As an influencer, a majority (if not all) of your income made online comes from brand partnerships. Contrary to popular belief, a large following does not equate to brands falling at your feet and pitching lucrative opportunities. Brands choose to partner with individuals who they believe have the ability to “influence” their audience to make purchase decisions.
It is often overlooked that brand partnerships are precisely that: partnerships where both parties benefit. While it would be great to snap a single picture, throw on a one-liner caption, post it and receive a pay cheque, there is much to influencing than that.
What most brands have in common is this: they want to become a household name. Simple as that. Your job as an influencer is to weave the brand seamlessly into your everyday life and allow your audience to see how they can do the same. Your job is to provide value to your audience; in turn, they’ll naturally reach the brand per your recommendation.
How many times have you subconsciously reached a certain brand in the store because someone you know recommended it? That’s influence right there. Even if someone doesn’t make a purchase through one of your links, they don’t necessarily disregard the message. Not everyone is an online shopper but we all eventually get out to shop for the house.
Once you’ve had a few partnerships here and there, how do you keep them coming? How do you remain front of mind in order to be considered for future opportunities? In this post, I’ll be sharing three tips for building relationships with brands as an influencer.
Building Relationships with Brands as an Influencer
1. Connect on social media and authentically engage regularly
One of the best ways to start a relationship with brands is to show genuine interest in them. This can look like commenting on their posts, replying to stories, getting responses via stories that lead to DM messages, etc. Find a way to stand out in a crowd of infinite influencers who also want to get noticed.
2. Build your portfolio and gain sweat equity
This tip is a bit controversial in the influencer community but it is proven to work. Create content that aligns with the brand before you start pushing to get their attention. If your goal is to work with brand X that make home decor pieces then you should be regularly sharing home content and taking your audience along your design journey.
Feature some of your favourite household brands, tag them in pictures and stories so they can see your passion. Make it easy for them to envision themselves in your home and as part of your story.
You need to be already making the content that you want to be paid for. Similar to applying for a job in the working world. Experience is a requirement. You need to beef up your resume and highlight the skills and experience that make you the best candidate for the job. Being an influencer and scouting brands is no different.
3. Send personalized thank you cards instead of emails
After you’ve completed a campaign with the brand, it is a great idea to extend a token of your thanks and appreciation for the opportunity. Yes, you’ve been paid and it was a business transaction however, it is the small gestures that make your unforgettable.
Bonus points if you know the birthday of your main brand rep or contact – LinkedIn is great for this. Handwrytten Notes makes it incredibly easy to send personalized cards that are exactly that – handwritten. Their birthday card service helps you keep track of birthdays and special events while allowing you to automate the process so you never forget.
Thank you emails get lost in the whirlwind of everyday business and you don’t want to end up in the “unread” pile. As an influencer, treat your craft like the business that it is. The more you take your day-to-day processes and yourself seriously, the more others will do the same. Tiny Tomato shares this post about why you should be sending greeting cards to your clients in this case, brands you’ve worked with.
Bonus tip for building relationships with brands as an influencer: pitch long-term collaborations vs one-off deals. This will not only give your audience a chance to see the brand regularly in your content, they will soon associate brand X with you. If you’ve built a strong relationship with your community, they will know, like and trust your recommendations because they’ll see that you stand by them.
Related: Platforms to Find Brand Partnerships as Small Blogger and Influencer
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