Instagram has become much more than a photography platform in recent years, with many people looking to the social media site to make an income, increase their audience and drive traffic to their other ventures.
One of the primary ways in which people do this is by becoming an Instagram influencer, using their profile to advertise brands in return for payment or free products.
But, whilst there’s lots of info out there about how brands can work with influencers, there’s little guidance on how to make the most of working with brands as an influencer yourself.
So, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide for those looking to do just this.
Make your profile worth it
Firstly, if you want to start working with brands, you need to make sure you have what they’re looking for. Brands are only interested in influencers who actually have the power to influence their audience so make sure your page has enough followers and engagement to attract the best brands.
You can see this guide on how to up your profile game.
Create a media kit
Having a media kit is a great way to cut out a lot of legwork further down the line.
A media kit is essentially a blueprint of your profile: how many followers you have, what your engagement rates are, your content posting schedule, potential collaboration options, and any previous successful collaboration. This essentially gives brands everything they need to know with minimal effort, making it much easier for collaboration.
It might also be worth creating a physical portfolio of your photographs so brands aren’t having to scroll through hundreds of old posts. Sites like Inkifi offer premium photo books to hold your best pictures.
This guide has great tips for media kits- although it’s aimed at blogs, much of the information is similar to an Instagram profile.
Get an agent
If your budget allows it and you’re looking to get high profile brand collaborations, then getting an agent is a good idea. They can act on your behalf to get the best deals and undertake all the negotiations, as well as ensuring all the contracts are sound.
If you’re unable to afford an agent just yet, at the very least get someone you trust to look over all contract documents and brand terms and conditions. There are lots of legalities around sponsored advertising and content usage rights, so you need to make sure everything is legal and correct.
Use third-party companies
Another alternative to an agent is to use third-party companies to manage brand collaboration.
Influencer agencies like Tribe connect social media influencers with brands, making it easier to get partnerships. They manage all the payment, legalities and offer advice to newbies to help them negotiate the world of sponsored social media.
Not every brand is worth working with
When you’re first starting out, it can be tempting to throw yourself into every brand opportunity that comes around.
However, this could potentially lose the trust of your followers and damage your own brand. Choose brands that fit with your Instagram theme, your interests, the interests of your audience and those that are reputable, to make sure that your sponsorship fits seamlessly into your wider profile and doesn’t stand out as advertising.
Similarly, don’t become a business profile that solely posts sponsored content. Your audience followed you because of the great stories your photographs told, so if you constantly post poor-quality sponsored ads, they are likely to unfollow you.
Some brands will try to use you
Unfortunately, there will be some brands out there who try to use you and your influence without anything in return.
It’s up to you whether you undertake unpaid work or not. For those starting out, doing some unpaid sponsorships can get your name out there and give you a leg-up for future collaboration. However, it’s okay to say no if you don’t feel comfortable with it.
Similarly, other red flags should be if they ask you not to disclose your relationship or the post as an advert. In many countries, this is illegal, and no brand is worth putting yourself at risk for.
This post by Mostly Morgan has some more great tips.
Capitalise on all collaboration
Finally, once you seal a collaboration deal, try your best to turn it into a long-term partnership. You need to make your first post as good as it can be, and then send follow up emails with potential suggestions, the results from the first post and thanking them for the opportunity.
Many first time influencers make the mistake of moving onto the next opportunity rather than maximizing original partnerships.