NOTE: This blog post is part 14 of my INSTAGRAM SERIES - content all about helping YOU manage your way around instagram. In the INSTAGRAM SERIES I've touched on subjects such as should you use filters on instagram, why am I losing followers on instagram and working with brands and setting your price. Just click here to find all the other parts in the series. Now on with today's post!
A few weeks ago I got interviewed by a university student who was writing her dissertation on (paid) influencer work on instagram. It got me thinking whether YOU would like more information about how to get influencer marketing agencies to notice you. So I posed the question on my instagram stories and - low and behold - 85% of you wanted me to write about how to get paid influencer work on instagram. As always your wish is my commend and this week that's the topic I am tackling. Sound good? Cool then please do read on.
WHAT DOES BEING AN ''INSTAGRAM INFLUENCER'' MEAN?
According to pixlee, influencers are instagram users who have an established credibility and audience. They are considered able to persuade and influence their followers to buy, like and develop an interest in a specific product or service as a result of their perceived trustworthiness and authenticity. Consequently, many brands now turn to instagram influencers to help raise product awareness, to place their brand in front of their target audience and to improve their general profile and likability.
As those of you within my creative community know I predict that the importance of influencer marketing will grow throughout 2018; this means that it's a great time to get paid for posting on instagram! Why? Because it's an incredibly powerful way for brands to market! Just think about it, are you more likely to notice a product if it shows up uninvited as an ad in your instagram feed OR when the instagrammer you adore mentions how much he/she loves it in a caption under a gorgeous image? See what I mean?
Add to that the hours we all spend on social media platforms like instagram every single week and you can see why brands are keen to work with the movers and shakers of the social media world!
That of course begs the question...
HOW DO I GET MORE (PAID) WORK AS AN INSTAGRAM INFLUENCER?
Though there are a number of different ways to go about getting paid for posting content on instagram, I have highlighted the ones I think will ensure you the most amount of success and longevity as an instagram influencer.
YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED NEEDS TO HAVE A CLEARLY DEFINED NICHE
It is much easier for brands to work with influencers who attract a specific demographic of followers within a clearly defined niche. For example, for me that's a predominantly female audience between the ages of 20-40 who are into well presented and stylish plant-based, seasonal food. It means that vegan brands are happy to pay me to promote their products because they know that through me they are reaching their ideal customer and target audience. Make sense?
In turn if your instagram feed isn't clearly defined - say you post images of yourself in cute outfits, mixed with photos of your favourite travel spots, combined with food photos and a picture of your favourite skin care cream thrown in for good measure, it's going to be that much harder for brands to know what you're about. More importantly it'll be near to impossible for them to get a good sense of who your followers are and whether they might be interested in what the brand has got to offer. Consequently, brands will be less likely to part with their cash if they can't be sure that working with you will enable them to reach the people who will actual buy their products.
TAKE AWAY: As I always say to my instagram mentoring clients - Define your niche and own it!
YOU NEED TO PRODUCE HIGH QUALITY CONTENT
For one minute, please put yourself in a brand's position. Say, you've given up your 9-5 to start a premium matcha company. You've worked for weeks to get the website up and running, visited Japanese tea plantations to make sure the matcha is top notch and remortgaged the house to fund production and shipping of your tea. Now, would you want an instagram influencer who takes shoddy photos and writes naff instagram captions to promote your tea? Probably not!
Any brand with an inch of credibility and style will want to be associated with someone who produces the best possible content out there. Doing otherwise might actually harm the brand, their market position and brand identity.
TAKE AWAY: Learn to take beautiful images and keep honing your craft. Then write captions that come from the bottom of your heart; influencer work will soon follow, I promise.
YOU NEED TO HAVE AN ENGAGED AUDIENCE ON INSTAGRAM
What exactly do I mean by that? Well, you need to have an audience that doesn't just ''like'' your instagram posts, but also comments on your images and shares them across the community. Furthermore, for brands to really want to work with you, you need an audience that's super loyal and one that values your judgement and opinions. I believe you can make this happen by being authentic and thereby worthy of your audience's trust. In other words, don't ever do anything that will harm your relationship with your tribe like posting something that doesn't fit with your overall ethos or worse stands in total contradiction to it. (EXAMPLE: Me promoting grass-fed beef on my instagram feed. SO wrong and will never happen!).
Authenticity and loyalty is something you earn over time by showing up for your community day after day, week after week, year after year AND by being genuinely interested in and responsive to your audience's needs and wishes. Once all of that is in place, brands will bend over backwards to work with you and pay the fee that you demand.
TAKE AWAY: Be honest and transparent AND appreciate your audience. Brands value that tremendously!
