When you think of the term “influencer”, who do you imagine? Did some celebrity-status girl with hundreds of thousands of followers come to mind? Are you skeptical of believing you’ll ever reach that point? Well, I have some good news for you.
We’re in the age of microinfluencers. More and more brands are looking for people with a smaller but more engaged following to promote their company’s products and services. That means you don’t need hundreds of thousands of followers to become an influencer! You can be sponsored by companies with just a modest following of 2,000, 1,000, or even less.
I started off getting brand collaborations when I had a little under 1,000 Instagram followers. It was possible for me, so it’s definitely possible for you too!
What makes me a good fit for working with brands?
A few things come to mind.
1. You have a niche following
If you have a very specific audience that works well with the brand’s niche, this might be a good thing to point out to the brand you’re interested in working with.
Here’s an example: Let’s imagine you’re interested in working with a brand that does subscription boxes for dogs, where they deliver treats and toys to your door every month. You have an account where you post a lot of cute pictures of your dog. You have about 2000 followers and your followers are mainly dog enthusiasts. Now compare that to another account except this time, this person has a lifestyle account that has 12,000 followers, and their audience’s interests are more broad.
From a business perspective, which account would the brand rather work with? The account where there are 2,000 highly targeted followers, or the account where the influencer may only be able to capture a small percentage of their followers’ interest? Probably the microinfluencer. They’re more likely to bring in new customers because they have the right audience in front of them.
So take a moment to figure out who your audience is. Most likely, your audience is similar to you, so you really just have to ask yourself who you are. If you’re a college student with lots of other college-aged followers, perhaps the best brands to work with are companies that offer something to 18 to 20-something-year-olds who may be in college.
2. You have a high engagement rate
Brands are now looking at engagement rate more closely. Mainly, this is to see how involved your followers actually are and how interested they are in your content. Another reason is to determine how many real followers someone has. Nowadays, you can easily purchase thousands of fake followers for just a couple bucks, but that doesn’t really mean anything because they won’t engage with your posts, and people will know you paid for fake followers. Because of this, the followers count is not as important as it used to be anymore. It’s mostly a vanity metric.
To calculate the engagement rate for a post, simply add the total number of likes and comments, divide it by the number of followers you have, and multiply the result by 100.
Likes + Comments / Followers x 100
You can also use this Engagement Calculator to find out your overall engagement rate. This averages all your posts together to find an overall engagement rate.
So what is a good engagement rate?
According to Influencer MarketingHub, here were the rates for 2017:
< 1,000 followers – 8%
< 5,000 followers – 5.8%
< 10,000 followers – 4%
< 100,000 followers – 2.4%
100,000+ followers – 1.7%
If I don’t have a huge following, what can I offer?
It’s not always necessary to have a bunch of followers in order to work with brands. There are TONS of other ways you can provide value to them. Here are a couple examples:
- If you have awesome photography skills, offer to take some product shots that they can reuse on their social media/website in return for free products or payment.
- If you’re a top notch writer, offer to write them a guest post on their blog. If you have your own blog, you can also post it on yours and link it to their site (backlinks are valuable to businesses!).
- If you have knowledge in making videos, offer to film a product demo, post it to Youtube, and let them post the video for future promos.
What are some things new influencers should know?
Don’t get jipped
The first thing that comes to mind, and something I always tell new influencers is this: DO NOT WORK WITH BRANDS THAT ASK YOU TO PAY FOR ANYTHING. Brands who do this will either offer you an “exclusive coupon code” to buy their products at a discount, or they ask you to cover shipping and they’ll give you the product for free. Many of these are scams – the people who end up paying for products sometimes never end up getting the product.
Even if they are legitimate, I still believe that companies should not be charging influencers to promote their product. They expect you to pay for the product you’re promoting to all your followers? No thank you! The least they can do is compensate you for your time and work with a free product. If companies ask you to do this, just politely decline and move on. There will be TONS of other opportunities – trust me.
Optimize your bio for business opportunities
If you’re a small account, brands most likely won’t know you’re open for business opportunities unless you say so! Make sure that you include your email address in your profile so they know they can contact you for brand collaborations.
Don’t accept every single offer you get unless you’re actually interested
It might seem exciting at first to get all sorts of free products to test out and promote, but don’t do this for every single offer you get. Only accept brand collaborations you’re interested in and will take seriously. Your followers can tell if you are accepting just any collaboration and it can make you seem a little inauthentic. If you’re promoting things that you aren’t that crazy about, chances are your followers won’t be either.
Reach out to brands first
If you’re new, many brands don’t know about you yet. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them yourselves! Find the best way to contact them (you can usually find a contact email on their website and sometimes there will even be a dedicated email for PR and blogger collaborations). Send them a professional email and tell them what you can offer. Practice writing a great pitch (something short, simple, yet informative). Then, just wait for their response. If they’re interested, then great! You just landed yourself a brand collab. If not, don’t take it to heart – just move on and wait for other opportunities.
I hope you found these tips helpful if you’re just starting out, or interested in becoming an influencer! This is just a general overview and I will go more in depth about these topics in future posts.
Got any questions? Leave a comment below – always happy to help!