What Does Influencer Marketing Look Like In the Real World? – Mike Allton

What Does Influencer Marketing Look Like In the Real World? – Mike Allton

Influencer marketing could arguably be traced all the way back to the 1800’s when the Conklin pen company wisely and creatively asked Mark Twain to say some nice things about their products. Influencer marketing has come a long way since then, especially if you’re a Kardashian. But just going for the big name is not necessarily the best strategy, says Agorapulse’s Mike Allton. Sure, you want a big name with recognition, but if their followers are in your product’s demographic or the audience most likely to use your product or service, then it’s just a waste of time and money.

And speaking of money, another cool thing about influencer marketing is the multiple tiers it allows you to work with in terms of the relationship and compensation plan you have with influencers. If you do it right, it can prove to be a lucrative arrangement for both parties.

Rich: My next guest is a content marketing practitioner – a title he invented himself – to represent his holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blogging, social media, email marketing, and SEO, to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales. He is an award winning blogger, speaker, author, and brand evangelist at Agorapulse. He’s also not just an “expert” at influencer marketing, he’s a practitioner. In fact, that’s why I reached out to him today because he’s in it every day, seeing what actually works. Let’s dive into influencer marketing with Mike Allton. Mike, welcome to the podcast.

Mike: Thanks a lot, Rich. I really appreciate you having me on the show.

Rich: I’m looking forward to it. So for those who don’t know, Agorapulse is a popular social media management tool. It’s the tool that we use here at flyte new media to manage the social media campaigns for our clients. How did you end up there?

Mike: Well, okay, so this is a fun story. Many years ago I was actually known as the HootSuite guy. I had been using and espousing Hootsuite for years. I literally wrote the book on HootSuite, and for whatever reason, they actually didn’t like that. They didn’t like that I wrote a book about their product. And so from that point on, this was like 2015, that relationship really soured.

And in 2016, I went to my first ever time attending Social Media Marketing World. And you know, it’s a giant event, thousands of people. And that year it was my first time going. I really only knew one person, Peg Fitzpatrick. That was like literally the only person I knew in the entire crowd. So I followed Peg around like a puppy everywhere she went, “Oh, let’s go see this person. Okay, Peg, sure. Oh, let’s go have lunch.” And if you recall back then they actually used to provide lunches and they would have these long tables set up with box lunches. So you go in, you grab a box, there’s like three choices and then you’d find a table to sit at. And they had separated the tables by flags with topics so that you could choose a random group of people to sit with who all shared an interest in one topic.

Peg didn’t want that. So I’m just following Peg and she finally noticed one guy sitting by himself with the little international flag. She’s like, “Let’s go sit with him.” I’m like, “Okay.” It turns out she knew him. It turns out its Emeric Ernoult, who’s the CEO of Agorapulse. I was not familiar with the tool and I didn’t know Emeric at all, but Peg introduced us. He’s a fabulous guy and he starts showing me his social media management tool on his cell phone and I immediately fell in love.

The app was gorgeous and it was clear right away. What a difference in improvement it was over the HootSuite way of doing things, where you had different streams and tabs for all your different profiles. With Agorapulse, he was bringing it all into one stream. I was like, “Oh wow, this is brilliant.” So he gave me a free account and I went home and started using it and started loving and writing about it. Because that’s what I do, I write about things, and we formed a really great relationship, Emeric and I. This was in 2016.

So within about a year, he brought me on as an affiliate and made me one of his ambassadors. And at the time he only had about 10. And I’ll talk about what that means in a second. But we met again at Marketing World in 2017, I made a great sit down. And by the end of 2017, he and I were now talking very seriously about me coming to work for him. And I wasn’t happy with my other job – doesn’t matter what it was – but he knew I wasn’t happy and he saw a real need within himself for somebody to manage his influencers. He’d been paying people like me to be ambassadors and he’d go 6-8 months without ever talking to us, but he kept paying us. And so you see a little bit of an issue there from a business perspective. I’m paying you, but I’m not actually asking you to do anything, I’m not even communicating with you. That’s a problem.

