Influencer Economy and the Importance of Consistency
In today’s episode, Austin Munhofen, founder and CEO of Gush and Grow Management breaks down the influencer economy. Austin launched Gush and Grow Management as a passion project. However, it’s now turned into a thriving management and talent education company for social influencers and content creators. The company also supports brands who are interested in influencer marketing, and provides matchmaking services between brands and creators. In our conversation, we cover the influencer economy and the importance of consistency.
If you’re curious how virtual assistants help content creators, you’ll love this post HERE.
Coming from a Place of Service
Passionate about supporting other females, Austin recalls scrolling Instagram late one night four years ago. She noticed women building brands online and knew she could help them.
So one afternoon, Austin hopped on Squarespace and created a blog. From there, she reached out to content creators to ask if she could feature them on her blog.
Austin came from a place of service, and usually started the conversation like this: “I enjoy what you offer in this space, and I think others would as well. Would you like to sit down with me for a 30-minute interview, and capture your insights on my blog? You can share it, and we can share it with other female creators who are interested in what you have to say.”
After Austin published one of their first creator’s insights on the blog, the creator reached out to them and said she could use help with her brand partnerships. That’s how Gush and Grow management signed their first creator. From there, the company signed more influencers either through intentional reach outs or referrals.
Austin says, “When it comes to building a profitable, client-services business, it is hard work, a lot of hours, curiosity, passion and ruthless prioritization.”
The Rise of the Influencer Economy
The influencer economy is so fascinating because they’re are so many parts you can dive into. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the creator part of it. Software platforms, product development and sales, management agencies and creator support teams are built around influencers.
Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2022 Benchmark Report says that 16 billion dollars are going to be invested in influencer marketing this year.
The lines of celebrities and content creators are starting to become more and more blurred. Some creators who started out using TikTok have become full-fledged actors and actresses and getting their own reality shows. Some brands are even hiring influencers instead of models.
Tips for Someone Wanting to Break Into the Influencer Space
If you’re just starting out, you need to know the space that you’re entering, and have some sort of awareness and understanding of what kind of business you’re getting into.
“I don’t recommend thinking that going into it, you’re going to make a ton of money,” Austin said.
If you approach it from a money-making mindset, that’s an easy way to get discouraged and disappointed quickly within the industry.
You need to be passionate about something. What are things that you could talk about endlessly that, and you never get bored about that particular subject? Austin says she would start there. Then, in the influencer economy, the importance of consistency is key after you start creating.
“It takes a lot of reps to feel comfortable and get that feedback from your audience in terms of what’s working and what they engage with,” Austin said.
Sometimes we don’t realize that the successful content creators we see have been in the influencer space for six to ten years already. Additionally, they also have teams of people helping them create their content most likely.
Brands Should Define Success
Gush and Grow Management always asks the brands that work with their influencers what their key performance indicators (KPI) are. KPI’s essentially are what define success in a collaboration. Generally, it’s either sales conversion or brand awareness.
“Some creators are better at brand conversion, while others are better at the awareness piece. If you’re a brand, it’s best to be up front with an agency and define your KPIs. That way, you get matched with the best creator for your brand,” Austin said.
“Additionally, creators use that feedback to plan how they’re going to execute their content for specific partnerships.”
How to Find the Right Influencer for Your Brand
Austin has a download for brands who are looking to partner with influencers. This is a guide for small brands with limited budget.
- Know your goals before you go into any kind of partnership.
- Get creative with deliverables to meet your budget.
- Find an opportunity to stretch your budget further. For example, instead of spending dollars on getting professional photos done for your website, the creator can provide those assets for you.
Tips for Pitching to Brands as an Influencer
If you don’t have a manager and want to work with a specific brand, you need to find a specific contact and email address for that brand. When you have a specific connection, you’re more likely to get a response. If you’re pitching to a random email like a press email, it has a good chance of getting lost or just deleted.
Things to include in your pitch:
- A short paragraph about who you are
- Social platforms and blog
- Why you want to work with the brand
- Idea(s) about how you can partner together
It’s best to have ideas about how you can work with a brand. It’s hard for brands to come up with how best to work with you from a cold pitch, if they don’t know who you are.
If you’re unsure how you can partner, you can spin it like this, “I have some ideas about a partnership, would you be open to hearing more?” I like to end emails with a question because you leave the ball in their court. If you don’t hear back in a few days, you can follow up with them once or twice more.