- Hiring an influencer is about entering into a brand partnership, not tapping a living ad unit, says Lia Haberman. The gives and the gets have to make sense for all parties.
- Don’t forget that the audience is an integral part of this equation. Factor in their expectations for content and what actions they’re primed to take when choosing the right creator with whom to work.
- Creators, not just brands, must respect their audiences and what they want. A great way to consistently deliver this is serialized or franchised content.
Lia Haberman wants businesses to know that creators are people, too!
“When you’re hiring an influencer, they’re not just a living ad unit,” Haberman tells Connor Begley of the Earned podcast. “This is essentially a business partnership. And there are going to be influencers who deliver different results for you.”
When partnering with a creator, remember, she says, “It’s not a one size fits all solution.”
Once you’ve found someone you think would be a good fit, she suggests, “It’s really important to be aligned internally on what you think an influencer can do, and have realistic expectations about the person you choose, the campaign, the type of content that gets produced.”
Haberman says, “Sometimes, you know, people are hoping to drive sales, and they’re not seeing those conversions. Whereas the influencer that you hired, and the type of content that they produced, was really great for awareness, but wasn’t necessarily going to convert.”
Think about whether “they have an audience that is primed to shop or whatever it is that you’re hoping to kind of convert. And so, I think you need to look at: Is this person already doing this? Do they have a good understanding? And is their audience embracing that? Do they look to this person for recommendations to understand, like, what is the latest and greatest lipstick, pair of shoes, television, headset to buy?”
In terms of alignment, “You’ve got the brand. You’ve got a creator-influencer. You’ve got their audience. You’ve got the needs, and changes in whims of the platforms. And so there are a lot of different parties in every equation.”
To be successful, Haberman says, marketers should consider: “Is this good for the creator? Is this good for their audience or interesting for their audience? Is this going to work with how the platform is evolving and how good storytelling takes place on that platform?”
Advice for Creators
Haberman believes strongly that creators must develop their own perspective to be successful. “Especially as a solopreneur, you want to find your voice and really bring something to it that’s distinct and unique from what other people are doing,” she says.
“Think about your social voice or your newsletter voice or whatever as a persona,” Haberman suggests. She adds, “It should be as honest and authentic and close to the truth as possible. But it’s definitely a version of you.”
Also, don’t be afraid to enter into partnerships. Haberman has found, via her students, that “people expect to be marketed to.” She says they understand creators need “to get paid” and aren’t offended by this type of content.
It’s all part of “understanding what the audience wants to read” or watch or listen to and “respecting that, looking at the analytics,” Haberman says. It’s crucial to avoid “letting your own judgment cloud what people enjoy.”
If you have an established business, Haberman advises, “You’ve got to respect what people want. Clearly, you’re not going to let them dictate the business. But I think if you have an already established audience, it does a huge disservice and disrespect to say, ‘Oh, we’re pivoting; we don’t want those people.’”
Obviously, “You can try and incorporate a new audience demographic” but don’t forget to serve those who made your business what it is.
One effective way to do that? Create “series or recurring content franchises,” Haberman suggests. “That’s what people love. They love the familiarity they love like these recurring characters.”
As a consumer, she says, “ I know what I’m in for. I know what to expect. And so for creators, that’s the way to think about it. It’s going, like, super granular on a theme that you keep introducing to your content. And I think it’s super important. Brands love it, too, to be able to market through a creator.”
For brands, “It’s like a recurring chance to like get our message across. It breeds familiarity, loyalty. It’s an opportunity for really great storytelling.”
Yet, “It has to be compelling” and “Not any series is going to do, and you’ve really got to think about, like, what is good storytelling? Who’s telling the story? Is it more product integration than maybe product marketing? Which tends to work better in series?”
When brainstorming serial content, Haberman says, “Make it easy. Make it interesting. Make it familiar.”