So he brought me on, gosh, it was like a three month interview process. We started in late 2017 and finally by January, February of 2018, we pulled the trigger. I came on as a brand evangelist. And like literally my first day on the job was Social Media Marketing World 2018. I showed up a couple of days before because we decided to film influencers talking about our product at the Marriott, which I know you’ve been. So that in a nutshell is how I came to be involved with Agorapulse.

Rich: Very cool. You mentioned ambassadors and you wanted to come back to it. So is now a good time to talk about what ambassadors means to you?

Mike: Yeah. So we have an influencer marketing program which I run, and it’s kind of separate in different kinds of tiers because there’s different kinds of influencers, both from a size and scope perspective, but also in terms of what they do for you. So affiliates are a form of influencers. It’s the people who are just signed up to resell your product and recommend your product and earn a commission, which is great. So I manage those.

But then I also manage people like yourself and our relationships with people like yourself who are teaching other people how to use social media, and maybe even like yourself, managing an entire agency. Which is fantastic because then we’re able to work together and cross promote. And I give people free access to the tool. I’m like the anti-sales guy and we collaborate on activities.

And then the next level up are our ambassadors. And now we have 50 ambassadors. We went from 8 to 50 over the past couple of years. These are people where we’re either paying them a stipend or we’re paying them increased commission. And in exchange, we’re being a little bit more intentional about what we’re doing with those ambassadors. And we’re making sure that, first of all, it’s always a win/win relationship for the ambassador for us.

So a good example is about every other quarter, I run a virtual summit. It’s just an online event. It’s free for anybody to show up. And I line up a whole series of speakers. You’ve participated in a couple in the past and it’s great content. It’s super informative and it’s exposure for you. But I recognize that as a speaker, exposure is not much of a win. I can create my own content and get exposure. So what we usually do is we share with you the registrants. So as successful as the event is, it’s just as accessible for you, but that’s hard to say.

So that’s kind of the next level for us where we’re actually working together with ambassador is to create very specific things, whether it’s a webinar, or a summit, or a blog post, or some kind of activity like that.

Rich: So first of all you just reminded me, I probably should use that list of names and emails that you gave me. I don’t think I ever did. But I want to take a step back and starting with the basics. That was a really good breakdown of those two different tiers. But when you’re at a cocktail party – if that ever happens again – and somebody says, “Well, what is influencer marketing?” How do you define it? I think you’ve done a pretty good job of explaining how you use it to promote Agorapulse, but how do you define influence marketing? Because it does feel like there’s still a little bit of a discrepancy or variance in the way that people use that term.

Mike: Yeah. And I totally understand where you’re coming from and you’re right. I should have said from the outset, the way that I use influencers is a little bit different because, quite frankly, I’m blessed to be working for a social media management tool on social media. So I get to do things that other people, like regular businesses, it just would not make sense.

So for a normal business, I usually break influencers down into four categories, starting with these macro mega influencers with millions of followers. Typically these are celebrities at this level, they’re going to be super expensive to work with. They’re going to bring huge brand recognition with them when they talk about your brand, but it’s also highly untargeted. The classic example of that is Kim Kardashian. Kim Kardashian goes on Instagram and talks about Agorapulse. Okay, great. Now we’re going to become a household name. But the vast majority of Kim’s audience isn’t shopping for a social media management tool. So is it really worth my investment to bring somebody like that on board? That’s a key question when you’re talking about that level.

The next level down, those are people that are in the probably hundreds of thousands of followers range. These are people who probably quite a bit more niche, they’re very professional. I shouldn’t put it that way, they are professionals, how they act is a totally different judgment. They may not act professional, but they are professionals, and they’re using social media around that. Because maybe they’re gamers, maybe it’s a hotel chain, or a hotel influencer, travel influencer, or a food blogger or something like that. But they’ve established a large audience in their niche. The other benefit that working with somebody like this has, is first of all, their audience is targeted and they probably will have worked with other brands before, but they’re going to be a little bit more expensive.

