Influencer marketing is a sub-category of social media marketing, which involves influencers’ endorsements of products and services. Influencer marketing is a fast growing career, especially since the rise of social media websites. It is an excellent professional opportunity for people who don’t wish to go into traditional 9 to 5 jobs. A few years ago, no one would have believed that influencer marketing could be considered a stable profession. Now, it is one of the best platforms to launch a business or endorse other brands.
While it seems like a compelling way to start a business career, it is not as easy as it looks. There is a lot of prep work required. Hundreds of micro and macro influencers start their careers and achieve short-term success, but their beginner’s luck fizzles out soon. In the end, there are only a handful of people that can establish themselves enough that brands start reaching out to them.
How to approach brands as an influencer?
Some ways you can reach out to brands are:
1. List out your brands
Once you decide to approach brands, it is vital to research and list out the brands you are interested in working with. Break down your prospective brands into different categories outlining their reach, niche, investments, returns involved, etc. Remember that you won’t work with big brands as soon as you start. However, with the limited scope of the small brands, the chances and impacts or errors you can make are reduced. Also, you get better opportunities to experiment and explore different ways and styles of advertising. Please keep an open mind and carefully examine the brand, its products, vision and mission, and core values.
2. Study your demographics
While pitching out to brands, make sure to study your demographics thoroughly. If you are a sports brand, there is no point in collaborating with make-up or an accessory brand. If you are a make-up or an accessory brand, it won’t be any use to collaborate with brands whose own target audience is majorly male-oriented. The point of a successful collaboration is benefiting the brand as well as your brand to open further opportunities in the future. It is thus essential to have an overlapping audience demographic benefitting both parties equally.
3. Pitch yourself
You have to pitch yourself as well as your brand. The usual ways of doing so are e-mail or other social media websites. If you choose to use Instagram, direct messaging the brand is your best option. Get in touch with its owner directly pitch your brand. Another way is to make a small advertisement yourself specifically for the brand. It will make them feel valued and interested in your pitch. If you choose to send e-mails, it’s essential to introduce yourself in a personal and warm manner. Explain to them why working with your brand will benefit both parties. Don’t forget to link your social media pages so that they can find out more about you.
4. Get creative
No two brands are similar in their demographics or how they want their advertisements to be placed. You won’t be able to copy-paste your pitch to every single brand. Hence, it becomes important to be creative and pitch your brands differently for each brand you approach. Study the ways they advertise their brands themselves. If they are visual brands, show them your videography skills. If they use catchy captions to attract customers, use witty lines and quotes to sell your brand. Brands understand that influencers are more than people who have a wider influence; they are skilled content creators, storytellers, videographers, caption writers, and they work those skills into partnerships. Help them help you.
5. Find experienced brands
Working in collaborations for the first time can be challenging. You don’t have prior experience and may not have found proper guidance from other sources. However, there is no shame in asking for help from the brand you are working with. Try to find brands that have already worked with startup influencers. They will understand that you are new in the game and will overlook your errors better if you happen to make them. There are dozens of companies, big and small, that have worked with small influencers before. Some include Google, Coca-Cola, Dell, Nike, Audible, Daniel Wellington, and many more.
Challenges faced by New Influencers
Some difficulties a new influencer faces in a flourishing influencer market are:
1. Competitive market:
The influencer market has become very competitive in recent times. As it is easier to get into it compared to traditional marketing, the majority of the new businesses are usually launched on social media websites. Hence, it is very easy to get lost in the crowd. To stand out among others, one must be different from others. Different ideas, approaches, and ways of advertising could be a start. The brands you want to approach must feel that they are being catered by an influencer who has original ideas.
The brands that want you to represent them need to know that you would invest a reasonable amount of time and money. Hence, once reaching a certain point, keep a lookout for all the opportunities you get to expand your business. Employ people to maintain your social media pages and different people to keep an eye on feedback and other comments. If you take care of your reputation, the brands will be more inclined to approach you.
3. Minimum success level:
One must reach a minimum success level before you look out for approaching brands. This will take time and patience. Once you establish yourself successfully and manage your own products and services effectively, it is only then an intelligent move to approach brands. One mistake with the initial branding could affect your reputation in front of the brands.
At the end of the day, you have to remember that every large company is just made up of working people driving the brand forward. Approaching big brand names, in the beginning, can be very intimidating, but knowing your worth and having self-confidence is the key to success in situations like these.
This may also help: How to become a social media influencer.