I’ve spent eight years as a social media influencer and blogger, building up my social following to 30,000 people while also growing my blog. In these years, I have had so many different experiences; some amazing, some not so great, but all experiences to learn from. Brand partnerships are key to many of those experiences and I think it’s important for social media influencers to inform brands of best practices when approaching us. After my eight years of learning, here are the five rules I think brands should follow when working with influencers.
Be a Good Fit
The very first quality that I look at when a company approaches me is if they fit my personal brand. Do our goals align? Are they family-friendly? Does their product or service fit within categories that my readers are interested in? What benefit does their product or service offer my readers? As a brand, make sure you do not just send a blanket pitch to any influencer without looking at their site and making sure that what you would like the influencer to present aligns with what is already being represented. Instead,tailor those pitches to answer the questions I presented!
Along similar lines, when a brand reaches out, they need to do make sure that in their pitch they are clearly communicating their needs. Often, I will receive an email that says something along the lines of “we have a great product that we would like you to review, let me send you some samples.” What I take away from that is that if I respond to that email I would get some samples and you would get a review, maybe on the your website, but not on my own site. If a brand is looking for blog posts, they need to say that in the email, or if they want social shares, that should be stated upfront. Please do not send those blanket emails to thousands of influencers and hope that someone will bite. This is a waste of time and energy for all parties. I just delete those, and so do many other bloggers. Bottom line: Be upfront and clear.
Realize this is Our Job
You must be prepared to pay. Social influencing is a business, and we work hard at it and take it seriously. In fact, many of us do this full time and many support their families on this income. It is a rare occasion when we will do something for free, and if we do, it is in hopes that the brand sees the value in the work and wants to start a long term paid partnership. When pitching, ask for rates and a media kit and prepare for hundreds to thousands of dollars in ask, depending on the size of an influencer’s reach. Pro-tip: Influencers will often negotiate, so come to the table with ideas. For example you could offer to sign for a long-term partnership, offer free product, create an affiliate program or offer our followers a giveaway.
Share the content we create for your brand. What is the point of paying me to create content for you if you’re not going to share that great work with your social following too? We love to see our name getting out there and feel the support from the brands. It is a huge nod to our work and value to us. You also get bonus points if your brand wants to put some money behind the social posts and sponsor them as well. Help us help you get the word out about your amazing brand!
Build Long-term Relationships
Although one off posts and social blasts are great, it’s even better when we can build a long term, recurring partnership. As social media influencers we love consistency, we love creativity and we love when brands like our work enough to want to work with us again. We will often go above and beyond because we value those relationships and we want to share our expertise and passion for your brand far and wide!
Influencer and brand partnerships are valuable in a good marketing plan. The key though is finding a great brand partner and building a relationship with respect, integrity and clear expectations. So, go forth and pitch with the knowledge that you have all the tools needed to create a great partnership – we are eagerly waiting for that email from the perfect brand!
About the Author: Laura Funk is a Colorado native and parenting blogger. She has two children and started her blog, We Got the Funk, to chronicle her family life. Over the last seven years her blog has become a huge resource to parents across the country.