Next level down is anywhere from tens of thousands of followers up to maybe a 100,000 followers, very hyper-focused individuals at this point. And you might have people at this level that have never worked with another brand before. So as the brand wanting to use them for influencer marketing, you’re probably going to have to take more of a leadership role where you’re drawing up the agreements and the contracts., and you’re kind of holding their hand and you’re explaining to them, this is what we want you to do, this is what we’re going to pay you, these are expectations, that sort of things. At those higher levels, they understand that they’re probably drawing up the contracts for you. They already know what they want to do and how, what they’re going to charge a brand to work with them as a business.

This next level though, is the one that I really want people to hone in on that nano influencer level. People with maybe 100, maybe 1,000 followers. People who might not even be on social media. You’re like, wait a minute. What? Non social media influencers. Yeah, because if you’re a local business and you want to get in front of other local business owners, the president of the local Lion’s Club might be bank for you. That might be the kind of guy who can make all kinds of connections for you. And he might not even have a personal Facebook page and that’s okay. That’s the kind of person that you’re going to want to look for if you are targeting a specific geographic region with your business. But just like with those micro influencers, the nano influencer probably has never even heard of influencer marketing, let alone actually worked with a brand, so they will not know or understand what it is. You want them to do a lot of handholding at that level, but probably also very cost effective. You might be able to negotiate a very reasonable fee to work with somebody, maybe to attend a meeting of a group and give a presentation about your brand or do something that’s kind of fun and interesting and different. Those are the different levels of influencer marketing.

Rich: So you talked about contracts, you talked about money, but it feels to me – who doesn’t do a lot around influencer marketing – at least not intentionally, that those nano and micro level influencers, that I I’m surprised there even needs to be a contract. I’m surprised that there’s, especially on the nano level, that even money is exchanging hands. Like if I’m going to call up the head of the Rotary because I want to speak in front of his group or introduce something at the next event, hopefully I’m not even thinking about paying him. I’m certainly not going to send him out a contract for that. Am I being naive or does that really just depend on your type of business and the person you’re speaking with?

Mike: I would say you’re not being naive at all. And that’s 100% the case with that level. Most of the time you’re not going to need, there may not even be any money exchanging hands. Or if there is, it might be on a commission or performance basis where again, we don’t need a contract because you’re just going to say, “Hey, look, we’re going to pay you 15% commission on all the sales that you generate.” And depending on the situation, that might be enough that gentleman’s agreement, that application, that email chain, whatever it is, however you came to that agreement, that arrangement that’s fine.

Our affiliates are that way. I don’t have a contract with our affiliates. We do have an agreement because there are certain things that we do or do not want affiliates to do. For instance you wouldn’t want an affiliate to pay for Google ads using your brand name because then their ad and their link may show up before yours, when somebody is actually just searching for your brand. And then that’s a whole other thing.

Rich: And bidding that price.

Mike: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Or getting a discount. So for those other levels where there’s money exchanging hands and that’s part of the agreement, particularly when there are expectations, that’s where it’s really a good idea to have a contract in place that just spells out this is what we’re going to do for you, this is what we expect you to do for us in exchange, over what timeframe. And if there are any other details that need to be spelled out in the contract, maybe you’re going to leave the promotion up to the influencer or maybe part of what you expect, part of what you want to get out of the relationship is brand awareness on a specific channel. And if that’s the case, you’ve got to spell that out, too. Don’t leave it up to them to promote you on whatever channel they feel like when you really want to reach an audience on Instagram. They might tweet about you, and then now you’re not getting what you want. So those are the kinds of details I would include.

