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How Influencers Can Monetize Their Social Assets for Long-Term Earnings

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Over the years I have worked with many A-list celebrities, helping to monetize their social assets. The relationships I built within the entertainment industry has led to other ventures. Actress Bella Thorne is a partner in 10PM Curfew, our female-focused media network that runs some of the largest social media accounts, such as @style and @girls on Instagram and TikTok.

I’ve been able to see what monetization strategies are one-and-done and what ones have the potential to develop into long-term sources of revenue. Influencers have a small window of time to capitalize on their audience.

While they might be popular today, there is always going to be an up and coming influencer that will take some of that attention away. Here today, gone tomorrow. This is a natural life cycle though, and it’s comparable to the majority of celebrities and athletes.

There will always be exceptions to the rule but for every Jake Paul, Jennifer Lopez, and LeBron James, there are hundreds and thousands of personalities that fade into the sunset prematurely. It’s important to maximize the earning potential while one’s popularity is at its peak, while also setting up revenue channels that will continue to operate, even if the fame fizzles away.

Here are some solid long-term monetization strategies influencers should look into.

1. Long-Term Branding Campaigns (Not One-Off Posts)

Years ago when influencer marketing took off, brands were throwing high-dollar offers at anyone with a large following. They did this because it was such a new concept and it converted very well. Consumers saw their favorite influencers recommending products and they took the bait. Hook, line, and sinker.

Brand’s weren’t mapping out strategic campaigns — they simply went after influencers with huge followings. It was a numbers game back then. That approach quickly dried up as consumers became immune to blatantly obvious sponsored posts.

Influencers that are serious about not damaging their brand tend to avoid one-off post deals. It can be a quick and easy payday, but one that can potentially do more harm than good. There is nothing wrong with brand deals, but make sure they are aligned and long-term. This allows the influencer to introduce and promote the brand. Let me give you an example.

If a fitness influencer has two million followers on Instagram and works out a long-term deal with a fitness apparel brand that pays them a monthly fee plus a percentage of revenue generated through a dedicated discount code, it allows them to advertise the offer in a natural indirect way.

Posting pictures that show them wearing the products and a caption that mentions their discount code — and doing this often — is a subtle way to drive brand awareness without posting spammy “buy this now” content. This approach is win-win. The brand receives natural organic exposure to a large targeted audience and the influencer is rewarded by incorporating the brand into his or her content.

“Today, people are the most effective marketing channel of your brand.” – Davide Scialpi

2. Co-Branded Endorsement/Licensing Deals

Many influencers have a big name in their industry and have long-term staying power. They also might not want to deal with the headaches and business aspects of building their brand.

In this situation, they can look into co-branded or licensing deals. They essentially become the face of the brand and the company handles all of the R&D, manufacturing, marketing, fulfillment, etc. The influencer has one job, and that is to promote it as if it’s his or her own company.

These deals will often involve a large upfront payment, which secures their involvement and commitment, along with a monthly salary and a share of the total revenue. The upfront payment is key and I would advise not entertaining deals that didn’t include that.

This lets the influencer know that the company behind the product is serious and it also financially compensate them for missed opportunities. If they are lending their likeness to a clothing brand, for example, then they will not be able to entertain any clothing-related brand deals moving forward.

Another angle to consider is an equity position if the brand is acquired or sold. Even a 2.5% stake can mean a huge payday in the event of an exit in the hundreds of millions.

3. Platform-Direct Monetization

There are also ways for influencers to make money simply by posting content and not hawking products in their social media feed. There are several platform-specific monetization models available.

Facebook offers creators a way to monetize as does Instagram, through its IGTV. TikTok has announced a creator fund for its creators. Snapchat has also introduced a new Spotlight feature which is allowing users an opportunity to earn real money. Then we have YouTube, which is one of the original platform-direct monetization options.

Several video creators make millions of dollars monthly directly from YouTube. Some influencers would rather focus on creating the content their audience enjoys without having to worry about how they are going to make money.

In these situations, your content and your audience directly impact your earnings. While a brand might offer an Instagram influencer $3,000 to post an image of them using the product and a call-to-action in an attempt to generate sales that payday is guaranteed.

That influencer receives that money regardless of the outcome. Even if very few followers like the post or click-through to the offer — they still get paid. On the platform-direct monetization options, an influencer has to continuously create content that their audience loves and engages with. That engagement (views) directly dictates their earnings.

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is. It is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook

4. Launch a Fully-Owned Brand

I saved the most lucrative opportunity for last. This has the biggest long-term potential because when executed correctly, it can continue to thrive even without the influencer directly promoting it.

Kylie Jenner is the most successful example of this strategy. She launched her brand, Kylie Cosmetics, just to her social media following and sold out within minutes of her first lip kits. Zero advertising spend. It was all accomplished organically.

This is a market launch advantage that brands would kill for. The brand snowballed quickly, generating hundreds of millions in sales and eventually having a majority stake in the brand (51%) acquired for $600 million, giving it a $1.2 billion valuation.
Kylie’s situation was unique, as her following was much larger than the average influencer, but the strategy she used for launching her own fully-owned brand is one that can be replicated.

The key is a product perfectly aligned with the influencer and his or her audience and one that can live on as a standalone brand down the line. The initial capital investment — product research, manufacturing, fulfillment, customer care, staff, etc. — is large, but the upside is far greater than any other monetization play.

Darren Lopes is the Co-Founder and COO of Gamelancer Inc, and Co-Founder of 10PM Curfew, a female-focused media network of more than 20M followers that includes @style and @girls on Instagram and TikTok.

