First of all, question-asker sounds like you got burned. I'm sorry for your experience. There is a certain amount of unprofessionalism or a lack of professionalism in this space. There is a number of reasons why. I think one of them, obviously, being that a lot of the younger influencers, especially, haven't worked in an office environment. I think with a lot of the kind of tension comes from between brands and influencers, is in the ability to meet and understand expectations.
As a brand, you might say, "I expect my email to be answered in 24 hours". The influencer doesn't hold that same expectation. They don't necessarily think they're being flaky. They just don't come from a place. I eat in an office where answering an email in 24 hours is super important. There are some influencers out there that are hugely professional and they are joys to work with. Mariana Hewitt. Chrysella Limbstein is amazing. She's incredible to work with. Jenny from Margo and Me is great. A lot of the people we've had in the show. Erica, who's the old school on the show, Erica Haida, Fashion Chic Styling is fantastic to work with.
A lot of influencers are consummate pros. They have full teams around them helping. It feels like working with a mini production, content production studio. They're incredible but especially the micro side, there are influencers who are not as professional. That is frustrating. I think that for the influencers watching the show right now, this feels, again, a little bit more like maybe a question that was asked by a brand. But the influencers- I think we've said this before but in an early episode, I'll say it again. If a brand reaches out, I would say 48 hours you should respond.
If it's the first time they've reached out, you don't have a relationship with them, try and get back to them in 48 hours. If you're on a trip, put up an out-of-office so that they know and they don't just feel like you're ignoring them. You're on a trip, you're not going to check your email, put in that out of office. If you're not out of town, try and respond to that in 48 hours. Respond to all your emails. Very easy to say, "Thanks so much for reaching out. Not interested at the time but let me know if anything else comes up."
Again, we've talked about before how people in this industry move brands so quickly. If you don't want to work with someone because you don't like the brand and you just don't respond, that person might move from that brand to the brand that is your dream brand. The simple act of saying, “Thank you so much for reaching out right now. This doesn't make sense but let me know in the future if you know any other opportunities come up." It's little seconds of your time.
You can even get these little keyboard shortcuts if you Google, like keyboard shortcut app. You can get these little apps where you can say like Control, S, R or something, a random key, and it will automatically paste in something that says, “Thanks so much for reaching out. At this time, we're not interested but keeping in mind, if anything comes up in the future." You could just go through your email and do 50 of those at the end of the week or twice a week or whatever it might be. Respond in 48 hours. If you are working with a brand, and they're paying you, you need to respond by end of business.
That isn't a non-negotiable. If a brand is paying you, and you're in contract with them, respond by end of the day. If you are in negotiation with the brand, I would also say, end of day, but I would stretch it to 24 hours. We'll say first time brand reads out reaches out, 48 hours, absolute maximum. If you're in negotiations with a brand, you're going back and forth with them, 24 hours maximum. If you were working with the brand, you should shoot for two hours but absolutely, end of day. If you are within a day of your posting time, I think you should be responding within the hour.
Those all make sense. Rewind it if you need to. That should be your expectation. The largest amount of fallout is in communication breakdown. You can get over so much of it just by being disciplined about your response time. If you don't have an answer for a brand, if they ask you, “Hey, we need you to re-shoot this.” Let's say, you need to book a photographer to do that, and you're waiting on the photographer to get back to you, so you don't want to go back to the brand and say, “When you're going to be able to re-shoot because you're waiting for the photographer- That's a kind of a tongue twister. For the photographer.
You're waiting for the photographer. Reach out to the brand, at the end of the day, and say, “Hey, don't have an update before you. Just want to let you know I'm still waiting to hear back from the photographer about when we can shoot. I'll let you know tomorrow if I've heard anything. If I don't hear anything back by tomorrow, I'm going to reach out to another photographer.” You just have to keep people in the loop. Even if you have bad news, communicate that bad news as soon as you get it.
I used to avoid difficult conversations in my life. I actually read this book called, “Difficult conversations”, which was really good. One of the things it talks about is, if you have a piece of bad news, to try and communicate that piece of bad news to the person that is going to affect within 15 minutes of receiving it because as you wait, it gets harder and harder and harder and harder and harder to hype yourself up to communicate it.
Anyone who's ever broken up with somebody knows this feeling. We were like, "I'm doing it today. I'm breaking up with them today." Then you see them and they do something nice, and you're like, “Wow. I can't possibly break up with them today.” Then the next day you're like, “Today is the day. I'm breaking up with this person today.” Then they lose their job, and you're like, “Fuck. Now, I can't break up with them for until they get a new job. Now, I'm in this for another month.” That stuff just keeps happening. I have a rule when I have a piece of bad news, I try and communicate it within 15 minutes. Think about that with brands.
If you can't post, if you have to back out of something, if it's going to be late, if you know the files that you shot got lost, communicate it immediately. Explain what happened. Apologize. It will be fine. The only way it will not be fine is if you don't communicate effectively. We could do a whole show on this but if you have any more questions on that, on how as an influencer, you should be thinking about communications with brands, ask them because I don't want to just spurt stuff off here. Any further questions on, let us know. I'll answer it next week.
- Smart Growth Tactics, Unprofessionalism, Growth Companies