Rich: So as you’re talking, I’m thinking about money exchanging hands, and I’m wondering if we should just look at this as an advertisement. Are we hiring an influencer in the same way that Coke might hire a celebrity spokesperson? And before you and I started this call, we were talking a little bit about how COVID has impacted what we’re doing. And I’ve been watching a bunch of YouTube carpentry videos suddenly and I’ve noticed that some of the higher end guys will work into the video the fact that they’re using product X or product Y, and thank them for making that possible. I’m guessing that is influencer marketing. But where does advertising end and influencer marketing begin? Or is it really the same thing?

Mike: This is a great kind of a nuanced question because the way that I approach influencer marketing, maybe a little bit different from other brands, the way that I approach influencer marketing is that everything that I do is relationship based. So when I see a new influencer – and there’s tens of thousands of people on social media – you are teaching social media who are writing about it and so on. So there’s plenty of influencers in my industry and there’s plenty of people that I don’t know.

So when I see somebody new that I don’t know, the first thing I do is not approach them with a sale or a pitch of some time. The first thing I do is start to develop a relationship. And on social media, it’s frankly easier because I can follow them or connect with them depending on the channel. And I can start to engage with their content. I can learn about them, whatever they’re willing to share on social and start to develop that relationship that way. I can also begin to introduce them to Agorapulse and I can make offers like, “Hey, I don’t know if this can help you, but it’d be happy to gift you a complimentary account at Agorapulse.” That’s how I lead into it.

And then one of the things, another difference that I make is that I don’t push them after that. I’m not immediately following up and saying, “Hey, okay, now that you’re in there, can we schedule a follow-up meeting next week or the week after the week after?” No, no, no. I back off and I let them do what they want to do. And I’m doing this at scale, which is why it works. I’m not just doing one person a month. I’m approaching all kinds of people and developing all these relationships simultaneously. They’re all at different stages. It gets complex. I understand that there are tools to help you.

Contrast that with a brand that has no relationship with a particular influencer, and a celebrity is a great example. And they just want to leverage the social capital of that individual. In other words, they want to take advantage of the fact that that person is known, has an audience, has a name that’s recognized, and they’re just going to pay them to say something or be in a commercial. Something like that. That to me is true, pure advertising. Some would argue that’s influencer marketing and I get it. They’re trying to piggyback off of that individual’s success. But today’s audiences understand that celebrity endorsements is not new. It’s been going on for a century or more.

I wrote in a book recently that Mark Twain might’ve been the first true influencer that was hired. Before Mark Twain it was basically just baseball players and eventually it rolled into musicians. But athletes like baseball players, like a Babe Ruth kind of thing. And I wrote about how the Conklin pen company in Toledo, Ohio in the 1800’s wanted somebody to endorse their pen and talk about their pen in the 1800’s or early 1900’s. They could have Babe Ruth – whose not exactly known for his penmanship – I mean maybe signing a contract and that’s about it. So they went and they found Mark Twain. They’re like, okay, Mark, Twain’s known for using a pen or a typewriter. And so Twain pen, excuse the pun, some wonderful statements about the pen. And I wish I could remember them because they’re comical in Twain’s style. He talked about how most fountain pens back then would force you to swearing because they’d get ink all over your hands. And the Conklin pen didn’t leak ink because of the way that the sack was made inside the pen. So he said, the pen saved you from swearing, which is pretty cool.

It was still an advertisement. I mean, it’s still them reaching out to somebody they had no relationship with who maybe had never even used their products. And they paid him to say something about their pen. And so people today, they can see that I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV, kind of a thing, right? We know that these people are actors and they’re paid to do that.

What you want to see when possible with influencer marketing is a relationship that’s built. And from Agorapulse’s perspective, the best example I can give you is the plethora of Facebook groups that exist out there today that are all about social media marketing. Everyone’s got one, Social Media Examiner has got a great Facebook group. There’s a bunch of others that are created by different influencers in the niche, and so they’ve got thousands, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people that use these groups. And on a regular basis, somebody will ask in these groups, Hey, what social media management tool is the best? I don’t have to say anything. I don’t have to comment. I don’t even have to ask anybody to up.

