5 Truths About Being a #BahamasBlogger
Sep 30, 2020
#Bahamasblogger is cute until you run into all of the problems that come with living on an island.
Being a blogger and influencer in itself is a pretty new and uncoventional concept that many local brands, marketing departments, business owners aren’t familiar with or simply don’t care for. I’d be the first to admit that I watch with glassy eyes as I see other bloggers in more advanced places like The United States, the UK and others rack up big time brand partnerships with major companies.
I’m talking McDonald’s, Mercedes Benz, Gerber, Always and other companies who did the work in finding out why influencer marketing is so important these days and hopped on board.
Even in an atmosphere where Bahamian influencers are misunderstood and grossly underused, I’ve been able to land some pretty sweet brand partnerships with companies that wanted to dabble in this field and give ya girl a chance!
From Going Places Travel, Eagle Electric, Black Opal Bahamas (via Commonwealth Drug and Medical Supplies), Sandbox Bahamas, The Atlantis Resort, The Rosewood and others, I’ve landed and executed partnerships I’m proud of. #Bahamasblogger
But ask any #Bahamasblogger and they’d tell you that even though there is some movement in the industry, it’s only a drop in the bucket to what we could really be doing and how companies could really be seeing immense growth by utilizing influencer marketing.
Ask this #Bahamianblogger and she’d go a bit further and share these 5 truths!
Which government agency do I need to speak to to draft some legislation or something that sees our industry as worthy? As an influencer companies all over the world send me free product to try, share or just use, it’s a part of my business. But I’m forced to pay hefty VAT, shipping, courier and duty fees for an item I spent $0 on; like my gifted baby wrap from Konny, makeup sent free of charge from The Lip Bar or even my cute travel T-shirt from Hardly Home. While many other foreign and local companies have the luxury of being granted concessions, having taxes waived and cutting other deals, local bloggers are usually made to cough up big bucks for freebies. I’m not a legislator, but I’m sure something can be done to do a #Bahamasblogger a solid; a rate reduction, certain items VAT and duty free…something?
All the influencer manuals would tell you, “keep pitching to brands, you’ll definitely land a collab! Yea, that’s true too, but I’ve found that when I pitch to most brands, I spend more time explaining what influencer marketing is than I do selling myself. While the two are closely related, they’re not the same. I’ve found that many Bahamian marketing departments and agents are so engrained in the traditional forms of marketing that they’re severely uninformed and uneducated on why I reached out in the first place, or even why they emailed me. Many of the brands who’ve done their homework and reached out to me for a partnership are the always the more fun ones to work with and the ones whose collaborations are more successful, because they get it! No time is wasted dragging on to explain what a blogger does, they jump right into the content and I love it! Imagine pitching to a brand, getting excited because they reply with, “tell us more!” You go to great lengths to explain what you can do for them and why you’re worth the time and coin and they still say no…well muddoes! I’ve been there many times!
Sometimes local brands reach out looking to collab with influencers for free. Sometimes I accept, depending on what the event or product is. But I’ve lost count of the many times local brands have reached out to me to collab for free, but I countered with a pitch to turn it into a paid gig and they ghosted me. Local companies know they have virtually no competition when it comes to using influencer marketers to sell their products. Recently two of my favorite American bloggers rolled out campaigns for competing car brands. I’m pretty sure Car Brand A made sure to meet the needs, financially and otherwise, of the influencer because they knew Car Brand B would get some dope shots from their partnership. Here, not so much. I speak from experience when I say a lot of times when influencers ask for money they’re met with a hard “no,” being negotiated into the gutter or a company who simply doesn’t get why the price is the price.
Lord, the minute a dollar moves from the brand’s hands to yours, they sometimes expect to see 30,000 people flocking to their store mentioning your post. Slow it down. I’ve learned over the years that while the main goal of influencer marketing, from the company’s end and the influencer’s end is to get a return on investment (ROI), sometimes that wont happen immediately, it’s just the truth. To me an influencer’s job is to build mindshare; presenting a product or service that followers will remember and purchase WHEN THEY NEED IT. That could be the same day, a week later, or two months later. Creating content for lifestyle purchases like travel or household appliances might see an influencer’s followers purchase these items three months after planning that baecation or two weeks after moving into their new apartment. Items like hair, beauty supply products or food might have sorter turnaround times. The most important part is that the influencer converted that follower into a customer for that brand. If that isn’t ROI, I don’t know what is. I love it when my partners call or email me to tell me that people have been specifically coming into their stores mentioning items they’ve seen me post, Sometimes it was within days of me posting a photo or within months; it’s just how the game goes.
Shout outs to the companies who’ve taken the “plunge” and hired an influencer marketer for some work. Whether you’ve hired me or someone else, thank you! I aways wish more brands were utilizing Bahamian influencers and getting more involved with this new wave of advertising and showing off their products and services. I see some movement in the industry, but we’ve got a long way to go. I’d also admit that if there’s to be any success in this, it’s going to take both influencer and brand to commit to making this work, to implementing systems and processes that make this thing tick; to standardizing the industry and identifying best practices. We can do it.
Sure; sun, sand and sea gets us some bomb, “I live where you vacation” content, but sun, sand and sea also stand in the way of us really making bank like we ought to be.