How can social media influencers make money from their digital presence? Business Strategist IDALIA SALSAMENDI has the answers. Idalia consults influencers like Brittany Xavier, Jacey Duprie, Christie Ferrari and Caitlyn Warakomski, and works with them in a way that almost no one else in the world does. Taking the knowledge she has gained in over a decade of invaluable experience, Idalia’s business strategies are one of a kind and is known for delivering top results.
AC: When an influencer comes to you looking for a business strategy – what are the first questions you ask?
IDALIA SALSAMENDI: Great question! I always start with the same three questions: What’s your mission statement? What are your expectations of my service? How are you contributing back to society? I’ve found this truly lays a fantastic groundwork of how the working relationship will be. Also, identifying long term and short term goals are incredibly essential to the partnership. Once we have what I call the “building blocks” in place, that’s where we start to build an empire.
How do you deal with a client’s expectations?
With honesty. My consulting is not to blow smoke up anyone’s ass, or say “yes” to everything they want. I’m here to provide vital and transparent feedback and strategy that is aligned with their realistic goals. For example, someone who’s never been to New York Fashion Week or doesn’t have relationships with top PR agencies and brands can’t expect me to wave a magical wand and have them seated front row at Alexander Wang. The industry doesn’t work that way. That’s where I come in. Let’s check the ego at the door and really focus on how to get there. And the only way on getting there is through genuine relationships and hard work. There really are no short-cuts in this business.
Why should brands partner with influencers?
If done correctly, influencers can really take a “no name brand” to a “must have brand” as quickly as one Instagram post. Over the years of my experience, it’s been really invigorating for me to see how partnering with the right influencer can really help a brand to levels they themselves had no idea was possible. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of my job!
How do you quantify the monetary value of an influencer’s audience?
First we have to realize that in the fast-paced world of Instagram, the game is constantly changing. Anyone now can buy followers, reach out to a brand and say, “Hi, please work with me. I cost..” and the sad thing is, a lot of brands don’t distinguish the glitter from the gold. For me personally, whenever I consult with brands, I have the focus be on engagement rate, demographics, impressions (not followers), and aesthetic. Sometimes it really is like pulling teeth trying to explain to a brand that just because someone has two million followers doesn’t mean they’re going to give the brand their ROI. Someone with a forty-thousand authentic following may receive more impressions, genuine comments and higher ROI than someone with millions. So being clear with expectations, whether it be for ROI or for publicity purposes, is fundamental to a successful influencer campaign.
Going forward, will brands spend more on content partnerships over billboards and banner ads?
From my experience, yes. I began in this industry a decade ago representing models (before Instagram and blogs) where big advertising dollars were going into billboards. I remember once booking a job that was going to appear on a billboard in Times Square and I howled and jumped for joy – huge deal! In hindsight that kind of money was peanuts compared to a solid campaign with a solid influencer that is all kept within Instagram and social media parameters. Isn’t that wild? And as the years keep passing, more and more advertising dollars are being redirected to social media talent partnerships than any other form of traditional advertising. How long will this last? I don’t know. What I do know is that as long as consumers continue to shop via social media (which is increasing per year), brands will continue to redirect budget to that respective platform.
Tell us about your podcast Realization. What was the inspiration behind the title?
You know, it took me about three months to come up with the title. I actually started off with it being, “Don’t be an asshole.” Every time someone asks me for any business advice on how to deal with clients, it always boiled down to me saying that phrase. Eventually I realized that I wanted a title that could transcend through any conversation or interview I may have. This isn’t only about fashion or the industry, this is about connecting with real people and having an honest dialogue. Since its inception in August 2018, we’ve gotten such incredible guest and rave reviews to which I’m so grateful and humbled by.
Who are you excited about having on the podcast?
What’s exciting about the podcast is getting to know everyone’s unique story. Some are friends, some are complete strangers, but they all bring something to the table. Isn’t that just the best feeling? The excitement is a wide net that continues to grow and flourish.
PHOTOGRAPHY: DANIEL MUNOZ
INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES