You might be growing a blog, a social media fanbase, or personal brand for a host of reasons which have nothing to do with working as an influencer to market on behalf of brands. Reality sunk in at some point that your blog or Instagram profile alone were not enough to bring in bank, and you realized that something more needed to be done. Maybe you tried affiliate links or hosting ads on your website (until you realized that turned readers away). I have faith, however, that your savvy business acumen led you to the brilliant idea of working as a brand ambassador. Sure, this isn’t your full-time gig because you still need to share quality, authentic content with your loyal fanbase, but it’s a nice little addition to your blogging and social media income.
So you say you wanna be an influencer…but you’re not entirely sure how to collaborate with brands that you both love and would also feel confident sharing with your audience. Naturally it’s important that whenever you share content, it’s in line with your own brand’s voice and image.
Tips for Social Media Influencers to Collaborate with Brands
1. Keep doing your thang.
Brands hire influencers for many different reasons, but a big one is the niche audience factor. The more you stick with your expertise, cultivate a strong personal brand, engage with your followers, and are able to build an audience in a niche market, the easier it will be to sell your services, so-to-speak, to any brands who would benefit from reaching your audience.
Lesson: Stay true to yourself, your passion, and your image in order to get the attention of brands down the line.
2. Don’t let the numbers disillusion you.
Every influencer thinks the more, the better. A lot of brands hold onto this antiquated perception, but the smart companies take chances with micro-influencers. In other words, you do not have to be a celebrity or a celebrity influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers to be hired for an influencer campaign. I wrote about one such influencer earlier this week; Richie Norton, @thestrengthtemple, who has around 5,800 followers on Instagram and with this little fanbase (compared to the big influencers with 500k+ followers) he has been able to land some phenomenal sponsorships with companies likeNew Balance UK and Men’s Health.
Lesson: It’s never too early to go after brand sponsorships. The more confidence and faith that you have in your work, the more likely brands will respond to you.
3. Only you can make it happen.
Influencer marketing is an arbitrage in which influencers outmatch brands by far. That means that brands have their pick of influencers and a lot of leverage over how much they pay. The scales will inevitably balance out one day, but until they do, if you want to collaborate with brands of your choosing, you might just have to do a little legwork yourself. Once you have millions of followers, you can expect to be inundated with quality emails requesting sponsored posts, but until that day, the onus is on you to create the influencer business you want.
- Email brands you would be honored to represent.
- Have a PR package ready to send, along with a portfolio of prior clients or samples of what you could do for the company.
- Offer to do one post in exchange for product, but only after you let the brand negotiate salary. Ideally, you will get salary plus product since you need it to create genuine content.
- If you do reach out to a brand directly, make sure it’s one that you do indeed value. Take the time to research as much as you can about the company and let them know you would like to work with them long-term should the first campaign go well.