Whenever somebody says something like that, my ambassadors, the people that I have built relationships with over the years, they pile on, “You’ve got to use Agorapulse. You got to use Agorapulse.” And they’ll explain why. And it’s very organic, it’s very legitimate. And that’s almost something you can’t put a dollar amount on. You can’t track it. It’s organic. When somebody says, “Use Agorapulse”, and shows their audience how to use Agorapulse when they’re on a stage at an event like Social Media Marketing World, I can’t track that. And so I can’t account for it, but it’s immensely valuable.

Rich: Well, and I think there’s another level here at play because when you have these micro influencers going out there talking about your products, onstage training people, that could be part of something where you’ve coached them or that’s part of the understanding. But it’s probably not part of the understanding that they’re going to respond to threads around what tool do you use, but there’s that idea of reciprocity. And if they feel good about their relationship with Agorapulse, they’re going to go that extra mile for you. So I think that definitely plays a big part in this. And maybe that is part of the difference between advertising and good influencer marketing.

Mike: I totally agree,

Rich: So you explained a little bit about how you determine the right type of influencer that you’re going to pursue for Agorapulse. What advice might you give to another type of business who’s trying to do the same thing, trying to find those influencers that can help move the needle, generate more leads, and generate more sales and revenue?

Mike: Yeah. So the first thing that I would recommend is coming up with some specific things that you think an influencer could do for you and some specific levels of compensation. Whether that’s straight up cash, or use of the product, or sales commission. I mean, compensation can be a very broad thing. It just depends on your business and what you could potentially do.

But think about those things. Then begin to form those relationships with influencers in your space and be open to possibilities. Be open to the opportunities that will show up. When you start to have conversations, when you take this ‘I’m going to help you first’ attitude into every single one of those relationships – which is what I do – I go in and I offer them free access to the tool. I try to hook them up with events that I’m running that are going to benefit them more than they’re going to benefit me. We’ll promote them on social. I’ll share their stuff to my social channels. My social channels aren’t anything to laugh at, so that’s pretty cool. And then of course we can use the Agorapulse social channels, same thing with every other business. If you’ve got a Facebook page, shine a spotlight on some of the people that you want to work with, they will appreciate that and they will want to work with you. And then you can just start to kind of build on that relationship and look for other opportunities, because that is going to be different with every single one. And it helps when you’ve got that menu of things you could potentially do.

One example is, let’s say you want to have your brand and your products mentioned on more blog content. You want other people who are researching how to do things to hear about you. Same thing as you mentioned, you’re watching videos on DIY construction, and those guys who are doing those videos, they’re mentioning somewhat organically the brands and the tools and the services that they’re using. Same deal. If you want that, as you begin to work with different influencers and identify them, you can pay close attention to the ones that are actually creating content like that.

Some people they’re just talking on social media or they’re speaking at live events, or they are partnering with other businesses. In each one of those scenarios, it’s a little bit different what you can expect to get in return. But if you want content, then you begin to identify the content creators. And as you develop that relationship, again, a lot of this stuff will come more again organically. And as you begin to see that interest – and again, this is a very individual thing – if I’m working with Viveka von Rosen and I see that she’s talking about us more and more on LinkedIn which is where she’s a particular expert, I can then reach out to her and I can thank her and I can start to have some conversations with her about, “Hey, what else can we do? Do you have anything coming up? Do you have any events or pieces of content that you’re working on? Maybe I can provide you some statistics or some “how-to’s”, or maybe you’d like some testimonials. Maybe you’d like to talk to some of our successful clients.” It all depends, obviously. So I know that’s not the best answer, but these are the things that I would be looking for.

