Have you ever wondered how some people on Instagram are able to collaborate with brands and receive free products? How are they able to become an Influencer?
Instead of paying for other forms of advertisement, brands are now investing in influencers/bloggers to get their products in front of more people. The number one question I’ve been asked lately is: “What steps should I take to become an Influencer?” This post is for anyone who is interested in becoming an influencer and start working with the brands they love!
Before we get started, I want to point out that you don’t need a massive following to become an influencer. I was under the impression I would need thousands of followers before brands started to notice me, but I was wrong! Micro-influencers are becoming popular for brand promotion since their audience is usually more engaged than those with massive followings.
A micro-influencer is any person who has between 1,000 to 20,000 followers on social media.
What is Your Niche?
A niche is a topic that your blog or social media page focuses on. Narrowing down your niche will help determine who your target audience is and what content to focus on.
For example, here is my niche: I use my platforms to feature clean beauty products for women to use in their everyday routine and also a variety of lifestyle content. My target audience is women who want to look for safe, effective alternatives in their beauty routine for healthier hair and skin.
It’s better to have a specific niche because you’ll attract the right audience and will begin to see an increase in engagement and traffic.You should have a niche for your platforms because it’ll help you attract the right audience. Click To Tweet
Start Creating Good-Quality Content
The quality of your posts will determine if your audience will engage or not, and the same goes for attracting brands to your page. If you create quality content and post consistently, brands will start to notice you. You don’t need to invest in an expensive camera to create good-quality content. Although cameras are an upgrade, you can easily work with what you already have.
When I started my page, I had an iPhone 6S plus. My photos weren’t the best and my videos were blurry. I was able to upgrade to an iPhone 8 that came with better camera quality. I also invested in a ring light that helps my photos and videos become brighter. The lighting in your area can either make or break the quality of your content.
Learn how to work your phone and take good pictures and videos. I found a lot of tips and tricks on Pinterest for my iPhone and I didn’t know half of the photography tips they mentioned. It has helped me improve my content a lot! For a list of other equipment you should invest in, check out the blog post below.
Related Post: The Best Equipment for Content Creators to Purchase
Increase Your Following and Engagement
I know I said your following doesn’t matter at the beginning (which it doesn’t), however, you need enough followers to get noticed by most brands. A micro-influencer can have as little as 1,000 followers, so that would be a great starting point for you. I was able to get my first paid collaboration when I was around 1,500 followers.
Another important factor is your engagement. Brands need a reason to work with you, and having an audience that regularly engages with your content will increase your chances of being able to collaborate with them. Here are a few ways you can increase your engagement:
- Create captions that educate or entertain your audience
- Reply to those who comment on your posts
- Engage with other accounts in your niche
- Respond to your DM’s as often as you can
- Focus on building connections and not followers
I know that may sound like a lot of work, however, it can be fun getting to know your audience. This will lead to them engaging more and trusting your recommendations. When you start working with brands and promoting products, they will trust your advice on which products they should use.
Related Post: How to Increase Instagram Engagement Organically
Post Honest Reviews
In the beginning, I didn’t always get paid for my content. I bought products from brands I was interested in and then shared my thoughts with my audience. Although you’re doing this for free, it will have many benefits in the long-run.
You must get your foot in the door first before working with brands. Posting reviews and tutorials on some of your favorite products will grab their attention (make sure you mention or tag the brand in your post). You never know, those same brands you’re posting reviews for may want to collaborate with you in the future.
PLEASE don’t share a positive review if a product/service didn’t work for you. Your audience and brands can tell if your reviews are genuine! If you want to gain the trust of others, it’s best to stay true to yourself and be honest. Everything won’t work for you, however, it doesn’t mean it won’t benefit a few people in your audience. Your honest reviews will notify them of things they should look out for if they choose to purchase what you posted about.
Reach Out to Brands for Collaborations
Once you have built your following and engagement, you’re in the position to start pitching yourself to your favorite brands. Now, I know this sounds scary, and I don’t blame you for being nervous! Just remember, you won’t get anything you want unless you ASK for it. Don’t wait for brands to email you for collaborations, you have to stand out from the crowd of other Influencers in your niche by putting yourself in front of their eyes.
Before sending your first pitch, ask yourself: “What can I offer them“, because that’s exactly what they will wonder when they see your email. If you want to learn how to create your pitch email, check out this post: How to Pitch Yourself to Brands.
Since you’ll be starting out, I’d recommend pitching to smaller brands first. It may be difficult to get in front of bigger brands, but it’s not impossible! Although you’ll be pitching to smaller brands, it’s still a good look for you when you get those paid collaborations. This will help you grow and you’ll have more experience working with brands already when you pitch to the top ones!
Related Post: The Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching to Brands
You don’t have to be popular on social media to become an Influencer and I hope this post helped you realize that! Follow the steps above to start your journey as an Influencer and be patient. Everything won’t happen overnight. Continue to work on putting out valuable content, engaging with your audience, and growing your personal brand.