Updated: Jan 6, 2022
"This could be interesting if you are starting a new business or looking for sponsorship."
This time last year we had been in and out of lock down. Wales and England had been completely out of sync for months and in all honesty the business look f**ked!! My thoughts were based around what I could sell to reduce my losses.
I've learned a lot about resilience through past job roles though, so In the end I decided go with one of my mantras in life, 'don't stress over things you can't control'. I took a few weeks off for Christmas and new year and put bikes to the back of my mind. Then February came and things got crazy!
So, this year things are a bit quiet at the moment but I'm not worried, I know where we are heading and 2022 looks like getting busy! I'm taking this as a good time to reflect on the past year and to make plans for how to move forward in the coming year.
I have no previous experience of running a business, no training in marketing and no real experience of using social media. So, everything has been based on gut instinct. Some things have worked, some things have not. But, we're here, so more must have worked than what failed and I've certainly learned a lot this year from the experience.
One of of the biggest assets I've had this year have been the people that have allowed me to share their social posts and that have acted, informally I guess, as brand ambassadors. They are key to my business and I'm sure it's the same for many other companies.
I come across lots of people that want to get sponsored and I get lots of requests to sponsor people. So, as I review the way I use brand ambassadors and think about next season, I thought I'd share my thoughts on what I look for and maybe it'll make you think about what you can do differently in terms of approaching companies.
Tip number 1:
The first thing you need to accept is that 'no one is giving anything away for 'free'. I'm as generous as anyone you'll find, perhaps too much so, but it would be a total lie to say that I'm not looking for something in return. So, if you want to please or gain a sponsor, rather than thinking about what you want to get off someone, you need to think about what you can offer in return. If all you have homemade clips on Instagram, it's probably not enough (unless you have insane talent)
Tip number 2:
Tagging people in your reels is good, but it's not enough!
I follow literally hundreds of bike related accounts. Products, shops, riders etc. It all gets a bit the same after a while. What I certainly never do is go to the list of twenty @blahblahblah's at the end of the post and click on them all. So, unless you're posting something specific about the product your social post is practically useless. Stories the same. They're great for about an hour and then they're gone. So why would I (or anyone) sponsor you rather than spend ten pounds to boost the post to 50,000 people?
So what should you do?
What I've seen in action and what I've learned from people that I've met this year, is that you have to treat this seriously. If someone has 'given' you a bike then they want at least 5 people to buy that bike because you've convinced them to. That way, giving you one bike is a no brainer. Your social is good but what I have learned is that the way you speak to people is more important. The people that have been most effective for me also have lots of support from other brands which is no coincidence. They are people that are approachable. They wear a smile and they are happy to chat with anyone, young, old, male, female. They'll make an effort to get professional photographs and videos and they understand how social media works. Importantly, they show an interest in the product/service and can talk about it confidently. If you want an example of this done well, look at Becci Skelton.
Alternatively, maybe you can give feedback that helps the product to develop. You're not likely to suddenly start giving Santa Cruz feedback on how to develop their bikes but for smaller brands your input is vital. For me, I have looked for riders that will do all of the above but also give me constructive feedback. I want them to be willing to experiment and try things out. I want them to contact me if they are unhappy rather than publicly cast criticism. I have literally contacted riders that I have worked with this year to offer support because I know that this is what they'll give back.
So, there's a little food for thought and that's where we're at this week.
Next one will be more techy!!