Rich: It also occurs to me that a lot of us might be doing some level of influencer marketing, but never put a name to it. You know, a lot of us who have been in business for a while, we’ve got these relationships. You know, I’ve developed relationships with the Maine Small Business Development Centers and the Chambers of Commerce, and they have gone out of their way to do things for us because we’re supporting them, promoting their stuff as well. This happened very organically. Those may not be the best examples to turn it into influencers, but I guess the question is, how do you turn that relationship that you’ve developed with somebody and then kind of turn it into a business relationship where all of a sudden there’s a contract and maybe money’s changing hands and maybe you’re saying, “Okay, this is what I expect.” Is there a subtle way to do this? Or don’t be subtle and just say, “Hey, listen, this has been great. I’m wondering if you might want to take this to the next level, how might you recommend we proceed?”

Mike: Yeah. And I love that you put it that way, because that’s really exactly what you should do. You don’t want to be so subtle that they could misunderstand, and now you get an email reply from them that’s so ambiguous you don’t even know what’s going on anymore. You don’t want that situation.

But I think if you’ve developed a relationship and you approach it exactly the way that you just said, that was perfect. Just say,” Hey, I love what we’ve been doing together. I’d like to do more. I’d like to pay you for it. Can we talk about that? Can we hammer out some details? Can we make it formal and official?” And I think, again, if that relationship is there, you’re going to know that they’re going to be 100% on board. I mean, I don’t think anybody’s ever said ‘no’ to me. That kind of sounds weird to say that, but whenever I’ve approached an influencer wanting to take things to the next level and say, “Hey, I’d like to make you a full on ambassador. I’d like to work with you and have you in our next event” and do those kinds of things, they’re on board. They can’t wait. They’re like, sign me up, what do I do next? They love it.

Rich: It’s definitely interesting. And I wonder if the social media world is maybe more advanced when it comes to, or more comfortable with influencer marketing, then if you’re the local hardware store, for example. But again, there may be local do it yourself crafters who are already creating the content on blogs, on video, whatever it is, and you could be reaching out to them.

Mike: This is where I think it’s really critical, where you said you may be doing influencer marketing today and not even realize it. And I believe that as 100% true. If any business listening today, if you’ve been building relationships, particularly with other businesses in your niche, you’re basically doing influencer marketing, you just didn’t call it that way. If you are a mortgage company and you have arrangements with real estate agents in your area and you guys are working together so that when a customer comes to you and they need a real estate agent, you’ve got somebody that you can work with. And then that’s coming back and forth. Yeah, they call that reciprocal business and those kinds of things, but that’s influencer marketing. You know, the real estate agent will let you put a little stack of business cards in their office, they’re helping you to advertise to their audience. That’s influencer marketing.

Rich: Mike, one question, because we haven’t talked about money. What should our budget be for something like this? How do we determine that, or is there maybe just a barter option that we could be looking into if we’re just getting started?

Mike: There’s definitely a barter option. In fact, I love that approach. I love the ability to share services. So obviously again, this is going to just depend on your business. So like if you’re a SaaS like us, a software as a service, it should be really easy to give free access to whatever it is that you’re doing in exchange for the influencer. And to this day, honestly, it blows my mind because I still do stuff on the side. So when I approach a tool in the marketing space and they don’t want to give me free access but they want an article, they want me to write a review of their tool, but they only want to give me access for 15 days. No, that’s just not really solid thinking.

And instead as a SaaS, I love the approach of giving free access from the start, no expectations, no strings attached. I’m not going to beg you, ask you, expect you to do anything. I just want to help give you free access to tools and see if you can use it. From the product side, I get it’s a little bit different because there’s now an out of pocket expense. But still try to find a way to make that work if you absolutely possibly can. Send samples. Again, you’ve seen it, some of the most successful companies in the world send free samples out to influencer.  

A lady that used to work for us, she now works for Hillshire Farms. That’s what she does. She’ll send out samples of Hillshire Farms product to food bloggers, which is brilliant. Because they’re going to enjoy the sausages and cheese. I mean just come up and then they’re going to write about it. That’s going to come very naturally to them. They’re going to share on their social and they’re going to tell their audience, “Hey, look what I got.” So I think there’s definitely ways to approach that.

