Win lifestyle influencers over with generosity and attentiveness

15761889077_8a68c0083a_bIt takes a lot of money to give you license to treat someone like crap. And they’ll still resent you and wish you dead. In the gig economy, the interview process goes both ways. Your favorite lifestyle influencers are actively vetting you with the same rigor you’re using to discern whether they’re influential enough to be worth the pot full of money you’re willing to pay them for post or partnership.

Some agencies on Madison Avenue are starting to get it as is David Goldsmith,  Chief Strategy Officer at WEGO Health. They’ve been working on building respect-based and trust-based influencer relationships with his caregiver and patient community for over ten years before opening up the 100,000+ influencers they’ve cultivated over that decade to organizations, companies, and brands outside of their agency-side.  The result is WEGO Health Experts. Gerris partner Dan Krueger and I jumped on a call with David Goldsmith last week Friday and it was kismet city. David and I are fellow alumni of The WELL ( here) and we’ve obviously been involved and engaged by online communities since before the web via the world of text via telnet, an Gopher- and USENET-based Internet.

We also recognize that most every message board registration, Twitter-handle, Facebook wall, every single channel on YouTube and profile on Instagram represents a beautiful child of God and not just a Klout score or a sticky metric or an Influencer Score or a follower/friend/subscriber count or even an engagement.

Even lifestyle influencers and lifestyle bloggers and Instagrammers, who are pretty much all lifestyle influencers, and the lifestyle YouTubers with their lifestyle channels are beautiful children of God as well and deserve to have every one of their perceived Millennial snipes, snarks, and the perceived lack of appreciation and perceived entitlement that they exude forgiven because they’ve been treated like crap a lot before they became the bells of all the balls and have taken over advertising for where all the ad dollars are going these days.

Forgive them and “Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle” — remember, hugs not horns. No matter how jerky they’re all being to you, suck it up buttercup — they’re just doing what you’ve done: exerting all that leverage and newfound power back on you. Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re all looking for connection, appreciation, respect, and understanding — including insufferable Millennials.

YouTube calls all these people creators. They’re artists: screen-ready, podcast-ready, photo-ready, and are willing to put in the time in. If you read last months article in the New Yorker, #Vanlife, The Bohemian Social-Media Movement, you’ll quickly learn how much work goes into taking Instagram selfies of your leisure, surf-obsessed, life living in a van with a super-hot lover. It takes hair and makeup and a bit of samulacrum to turn the back of a van into the place of dreams where toned, tanned, terrific legs prop up against a van wall while the beautiful #vanlover lingers, lounges, and reads the real life hard-back book of some French philosopher or maybe Goethe.

So, I believe that their aggressiveness and the surliness and snark is a direct response to how they as a group have been treated in the past. They’ve grown so worried about the fickleness and thin skin of their advertisers and sponsors that everyone in the world, it seems, has a Patreon account. The tagline of Patreon? “Best way for artists and creators to get sustainable income and connect with fans.” For those of you not in the know, “Patreon is an Internet-based platform that allows content creators to build their own subscription content service.”

It’s like a persistent Kickstart for makers and digital artists. But instead of raising money to launch a product, business, or the remake of a movie, Patreon allows fans to directly pay online influencers to continue have the freedom and incenting to keep on making and creating.  It also allows all the patrons to curry favor and earn the power to request online mentions, to get a call out, to be featured, to be named in closing credits, or to have the leverage to influence future content or topic.  Money from Google isn’t reliable and agency product sponsorship can be patchy but having the financial support of your friends, fans, and followers turns out to be the gift that keeps on giving.

Yes, we’ve driven them to that and it’s totally fair. We do care more about numbers, reports, ROI, and impact more than we care about the contributing parts of that Borg.  To too many of us, they’re more “the influencers” and “the micro-influencers” than they are the lovely individual named Jamie Morton, the Trihardist.

So, mea maxima culpa, actually, because while Dan and I were on the phone with David Goldsmith, it occurred to me that lifestyle influencers can separate their opinions from their compensation. Quite a few months ago, one influencer responded to my outreach by asking for payment but adding that that money wasn’t to buy the review but to pay for his time. It was an opportunity cost and in no way buying content.

