You’re a big influencer in the social space. You’ve put in your time, built your fan following, built your personal brand, now what?
Beyonce + Ivy Park with TopShop, Kate Moss with H&M, the list goes on when it comes to celebrity brands. But don’t you think top influencer branded products are next?
I certainly do.
We are already beginning to see it with makeup companies and beauty bloggers.
Influencers, up to this point, have largely relied on teaming with established companies to collaborate on, for example, clothing or beauty lines…That’s changing.
– Women’s Wear Daily
If you are a successful Vlogger or Instagrammer, where are you in your branding stage? Have you even thought about it? I look at a lot of top influencers and I see where they are winning and I see a lot of others who could definitely be doing more. I wonder if they are limiting themselves purposely, or if they are just kind of lost about the next steps to take.
Perhaps they don’t want to do more, and that’s OK, too. Personally, if I had millions of followers and subscribers to my YouTube channel, I would be hustling the shit out of that. (I mean that in a good way, of course)
One YouTube girl in particular (I won’t mention her name) has a huge influence and what is she selling? Stuff that looks like she created it on Zazzle. If that’s what she wants for her brand, that’s totally OK. I am not going to say what she’s doing is all wrong if it’s working for her and if that is what she is aiming for. However, I will say that what she’s doing and what Chiara Ferragni are doing are what separates the right now influencers from the ‘it girl’ brand builders and future company CEOs with staying power.
Cheap tees from Zazzle are not going to cut it for long term branding strategy. Do what Beyonce would do. Think you can’t? Think again.
If you think that social influencers aren’t the next Beyonce’s and Bieber’s (oh wait.) Then you’re dead wrong. Companies like Target, PacSun and Abercrombie need to start paying attention. FAST. Don’t you think that PacSun should have been keen on a Justin Beiber capsule collection? Uh, yeah.
Know who Cameron Dallas is? If you’re a clothing company or any big brand, you should. If you don’t, I’m going to say, you need to wake the fuck up.
California native Cameron Dallas has gained over 15 million combined followers on social media in less than a year. He’s the 7th most followed Viner and, since starting to post on YouTube a few months back, has already added over 3 million subscribers to his channel.
As a social influencer, what you do now is going to set the stage for whatever career you wish to create, or residual income you plan to make in your future. Riding the hot social media train right now is awesome. You are creating content, building your brand-but you have to think of where you’ll be 2 or 4 years from now. How will you stay relevant in your current space, and what are the next steps for you or your brand? Are you working toward what you have already planned and are you reverse engineering that vision?
For some, they got into YouTubing because it was fun, and the next thing they realize is their channel has blown up and they don’t know what the hell to do with it next. So they stay on that current flow and focus, never really thinking about what’s coming ahead in the pipeline.
Remember this guy?
His name is Chris Crocker and once upon a time he had millions of YT Followers, even before his ‘Leave Britney Alone’ video that went viral. In fact, his video was one of the most watched YouTube videos of all time. He literally became a founder of ‘viral videos’.
Where is he now?
He is still active on social media, and has a good fanbase on Instagram but has since deleted his YouTube account and the infamous Brit video because of well, “toxic troll haters”. And you can’t blame him, his brand was himself and his past was part of that brand. Now in 2016, we see him reinventing himself to leave the old persona behind.
The beginnings of his brand and YouTube career were in the early stages of YouTube in general, so many of us had no idea how the current Tube world would evolve.
And that is the lesson I am talking about right here and now. We don’t know what 2 or 4 years from now will look like, but if you have a solid plan and an audience right now, you can be harnessing that in the most positive way.
In the case of Chris, he just did what everyone else was doing, vlogging. He shared a very personal part of his life with the world because that’s just who he is. He realizes now he made a few poor choices with his fame then (i.e. the Maverick Men porn videos). But if he had known all of this would blow up, perhaps he may have made more strategic plans. If I could have talked to him back then, I would have suggested a super funky or soft androgynous underwear line, named Crocker. Why the hell not?
And this is where all of you who may be (or probably aren’t) reading can make a difference.
Stop thinking so small.
Stop thinking within these invisible parameters. They don’t exist.
If you have half a million or even 200K followers, be ready. Be thinking ahead, reverse engineer your brand and your strategy. Don’t assume this is all going to be here 4 years from now. If you have an idea, I urge you to go for it while you have the attention of your audience. If you LOVE writing, vlogging and creating videos then keep doing that. Chances are, you will excel and evolve with the social media trends. But if you see something bigger ahead for yourself, such as the case was with Jessica Alba or Chiara Ferragni, plan your strategy now. Your current career is your skill honing, your brand building, your research. Your future career is going to be supported by whatever work you are putting in now.
Jessica Alba started The Honest Company in 2011, and it has been wildly successful, to the tune of $1.7Billion. She leveraged her celebrity status to launch the brand and company, but she stepped back and allowed the quality of the products and the message to speak for itself. You see, it isn’t quite enough for a celeb to just build a brand and reap insta-rewards. You have to create something pretty worthwhile with a worthwhile agency, or it might blow up in your face.
Just ask Kate Hudson how Fabletics (owned by JustFab) is doing amidst the thousands of complaints from disgruntled customers.
When you strip back all the marketing hype, the core of every good celebrity endorsed, celebrity branded product or collaboration should be the product. Quality product and quality marketing is key to long term success.
Your audience is tuned in, it’s time to start thinking of taking your brand to the next level. If it is your desire to take this as far as you can, you need to know when to strike and start creating a foundation for long-term growth by creating quality products that will become an extension of your brand and eventually a COMPANY.
All of this-this crazy cool internet madness that allows any one of us to write a post or create a channel with videos and succeed like we never have before, this is a gift. You and I are in the midst of an evolution that is incredible and intriguing.
Understand where you are and harness your fanbase. There has never been a better time than NOW to reach out and grab the limitless opportunities.