Today, I’m sharing with you all things related to Working with Brands Online to Become a Paid Influencer.
Let’s get into it!
I. UNDERSTANDING YOUR BRAND
Before I even start explaining to you the process by which you can follow to begin working with brands for money on Instagram, I first want to caution you to do a proper analysis of your current brand.
If you have not taken the necessary steps to either work with a Brand Specialist to have a proper brand consultation, or work on fine tuning your brand yourself as a novice, my teachings will not profit you anything.
So if this is you, bookmark this blog post and come back to it!
A great resource you can check out to help you create a more polished, niche-specific brand is my Best Selling E-book, “The Millennial’s Guide to Making More Money Online.”
Many customers have reached out to me regarding this e-book and how it has helped them create more polished, strategic, and meaningful brands. I HIGHLY recommend it!
II. CREATE SAMPLE CONTENT
In order to even get on a Brand’s radar, you must first implement the strategy of creating “sample content.”
What is “sample content”?
Sample content is content that you have curated on your feed that represents the quality of your work to a potential brand for sponsorship opportunities.
Before a brand even considers working with you, that brand will first checkout your previous work.
- Similar to a job application, a brand will want to see what type of content you currently create to see if it is up to pare with the quality of work they pay influencers for.
- If you want to start working with brands as an influencer, you need to create great sample content BEFORE you even approach a brand! (This will save you the disappointment of a “NO” response.)
- Knowing your niche is crucial because this will help you filter the type of brands that will want to work with you. For example, if you’re a beauty influencer, don’t approach a brand that has nothing to do with beauty. Create content within your niche and look for brands within that niche category.
Another tip I recommend is to do some market research.
Research what other influencers are doing for “#sponsored/#ad” content to have a better understanding of what brands are looking for when working with influencers.
It’s not just about posting “cute” photos.
Nowadays, Brands are looking for so much more than nice looking photos. Brands want to see you genuinely share your honest thoughts and opinions about a product. They want to see how you incorporate that product into your everyday routine.
To help you do this, utilize the “bookmarks” tab on the Instagram app to save content ideas that you can create for your sampled work. You can even use Pinterest to create vision boards if you need some more inspiration.
(Follow Me on Instagram (if you’re not already) for content ideas: @crystalngumezi)
Another tip I often recommend to my clients is to use free promotional items that brands send out to influencers and bloggers, to use in your sample content. This way, you are able to use that “free product” for more than just a random picture on Instagram. You can use it as an investment into providing you future opportunities with brands for paid work.
You want to think of sample content and your Instagram feed as a Resume.
I would highly recommend having at least 3-5 pieces of sample content published to your feed before reaching out to brands for paid work.
This point leads me into my next step.
III. UPGRADE YOUR BRAND/FEED
Again I will say, you need to know your niche category and stick to it!
The most common mistake I see amongst new influencers is this idea of hitting multiple niches in order to get more opportunities. This strategy will actually work against you.
Have you heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none”?
This is true in business and for social media.
When you don’t have a specific and narrow focus on how your brand is going to stand out in the market, you will fail.
Taking nice pictures is great, but it’s not the ONLY thing that matters!
If you search different hashtags on Instagram right now, I guarantee you that you will find hundreds of accounts with “nice” pictures. What does this mean?
As technology advances and more and more people are able to gain knowledge over the internet, more and more people will be entering the market (just like you).
A.K.A., you’ve got to STEP YOUR GAME UP!
So focus on tackling fewer niches rather than many. I recommend a rule of thumb to stay within 1-3 different niche categories.
Another tip I recommend in my book, “The Millennial’s Guide to Making More Money Online“, is to engage more with your audience.
Brands care a lot more about REAL engagement between you and your audience for sponsored work than “nice photos.”
Focus on serving your audience, engaging with them in the comments, engaging with their posts AS WELL, and building a genuine relationship between you and the people who follow you.
Here’s the REAL TRUTH: PEOPLE DON’T HAVE TO FOLLOW YOU.
