Event Recap: How To Turn Your Influence Into A Brand
In our first event of the year, we brought together a massive line-up of Influencers and Business owners.
Our Founder and CEO Simon Rawadi discuss how to grow your influence and turn it into a brand with:
- Chloe Szep, Founder of SZEP and Bloom App
- Mitch Orval, GM of SZEP, and Founder of Hooded Smile and Poetic Justice Beverages
- Nina King, Founder of NEON and Global co.
- Riley Hemson, Advocate, Model, and Influencer
The event was a great chance for some of Australia's top influencers to learn the value of branding in 2020. And how to leverage their loyal following with products that they could really stand behind.
The panellists really did deliver – dropping some key insights relevant to anyone wanting to start a brand, not just influencers.
Are you confused about social media?
Not sure how to stay motivated?
Want to know what’s next in social?
You can view the entire panel event right here on IGTV, and below are a few of the key takeaways that we got from the event.
What did you learn in the beginning? And how did you get started?
- [Simon] Everyone goes through a leap of faith, when you start it can be terrifying. You need to have a reason why you want to do something, but once you do you just need to go for it.
- [Nina] If anyone tells you there's no challenges they're kidding themselves. There's so many challenges. You're learning from scratch, and finding people to help guide you is essential.
- [Mitch] Some businesses work, some don't. Even if you put all the time and effort into something, it can fail. The worst attitude you can have is "this has to work". the best thing anyone has ever told me is "if you're going to fail, fail quickly. Don't be afraid to fail, and if you do, just move onto the next thing."
- [Riley] You need to be willing to put in the hard work, sometimes there will be early starts, sometimes there will be late nights. You need to do what you need to do.
Why is it important for Influencers to have their own brands?
- [Mitch] With what we do, there's no longevity in it. You can't guarantee how long Instagram will be around, if it went down tomorrow, would you be ok? If you can promote and sell products for someone else, you can promote your own.
- [Chloe] As an influencer you put a lot of energy into other people's brands. Having your own business and passion that you can work on is a massive benefit.
- [Simon] We talk about the rise of the Influencer Entrepreneur, and really being able to take your audience - a massive advantage that you have over and above anybody else, because attention is one of the most important things - and taking that and getting business savvy. You want to be able to build something that stands by itself, and create an exit strategy.
- [Riley] It allows you to create a brand that you can be seriously authentic about. People are following you because you have something to say, and have something you stand for. So by putting that into a brand that's your own, you're able to offer that message and belief to your fans.
How do you sell to your followers?
- Swipe Up!
- [Riley] It's about the authenticity, people are following you for a reason. Whatever value you're giving to your fans is what they're after. So you need to make sure that what you're pushing is something you truly believe in, it's painfully obvious when someone is peddling something they clearly don't care about.
- [Riley] Be transparent, people like to see behind the scenes, and they like to go on a journey with you.
- [Nina] If you're a fashion and beauty influencer, but are pushing a dog food there's a bit of a disconnect.
- [Simon] There's a process to get people to trust you and your product enough to buy from you. This is optimizing the sales process and is a proven method.
- [Mitch] It's far to easy to make a quick buck, and don't look at the long game. If brands are constantly asking you to promote their brands, it's working.
Authenticity, how do you stay authentic?
- [Mitch] When you think about it, if you're authentic you're not staying anything. Because it's not a mask that's ever going to fall off. Steve Irwin was the perfect example of this, he never broke character because he was never in character.
- [Chloe] Your mask will fall off if you're not being authentic, and people will notice that.
- [Nina] Know what you're passionate about, and do it. Roll within your realm and don't go outside of it and try to work with brands just for the money. It comes down to sticking to your values.
- [Chloe] You'll go through changes, and your brand will change. If your followers care they'll stay with you, you might lose a few and gain more.
- [Riley] You'll get offered lots of money for some things that are so far out of what you would usually post. You can tell the people who do it because they're passionate, and who's just after a quick buck. Go back to why you actually started this, if you weren't getting paid tomorrow what would you still be talking about?
How are successful fashion brands built?
- [Simon] The first step is understanding the uniqueness of the brand. And that's got to come from the brand owner. A fashion brand is about getting the owners essence into the clothing.
- [Simon] It's about getting the design done right, and supporting that with a clear marketing strategy.
What does it take to run a fashion brand like SZEP?
- [Chloe] The biggest thing is having the right people in the right places. People's strengths and weaknesses are all different.
- [Mitch] If you're someone who gets over your passion or fall out of love with your brand if it gets too much, then you need to make sure you have a good team in place.
How do you decide what business idea to move on and invest in?
- [Mitch] If you always knew you'd never fail. And failing is something that can always happen. The best strategy is to make sure you believe in what you're going to create. And this comes back to authenticity.
- [Riley] You can refine your idea to make it more honest and more in-line with your brand. This will allow you to believe and be passionate about selling.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to grow their own brand?
- [Chloe] Be who you are and things will come from it. You can't fail if you're being authentic, and if you do, then it wasn't a failure, it was a lesson. Nothing is really a failure, it's more of a lesson.
