So I was having a conversation with my coworker the other day. She’s getting into fitness blogging and wants to start reaching out to brands for collaborations. She’s scared because she’s just starting out and doesn’t think brands will work with her because she doesn’t have a huge following.
I use to think like this too. For any of my brands, whether it was Just Bloggers or my fashion brand, I thought that I had to concentrate on getting my following up to look attractive to companies and brands. But what many don’t realize, which I’ve had to come to this realization, a lot of followers doesn’t equal engagement and a huge following for damn sure doesn’t always convert into customers and clients.
A lot of influencers have successfully been able to create a mass following on Instagram, which is awesome. But have you ever gone to one of their accounts to compare their following to the actual engagement they’re receiving? Someone can easily have 10k or 20k followers but are only getting 50-100 likes and 2-3 comments. Those numbers don’t add up and more importantly aren’t going to matter to a company looking for influencers to convert their fans into clients. Companies are more open to working with influencers with under 5000 followers because those followers are more likely to be real and authentic.Big following doesn't equal conversion, engagement equals conversion. Click To Tweet
What do I mean by real and authentic? I mean that those followers were earned and that the influencers made a connection to where those followers will most likely be repeated commenters or likers of that influencers’ content. The reason brands check for this information is because of the trend of buying followers and engagement. I am not saying that all influencers with a big followers bought their following. But the trend of buying followers, likes, and comments has increased over the past 3 years. If you do not take anything else from this post, I want to engrave in your mind, NEVER BUY FOLLOWERS-EVER!
Buying followers is a very expensive cop out that doesn’t pay off. If you buy followers, those followers, or bots, are only there to sit in your following, they do not interact with your content. If you pay more for them to interact with your content, they’re only going to leave generic responses that doesn’t have jack shit to do with what you’re posting. Last but the most important aspect of buying followers is Instagram goes on an automatic cleaning sprees to eliminate bots and dormant accounts. So, if you’ve bought 10,000 followers, Instagram can and eventually will take them away.
Having a small following is not bad, and for partnership purposes, you can still secure lucrative deals as long as your engagement aligns with your content. Following does not equal conversion, engagement is what equals conversion. So as a micro influencer here are things you can do with your current following to secure partnerships:
Begin to track your analytics
All major social media platforms give you the ability to track your analytics. On Instagram, once you’ve hit 100 followers, each post gives you analytic and demographic information based on who has liked, commented, and the potential reach of your content. Take this information and break it down to show your audience. For example, your audience could be women, between the ages of 24-34, that primarily live in the US, your top 3 cities for your audience is St. Louis, Atlanta, and NYC, and that you get an average of 75-120 likes with 5-12 comments per post (this helps with targets ads, which we will talk about soon).
Get a media kit & create a proposal deck
A media kit is an influencer’s resume. It highlights who they are, what their brand is about, social media and blog statistics, general pricing for services, and contact information. When reaching out for sponsorship, you also want to create a separate proposal deck that aligns with the company you are reaching out to. Include information that shows why you, as an influencer, align with their company’s vision and target market, include your analytic information from social media, state what services you want to offer and what you want in return, and include contact information.
Make a list of companies
This is something I want to stress. Do not reach out to companies for the sole purpose of getting money and free shit. This concept has made brands in recent months very weary of working with influencers because the payout doesn’t equal to the delivery since many influencers only want free stuff. I only reach out to companies that I would be customers of even if I wasn’t a blogger. A trick we’ve used is doing a post or video highlighting the company for free. This shows that we’ve spent our own money and love the product and will praise the company on our own. We did this for our collaboration with Mielle Organics. When we reached out to them for a collaboration, we were able to send the video we did and ended up scoring a pretty nice partnership deal with free product and money.
Prepare your email
DO NOT COPY AND PASTE EMAILS FROM COMPANY TO COMPANY-that shit is beyond tacky! Just like you plan out your blog and social media content, you need to plan out your emails to companies you want to work with. Each email should be personal, tell a story, and formatted to promote partnership, not receiving money and free stuff. Don’t forget to link any relevant posts or videos and to attach your media kit and proposal deck.
After emails have been sent, it’s time to follow up. I feel like most potential deals fall through because influencers forget to follow up. Keep in mind, you’re reaching out to major corporations that have many systems in place. Your proposal probably has to get approved by different departments. Without that followup your email could sit and eventually will be forgotten. A week after your initial email is a good start to follow up. After that maybe every other week if not a month. You don’t want to be too pushy but want to show that you are excited about the potential partnership at hand.
As your following grows, companies will start to reach out to you, but don’t wait just because you’re a micro influencer. Take these tips and secure that bag!!!