Today’s episode is all about the ways you can find Instagram collaborations.
So if you have tuned into this podcast chances are you are asking yourself ‘how can I actually start working with brands’
Maybe you have worked on a couple of ‘gifted/pr product’ campaigns and would like to start properly monetising your account
Or you have had a couple of paid campaigns but they just happened to be brands that slid into your DM’s or maybe sent you an email out of the blue so you aren’t 100% sure how the whole collaboration came about in the first place and so now you would like to understand the process a bit more so you can scale the monetisation aspect of your account.
Or maybe you have only just started and the idea of being paid to collaborate with brands scares and excites you a little in equal parts but it is definitely something that you want to explore.
How to Find Instagram Collaborations
In this episode, I am going to give you 5 ways you can start finding brands to work with. You are going to want a notepad for this episode as I am giving you tonnes of advice and number 5 especially is definitely a winner and my personal favourite way to secure collaborations.
I could probably spend an entire episode on each of these 5 tips individually so this is just going to be a quick overview that will allow you to get working on one or all of them straight away.
This show is all about quick, bitesize, actionable episodes that get you real results.
So if you are ready let’s jump in
Sign Up for Apps
There are apps you can download that literally let you scroll through active brands activations, have a look at which ones interest you, and let you apply.
This is great for smaller content creators as I will caveat the pay isn’t great.
But if you have never had a brand deal it is a great way to get experience. It will give you an insight into what a contract looks like (you won’t have the chance here to request amendments to the contract like you can when you’re emailing a brand directly. You either accept it or you don’t apply but it will give you a good understanding of the terms included) as well as what deliverables brands are looking for and the requests and specifics they ask you to include.
Depending on the app you may need to purchase the product and create content which you then submit for approval (which you may or may not get). It is one of the negatives, however, the idea of this is these collaborations are aimed at people who already love, own, and use the products.
Sometimes you are able to see previous ‘entries’ that have been approved which can help you formulate and inspire your idea and create it in a way that is more likely to be accepted.
I really recommend that you write down the key points that the brand or agency has listed out so that you can continuously refer back to them as you create your content. This is a great way to make sure you hit all the markers that the brand is looking for and reduces the risk that you will need to resubmit or create additional content.
Other apps will let you scroll through relevant and active campaigns, read all the requirements, make a decision whether you feel the right fit for your brand, and then require you to pitch your ideas before you will be accepted.
My advice here is to be creative and descriptive. It will get you that much closer to being accepted.
Here are a few apps to have a look at to get you started:
Keep an eye on your competitors
I say the word competitor loosely as I truly don’t think there is any competition, we all have our own unique strengths and talents, and the more collaborative we can be as a community the better the entire industry will fair).
But if you see another account working with a brand that interests you make sure you note down the name of the brand, because it shows firstly they are willing to work with influencers… Big tick.
Because although this is a booming industry there are still brands who don’t yet see the benefit to influencer marketing so if a brand is already working with influencers that you admire, chances are they have a fairly established influencer marketing strategy and some budget to put behind it.
I tend to keep a running list of brands that I love that I have seen other influencers working with, I note them down on my organisational management tool, this could be a note in your phone or a google doc or even a good old notepad and pen. However, you prefer to capture your thoughts
I personally love and recommend Trello! It’s incredible, you can create boards for everything, I have boards for all my affiliate links so I can easily refer to them, a board for all my blog post links so I can share them quickly without having to search my website.
I also have a board for The White Thistle’s brand deals broken down by each brand I have worked with or in the pipeline. I save all the content to it including contracts etc so that it is easily accessible from both my phone and laptop. It’s also here that I have a wishlist of brands and I make a note when I have seen them collaborate with others
You can check out Trello here – https://trello.com/abihugo1/recommend
But I digress a little, once you have a list or even just one brand you want to work with you can either reach out directly to the influencer depending on your relationship with them or how confident you are feeling and ask them if they have the contact details so that you can reach out.
I would like to say everyone is friendly and helpful but sometimes things in this industry are a little cloak and dagger maybe because it is so new (but hence the reason I actually wanted to start this podcast in the first place).
The other option you have is to do a little research into the brand and try to find the correct contact yourself. I highly recommend searching the brand name into Instagram. Sometimes employees, especially if they work in an area like marketing that is so ‘online’ will have the brand in their bio or head on over to LinkedIn to check out the brand.
Sign up to PR sites and agencies
There are PR sites and newsletters that are primarily designed for press releases as they distribute images via email so that media peeps and bloggers can use those images on their sites or blogs along with the links. However, they also send out emails when they have brand campaigns that as an influencer you can apply for.
Sites like Press Loft send out daily emails with regular press releases and campaigns some are pr product campaigns and some are paid it’s just a matter of reading and applying as necessary
Signing up to several agencies to get onto their books is another great idea as you input your basic information including niches etc which means if a campaign comes up that you are a good fit for they will either email you so you can apply or reach out directly to ask if you would like to be involved.
Typing in Influencer and agency Google will spit out a number of companies who represent brands and it’s simply a matter of signing up to be added to their books.
Make sure you look out for agencies that represent your niche or have brands that you are interested in working with on their books. Otherwise, you’ll probably never hear from them as nothing will be relevant.
Join groups on Facebook
There are tonnes of groups on Facebook that have been set up to help nurture these relationships between brands and influencers and find Instagram Collaborations.
You can simply request to join – some will require you to follow the moderator of the group which is a fairly small request in return for them hosting a community.
You can then put requests into the group saying you are looking to work with XYZ type of brands on a campaign idea you have for XYZ.
Or simply reply to any of the requests brands have put into the group if they are relevant.
I’m going to do a cheeky plug and say make sure you come and check out the Influencer Insights Podcast group on Facebook as it is a pretty cool place to hang out and chat with other influencers and network with brands.
But you can again pop in some search terms and have a nose around the relevant groups for your industry and niche.
Once you are in the groups you can use the search tool (it looks like a magnifying glass) and look up relevant words and phrases and respond to the comments.
Another great way is to sort the content by date so that the newest comments show up first. If you diarise to check these groups once a day – sort the content then you make sure you have applied or responded to all appropriate comments that could lead to collaborations.
Follow the brands you want to work with and network/engage
Ok, this is potentially my favourite way tip as it is a way to start building a real relationship with a brand and personally I feel it is the nicest way to network and eventually get brand deals but I will caveat is a slightly lengthy process but it is 100% the easiest if you feel nervous about ‘pitching’ as it feels 100% organic and not at all salesy as it actually builds a relationship with the brand and you have mutual respect, trust and investment in each other doing well.
Let’s start with the obvious: make sure you are actually following them on Instagram!! This is kind of a must! We all know the feeling when someone slides into your DM request folder and they aren’t even following you. You instantly get that ick feeling of ‘what do they want’.
It’s such a simple concept but one that is often overlooked.
So, once you follow them – wait for it… are you ready for the big secret… dum dum dum….
Talk to them!!! Engage with them, I know, I know it sounds super simple and overly obvious but the number of people I talk to who fail to do this.
When a brand posts, like, and comment on their post, give them all the support! It will help their engagement which is obviously something every brand wants. When they put stories up, react and respond to them with genuine comments.
Not sure where to start with this… just start by swiping up on a story and using the ‘quick emoji reactions’ like the heart eyes if appropriate it gets you into their DM’s without having to say or think of anything clever or quippy to say.
Literally, talk to them like you would any other account on Instagram.
The person running the account is very much a human being who would probably appreciate some genuine conversation.
And trust me when I say they will start to notice you and recognise your username. Exactly the same way you do when someone regularly leaves a comment or replies to your stories. You know there are people whose messages make you smile because they feel familiar and like real friends.
If you can be that person to a brand then if and when they think of launching an Instagram Collaboraton you could end up being number one on their list. Or maybe you get to the point where you want to pitch to them it would be a far easier conversation as you have shown interest and care for that brand.
I also love it when you guys take a screenshot and share it on your stories and tag me 🙂 It fills my heart with joy to know you are listening!
I am @thewhitethistle on Instagram. Please come say hi and tell me what you liked about this episode. I hope you have a lovely week and I will see you next Monday for more Influencer Insights.