Have you ever wondered how some people on Instagram are able to collaborate with brands and receive free products? 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: “How did you become an influencer and what steps should I take?” This post is for anyone who is interested in becoming a natural hair influencer and start working with 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.
I put together 5 steps on how to become a natural hair influencer. Let’s get into it!
What is Your Niche?
A niche is the overall topics that your blog or social media page focuses on. Narrowing down your niche will help determine who your audience is and what content to focus on.
For example, here is my niche: I’m passionate about natural hair and skincare, so I promote products in those categories. My target audience are women who embrace their natural hair or are currently transitioning. I focus on specific problems that women have in the natural hair and beauty community and create content centered around those topics.
It’s better to have a specific niche when becoming an influencer because you’ll attract the right audience and will begin to see increases in engagement and traffic to your page.
So if you’re passionate about natural hair like I am, then you already have your niche selected!
Start Creating Good-Quality Content
The quality of your posts will determine if your audience will engage or not, and the same goes with attracting brands to your page. If you create quality content and post consistently, brands will start to notice you and your page will become more attractive.
You don’t need to invest in an expensive camera to create good-quality pictures and videos. Although cameras are an upgrade, you can get good-quality content from using your smartphone.
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.
Here is the ring light I use:
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!
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 secure my first paid collaboration when I was around 1,500 followers, so don’t let your follower count discourage you.
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.
When you post content, don’t just leave it there and log off Instagram. Make captions that educate or entertain your audience. Make sure you reply to those who comment on your posts and continue to build relationships within the natural hair community. Engage with other accounts in your niche and respond to your DM’s as often as you can.
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 with more of your content and trusting you. When you start working with brands and promoting products, they will trust your advice on which products they should use.
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 as a natural hair influencer. 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, PLEASE don’t share a positive review on a product if it 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 your natural hair; however, it doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else following you. Your honest reviews will notify your audience of things they should look out for if they choose to invest in the product(s) 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, find natural hair brands and start connecting with them.
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.
You’re not always going to receive a yes from the brands you reach out to. You shouldn’t let this discourage you from continuing to pitch yourself. If you have an engaged following within the natural hair community, you have a chance of securing collaborations.
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 secure 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!
You don’t have to be popular on social media to become a natural hair influencer. It’s possible for anyone!
Although I shared these steps on how to become a natural hair influencer, there is more information to discuss! I decided to start a series on becoming an influencer, so I can walk you through how to choose the right collaborations, handle them professionally, and set your rates.
It’s exciting when brands start reaching out to you, however, every opportunity won’t be a good one. You don’t want to say yes to every brand and start to lose the trust of your audience.
If you want to become a natural hair influencer, follow the steps above and look out for my next post. Make sure you share this with your friends and on your social media platforms. Also, feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments by answering the following questions: