When it comes to being an influencer, there are all kinds of mistakes you can make along the way. From pitching brands to delivering on a contract with a brand to growing your social media, trying to build relationships with PR agencies, and all of the other parts of being an influencer, how do you know what to focus on? How do you know what will make you stand out to brands and PR agencies?
We sat down with Fatima from Collectively, one of the best influencer marketing agencies and influencer platforms out there, to get the answers to these questions and more. We’ve got a list of the top influencer best practices you need to put into practice to help you stand out to brands and get more long-term brand partnerships.
Whether you are a micro-influencer just getting started or an influencer who has done hundreds of brand partnerships, these are tips from a PR agency helping you figure out how to be the type of influencer brands can’t wait to work with again.
1. Have a Clear & Unique Voice (& Actual Influence)
It should go without saying that an influencer needs to have actual influence, but we decided to include it just in case. With so many influencers buying followers or growing in inauthentic ways, it is important to have spent time cultivating a following that cares about you and what you have to say. You need to have actual influence for brands and PR agencies to want to work with you.
Besides having actual influence, brands are looking for influencers who have a clear and unique voice that is illustrated through their content. If a brand has a product to launch, they look for collaborators who they want to advocate for that product and to be the face of the product and to really be able to get the product in front of a new audience.
This goes beyond the number of likes you are receiving to the way you show you have an actual influence over your audience. There are people who are great speakers who can speak about the product in the right way and great photographers who can capture the beauty of something that lures you in in a different way.
Brands are always looking for something different. Find ways to promote yourself and market yourself in a way that is saying, “I’m in this unique lane, and this is what I’m doing. It works for my audience, and here’s how I can make it work for your audience too.” Then brands will be interested because they see you are thinking outside the box a bit.
A friend had 50K followers and didn’t understand why she wasn’t getting more brand partnerships. She decided to reevaluate her content and figure out what she could be doing differently. Collaborators have to be willing to reevaluate themselves and figure out how they want to inspire others and what they want brands to see when they look at their page. Those are the questions that will change your entire approach.
2. Build Relationships With Your Audience
Building relationships with your audience is such a major thing that so many influencers forget, especially as their account grows. Don’t forget the people who support you and make your job as an influencer possible.
For brands, it goes beyond the number of likes you are receiving. When I’m looking for collaborators for brands at Collectively, I’m typically drawn to someone who can actually influence their audience. I see this when I’m looking at their comments especially.
Are they responding to other collaborators? Are they sharing information that is resourceful about the product they are sharing? Or are they just holding the product and not answering anyone’s questions about it? How much of a resource are they? Brands are looking at this too.
Find a way to give value in every piece of content you post including branded content. Branded content is hard to post and make it authentically and organically fit into your content, but start that conversation and give value through it. When you can provide value to your audience, it makes them want to keep coming back to your page to get more of that value.
3. Build Relationships With Brands & PR Agencies
Along with building your relationship with your audience, you also want to start building relationships with brands and PR agencies. I’m not talking about mass cold-pitching; I’m talking about taking the time to get to know your contact and to help them get to know you.
If you haven’t worked with us at Collectively much or at all before, we value building a relationship offline and really getting to know our collaborators. We want to hear from them and get to know their goals and how can can help.
When possible, take time to meet up with us or to set up a call and let us hear your story and get to know you outside of your social channels. This lets us know who you are, your story, how you got started, what you are looking for, etc. It makes you stand out and helps us get to know you better so that you come to mind when something comes up that is a perfect fit for you.
Make it a priority to build relationships offline even right now. We know now everyone lives in an area that makes it possible to stop by a PR agency to meet up for coffee. Think about ways to interact outside of email and social media though.
Set up a Zoom call for example. Zoom lets us see you and your facial expressions and your enthusiasm. Plus, you can share the screen on Zoom to share ideas you have and visuals to really set yourself apart from others.
4. Have the Right Mindset
It starts and ends with your mindset. A quote I heard recently that I loved was, “Rejection is redirection.” I want content creators to keep that in the back of their mind. You need to want to understand the reasoning behind the rejection. It doesn’t mean your work isn’t great; it doesn’t mean your work won’t be valued anywhere else. It just means the brand has decided to take a different approach.
From there, you should try to choose a productive action to handle that rejection. For example, email the point of contact and handle that rejection with grace. See if you can set up a coffee date or a Zoom call to talk about what the brand is looking for or what future projects they have that may better align with you and your audience. Turn this negative perspective you may initially have had into something positive.
Dealing with brand rejection in a positive way means you are investing your energy elsewhere. Put that energy into creating great content and pitching other brands who may also like your idea. Take what you learn from the rejection and see what you can do to amplify it and sell it to other brands.
You also need to have an understanding that rejection comes with the territory. There will be situations where a brand may not want to work with you on one campaign but reaches out months later. Maybe they realized your content changed or you are interacting with your audience more. Maybe they found a campaign that is a better fit for your content and audience.
5. Pitch Agencies & Brands the Right Way
Create opportunities for yourself. If you aren’t pitching, take that leap of faith and just do it. Write a list of brands you love and envision yourself working with and just start to pitch them. However, it’s a good idea to put more energy into pitching fewer brands and agencies and really focus on building relationships instead of spreading yourself too thin. You don’t have to pitch them all at once.
Keep in mind that the people you are emailing are busy. They are working on projects and have tons of other emails to respond to, so think about how can you make an impact in a short time frame.
For example, send an email that is quick and to the point. “Hi, I’m ______. I’m an influencer, and I saw your brand is coming out with this product. I’ve put together this pitch deck I think you’ll love for the product that you can find here.”
It’s quick and to the point, but then I’m going to click on the link to find out more. When I click the link, I’ll see a visual that helps me consume it quickly.
If you’re going to send a 5 – 6 paragraph email, it’s a lot to consume. It can be a red flag, so be mindful of the other person’s time. If it’s a long email, we may exit out to come back later instead of giving you the quick response or may exit out and forget to come back to it later.
Don’t spend time in that initial email going into all the details of your ideas. You can go more in depth when you hear back. Mood boards and visuals to show the ideas work well for speeding up the process for someone and help them see if you and your ideas and content align with the brand.
6. Be Enthusiastic & Organized
One of the biggest things that stands out to me is seeing enthusiasm from the beginning. Sometimes I can tell from emails how enthused an influencer is for the collaboration and how excited they are to work with the brand. This passion and excitement usually spills over into the content and comes across to their audience as well.
Being organized and detail oriented is also important. At Collectively, we are the in-between for the brand and the influencer, so we need someone who is taking things a step ahead and is organized. For example, when you have your content, send it in an organized way. Organize your posts and your stories and your captions and label them. That makes it so much easier for me to send it over to the brand. It shows you value your work and my time.
7. Communicate Clearly
Sometimes newer influencers don’t know how to communicate clearly but can learn from their first partnerships. I can share what we need from them and make sure there is very clear communication on my end. This helps further the relationship and make it easier for the influencer.
In return, I expect clear communication back. I want influencers to feel like they can ask me questions. If you don’t understand something or aren’t sure, please communicate that up front. Don’t wait until it is too late and you can’t deliver the content on time because you did what you thought was what the brand wanted and it was wrong. Get clarification first anytime you are unsure. It’s easier for us to correct it right up front than to have to redo it later.
Be transparent too, especially when something comes up like an emergency or illness. Be open and straight with us on the rare occasion it happens instead of trying to hide it. I respect the collaborators who can let me know right away when I reach out that there is a conflict instead of waiting until the timeline hits and they can’t make the deadline.
How to Build Long Term Relationships with Brands
Brands will notice when you’ve used these best practices. PR Agencies will notice when you’ve used these best practices. It stands out and sets you apart and makes them want to work with you again. When the next opportunity comes up, they are more likely to want to work with influencers who made their job easy and provided quality content and results last time.
Next time you have an opportunity to work with a brand or consider pitching a brand, make sure to use these influencer best practices from the start. Even when you aren’t pitching brands, work on finding ways to improve your content and improve your relationships with your audience and your contacts. You never know how it may pay off later!
Looking for a coach to help you learn more about the business side of being an influencer? Boost Society now offers business and Influencer coaching in a one-on-one setting. If you are interested in learning more (or need help getting yourself and your business organized), contact Boost Society here and tell us a little bit about yourself and your coaching needs.
Subscribe to get your FREE “12 things to include in a pitch email” PDF & to get more tips and tricks from Boost Society!
For more Influencer business tips, check out these posts:
- How to Work With Brands & PR Agencies as an Influencer
- The Best Influencer Platforms to Join
- How to Pitch Brands as a Micro Influencer
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