Sponsors. Everyone has them, everyone wants them, but how do you get them?
The influencer market is hot right now. That’s probably because Instagram is currently the fastest growing social media marketing platform.
What is a sponsor anyway? Basically it’s when a company “sponsors” you by giving you items in exchange for a social media post of some kind. It is a win-win situation in most circumstances because the company is getting their product out there, getting word of mouth advertising, and brand recognition, and you get free products to try -woot woot!
What qualifies me to write this post? Nothing really. These are just my thoughts on the matter; I’ve done some research, I have talked to other influencers about their experience with companies, and I have dialogued with companies a bit about the process.
While I am not a “sponsor” currently, I do have a small shop and I have thought about reaching out to influencers for collaborations so I have tried to consider the “influencer” market from a business perspective. I have a small sewing business and have already begun to look at a few accounts as potential influencers that I would want to work with.
Although I sew many things, one of my best sellers are wool mittens in the winter time. They’re made from up cycled wool sweaters, are cozy, and each pair is unique. (Why am I telling you all this? Hold on! I’m getting there!) In considering who I would want to work with, I took into account the look, feel, and over all message of my shop.
Because my mittens are upcycled, I would look for accounts that were boho, earth friendly, or “green”, if you get what I mean. Obviously I need to take into account geographical location; my wool mittens might not do so hot on an influencer living in Florida (yes, yes that was a pun).
Also, they are meant to be an outdoor product, so although I love all the cozy home shots that I see in the winter, I would be looking for a influencer who wasn’t afraid to get outside! Get where I’m coming from now? I think as an “influencer” it can be helpful to take a step back and view this market through a business perspective. Having my own little shop really helped me with this and allowed me to compile this list of 7 Tips to help influencers gain more sponsors. (This post is specifically about gaining sponsors on Instagram, if you’re interested in learning about how I make money on Instagram you can read my post here.)
Without further ado, here they are!
7 Tips to Help you Grow as an Influencer and Get More Sponsors!
1) Be Yourself! Don’t water down your message or try to hide your quirks; social media thrives on artistic and fun vibes, you’re not going to get noticed if you’re just trying to blend in! Also, if you’re not being true to yourself, you’ll have a lot of brands or companies reach out to you that don’t fit your lifestyle. Since choosing to be unapologetically me, I have had so many amazing companies reach out to me because they associate with my platform and Instagram style, and usually when I check out their websites, I feel the same about them!
2) Be Consistent. This tip is really one for your site in general. If you’ve ever heard companies talk about “branding” that means colors, style, layouts, impression; the over all feel of your Instagram page. If you are into warm earthy and natural tones, stick with that theme. If you like a more modern look with black and white, go for it! Now there is nothing saying you can’t change the look or feel of your Instagram, but do it slowly, gradually. Recently I went from mainly “white” themed photos, to pastel accents for spring, and now I have slowly introduced pops of bright color to help inspire feelings of summer. I have gotten terrific feedback as I’ve started to add some color into my feed, but I think it’s because it’s been intentional, gradual, and I still have kept the over all feel the same by continuing to utilize a lot of white space in my photos. (For more tips on photo taking you can check out my post here.)
3) Don’t fit your life into the product; fit the product into your life! I have felt nervous about working with a few brands in the past, mainly because I check out their Instagram feed or webpage and feel that my pictures don’t look like theirs. With one particular brand I got my panties in a bundle worrying about how to make my photos “look like theirs”. But at the same time I knew if I did it wouldn’t fit my feed. I spent way to much time and effort trying to take photos that I wasn’t happy with. Finally I gave up and just did Steph. After I posted the brand actually came back to me and said they loved the photos and asked to use one or two on their feed! I was so surprised, but the moral of the story is that if they reached out to you, they like you! So don’t go changing!
4) Be selective. Don’t say yes to everyone! Now before you go getting your panties in a bundle, hear me out! Of course when that day finally comes, and people start reaching out to you for collaborations you are stoked! And why shouldn’t you be? You say ‘yes!’, even though maybe you don’t really like the product, or it doesn’t fit you well. The product arrives, it’s only okay, you take a few half-hearted photos, “mention” their name, and call it good. Not helpful friends, for you or for the company! People can tell when your heart isn’t in something, if you don’t actually like the product it will be reflected in the picture. Not only that, but you can lose some of your credibility if you post a positive review on something that you didn’t really like. Earning the trust of your followers is one of your most valuable assets when it comes to collaborations; companies want genuine people who have genuine followers.
5) It’s not all about numbers, well it is, but it isn’t. If you are a small(ish) account (which I still consider myself to be), don’t be discouraged! A lot of times companies care more about engagement and whether or not people actually read what you write and see your pictures. As stated above, earning the trust of your readers is huge! So although numbers are helpful (and yes, many companies look at those first) they’re not everything people! Keep engaging with your followers, be genuine in your posts, and you’ll continue to grow! (If you’re just starting out as a social media mommy, check out my post here, for 5 tips and tricks to help you get started!)
6) Reach out. Do you want to break into the “influencer” market but no one is reaching out to you? That’s okay, go ahead and make the first move! Choose a shop that you love and feel that you could represent well and send them an email stating who you are, giving them your information, and asking if they’d like to collaborate. The worst they can do is say no, and this is virtual reality so it doesn’t hurt as bad (ask me how I know lol).
7) Join an influencer group like Collabor8 which is an app that helps bring brands and influencers together. I have done quite a few collabs through this app and have found them to be easy and fun. I like that I can reach out to brands or they can reach out to me so it’s twice as likely that I may find someone to collaborate with!
Like I said earlier, I have complied this list from my own interactions with companies and what I will be looking for as a sponsor when I want to start collaborating. In my opinion, there is nothing more important than being genuine and being yourself. So if you’re not receiving any collab requests or are just starting out, don’t give up, don’t give in (to pressure), and just keep doing you girl.
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