I see many businesses hesitate to collaborate with bloggers and brand influencers on Instagram because they don't know how to go about it. I've got a few (successful!) collaborations under my belt and learned the ins and outs of working with a blogger or brand influencer for a collaboration on Instagram. And let me tell you something: each one can vary. Because each blogger works their business differently in terms of choosing and styling products, posting on Instagram, and of course, everybody's favorite topic, payment, that means each collaboration can differ. The basics of collaborating with a blogger or brand influencer that stay the same.
Collaborating with a blogger or brand influencer doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, with my four easy steps to collaborating on Instagram, you're next collaboration should be a breeze.
Four Easy Steps to Collaborating on Instagram
1. Find a blogger or brand influencer you want to work with.
It's important to find someone you want to work with, right? You can just scroll through your Instagram feed and pick anybody, right? Well, that's not exactly how it works. You can't just pick anybody. You need to pick someone that works well with your products and your business.
For instance, if you sell clothing and accessories for women who rock the boho-chic style, you wouldn't want to work with a city style blogger. The two wouldn't mix well. The pictures wouldn't look right and that blogger's Instagram followers wouldn't be interested in your business at all because they are probably interested in the same city style as the blogger, not the boho-chic style.
Rather than finding someone on the opposite end of the spectrum, focus on finding a brand influencer that has a similar style and aesthetic to you and your business.
Take an hour to hang around on Instagram and see who you would like to collaborate with. Make sure their style and personality would mesh well with your brand.
2. Yes, the number of followers you have matters.
I'm not one to really care that about how many followers I have. Yes of course, I like to grow my social media following, but I focus on my social media account's engagement as opposed to the number of followers I have. That said, when it comes to collaborating, your numbers do matter.
When looking for bloggers or brand influencers to work with, you need to make sure their style and personality will work with your brand and that you have a similar amount of followers. I've worked with bloggers who have had approximately 10,000 more followers than the shop's Instagram account I was managing — those seem to be the easiest collaborations to move forward with. There's no harm in seeing if a blogger with a much larger Instagram account (we're talking like thousands more) would be interested in collaborating with you, but it may be more difficult to work out a collaboration with them.
Back to that list of bloggers you would like to collaborate with — who has a closer following to you. Remember to keep it within the 10K range of your own Instagram account following.
3. Contact the blogger or brand influencer!
First, I want to make a public announcement. Please stop asking to collaborate with people through direct messaging! Not everybody checks their DMs consistently, so your message can go unread. You are trying to wrap up a business deal — and a business deal is rather professional, so a collaboration request should be coming through a professional e-mail address.
Go the extra mile and look for their e-mail address. Some post their e-mail address in their Instagram bio for easy collaboration access. Others host that information on their website. Head over there and check out that blogger's contact or work with me page to find the e-mail address. And if all else fails, ask what the best way is to reach them about a collaboration. Maybe it will turn out to be direct messaging and if that's what the brand influencer chooses, that is definitely ok. However, if you as a business are making the first contact or reach for a collaboration, it should come from a professional e-mail address.
Contact the blogger or brand influencer you would like to work with via e-mail. It looks way more professional!
4. Decide on the details of your collaboration and collaborate.
I can't even begin to explain how many types of collaborations you can host with a blogger or brand influencer. Yes, I can because I have a list below full of them. But hashing out the details of the collaboration with the brand influencer you are collaborating with is important. It all starts with the types of products the brand influencer will be receiving — are there set products in place that need to be promoted or does the blogger get to choose what they would like to feature?
Speaking of features, what kind of Instagram feature will the blogger be doing and how many? Usually, the more posts that will be featured, the more money or some form of compensation you will need to give to the blogger.
Everybody hates talking money, but it's the conversation that needs to happen. Is there payment required upfront or after the collaboration and how much or does the blogger just receive free products? Details like this vary the most when it comes to each different collaboration, but the set up is rather the same in that you need to straighten out all the details.
Square away all the details from the products to the Instagram posts to compensation. Your collaboration will run smoother if you get everything squared away first and foremost.
My four step process to collaborating with a blogger or brand influencer is rather simple. When we talked before about hashing out all the details of the collaboration, one of the most important parts of the collaboration is figuring out beforehand what kind you want to have! How and why do you want the brand influencer to promote your products on Instagram? I've got my three ideas for you.
My 3 Favorite Ways to Collaborate on Instagram
1. For lifestyle images and brand awareness
You need photos of your products, right? Who better than to model them than a blogger that works in your field! Collaborate with a brand influencer to get beautiful photos that you can share everywhere and get their followers to notice your brand in however the blogger decides to share your photos. This is a more lenient way of collaborating.
2. For a shoutout
Have an awesome sale or promotion coming out and want to get more exposure to it? Work out a deal with the blogger or brand influencer to shout out your sale or promotion at a specific time. Collaborations like these may be a little pricier; however, it can lead to more sales.
3. To host a giveaway
Get a blogger involved in your giveaway! Have he or she join you in sharing that giveaway and notifying the winner. It's a fun way to build up excitement if more people (especially a blogger) is buzzing about a giveaway and it's likely to lead to more entries too.
Need a few more Instagram tricks to keep your Instagram account growing and engaging? I've got some up my sleeve with my Instagram Survival Guide for Boutiques, Shops and Product Sellers.
GUEST POST BY: MELISSA HEBBE
Melissa Hebbe is a social media strategist for boutiques, shops and product sellers and blogs all about social media marketing over at melissahebbe.com. Since Melissa likes to keep the social in social media, she believes all platforms are a great way for boutiques, shops and small businesses to stay connected with their customers and audience.