How to Reach Out to Brands on Instagram

How do You Approach a Brand on Instagram?

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So you’ve reached a solid IG following and think you’re ready to add some brand collaborations to your Influencer resume?

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Kudos for making the first, and most difficult milestone. 🙌

It should all be a walk in the park from here on. Right?

Well…Not exactly. But let’s be proactive about it and take you to your next step – your first brand collab.

Before we dive into it, let’s bust some most common myths first. Cause we’re like that. We love to give you the no-BS facts only 😎 

It’s not (all) about the numbers

This is one of the most common BS facts regarding influencer work. You have to have 10+K followers to even be considered semi-serious. Sure, having  10,000 followers would put you “on the map”, yet you still stand a chance with less.

Why? Most brands don’t value the number of followers as much as they do the quality of engagement.

So, instead of doing something irrational and out of line, think quality and long term. Take your time to really get to know your followers, and create meaningful engagement off of your shared values. 

Nurturing genuine community amongst your followers pays off – big time!

Your IG is your only concern

Think again.

The majority of brands are looking to do a blog post, plus an IG post for a collaboration.

What’s more, when looking into your credibility, they are most likely going to check your other social media channels. Make sure your entire digital presence is consistent, with clear niche and design.

Now that you’ve got all the facts ready, it’s time to pitch your first brand. Or a couple of them. 😊

Do your research

If you’re in it for the long game, you want your reputation to be built on genuine collaborations that speak clearly of your niche and values.

For example, if you’re a vegan foodie, you don’t want your first (or any other) collab to be with a meat-oriented fast food business, right?

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In order to determine if you would be the right fit for a brand, you want to pitch, look through their IG feed to get a clear picture of what type of influencers they’ve been working with.

Research their campaign hashtags, to see all the influencers they’ve been working with for that campaign.

Check the influencers’ number of followers, their engagement rate and their overall aesthetic to see how you stack up.

For example, if the brand has only worked with influencers that have 20+K followers, you shouldn’t waste your time, but wait until you grow (link to our blog post on beginner’s guide) to pitch a collab.

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And vice versa. To find the right brand, research influencers that are similar to you, and find their collaborations to see if there’s a fit for you.

Fishing for contacts

Once you’ve found the perfect fit, it’s time to get the ball rolling and do your first pitch.

But to whom, exactly?

When on a brand’s website, it can be overwhelming to decide which person to contact from the email list. If you’re using a cool tool like Hunter, even the free option can provide a lot of resources. The cool thing is it will list all the emails in the categories according to the departments. So, you’ll be reaching out to press, media, marketing, or communications people.

Your last resort should be [email protected] or [email protected] since those accounts get a ton of questions on a daily basis, and you risk your email getting unnoticed or buried in the stack.

In case there’s no visible contact info, you can do an advanced search on the website:

  • Go to company website
  • Type “site:domain name + contact” in the search bar
  • Select the contact page from the results 

Or you can use social media to find contacts. Check their about Facebook page for email addresses, or try DMing them on Twitter or IG.

Get your act together

As you have probably understood so far working as an influencer, this is no place to be shy.

If you’re thinking a short email with your name, your proposition and a closing message would cut it, think again.

Courtesy of: Pexels

Understand that brands, big and small get hundreds of emails from brands and influencers asking for collaboration, so you’ll have to really step up your game to even get noticed.

Introduce yourself properly

Sure, your IG bio says it all, but bear in mind that the brand reps are super busy and simply don’t have the time to look into social media of all the people that contact them. So make sure to get them hooked with your awesome introduction.   

Make sure to write a couple of sentences describing yourself in the best light. No bragging. Just a cute, fact-stating in a cool and creative way. Look at how Jen @hellorigby sums up her mission in the about page on her blog. Think of doing something similar to draw the brand’s attention.

Introduce your audience

Tell them what they want to know – who your audience is. This way, you’re showing them you nurture your audience and engage with them. And, more importantly, you’re telling them how this translates to their brand and what they can get from this collab.

This works both ways. Your audience (and you) would benefit from a collab with a brand that shares your values. For example, if you’re a conscious travel influencer, your audience most probably consists of like-minded conscious travel enthusiasts who would benefit from getting introduced to a brand producing organic, cruelty-free backpacks.

Tell them why they’re special

Everyone likes to feel special. By explaining in a sentence or two what you like about their brand you’re not only playing the ego-boosting game, but you’re showing that a) you did your research, and b) you show how you’d be a good fit because your audience probably shares your values and preferences.

Courtesy of: Unsplash

Make sure to prepare an original and genuine pitch for each brand you’re reaching out to. A cold, generic pitch won’t cut it nowadays. Go the extra mile and let them know why you’re invested in their brand and the values you share to get their attention.

Close with a value proposition

Yes! Tell them what you can do for them. What’s the value and the gain for them. Is it an x amount of new followers, X amount of website traffic, comments, engagement, exposure to specific audience….

State it clearly, and add your humble commission in the form of a free product, or financial compensation.

Get them to see your style

Insert links to your previous collaboration posts. If you’ve got none, insert links to your most you posts that reflect your style, your engagement, and your interaction with your audience.

If you take a look if the IG account of a micro-influencer Jacob True, you can tell that even with only 12 posts he has so far, he was able to create a unique and cohesive style:

Don’t forget to always play by the rules

Make sure you and the brand are on the same page regarding FTC rules and that you’re disclosing your agreement with #ad or #sponsored. If the brand is not keen on going full disclosure, you should think twice if a free product or any amount of money they’re offering is worth getting your profile banned.

Things to consider

Once you dip your toes in the water, you’ll learn how to perfect your communication, what to dismiss right away, and what questions to ask to get a clear understanding of the possible deal.

One of the things to consider is creating a clear media kit, which you can customise to fit the specific brand you’re in business with.

Use your colours and aesthetic, but make sure to make it a one-page pdf with just the most important details that include:

  • Your follower count for each social media channel
  • Info about your blog
  • Info about your audience
  • A couple of examples of your best work.

The fees are the customizable part, so make sure to add these separately for each brand.

Most brands will ask for your media kit right off the bat, but if you’re new to the game, and you don’t have a huge following, you can leave this part out, and ask to collaborate for a free product.

Figuring out the details

In order to get the most of each one of your collabs, make sure to discuss the details upfront.

Things to agree on upfront include:

The number of posts to share – you want to be on the same page on the amount of work you’d be doing

The time span – to prepare everything to be posted on time

Takeaway

Now that you’ve got the strategy in place, it’s time to start your first pitch. Start small, test the waters and as you get into the flow of things, and secure your first collab, you’ll feel more confident and the process will get a lot smoother.

Don’t forget to let us know about your progress in the comments. We would love to hear your story.Feel like you need some help in the growth department? We’ve got your back. Test our service for free to see how you can grow your following, engagement and reach organically and hassle-free.

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