to really get under the skin of that influencer so so, um, comment on their comment on their posts, um, drop her little DM into their DMS when they put a story up, um, you know, did that start developing a, nurturing a relationship with them? And then what you'll find is regardless of whether or not they use your products on a daily basis, you will find that they will do a lovely job and they will, um, you know, post content for you, whether that's an obvious post where, you know, they've said that I've been gifted this, or they might just feature a picture of them with your product. Um, which I think is lovely then, because then it feels more authentic and then you'll find that people then are more likely to click into it. Yeah. You know, it's coming from us or a non ad space, it's coming from a very genuine place. Um, but I think the key with gifting is, is just to make it clear, but not in a, not in a kind of ballsy way just say, look, you know, we have this relationship. I absolutely love you. Um, I really want to work with you in the future. I don't have any budget right now. Um, but I'd love to gift you some of my products. Um, you know, if you're happy, if you don't mind be lovely to see them on your feed and then I'd be happy to repost them. So give them reasons why you're going to you want that on their feed. You know, firstly, you want to get to their followers B we wouldn't say that. But what you would say is that I genuinely would, um, you know, I will repost that and tell them where you're going to put it. You might put it on Twitter where they haven't got a following, but they're trying to grow it over there. You might put it on your website. So you know, that for them is great because they want that exposure. They want to be seen everywhere because they're grabbing and it doesn't matter if they've got 10 followers or 10,000 or a hundred thousand followers. Um, they still want that social proof for themselves. So social proof works, I think in both ways. Um, but I think developing a relationship first before you kind of go in and gift is probably the best way to get the best out of gifting.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you. And do you have any other advice on contacting influencers and how you know, how to, how to do it? Well, because I guess you're going to get one shot really do. Yeah.

Donna Jackson:

Um, I think, yes, you probably. Yes and no. I think, I think the best first and foremost, the right way to do it is to develop a relationship with them. Um, you know, engage in their posts, make, make sure you're regularly attending their posts. So if they're posting. You know, every morning, like comment every day, just do it um, and then sooner or later that person will start looking at your stuff. You might find that stuff bothering you, which is brilliant. Um, but show up to their, their, their channels all the time. Just be regular. Um, take your time out to get to know, you know, they might be talking about something that's going on in their life. You might want to offer some advice, but the idea is that you're building a relationship with them first and foremost. Um, I think other ways that you can look for influencers is to kind of look at your current following. I know I mentioned this before, but look at who they're following. Um, there's a dropdown actually, if you go on to Instagram onto your onto that influencers bio um, you will see that there's some contact buttons. So quite likely there's a follow button. There's an email, um, can't think what else there'd be, but there there's, there's a kind of line of buttons on the lot at the end of the line of buttons on the right hand side, there's a little arrow and it's a dropdown. So if you click on that, Instagram will give you a suggested following. And what you'll find is based on your algorithm. So yoru behaviour who you're looking at, what you're interacting with and their algorithm with them, the follower that you're looking at, they're going to suggest people. Um, you know, someone that you're likely to engage with. So it could be that they suggest a load of new influencers that you can then potentially go and work with. And I think people forget that that option is there. And it's a really great way of finding, you know, new followers, but ultimately for you to find, um, influencers that you're going to work with. So it's a really good look at the suggested for you. Um, I know we talked about this, but also to find influencers, look at the competition, look at who they've worked with before. Look at that tagged button. Um, and then, you know, don't be afraid to advertise for influencers. You might want to say publicly or gonna start the campaign and you want to work with some amazing influencers and parent influencers or whatever they are. Um, and just be transparent about that. Some people that are, you know, desperate to work with you, you're going to get some people that, oh, actually I'm not right to work with you, but you know, Joe blogs is so consider that. And then if you are in touch with influencers and you've started building relationships with one or two. And they might not necessarily be the right people for your campaign, um, or they might be, but you need more, um, ask them, say, oh, is there any other influencers that you'd recommend that perhaps I could work with in the future? And you know, generally speaking, everyone is on here to help each other. So you'll find that they'll say, you know, they're going to suggest all their friends, which is great, because if that is the case and you work with five influencers and they've all attached to this one influencer, you get that lovely butterfly effect. And quite often, People are following the same group of people. And, um, you know, if they see that product being used, um, within this group group of people, um, you know, it will be kind of ingrained in the mind and then they only need to see it one more place or need to be following you. And then it pops up in their feed and then, you know, you're on your way to a sale. Um, so yeah, I would say they're probably the right way to find influencers.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you. And in terms of paying influencers, how do you know what to pay? I mean, or do you offer, or do you ask, how would you suggest going about this? Because I wouldn't personally, I wouldn't have a clue how much I should be paying somebody to use my products assuming I was, um, you know, had a budget and I was happy to pay. Um, do you just ask, how do you do that?