Success Advice

7 Ways to Share Your Story on Social Media

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Content marketing is “A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services”. In other words, explicit marketing is simply saying “buy my stuff!” whereas content marketing is the art of persuading people to do so through storytelling. (more…)

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10 Tips to Deal With Negativity While Starting a Business

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There are ups and downs in business but fearing failures can stop you from taking your first step towards excellence. With pandemic on tow, aspiring entrepreneurs feel a little stuck when ideating a business prospect. Here, we give you some actionable tips to deal with negativity while starting a business, even during situations like a pandemic. We also took the liberty to throw in some amazing book recommendations that’ll help you enjoy the process of being positive and achieving your business goals.

10 Tips to deal with negativity while starting a business in a pandemic

1. Get a mentor

The first thing to do as a new business owner is to find the right kind of mentor. That person could be someone in your industry or in general who you look up to. The guidance must be apt for your business, and it should be a mutual responsibility of sharing knowledge. 

2. Two big R’s – Routine and Refresh

Made a mess of something? Try to reboot the situation and make it work. Take a break once in a while and refresh yourself if you feel stuck or your ideas feel mundane. Plan a routine and stick to them – both personal and professional. Having a routine can increase productivity and engage in more activities apart from your pre-planned schedule. 

3. Inculcate problem-solving mentality

Do not panic once you are thrown a problem. Arrange a meeting with the respective party, listen to both sides of the stories, and make a decision that is more realistic and feasible. 

4. Hire half and half

Whenever you hire someone for your business. Make sure that half of the people contradict your ideas, and the other half have the same mindset as yours. The people who contradict can bring in more valuable points and their perspective might take the discussion to a whole new level.  Don’t take too much time finding the perfect one. Hire an apt person who can have the right attitude. 

5. Network, Network, and Network

Find like-minded people and mingle with them. Be more sportive in the learning process. Listen more and talk less – if you are a beginner. You can only be a constructive person who gives input to someone if you have listened to everyone’s point of view. If you feel down, your network might have something to uplift your mood and change your perspective on something. 

“Negativity, in general, is one of the things that holds people back, and you have to see what’s holding you back to get away from it.” – Lucy Dacus

6. Tech-savvy personnel

Learn a thing or two about the latest technology that you implement in your organization. Since the world revolves around technology, make sure your administrative authority knows as well.  

7. Don’t schedule a meeting, that could have been an email

Yes! I said it. Having unnecessary meetings will weaken the purpose of having a constructive discussion. Having back-to-back meetings drains the team members and yourself too. Always have a 10 to 15 minutes break between each meeting to feel refreshed and give your 100%. 

8. Have a pros and cons list

Always, I mean always have a pros and cons list. Let’s say one of your team members pitch an idea to improve the marketing strategies starting next month. Jot down the pros and cons before approving or rejecting it point-blank. It’s a systematic way of making a decision. 

9. Track your finances

Even if you have a team of accountants and auditors, make sure that you are present (both mentally and physically) – learn if you are not aware of it. Trusting your employees is a must, but not overseeing the records is a mistake that should be avoided. 

10. Remember your “why?”

At some point in your hectic schedule or not having ME time can get to you. During those tough times – ask yourself – “Why am I doing this?”. If you can answer this question with a valid explanation, you’ll feel energized. Because “A purpose drives you”. 

5 Best books to read to be more positive as an entrepreneur

Reading always puts me into perspective. Therefore, I took some liberty to give a sample of positivity and determination through words. 

These are the 5 books that’ll guide you to be a more positive and successful entrepreneur. 

  1. Attitude is everything by Jeff Keller – The decisions you make, the routine you set for yourself, and the affirmations you say to yourself every day are going to make a huge difference. If you feel tired, hopeless, and quitting – then this book is for you to boost you up!
  2. Mindset: The new psychology of success by Carol Dweck – You do what you think. In this book, the author talks about two mindsets: The growth mindset and the fixed mindset and what they’ll do to you respectively. She helps you recognize your mindset and change it for the better. 
  3. Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen – This book is about technology uprisings all over the world and businesses that adopted and implemented technology in their firm. The author teaches you that just because your competitors and others are adopting something into their businesses doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Make an informed decision. 
  4. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen – This book specifically is about the power of thought and how it shapes your life into a more meaningful and fulfilling one.
  5. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – The author talks about how people always keep thinking about what the future holds but then forget to live and enjoy the present. And also helps us understand how to make decisions more efficiently based on the present. 

Working towards inner balance requires consistency and perseverance. So does hard and smart work. Being negative is a part of our lives. It’s important to channel it appropriately and make things happen despite the roller coaster ride that is our lives. Hope you overcome your fears and negativity to shine bigger and brighter. Cheers! 

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Defining Your Own Success: A Step by Step Guide

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Everyone wants success in their lives, but success can be defined in so many different ways that it can sometimes seem daunting. In this blog post, you will learn how to make success easier for yourself by defining what success means to you. (more…)

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5 Characteristics of Athletes You Need for Business Success

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Michigan State basketball coach, Tom Izzo, wrote “Players play. Tough players win.” I would add to that, “It’s tough to win.”I think if you, as a leader, are looking to build an organization that is successful – that wins – you first have to accept that it will be tough. There are no shortcuts to success. In my 44 years of coaching, I was fortunate to coach a lot of tough players. I believe the toughness I have seen in athletes corresponds well to any organization or business. (more…)

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