I know we live in a selfish generation where everyone thinks the next person “owes them something”. But in actuality, nobody owes you anything!
Being able to reach thousands of people across the internet who share a genuine interest in what you share and in what you have to say is a blessing, so treat it as such.
The minute you start having a “servant” attitude rather than a “serve me” attitude, is the minute you will start to see a change in your engagement.
Another tip I will offer you is to clean up your feed so that it is focused and more eye appealing.
As I mentioned earlier, brands will check to see your relevant content before considering working with you, so make sure that you have a cohesive feed that is appealing to the eye when someone scrolls down your feed.
Your feed should be free of distractions and focused on your centralized niche category(s).
Some apps and photo editing equipment than can help you upgrade the quality of your content can be found in my resource here: HERE.
IV. CREATE YOUR PITCH
Now that we’ve talked about understanding your niche, creating sample content and upgrading your feed, you will then want to go into drafting and creating a really great Brand Pitch.
Now, let me be honest with you,
Not every brand you reach out to will respond to you.
Working with many brands over the years has given me a lot of experience with negotiating and naming my price, so here’s what I’ll share with you,
Keep in mind that brands are companies too. Brands are companies with budgets, deadlines, marketing plans, agendas and schedules. Not every brand is going to reach out to you or respond to your DM.
This is why I created my membership group, “Brand Your Biz Academy Membership” to help you.
In this program, I share with you how to navigate the influencer world and how to make sure your brand pitch gets responded to.
I give you a very streamlined strategy into working with brands, sharing with you Top Paying Influencer Networks for your follower size, more information on how to strategically work with brands, and sharing with you the brand pitches I use to work with brands like Clinique, Steve Madden, Dove, and Clairol just to name a few.
Put yourself in a brand’s shoes. If you were a brand, and you got a random email or DM from an account on social media that looked like you, would you want to work with you?
Answer this question honestly.
If your answer is “NO”, ask yourself “Why Not?”
Is it your branding, follower size, quality of your photos, relevancy, etc?
Work on creating a brand that will make a brand say YES to you!
V. TRIAL & ERROR
And last, but certainly not least, is to try out and test your approach on a small sample size.
There are many different ways to attack working with brands online:
- Direct messaging via email or social media
- Blogger and Influencer Networks
- Brand Agencies
- And through Brands reaching out directly to you
Now, I know the average person reading this will not have a plan or strategy to work with brands online for paid work. However, for the few of you who actually want to pursue this, I recommend utilizing all avenues available to you (that’s ALL 4 steps listed!).
If you really want to win in life, you have to know how to use what you’ve already got.
You have information provided to you in this blog post from a Micro Influencer who’s worked with Top Brands on Instagram for paid work, free apps and resources that can be found online to help you create high quality work, time that you can make work for you through prioritizing, and the proper investment decisions you can make for your brand.
USE ALL OF THEM!
Brands are looking for quality influencers who actually care about the people they are sharing their work to. Influencers who actually love creating.
If you don’t like to create content, hate sharing with people, and refuse to try new things, I must inform you that this path is not for you.
I want to encourage you that you don’t have to wait until you reach 50K+ followers online before you can start to organically attract and work with brands for paid opportunities online.
I’ve been working with brands for paid work on Instagram since I had under 5,000 followers.
My strategies work.
Take a look at the resources I provide to bloggers, influencers and small business owners, and choose to invest in yourself. (All Available: HERE)
I’ve invested time, money, energy and resources into pursuing my dreams to sustain what I love to do online.
You have to be willing to sacrifice in order to reach your goals. Don’t just read this information, go out there and APPLY IT!
This blog post was a long one, but I really wanted to break things down for you to help you better understand what’s accomplishable for you as an influencer.
The information I’ve shared with you in this Blog Post was not information I found online. This information is based on my ACTUAL experience working with brands, negotiating with reps, and testing out the online market.
I hope and pray that it helped you!
Subscribe to my blog for more blog posts on businesses and branding, join my Membership Group for aspiring female entrepreneurs and business owners, and leave me a comment!