Donna Jackson:

Well, you know, it's no one talks about it. It's just influencers don't talk about it from each other. Brian and I talk about it. Um, so it's a really tricky one, but I know when I've worked with influencers, um, we are, because obviously I've been on the other side, there's lots of influence in apps out there, which pay influencers to, you know, run campaigns. And, um, you know, they charge, I think it's like 1% of the following. So if I've got 17,000 followers, they would offer me, you know, 170 quid. Um, and I know as an influencer, that is, you know, it's okay. It's not the best money because. Know, quite often, if you're creating a piece of content, paid content for a brand, you know, you're working to their brief, um, you'll create, you know, I spent, I spent quite often my whole weekends filming content. Um, so that's like two days work, I would say. Like I charge a bit more than 170, but, um, I would say, maybe look at what there, I think looking at what the, you know, how many followers they've got as if it's your first sort of guidelines. So let's say they've got 1000, 200 followers, maybe offer them 120 quid, um, or, or for half that, and then see what comes in. And I think also remember a lot of this is negotiation. So it is business, a lot of it is business, and we should think of it like that. Um, what quite often, when I work as an influencer for, uh, for brands, they say, I've got a budget. Um, can you send me your fees? And some influencers, professional ones, I guess like me, they've been doing it for a long time. I've got a rate card. Um, but there are some influencers that don't have that. And generally they're the ones that have just started out and they've only been doing it. A couple of years. So, um, I would maybe suggest what you feel like the, the campaign is worth and you think it's, you've only got 70 quid or a hundred quid or whatever, offer that to them and see what they say. And, you know, if you're gifting them product, you know, the package could ultimately be worth a lot more. But I think if you've got an influencer, that's doing it full time. Remember that, you know, it's their time. It's, it could be that they've got childcare to do that. They've, you know, to, to work on your thing. It could be that, you know, they're running it through. Um, they've been doing it for a few years. Of course it's their business. Therefore it goes through taxes. It might be VAT. There's all the things that you would have for your business. So I think just bear in mind that, um, You know, maybe sort of determined the value in your head, look at your budgets. Um, use that kind of 1% thing that I mentioned, because that's quite a good starting point and lots of smaller brands do use that. And I've noticed that, um, and that's a good way of kind of, you know, saying, oh, if you don't have it just be open and say, look like don't have huge budgets. We're a small business and we're growing, and this is what we hope to do in the future. Um, and this is what we've got and just, yeah, I think you should just kind of go in what you, you feel like you're going to get out of it and look at what they've done in the past. And you know, if they're producing beautiful pictures and lovely videos that you think that's valuable content, then we'll most definitely pay you think you should do. But yeah, I don't think there's an answer for that at the moment. Cause it's, you know, it's slightly unregulated in terms of. Um, fees, but yeah, I think, um, yeah, go with that 1% thing that I mentioned.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good advice. Thank you. Because like I said, I wouldn't have a clue and I'm assuming as well, there's no harm in saying to somebody, look, I've only got small budget what could you do for this? If I gave you X, what, what could you do for that? And like you say, have a conversation and make it a discussion.

Donna Jackson:

Yeah. And I think that's where the, you know, I talk a lot about relationship building that relationship with somebody, you know, you might find that they'll do it for free. Because you've built that relationship with them and they adore your brand and they want to help you cause you're small. Um, and you know, in the future you might be able to offer them, um, some payment and that would be great. They'd be delighted. I'm sure. Even if it was 50 pounds, they would be, you know, over the moon with it because they would have. Because they know you and they feel they truat you and you trust them, you know, over time, all these things. Yeah. I think lots of brands can, can gift without paying. Um, but I think if you're looking for specific content, that's going to take them a whole weekend to do. I think you have to bear in mind that, that their time and, you know, Or an editing tool and they might put a laptop, especially. So people go, you have influencers, we'll do it for free, but you know, yeah. They might be doing it for free whilst they're just learning and they're starting out, but remember, they're still paying for things. They still want children to feed and mortgages to pay and all of these things. So there will come a time where they'll say, no, I can't do it for free. Um, and then I think you have to work out what the value of that content is to them and to you. And then you work out what you want

