Want to Work With Big Brands as an Influencer
It seems these days almost everybody wants to be an influencer—or commonly referred to as a “creator”. Who doesn’t want to get paid for posting about their favorite things, dining out, traveling, or trying out new outfits? Behind all those Instagrammable moments—captured and posted on a feed with a catchy caption—is a creator (most often a team) who carefully plans out their photo shoots, how they’re going to integrate the products into every shot, and a dedicated community that’s been built up over years.
Here are some tips to becoming a successful social media influencer:
- Choose a social media network. If it’s Instagram post at least once or twice a day. For YouTube, aim to post weekly.
- Pick a niche (fashion, travel, parenting, food, etc.) and create original content. Brands don’t typically work with feature/aggregate accounts because it’s hard for then to visualize what sort of content you would be able to offer if you’ve never posted anything that you’ve created. Treat your content as your resume and show off your content creation skills.
- Engage, engage, engage. Similar to how you would network in real life to build up strong relationships, the same practice exists on social media. Comment on other creators’ posts, like other creators’ posts, reply back to comments on yours, and respond to inquisitive DMs. Instagram was built on the basis of being a community and rewards those that support its mission. The more you engage with others, the more others will reciprocate and engage with you—this is the most organic and authentic way to gain exposure and grow.
- Inspiration is cool, stealing is not. If you’re inspired by another influencer to post a specific photo, make sure to give them due credit. It’s not cool to copy a photo pose-for-pose, outfit-for-outfit, and to never acknowledge where you received your inspiration from.
- Photographers also deserve credit. Without them, who would be taking your photos? Make sure to credit your photographer whenever possible—unless you have a specific arrangement set up with them.
- Curate offline relationships. Introduce yourself to brand reps whenever you attend an event. The PR and marketing world is a small one, and people tend to move around from one agency to the next. You’ll never know when your contact from one agency joins your dream brand and thinks of you for the perfect partnership opportunity.
- Follow through with any campaigns that you agree to. Just because you’ve made it on social media doesn’t mean that you’re immune to the BS. Sometimes you’ll be taken advantage of, or you’ll decide partway through a collaboration that you no longer want to be involved. Act like a true professional and see the project through. It’s a small world, and you never want to burn any bridges.
- You’ll have to put in the time to get noticed. It’s true, there is no free lunch. Tag brands as often as you can to get onto their radar. When you’re big enough, they’ll remember you and potentially reach out to you for a collaboration. There’s always someone internally searching for new faces to partner with, and you always want to be top of mind.
- Challenge yourself to do better. Instagram and YouTube are already both so saturated with the same content that it’s important to a find a way to stick out. Someone paid for that latte to get the perfect shot of latte art. Or maybe they paid for 3 of them because the first 2 didn’t look good enough. The best photos always come with a sufficient quantity of blood, sweat, tears, and a financial investment.
- Authenticity matters. Don’t: buy followers, buy likes/comments, run comment/like bots, follow/unfollow, join loop giveaways, and comment pods. As the influencer marketing industry matures, brands and clients are becoming more familiar with these unethical tactics and actively avoid working with influencers that engage in this behavior. Why? Because it would taint their image to work with unethical influencers. Brands will always be protective of their image first and you don’t want to give them any reason to not work with you. Do things right the hard way.
- Disclosure is cool. Let your followers know that you’re worthy of brand paying you to work with them. They’ll be happy for you! Of course don’t only post sponsored content, because that’ll just make you look money hungry. Instead, space out your sponsored vs. organic content to maintain a certain level of authenticity with your followers.
Article By: Adam Rivietz
CSO of https://hashtagpaid.com/ a top social marketing influencer firm connecting brands to content creators.