Secrets from an Influencer Marketing Expert

(Episode 1 of 2 with Shane Barker)

Secrets from an Influencer Marketing Expert

What businesses say about themselves is no longer credible, and influencers have become highly credible sources that customers look to and trust instead. In this episode, Shane Barker, an influencer marketing expert, is going to share some of his secrets about influencer marketing. 

About Shane Barker


Shane Barker is a UCLA professor. He teaches a class about personal branding and how to become an influencer, and he’s developing a course that will be available for anyone to take online and learn the things he teaches in his class. Shane is a consultant. For example, he created a startup that reached more than a $25 million valuation in two years. His consulting practice specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, content marketing, sales funnels targeted traffic, and website conversions. 

He consults with multiple fortune 500 companies, and he has some A-list celebrities as clients, including Angela Bassett and Shane Sparks. Shane writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Huffington Post. The infographics he’s created have been viewed more than 350,000 times and have been featured in more than 950 articles and publications. He publishes the marketing growth podcast. Marketing insider group named Shane one of the top content marketing influencers, and Salesforce named him one of the industry’s top influencers. He also has published a series of ebooks.

What businesses say_Blog

2 Influencer Marketing Secrets 

We don’t have to have a million followers.


We don’t have to have a crazy, huge audience. Shane knows of influencers who have followings in the thousands, but they have courses where they are making hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. We also don’t need to be on every social media platform. We can still be successful without having millions of followers on every platform.

Influencers need to educate brands. 


About a year and a half ago, Shane did a big event, renting out the floor of a hotel with Amazon and 35-40 brands. They did the training, and Shane realized there was a big disconnect between brands and influencers. He needed to get in the middle and educate people on both sides so they could start having a lot more successful influencer marketing campaigns.

Many influencers don’t understand the value they have. This can be a problem because they don’t know how much to charge brands for their sponsorship or how to campaign products for brands. They often wait for brands to come to them instead of pitching their services to brands. Influencers should be able to educate the brands on why their services are valuable.

To do this, influencers should be able to say “I’ve worked with these brands, and here’s the data from their campaigns.” They should be able to show brands the number of clicks or views their content usually receives. They should be able to tell them exactly what they are going to do for their campaign: a blog post, podcast episode, YouTube video, etc. If they are going to put content on their website, they should be able to tell brands, for example, “My website indexes well for these certain keywords, and 10,000 people look at it monthly.” Influencers should know their data so they can tell brands exactly what their value is.

Shane said, “The good thing about influencer marketing for a brand is there are millions of potential influencers. But the problem is, how do I know who’s better than the other person? It’s the influencers that are educated and say, ‘let me show you how to put this campaign to really show you how this was successful.”

Shane’s Passion: Helping Small Businesses


Shane is passionate about many things, but right now he is focusing on his passion to help small businesses. Currently, he’s working for the SBDC (Small Business Development Center), trying to help businesses that have been put in a difficult situation because of COVID. He aids them in transitioning to online from offline, or in figuring out how they can have other revenue streams or keep their doors open. Shane wants to give small businesses the information he has learned in the last 25 years. 

He started working with the SBDC because a friend of his is a director for them. They went out for drinks, and Shane said it was like a Jedi mind trick. “I had one beer, and then all of a sudden, by the end of it I was working for him.” When Shane told his team he was really excited to work there, they were skeptical, especially when they learned Shane would be taking a significant pay decrease. Shane told them it wasn’t about the money though; it was about helping people.

The good thing_Blog

Shane’s heart is with small businesses. He’s always had small businesses and been able to grow them. Unfortunately, with where he’s at in his career, he is too expensive for most small businesses to afford his help. Shane thought that wasn’t fair because he has knowledge he can give to people for free. But now he can do that with the SBDC.

Shane realizes that entrepreneurs are strong and can get through difficult times. But, it becomes more difficult when you have something uncontrollable like COVID or government. It’s not that these entrepreneurs aren’t working hard enough; it’s that there are other forces stopping them. 

Shane’s Entrepreneurial Journey


Chevy’s Mexican Restaurant


Shane started off as a busser for Chevy’s Mexican restaurant when he was 16. Eventually, he moved up from bussing tables to becoming a waiter, then a server, and then they wanted him to become a manager. Instead of being the manager, Shane traveled around the country opening new restaurants. 

Hot Pad


While Shane was in college, he started a business called Hot Pad, which sold reusable, non-toxic heat packs. He opened kiosks, got investors, hired freelancers for the logo and the website, and put the whole project together. They started doing different kinds of hot pads: ones for the shoulders, ones for the back, etc. The business did really well.

After graduating from CSU, Shane started his own business. There was one business he took from 0 to $25 Million in 2 years with 130 employees and 3 or 4 locations. That business was actually sued by the Attorney General for about $60 Million. They ended up settling on the case, but Shane learned from that experience more about being an entrepreneur than a degree from Harvard or Yale ever could. Ever since then, Shane has been doing consulting, helping businesses drive traffic and convert traffic into online sales.

Influencer Marketing


Soon, Shane jumped into the influencer space. He had a client by the name of Zoe Rodriguez. She was a fitness influencer making about $40,000 a month, and Shane’s business helped take her from 400,000 to 1.6 million followers. She already had a very engaged audience, so when they redid her website, logo, and sales funnels, it accelerated the growth.

Content Marketing 


Shane now writes for 150 different websites including Forbes and Huffington Post with the help of his team. He also has a podcast that just reached number 33 on iTunes for the top business podcasts. 

How does he do it?


So how does Shane manage all of his ventures? For many years, Shane was the bottleneck in his processes, always wanting to approve everything. But, there were simply not enough hours in the day for him to catch up. He’s learned the value of delegating, having really good processes in place, and having a strong team.

Key Takeaways


Thank you so much Shane for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:

1. Influencers are credible sources with reach that customers trust.

2. We don’t need millions of followers to be successful in our influencer marketing. A small, but engaged, following can often give us a lot of success.

3. Both brands and influencers should be educated about all the services an influencer can provide. An influencer that is knowledgeable is more likely to be hired by brands to promote their products.

4. Writing for a lot of other credible organizations is a great way to establish our own credibility.

5. Delegating, having good processes in place, and having a strong team can help relieve entrepreneurs’ stresses and give them more free time to do more of the things they love.

Connect with Shane


If you enjoyed this interview and want to learn more about Shane or connect with him, you can find him on LinkedIn at or visit his website at

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    About the author

    Nathan Gwilliam

    Nathan Gwilliam

    I help organizations navigate tectonic shifts that are transforming the business landscape, so they can optimize marketing, accelerate profits, and make a greater difference for good.

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