Images by Ahmed Fayed
How To Collaborate with Influencers?
It must be scary to start you own business on social media. It must be even more frightening to approach influencers asking to work together. When you are just starting, you don’t have mountains of budget, and sometimes none at all – how do you actually put yourself out there?
Here are a few things I learned by being an Instagram influencer and existing on both sides of the equation as sometimes it was me applying for opportunities.
- Take it slow. Thinking about connecting with someone online doesn’t equal actually doing it. You either do it, or you don’t. However, taking your time with it is really smart. If you found an influencer you’d like to work with, observe their behaviour within their channels: how do they handle criticism, how often they post and is their online persona something that’s close to your brand values?
- Don’t be discouraged. The worst thing that could happen is them saying no or not replying. Don’t let that dampen your spirits – you can simply move on, but not without trying again. I admit, I have missed out on opportunities by reading messages while in transit and thinking – oh, I’ll just reply once I am at home. Only to forget, of course. So if an influencer doesn’t reply to a DM, leave a comment on a post that you’ve DM’ed and whether they received it. Thankfully brands did that to me and it resulted in some lovely collaborations.
- Be yourself. If you are genuinely passionate about what you do, infect your chosen influencer with it. Take time to explain your product in your own tone of voice, as if you are actually speaking to them face to face. Or, if you are honestly more of a formal person, there’s nothing wrong with that either, leave them a hand-written note in the product package and briefly explain what makes your product different. I often remember how a brand made me feel working with them rather than what they actually sent me. If an influencer has an awful brand experience, diamond encrusted handbags would still feel bitter to touch, let all be photograph and commend.
- Be open. We live in a me me me world, and no one is more me me me than an influencer. If they respond asking for a different way of working together, be fluid and consider other options. It may be the case that the influencer thinks that your brand is not very them. It’s okay – after all, you probably had the same thoughts about others in points 1, 2, 3. It’s not a one way street, that’s why it’s called social.
- Be upfront. If you are just starting out, just say it. Be honest. Not every influencer is looking to make millions out of every post (although it would be great!) but they too sought help when they were at the starting point. What goes around, comes around. It may be their turn to help others! Having said that, don’t be a cheapskate, if an influencer offers to work hard with your brand, consider how you’d like to reward them, and that doesn’t always mean money, but it may mean it in a future collaboration. Work is work.
My most recent collaboration is with Embracing Trends, a lovely Instagram shop that sells a select number of lovely items that will make sure you are rocking the most recent fashion trends. Without realising, all the points above is what the owner of the shop followed, resulting in the photo shoot dedicated to it above. I went for a slightly more timeless piece from the brand’s selection. But that’s just me.
If you have any questions on working with influencers, let me know in the comments below!