That there are only 24-hours/day and only seven days in a week and only 365 of those days in a year and $250 bought one of two of them.  From learning about how David Goldsmith actually advocates for his 100,000 healthcare and medical patient and caregiver influencers and experts, getting them consulting gigs and speaking gigs and actually taking them to the next level, grooming them into topic expert consultants, what Madison Avenue is doing, building partnerships with their influencer network, is very appealing and a very smart innovation.

While Dan and I are still the experts in earned-media micro-influencer marketing with over a decade of practice and almost twenty years of combined experience, we’re very excited to start building relationships with other influencer marketing agencies, consultancies, and agents.

If you’re interested in learning more about influencer marketing, micro-influencer marketing, or earned media micro-influencer marketing, please call me or email me or check out my company site or my own personal website — I look forward to connecting.

Via Biznology

Old School is New School by Nate Paul of World Class Capital Group

From from Old School is New School by Nate Paul:

We live in the age of the “Next Big Thing.”

The latest and greatest smartphones are released every twelve months, rendering the last model about as useful as a paperweight (if you believe the marketing hype).  An entire industry has been built around Silicon Valley’s cult of disruption, a belief that we should always be replacing our old way of thinking and doing with new and exciting ideas.

It seems like nothing is safe from our love affair with newness.  In the coming years, cars will relieve us of the burden of sitting behind the wheel and smart refrigerators will relieve us of the worry of remembering to pick up milk.

Don’t get me wrong – I love technology. In fact, one of the most gratifying parts of my job is working with software and technology companies and the growth of their businesses. It’s hard not to be excited by the endless ways that innovation will change our lives for the better in the years to come. 

But while many of my friends and colleagues spend their free time reading about the future of robotics and artificial intelligence and thinking about how the Internet of Things will change our daily lives, I far more often find myself thumbing through decades-old issues of Forbes, Businessweek or Fortune, soaking up as much insight as I can from great dealmakers now relegated to the history books.

One mainstay on my nightstand is a battered old copy of Business Adventures by John Brooks that I bought from an actual bookstore (not online!) when I was in high school.  The book was originally published in 1969, but the insights remain astonishingly relevant today.  The passage I probably re-read the most is about the Ford Edsel fiasco, which is the ultimate cautionary tale about the importance of paying close attention to your market and being ready to respond when your customers’ preferences and demands change. It’s no surprise to many that the business leaders I admire, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, are fans of Brooks and his timeless wisdom.

One of the core lessons the greatest investors and business leaders share is an obsession with the fundamentals. In hot markets like today, in which unicorns and pre-revenue billion dollar valuations grab all the headlines, it’s easy to lose sight of the basics.​

But sizzling markets and the lure of quick profits is nothing new. When I started investing in real estate in 2007 while still a college student, the market was saturated with speculators.  The previous few years had seen unprecedented capital growth in the residential and commercial markets, and suddenly everyone was a developer or a flipper.  Finding properties that were undervalued and had strong fundamentals was extremely difficult at the time, because the competition was snapping up everything they could find and counting on never-ending price appreciation. 

Going against the grain, I began building my company by obsessing over the fundamentals – intrinsic value, recurring cash flow, and a long-term investment horizon. When the real estate market collapsed in 2008, I managed not to panic or flee, and once again went against the grain, becoming one of the most active buyers of real estate in Austin…then Texas…and eventually, the nation. Following Buffett’s advice, I was fearful when others were greedy – and then positioned to be greedy when others were fearful.

This old school approach doesn’t just apply to investing, it applies to almost every aspect of building and running a company. In business and investing, cautionary tales are everywhere – from the one-hit wonder Wall Street fund manager who delivers one knockout year and then flames out, to the Silicon Valley rising star who builds a killer app and is never heard from again.  Those of us who have achieved success at a young age should be terrified by these examples.  I’m driven every morning to build a company that creates jobs, wealth and economic opportunity not just for years, but for generations.  I can’t imagine how to do that except for being a student of history.

I’ve never liked the old saying that those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.  To me, history is a goldmine of proven ideas just waiting to be uncovered.  It may just be that the “Next Big Thing” happened long ago.

Nate Paul is President, CEO & Founder of World Class Capital Group, a leading national commercial real estate investment group.  This article was previously published on The Huffington Post.