And that’s almost like pre barter, right? I’m just giving you the stuff in advance. I’m giving you the products, I’m giving you free access to the services without any expectations. Because that’s going to build a relationship, that’s going to build, like you said, that desire on their part to want to take another step without me prompting them. But then going forward from there that might make sense to continue in that way, it might not. Again, that just depends on the service and the business that we’re talking about.

So from that point on the next level up for me is commissions on sales, that performance based thing where you’re still not out of a pocket. You’re not going to make quite as much money on the sales, but you’re not out of pocket. So usually that should be a beneficial relationship for you, whether that’s 10%, 12%, 20%. Obviously again, that just depends on the business and what your margin is for whatever it is that you’re selling. And there are platforms out there, there’s a WordPress plugin, there’s more aggregate platforms like ShareASale, and so on, where you can set up an affiliate program and you can make it invitation only.

We actually just switched at Agorapulse, we had an open affiliate program and we had, quite frankly, too many people coming in doing Google ads and putting us on coupon sites when there really is no coupon, and some other kinds of shady things. And I just said forget it, I’m closing that down. And now we have a by invitation only partner program that gives me, first of all, the control to say, “Look, if you’re not a content creator in the social media space, this is just not going to be a good fit for us.” So as any local business, that’s a great option for you. You can make it by invitation only. You can invite the people that you want to invite, where you’ve already worked with them a little bit. You kind of want to take things up to the next level. That is the next level, commission. And then beyond that, now we’re talking about either one off campaigns or even a monthly stipend where you’re saying, “Okay, we need a contract because we’d like you to do these things and we’re going to pay you to do it. And we’re going to pay you once or we’re going to pay you monthly”, whatever the case might be.

Rich: All right. Now you’ve talked a lot about how to nurture these relationships. How do you end a relationship? Is there an official “bye bye Felicia” moment, or you just kind of let things wind down on their own?

Mike: I think this is the hardest part of the job, because if everything else that I’ve already said is true, you’re not firing or letting go or demoting somebody that you don’t know. You’re ending a business relationship with somebody that at this point, you ought to have a personal relationship with. And so that’s hard and it should be hard. The good news is if you approach it professionally and with empathy and with clear communication, they will most likely understand.

There have been some instances in the past where I’ve had ambassadors, I was paying them every single month, and we just didn’t feel like we were getting enough value to justify the expense. So I didn’t have to make them not an ambassador anymore, but we had to stop paying them every single month. And at least two of the times that I’ve done that, they’ve come back to me relieved. Relieved believed because they no longer felt pressured to produce for me. They knew in their head that they weren’t doing anything for the brand, or at least not enough. They knew that, this was not a surprise to them. And again, this goes back to organization – which we haven’t really dove into too much – but you need to make sure those expectations are set. Whether it’s in a contract, whether it’s regular communication, that sort of thing, because this will help you when it comes to this kind of a situation.

If someone you’ve been asking them for months to do a video, to be a guest on your show, or do something like that and they haven’t done it when you finally approached them and said, “Look, we need to move on.” They can’t be surprised, right? They know that they haven’t done what you’ve been asking them to do.

Rich: Yeah. So having those clear communications upfront definitely makes a lot of sense, especially when money’s involved and there’s an agreement. Mike, this has been great. Where can we learn more about you and Agorapulse?

Mike: Yeah. So I’m on all the socials and sadly the names are always different. So Twitter is probably the best place, it’s @Mike_ Allton. But I’m on all the networks. If you want to look me up and connect with me, and I’m happy to have side conversations with anybody, if you’ve got questions. Agorapulse is Agorapulse everywhere.

Rich: Awesome. Mike, this has been great. Thank you so much for stopping by today.

Mike: Thanks for having me, Rich, this been fun.

Show Notes:

Mike Allton likes to mix it up when it comes to content marketing, whether it be social media, blogs, influencer marketing, SEO, you name it! Check him out on Twitter to see what he’s up to and take away a few tips and strategies along the way.

Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of ChangeHe’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 20+ years of experience into the bookThe Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing