Think of your Instagram page as your digital portfolio or resume.
Here is my professional instagram @ladybossblogger.
Here is my personal instagram @elainerau.
With every post, you are branding yourself and in essence showing brands what you can do to advertise their product or service.
I have mixed my lifestyle photos along with posts where I work with brands, to me this is how I stay authentic. Not every single picture needs to be “branded”.
Before you post anything, make sure to convert your personal Instagram to a business one in order to track how your posts perform. This is how brands will be able to track your branded content as well.
We are in the era of the micro-influencer so there is no better time than now to begin!
First, think of a product or service that you love and use every day… THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO YOUR BESTIE.
NEVER promote something you don’t believe in.
- Your audience is your biggest asset AND money maker.
- Access to your audience through your influence is what brands pay for.
- Don’t break their trust.
Think about this, if your friend recommended a product to you and you tried it and got terrible results, would you trust your friends judgement again?
The more engaged your audience is with you, the more they trust you, the more they like your posts, the more they would consider buying something from you or the company you’re representing.
I usually straighten my naturally wavy hair every day. One of my besties from college @chelseaevelyne loves it when I keep it curly and always encourages me to do so, but I rarely do simply because I didn’t have a tool that could imitate my curl pattern to help me fix it up a bit in the morning so it didn’t look messy to me.
That was before @thebeachwaver sent me their Coast Pro Ceramic Hair Styling Iron Straightener! It’s basically a straightener with two curved and removable attachments that is actually designed for a salon blow out finish, but the curve was exactly what I needed to imitate my curl pattern!
Note: Get in the habit of tagging everything in your posts regardless if it’s a sponsored post or not.
Notice how the product solved one of my personal problems so I was more than eager to promote it to my audience.
Also notice how I tagged @conair in there as well. This is setting me up for when I pitch them to send me product to review so they already see what I am capable of and see who else I have worked with.
Now, I received another hair product @procabello which I actually had to pay $10 for, which was the ‘influencer discount’.
Some companies will send you stuff 100% for free in exchange for a review, others will provide a coupon code and this is how you initially start building your influencer status.
I was going to buy the ProCabello Infrared Straightening Brush anyway since I had been dying to try it after seeing some reviews online, so I didn’t mind. Also I really believed that it would change my whole morning routine and cut my straightening time in half.
Normally I have to brush my hair then straighten it then brush it while I straighten it, so I figured since it’s shaped like a brush I would simply have to brush it though my hair once or twice and be done with it like what I saw other influencers doing.
However, I found it hard to get close to my roots and hard to straighten the ends of my hair. Since there is only one heated side I actually had to keep putting heat on my hair and brushing it way more than if I had just used a normal straightener.
There are obviously pros and cons to every product or service and the best reviews point out both, but if you don’t like a product, either say it in your review or don’t promote it at all.
Trust me, your audience will thank you for your authenticity. Read the second comment.
After you get several reviews under your belt, companies will not only provide free product, they will also pay you!
How do you get there and how does it work?
If you want to work with smaller brands, email them your pitch directly. If you want to work with larger brands, the best way to start is by joining an influencer platform. I would suggest doing both!
NOTE: Until you get really big, companies are not going to be coming to you – you must pitch yourself to them or join influencer platforms.
How do you ‘pitch’ yourself?
- Go to the company’s website and find their contact info.
- Go on LinkedIn to see who currently works there and what role they play in the company. (Connect with me on LinkedIn here if you’d like)!
- Write a personalized email including their name, why you want to work with them, and what value you can bring to their company. If you don’t know if you have the right name, simply address it someone and ask them to direct you to the right person.
- Then FOLLOW UP.
This is what I did with Elf Cosmetics, I searched for “Elf Cosmetics” on LinkedIn then I reached out to about 15 people I thought could potentially help direct me to who I was looking for and one of them responded!
I had actually gotten a bunch of their items for free at a tradeshow!
Another way to work with brands is by signing up for Influencer Platforms. So instead of trying to find the right person to talk to yourself, the influencer platform has direct contact with the brand and has specific promotions the brand wants to promote that you can sign up for.
Below is an example of a pitch on an INFLUENCER PLATFORM called Activate.Bloglovin.com.
What is an influencer platform?
Companies who want to work with influencers sign up for a monthly fee or purchase software to get access to the influencers on these platforms. Some are competitive to get into, others all you need to do is sign up.
Sign up as a CREATOR, INFLUENCER, or INDIVIDUAL not as a BRAND, even if you’re building your own ‘brand’, you’re there to collaborate with other companies as an influencer.
Each platform varies, some offer opportunities on specific platforms or are Instagram only, some come in desktop form, others come as an app, some you have to create your profile then sell your services, others you sign up for opportunities, some only work with people in specific regions… etc.
Find a few that work for you.
One thing that I was surprised about after I signed up was how FEW opportunities there were on each platform. It was quite disappointing, so don’t be surprised when you sign up only to find they have just 1-2 campaigns going on.
I have yet to find a platform that delivers consistent and compatible brand collaboration opportunities. If you know of one, email me at email@example.com and let me know and I will add it to the list!
Here are some platforms that can help you get started.
- valuedvoice.com – below is a quick peek into my account right now, this was for 4-5 blog posts around $35-50 per post. I also just signed up to be an affiliate for them.
- diamondlinks.net – they will send you emails about various sponsored blog opportunities. They usually pay around $35-50 per post.
And the list goes on…!
This is not a full list of platforms out there, there are new ones that pop up every day!
I checked to make sure that everything I listed is actually a platform where influencers can sign up. Some “influencer platforms” are actually programs designed for brands to reach out to influencers like a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database or system which doesn’t include a login for influencers but it’s still called the same thing, an influencer platform.
After you sign up, make sure to complete your bio to the full extent on each platform. If there is any missing information that the brand might want to know that’s not readily accessible, they more than likely won’t reach out.
Make it easy for brands to work with you!
Make it crystal clear in your bio what your personal brand is all about and what type of brands you want to work with. If you don’t have a focus, brands won’t contact you.
NOTE: YOU WILL NOT GET ACCEPTED INTO EVERY CAMPAIGN YOU APPLY FOR, BE PERSISTENT IN APPLYING FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES.
How much is your Instagram Profile worth?
Check out this free Instagram Money Calculator. Just type in your account name and it will churn out how much you should charge.
You can also compare how well you’re doing compared to celebrities using this Micro Influencer v.s. Celebrity Calculator.
Make sure that you’re posting consistently to Instagram, but not limiting yourself to one platform. If you can manage a Twitter and Facebook account as well, do it!
The more active you are on social media, the better!
I mean that’s what being an influencer is… having a large (AND ENGAGED) audience online. Hehe! 😘
However make sure you’re not stretching yourself too thin. If you can only handle one account, focus all your attention on that one account and post on it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Why every single day?
If you’re not consistently showing up for your audience and producing GOOD CONTENT DAILY, you will be forgotten!
Click the image below to learn from our guest blogger, Stephanie Latorre, how to schedule your content for the next 12 months!
[If you’d like to guest post for LadyBossBlogger click here to learn how].
There is SO MUCH information out there right now, so why should people pay attention to you?
MAKE THEM… by being consistent.
When I started LadyBossBlogger.com, I didn’t fail to post every single day for 365 days at 6PM CST. It’s been a year and a half now and I just hit 100K followers.
Did I work hard to build my audience?
Was I rewarded because I kept showing up?
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-tzu
Now, back to influencer platforms.
And they wanted to work with ME!!!
They weren’t interested in my Instagram, but they were in my Twitter account, which is why I mentioned earlier to not put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to social media accounts.
Try growing them together and all at once.
Make it easy on yourself and simply share the same content on all of your accounts.
At that point I had about 8,000 followers.
All I had to do was follow their post guidelines, take a picture and post!
It took me a total of about 30 minutes to come up with my concept, take the picture, write my caption and post it to my twitter account.
30 minutes for $100?
Now that’s pretty sweet!
And you know how I got that $100? I asked for it. They left it up to me to state how much a post was. Initially I was going to go with $10, but then I thought about it and was like what if I tried for $100? And it worked!
Now it’s your turn to make some money.
Make a list of the brands you want to work with. They can be either a service or product provider.
I would strongly recommend promoting monthly subscription services over products.
The reason is that you can sign on to an affiliate marketing campaign with them and earn money through each referral! Then every month when your referral pays the company, you get a commission from it!
I know that may be a different approach that simply promoting products, but I guarantee it’s a better one – especially if you want to start making serious money as an influencer.
Below are the services + products I have personally tried and whose companies are easy to work with and receptive to my emails.
- ConvertKit – the best email marketing platform out there for bloggers. I didn’t even know I needed certain features until I needed them! (It was created by bloggers, specifically for bloggers!)
- Ultimate Bundles – a service that bundles up resources all for one free price. My favorite is their “Work From Home Bundle”! Click below to check it out!
- We Loves Media – service that helps up your instagram engagement so that you’re no longer devastated from algorithm changes!
- Tailwind – social media scheduler for Pinterest and Instagram.
- SmarterQueue – social media scheduler for 4 accounts of your choice. Helps your content stay evergreen by refreshing old content!
- Teachable – the most user friendly platform to create and sell digital products.
If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing I would take this course by 6-figure blogger, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner: Making Sense Of Cents. It’s the most comprehensive course about affiliate marketing out there.
Now, going back to promoting PRODUCTS specifically because I know even though I love services, I also love getting free STUFF.
Start emailing the companies you want to work with.
The more persistent you are, the more opportunities you’ll get. Such is life.
Don’t be afraid to reach out, the worst they can say is no… and you may even be able to change their minds later. 😉
Quick personal story: My husband asked me out 5 times over the course of 6 months before I finally said yes! Now THAT is persistent… or creepy haha but it worked! 😂
Anyway, my own personal persistent story begins here: I had reached out to celebrity stylist @SarahPotempa’s team (she does the Victoria Secret Angel’s hair for the runway) to see if I could interview her on my blog, LadyBossBlogger.com, which they gently turned down.
I reached back out in 5 months with proof that my blog had grown immensely in hopes of interviewing her again and they presented me with another opportunity instead! 👇
So don’t worry if you’re rejected.
THE MONEY IS IN THE FOLLOW UP!
That being said, I wasn’t paid for the review 😂 but you know what I mean!
If you keep popping up, people will take notice and eventually provide you with the opportunities you’re looking for – or in this case it wasn’t what I was initially looking for but it helped me launch my review section!
If you have any questions about being an influencer, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be glad to answer any questions you may have!
If you loved this post, PIN the pic below!
<3 Elaine Rau
*Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in this post, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.
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