Looking for another income stream? Monetizing your social media platform as an influencer is a great way of doing this, AND continuing to grow your audience and network. Read on to learn how to work with brands as an influencer.
1. Build your online presence
Credibility is key
Social media is no longer about presenting your best, most curated content. When Instagram first launched, people sought staged, perfect feeds.
That’s not the social media of today.
Brands looking to partner with influencers of all sizes want one thing: 1) credibility. When brands partner with influencers, they expect a return on their investment. This means that, as a brand influencer partner, they expect your followers to convert into customers of whatever product or service you are promoting. If your partners don’t trust you, you won’t see this conversion.
Have an engaged audience
At the basic level, it should come as no surprise that you need an audience. If you don’t quite yet have one, create a strategy to build your online presence. They key isn’t to have thousands of followers—it’s to have an audience that care.
At the start of the concept of an influencer, most brands wanted macro influencers. These are the kind of influencers that have built their following outside of social media. Think of celebrities and common household names here.
Now, however, brands have realized that a large following is not the only source of getting a high return on investment. With this change, we are seeing different types of influencers.
You can see influencers that have anywhere from 5,000 followers on Instagram to 9 million. Brands don’t always want to see a high follower number. They want to see an engaged and willing audience. While there are many ways to engage an audience, some common ideas are to engage with your niche hashtags and respond to your comments and DMs.
1. Create your media kit
Once you have built your audience, it’s time to create your media kit. A media kit is how you will sell your platform as a valuable investment to brands looking for influencer marketing. It contains all the statistics associated to your brand and is how brands will learn about your expertise, result, and audience.
You should include:
- Social media statistics (followers, impressions, engagement rate, etc.)
- Audience demographics
- Showcase of previous sponsorships and campaigns
- Contact information
If you’ve never made one of these before, there are a ton of free resources to create your media kit. Once you have one of these built, you will be able to build out what follows.
3. Develop your brand strategy
Since we know brands are looking to partner with credible, authentic influencers, a good idea before pitching to brands is to understand what the brand alignment will be. If you’re an influencer in the sustainability Instagram sphere, partnering with a brand that is not environmentally conscious would not be a good alignment.
Not only would something like that reflect poorly from a personal influencer branding perspective (your followers would be CONFUSED!), but it would also not be a good return on investment for the brand. The alignment in goals and audience of the two brands would simply not be there.
- Would I use this product or service myself?
- How could I convince my peers to consider this?
- Does this product or service fit into my target audience’s daily life?
Make sure there is a mutual benefit on both sides before you pitch your platform to a brand
4. The pitching process
Take the following steps in preparation of pitching:
- Finalize your brand strategy for influencer campaigns/posts
- Create and update your media kit
- Build a pool of brands you’d like to work with
Once you’ve done the above, you should have a specific group of brands you want to pitch to. Make sure to:
- Decide if you wan to pitch an affiliation (changing depending on return of investment) or sponsorship (flat fee)
- Draft potential post, caption, or hashtag ideas to show initiative
- Identify the right person to contact
- Create your influencer partnership agreement
When creating your pitch, think of it as the tailored, written version of your media kit. In a brand pitch, you are trying to make the argument that your audience serves as a ripe platform for this brand to target.
The different parts to a solid pitch are:
- A short, concise title
- A clear and direct ask
- An explanation for where the brand awareness comes from
- Ideas for what content you are thinking about producing
Platforms for making this pitch can be anywhere from a formal email to a DM on Instagram. Get creative, be professional, and envision how far your brand as an influencer can go.
5. Deliver results and analysis
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the influencer – brand partnership is the return of investment. It doesn’t quite leave a reason to continue contracting an influencer who, despite having over 70,000 followers on Instagram, does not have an engaged audience.
Social media scheduling platforms like Hootsuite and Later offer social media analytics, making this process easy. Simply keep track of which posts are sponsored and include their metrics in your follow-up to the brand. The point of this email is two-fold: 1) offer up metrics so that the brand may see their return on investment, and 2) provide your contact information for the brand to have on hand.
Being an authentic influencer can be a rewarding experience. Not only are you building up different streams of income, but you are also getting to know multiple brands and are introducing your audience to products and services you believe in. This guide will help you navigate working with brands as an influencer, so make sure to implement these tips for lots of success!