Lifestyle + Commercial Photographer.

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Tips for Partnering with Brands

Education

As you all know by now, Instagram has become filled with #ad and #sponsored posts. You may be annoyed by these or you may be like “wait, how can I do that?” If you resonate with the second, then this post is for you.

If you want to get free products and… wait for it… PAID actual money for sharing about brands and products you love, here are a few tips to get ya started.

 

Engagement Matters

You may not need a “K” by your number of followers in order to partner with brands, but you do need an authentic following and engagement. Brands want to work with people who already have an engaged audience and who have cultivated a community amongst their followers. Click here to read my post on how to get more engagement on Instagram.

 

High Quality Imagery

Thanks to smartphones, you don’t need a fancy thousand dollar camera to take high quality photos. Focus on keeping your feed consistent. Find your style (the way you edit your photos) and stick with it. Taking photos in natural light is key. Brands are going to be more likely to want to work with you if your images are high quality and consistent.

 

Be Honest

Don’t promote something you don’t actually like. It may seem super fun to get free things, but if you don’t actually like it, you’re still going to have to put in the work of photographing it and posting about it and not only will you get burnt out really quickly, but your audience will begin to notice that your testimony may not be one they can trust. If a company sends you product and you find you don’t actually like it, offer to send it back. It is way more important that you only share brands and products you genuinely love than to say yes to anything and everything just because, hey, it’s free.

 

Reaching Out to Brands

When you find a brand you’d like to work with, reach out and say hey! This can be through email or DM (I recommend email 98% of the time). When reaching out- DO NOT ACT ENTITLED. Meaning, do not send a company anything like this “Hi there! I would love to collaborate with you guys. I will post on my Instagram in exchange for XYZ product or service.” That sounds so rude and like you are just looking for free stuff and don’t actually care about supporting the brands needs. When reaching out, 1) Introduce yourself and quickly say who you are and what you’re about, 2) Let the brand know why you love them and what drew you to them, and 3) Let them know you’d be interested in a collaboration and would like to hear ways you could help to serve their brand needs in a potential partnership.

 

Being Told “No” is Okay

You may hear crickets or be told straight up “no” multiple times. This is okay. Keep reaching out to brands you like and would be interested in working with and eventually you’ll get a “yes.” Make sure that the brands you are reaching out to, align with yours and that it would actually make sense to work with them.

The Sweet Spot

I think that the key is finding your sweet spot. Meaning, you probably shouldn’t start off reaching out to mega brands like Nike or Target. You also may not get much luck with super small brands (think smaller Etsy shops) either because they just may not have the margin to work with influencers. Look at accounts that are similar to yours in content + number of followers and that often work with brands and see what kind of companies they are working with to get some ideas. That would be a good place to start.

 

The most important thing is to stay true to you. Free stuff is fun and getting paid is even better (cause, hey, we gotta pay the bills around here) but you should never compromise your integrity just to get something for free. If this was helpful feel free to let me know in the comments and to share it with your friends!

 

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