So, you wanna be a social media influencer?
That word tends to get thrown around a lot, but in mind, you can be considered an influencer even if you’re just influencing ONE person. In order to see success as an influencer, and have a truly engaged, loyal audience, here’s what you need to do first and foremost:
- Be your most genuine self. Part of the reason why “influencers” are sometimes getting a bad reputation is that social media influence has become 1) saturated 2) full of people promoting products they likely don’t use (just doing it for the money) and 3) ALL about products in general. But, if you build your platform around true, genuine influence, you’ll see a lot more success in the long run – whether you have 30 followers or 12,000.
- Establish yourself. What do you want to influence your audience to do? Do you want them to start a business? Combat anxiety and depression? Become healthier through nutrition and exercise? The more niche/specific you are, the faster you will likely grow. I personally have a hard time with this as a major MULTI-PASSIONATE, but I’ve seen it time and time again: If you’re known for being an absolute expert/leader at ONE THING, that’s usually a lot better than being “okay” at several things.
- Share the things you love – and the things you KNOW your ideal follower would love, too! Share tips, products, services, books, activities, podcasts, items, and in general, content that YOUR ideal follower is looking for. Once you start sharing content that your people will resonate with, they’ll start to trust you. I have a blog post on building trust linked HERE! And in the beginning of establishing your influence, you should do this ORGANICALLY with no expectation of getting paid. The best way to land a future brand partnership with a company that you and your ideal followers love is to start engaging with the brand WITHOUT any form of payment. That way, the brand will see that you love them. AND your followers will see that you truly love them if you’re posting about them without any sort of partnership attached. Once you eventually DO get a partnership with the brand, it will go over more smoothly with your audience because they’ll know that you genuinely love them and you’re not just doing it for the money. The better the company fits with your overall brand, the more successful your campaign/partnership will be!
- Determine your TOP favorite brands that go along well with your platform, your mission, and your ideal followers. Ideally, these should be brands that have a strong marketing strategy and a handle on influencer marketing. If you’re not already engaging with the brand on social media, get started there! Comment on their posts. Reply to their Instagram Stories. Share their content occasionally. But most of all, start weaving the brand into your own content! Let’s say your social media influence is all about interior design/home decorating. Start sharing some of your favorite paint colors, home decor items, stores, etc. Always TAG the brand account! While brands may not take notice of this right away (especially if it’s a large brand), once you grow and establish your influence, and consistently post about similar things you love, innovative brands will catch on. Eventually, that could lead to a partnership. Some examples of that may include free product in exchange for an “unboxing” on your Instagram Stories, a PAID Instagram post, a giveaway with free product for your followers, etc. The options for brand partnerships are endless, but I think it’s so important to really keep your followers in mind. What do they want to see? What kind of content do they love? What would be helpful for them? While this is a learning experience that takes time, it’s important to keep this in mind even from the beginning.
- While I don’t love saying that social media is “saturated”, it does become more and more “crowded” every day. It’s a wonderful, free tool that anyone can use, but since it’s sooo popular, it can be hard to stand out. I don’t want that to discourage you. But if you’re just getting started, know that establishing your influence, growing your community, and potentially getting brand sponsorships can be a slow process. Know that many of your first brand partnerships will likely involve ZERO payment – just free product to promote to your audience. If you love the product, go for it! My point here is to not expect to start making lots of money on this right away. Like all good things, it takes time. I currently have a partnership with Klassy Network, where I wear their products in photos and videos and share my discount code with my audience. They sent me FREE product (after I organically posted about them for a year ;)), and gave me an affiliate link that I can earn commission on. Shameless plug: You can get Klassy Network blue light glasses, sunglasses, and other fun accessories through my affiliate link HERE. Use discount code HOPE for 27% your first purchase! This is just one example of influencer marketing. 🙂
- As your platform grows (and as your audience starts to associate YOU with your specific industry), it’s a good idea to start reaching out to brands one-on-one to see if they would be interested in a partnership. Again, I highly recommend STARTING by organically posting about brands you want partnerships, but I would say the next step is to reach out, aka, pitch yourself. The more personal your pitch is, the better. See if the brand you’d like to partner with has a collaborations section on their website. Search high and low, because it’s not always front and center. If they have information on this, it may be a link called “PR”, “Sign Up to Be an Influencer”, “Partner”, etc. From there, you may fill out an application or send an email to the brand. This is where I recommend sharing a little bit about you, your platform, your mission, but MOSTLY focusing on how YOU can help THE BRAND. What do you love about the brand? What can you do for them? What value can you bring? Why should the brand partner with you? Why do you think you could get the brand more exposure, more sales, and more customers? Answer the question: “What’s in it for them (the brand)?”. You can also pitch yourself through Instagram DM’s (I’ve seen success with this a few times!). Voice messages or video messages will catch the brand’s attention SOOOO much faster than a long, paragraph of text. Again, the more personal, the better.
- You can also sign up for influencer networks such as Izea, Blog Meets Brand, TapInfluence, etc. There are qualifications in order to be accepted, but as you grow, these influencer networks are a great option to help you land brand partnerships as well.
I hope you found this blog post on brand partnerships helpful! If you skimmed this blog post to the end, here are my MOST IMPORTANT tips for you:
- Be genuine and share things you actually use and love. You’ll build more trust and get more engagement. And when you have a loyal audience that’s super engaged, that will likely land you MORE brand partnerships in the future. 🙂
- In regards to “pitching yourself” to companies, the more personal, the better. Don’t make it all about you – focus on what you can do for the brand.
What other questions do you have about brand partnerships? I’d love to help!
Feel free to use the graphic below to pin on Pinterest!