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good. Thank you. It definitely sounds like it needs to be a discussion and just recognizing that each other is human and has other needs and limited time and limited everything we all have don't we. Um, but that leads me on really nicely to my very last question, which is, um, about relationships. And what's your advice about how to build a successful relationship with influencers? Because presumably this could be a one off thing, but actually it could be a relationship that lasts for years potentially. Um, so how do we get started in the right way and then continue to just nurture that relationship.

Donna Jackson:

I think find your influencer find someone that you like, um, remember that they're probably, you know, they probably got lots and lots of people that contact them on a regular basis. So I think come at, come at it in a very authentic way. Um, you can either be completely honest. Well, I want to work with you, or you might just want to start creating the foundations of a friendship with them. So as I say, comment on all their posts. But don't, um, I think what people make the mistake of doing is commenting, um, on every single post and really kind of spamming their feed. Um, and then I think people then will then feel that it's slightly, um, not authentic. So it's quite important to put genuine comments, take the time, comment on one a day, build it up. Um, but don't go through their feed and just spam them. Cause they're going to be completely turned off by you and you'll then be a warning to them, and then, um, in their stories, um, I think people just get it, but more in their stories and a bit more honest or they have a bit more fun with it. I have lots of funny my stories. I that's all I use my stories for these days. This is just to kind of show the personality of my family and the brand. You know, have fun with it. Um, and I find that I get genuine feedback from people that do want to work with me, you know, they'll slip into the DMs and they'll say that was funny, or they enjoyed that. And then you'll find that, you know, a couple of times a week, and I think this is probably the most valid, a few times a week going into stories and watching them and then commenting. And then I think, um, as you start building a relationship, you can just maybe one day say, Hey, I've, um, I'm just about to launch this product. Um, you know, absolutely no uh, pressure, but I would really love to work with you in some way. Would you be open and see what they say? I would also then say, I'm going to drop you a DM with more detail and DM and email with more details and then send them a full-blown email as to what you want and what you're willing to give them, et cetera. And I think that's the best way to do it. And that's the way you're going to get some great content and you could then develop this longer relationship. And if you say that you haven't got any money, but you do want to have a longer relationship with them in the future, you know, be honest and just say, because they're human, just like you and you know, their Instagram or their blog potentially is their business. So just be open and honest. I think those open conversations are the ones that go the furthest that's really useful.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you for that. Um, so just one quick, final question. Before we finished, Donna is what is your number one thing you'd like people to take away from this conversation say someone's thinking about working with influencers, says what's the key takeaway you'd like them to have from this.

Donna Jackson:

I think um, the big thing is to nurture the relationship, um, nurture it before you jump into the relationship, you know, by commenting whatever. But when you're in that relationship and you're working on that campaign together, you know, give them creative freedom, um, you know, take. Take what they say in terms of, um, you know, the content, they, they feel, they know their audience the best. So if you say I want a reel, but they don't produce reels. That reel is probably not going to do particularly well, unless it's something that's trending and they've jumped on that bandwagon. But I would say, um, try, yes, you should lead them creatively. Don't um, but let it be a two way relationship. I think relationship is the key really. Um, but yeah, just make sure that you, um, have open conversations about what you, what you want, encourage them to do the same. Because what you'll find is lots of them people please and say, yes, yes, we'll do it. But if you're pushing them out of their comfort zone and you ask them to do things they've never done before, you're just not going to get the best out of them to see what they've done before maybe reference oh I loved what you did for so and so. So love it. If you create something similar for me to me, whatever, um, and then, and see where it goes. But I think the key is nurture the relationship and be open and honest.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for that. And thank you for everything you shared. So I really appreciate it.

Donna Jackson:

Yeah, my pleasure.

Vicki Weinberg:

Hi, thank you so much for listening as always. I would absolutely love to know what you thought of this episode. Please do remember to rate and review the show and also most importantly subscribe so you don't miss out on any future episodes. And as a reminder, I release a new episode every single Friday. So take care and look forward to speaking to you again, then.