Being a social media influencer can create many opportunities for brand collaborations. In this article I want to talk about how to approach a brand when you are just starting out as an influencer. As a ‘beginner’ I’d definitely recommend working in exchange for products rather than a fee. This is how many influencers earn their stripes so to speak.
So where/how do you start?
- Reach out! The simplest way is to just ask the brand (by email) if they are open to working with you (I’ve written an example email further down). Sometimes the thought of rejection and feeling like you aren’t good enough can stop you in your tracks but how else are you going to know? You’d be surprised at how many companies are willing to provide free products in exchange for marketing. It’s a lot cheaper than paid advertising.
- Don’t take rejection personally. Following on from the above point, you need to be ok with rejection and never take it personally. You’ll get a lot of replies with “no” or “who the fuck do you think you are” (legit happened to me once) and even no replies at all. BUT you’ll also receive replies like “that sounds great, what are your delivery details?”.
- Get to know the brand first. Make sure you are familiar with the brand’s values and that it aligns with yours. Show them you’ve done your research when writing your email so it doesn’t come off like you just want free shit.
- Media Kit. A media kit is basically a CV for your social media platform(s). Include a little about your self, key statistics (e.g. follower numbers and demographics), photos of your work, other brands you have collaborated with, featured work (e.g. magazine publications), and other selling points you can think of. A media kit is not always necessary but it’s a lot easier to attach a PDF than having to include all that information in an email.
- Keep it concise. Keep your email short and sweet. Don’t ramble and stick to the key facts. If the email is too long they’ll stop reading it all together.
- Have a similar follower count. Make sure your follower count is roughly on par or more with the brand. If you have 700 followers maybe don’t go seeking collaboration opportunities with a brand who has 10000+ followers. This can come off a little insulting.
- Be resilient. Brands can get a lot of emails and some go un-opened. Continue to email them until you get a response. I’ve had instances where I got no reply and then followed up with the same email 3 weeks later to get a positive response. Just don’t hassle the brand after they’ve said no because that’s ridiculous behaviour and it’ll piss them off.
Below is an example email I might send to a brand when seeking a brand collaboration.
Hello, My name is Hee and I run an Instagram page called One Drink A Day. I create simple drink/cocktail recipes with a focus on innovative garnishes. I had a chance to taste your gin at my local bar recently and really enjoyed it. I particularly love how the gin changes from a blue to pink colour. I’m literally obsessed with butterfly pea flower tea and feel like your gin would be a great fit for me. I was wondering if you would be interested in showcasing your gin on my IG page. In exchange for a bottle of your gin I would be happy to create and post 2 cocktail photos featuring it . I have 70,000+ followers with a wide demographical reach. I’ve attached my media kit which includes information about me, key statistics, and photos of my previous work.
Thank you for your time and have a great day.
It’s not difficult to send an email like that to a few brands. You might get rejected but there are many brands who’d love to take you on. Don’t worry about follower numbers. You just need to find brands who have numbers comparable to yours. I started reaching out when I had like 800 followers and was very surprised by how many positive responses I received. Just because you get a no today it doesn’t mean you’ll get the same response in 6 months time. Just focus and continue to grow your own brand. Opportunities will follow.
Also don’t compare yourself to others. Admittedly I’ve previously felt jealous of other influencers getting certain products or being invited to exclusive events when I hadn’t. It’s easy to think you aren’t getting the recognition you deserve but instead of feeling sorry for yourself use it as motivation to do better and shine brighter so people can’t help recognise your work in future.
There are so many other ways you can land brand collaborations but I feel like reaching out is a great place to start.