FAQs ABOUT GETTING INFLUENCER WORK ON INSTAGRAM
DO I NEED TO HAVE A LARGE FOLLOWING ON INSTAGRAM TO GET PAID INFLUENCER WORK?
NO! I am but a tiny fish in the big instagram pond and I've been paid a decent amount of money for doing sponsored posts on instagram, so you can too. I think as long as you follow the above mentioned points, there's no reason why sponsored content opportunities won't come your way. But please don't take my word for it, this article here explores in depth why brands really value what micro influencers (that's anyone with 1K - 100K followers) on instagram have got to offer. It's worth a read.
I HAVE JUST STARTED OUT ON INSTAGRAM. WHEN CAN I EXPECT TO GET PAID COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES?
How long is a piece of string? I couldn't tell you for sure as it depends on your niche, your abilities with the camera and how quickly you're able to find your voice. It took me just over a year to get some more serious offers, but that's not to say you can't get there sooner.
I BOUGHT MY FOLLOWERS IN THE HOPE TO ATTRACT MORE BRAND COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT SUBJECT?
Firstly, no judgement my end at all! I totally get why people decide to buy followers! It's just not how I have run my business and hence I've got no direct experience in that field that I can share with you.
However, what I would say is that it is probably not the best way to spend your money if you want to get paid to work with beautiful, trendy and serious brands. Most brands know about this practice and can easily detect when followers have been bought. Telltale signs? Low likes to follower ratio, low engagement, few comments, low quality comments and disappointing impression stats.
Furthermore, many brands view accounts that have bought followers as no-go zones. This is because these type of accounts just won't give them a return on their investment. So please do think twice before you go down that road ;) (and consider reading this blog post if you are serious about growing your instagram account organically and this one if you need a bit more convincing that the world of fake followers is a tiny bit scary).
SHOULD I APPROACH BRANDS I WANT TO WORK WITH OR WAIT FOR THEM TO APPROACH ME?
I'm the go-getter-take-life-into-your-own-hands type of person BUT in the case of working with brands I've just found that waiting for them to contact you works best. That's not to say I won't totally support you in your quest to get the brand deal you want! I will and be your biggest virtual cheerleader if you make the first move. However, from personal experience, it somehow never quite works out that well. (There are reasons why, which I'm happy to explore in another blog post some other day if you're interested).
HOW MUCH SHOULD I CHARGE FOR POSTING SPONSORED CONTENT ON MY INSTAGRAM FEED?
It's so frustrating because there isn't a definite list out there that states ''so and so many followers equals so and so many pound/dollar bills''. The truth is, it's all still so new and the reality is that most influencers are making up their rates as they go along.
However, to give you a rough idea, I advise doing the following to help set your price for sponsored collaboration work:
- Speak to close blogger friends you know and trust and ask them what they charge. This will give you a round about idea of what is 'normal' and 'acceptable' within your industry.
- Think about the time and energy it will take you to create an image for a brand (developing the recipe, buying the ingredients, making the dish, photographing the food, editing the shot and posting it on your channels)
- Look at your follower number, reach and engagement.
- Don't undervalue yourself! I did for too long and it made me feel a bit deflated.
I LIVE OUTSIDE THE UK/US. CAN I STILL EXPECT TO GET INSTAGRAM INFLUENCER WORK?
The US and the UK are certainly ahead when it comes to understanding the worth of instagram influencers. In the UK alone, new digital marketing agencies are popping out of the woodwork constantly and I can't see this trend ending any time soon.
That said other countries are catching on and I am pretty sure that the trend of using instagram influencers to market products and services will take them by storm soon too. Just give it some time ;).
I'M WORRIED I WILL LOSE FOLLOWERS IF I POST PAID INFLUENCER CONTENT ON MY INSTAGRAM GALLERY!
I'm all about listening to your followers and treating them well, but please know that your REAL tribe will support you and be happy for every opportunity that comes your way, provided of course the sponsored content is beautifully presented, genuine and aligned with your ethos. Everyone else just isn't your right audience and you should be happy that they showed you their true colours.
FINAL WORDS ON INSTAGRAM INFLUENCER WORK...
For me posting sponsored content on instagram is a lovely extra NOT my main income source. This means that I don't have to panic if I don't get any influencer work opportunities and better still I don't have to agree to promoting a product I don't believe in just to make ends meet.
As it happens I turn the vast majority of brand collaboration opportunities down. Not because I don't want the cash (rest assured I've got bills to pay just like you do) but because I value my tribe's trust and support more than I do any amount of money. I don't ever want my audience to feel like my instagram feed is a running ad space OR promote something I don't love, wouldn't buy and couldn't stand behind 100%; it just doesn't feel right to me and the way I connect to the people that support me the most on social media. But everyone is different and it's important you identify what works best for you and your followers.
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Thanks for reading everyone. See you next week.