What made you want to work with Influencers and build their brands?
- [Nina] We're able to help them grow personal brands and influencer profiles. Allowing people to start working with larger luxury brands.
- [Simon] Influencers are some of the pickiest clients we have, because they actually have a reputation that they need to protect
- [Simon] There's a few key metrics that you should look at to, make sure your audience is suited to your brand. If you're a female influencer and have a following that's 90% male then you may not want to sell swimwear to them.
While we're on the topic, what's it like working with Slyletica?
- [Mitch] Anyone that deals with us on a day to day basis is amazing. You need to realise how good Simon and Yetta are dealing with you and manageing your emotions as well as your business. They're a business at the end of the day, but they still manage you as a person as well as a client. It's a massive part of working with someone, they treat you as a friend and that's really important.
- [Chloe] They can understand how you work as a person and work around that really really well. You guys are gods honestly.
Riley, you mentioned you were working on something, can you giver some info?
- [Riley] A key thing for me was sustainability and eco-friendly, which Slyletica has helped me create. There was also a massive gap in the market for garments for bigger girls like me.
- [Simon] Sustainability and Eco Friendly are terms that get thrown around a lot these days. But with Riley we're really taking that all they way back to what it really means for her and the core of her values. Where the fabrics are coming from and more. One thing our business does really well is cater to the clients and their needs. Whatever you imagination is we can do it. And it means that when she does launch it will be a brand she can stand proud behind.
Let's talk about the future of Social
- [Simon] Instagram is starting to trial Instagram Checkout, allowing people to purchase straight from the IG feed without needing to leave the app
- [Nina] Need to make sure you're jumping onto the new platforms like TikTok, there's great reach and it's good for exposure, but it might not be as engaging as Instagram
- [Nina] Instagram is continuing to change and adapt, as is Youtube, with longer form videos and a more episodic feel.
- [Mitch] With Youtube you're able to connect a lot more with people, but it is harder to build out a following. Just get started and if you don't get the views don't worry, it's more of a slow burn. People are more interested in the journey, not the result. Youtube allows you to document it and get people to watch all of it when they start following you.
How often should you be posting without being annoying?
- [Mitch] If you're posting on your business page, the people following it are there for the content. If they've jumped on board, they've shown interest, they know what they're in for.
- [Simon] Gary Vee says 100 posts a day across your platforms is not enough. Your job is to get attention.
- [Riley] Make sure the content is still quality, it needs to be on brand and relevant
- [Nina] At Neon, the most we would post on a business account is 3 posts a day. And those 3 would have a consistent theme.
Do you ever struggle working with your partner in business?
- [Mitch + Chloe] You need to segment and specialise. You need to be able to trust your partner to make the decisions and know when to discuss with eachother
- [Simon] Everyone has their own strengths, and you need to allow them to thrive in their roles.
Personal Inspiration and Motivation, what do you do for it?
- [Mitch] Motivation is bullshit, it's never there when you need it, it's taking action. If you find yourself saying that you will do things tomorrow, you need to take action now. Don't try to look for the quick fix, look for relevant, actionable information.
- [Nina] Your job is to solve problems, and talking to other business owners is where you'll be able to learn the most. Surround yourself with people who inspire you to do better and be better.
- [Simon] You are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with. Look at the people in your friend group, look at who you're following and the messages and energy they bring to the table. It's about building habits that allow you to stay on top of things, that way even if you're lacking motivation you can still keep the habits going and running.
- [Simon] It's very easy to lose motivation, but if you can build a habit over 66 days it'll stick.
How did you decide to go "all in"? And what advice would you give to someone in this position?
- [Simon] Where do you want to be 5 years from now? If you could write and explain your day, what would it look like? Who are you with, where are you living, how do you make a living? If the answer doesn't align with the path you're on you might need to think about making the leap.
- [Chloe] If it's something you're really passionate about, you need to go with it and trust in yourself. If you're passionate enough and dedicated enough, you can't fail.
- [Mitch] If it's something you'll regret not doing, then you should probably give it a crack.
The concept of "Tall Poppy Syndrome", and how you deal with this as an influencer.
- [MItch] Something that influencers do every day is putting themselves out there to be judged by so many different people. Sometimes we'll say something and wonder why we said it, and thinking about it can get overwhelming.
- [Mitch] People want to see everyone do well, until they're doing better than them
- [Riley] People will either love you or not want a bar of it. The best you can do is be yourself and see what people think. You can't make everyone happy.
- [Simon] You can't please everyone. But we need to get better as a country at supporting people who are successful. We need to celebrate people who achieve things.
- [Chloe] Sometimes the people closest to you can be your harshest critics. You're damned if you do, damned if you don't, so you just have to do it.
- [Mitch] Some people will hate you, some people will love you, but they'll all watch you. And in our industry that's what we want!
So what was your biggest takeaway? Leave a comment below and let us know!
And if you're ready to get started on your brand, click here to start now!
The Slyletica Team
PS. The takeaways above are the key messages we felt were shared, and not direct quotes. To hear it in their words, check out the IGTV video here.