Brands, both big and small, are constantly looking for influencers to work with. These days, more brands than ever need influencers to create content for their products and services.
Not only do brands rely on influencers for sponsored content on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, but they also rely on influencers to create high-quality content which can be posted on their website, or used in advertisements.
When putting together our influencer marketing report this year, we found that micro-influencers are becoming a popular choice amongst brands that are looking for influencers. This means that your audience size is becoming less relevant to brands, instead, they’re starting to care more about the quality of your content and audience instead.
As an influencer, it should be great news to you that brands are becoming more dependent on content creators, but you’re probably still wondering where you can find these brands that are looking for influencers to work with in the first place.
What Do Brands Look For in an Influencer?
The first step is understanding what the brands are looking for in an influencer. Once you understand what appeals to brands, you can position yourself in such a way that brands take you into serious consideration. In some cases, they might begin approaching you first, which is what you should aim for.
Here’s what’s important to brands when it comes to finding the right influencer:
- Clarity: Upon first glance, is it clear what you stand for as a content creator? Remember, if you’re reaching out to brands, they might only take a quick look at your social media pages before deciding whether or not they would like to take the discussion further.
- Quality: Are you producing quality content? Ultimately brands want to buy high-quality content from you. Quality does not mean that your content needs to be professionally edited, but it should provide value to your audience in one way or another.
- Trust: This is where most influencers fall short, they don’t give brands enough reasons to trust them. Brands are ultimately running a business, and if you’re getting paid by them, then you’re running a business too. When working with brands, you need to treat it as a business transaction, trust is key if you want to build long-lasting partnerships. Respond to messages on time, hit your deadlines, and be transparent with your progress.
Now that we’ve nailed down three main components that brands consider when working with influencers, let’s dive into some actionable tips that will allow for you to find brands that are looking for influencers to work with.
Optimize Your Social Media Page
This is low hanging fruit, and if done right, it could bring you a good amount of inbound inquiries from brands that are looking for an influencer.
Part of finding the right brands is marketing yourself in a way that shows you’re open for business. Your profile is a huge part of that, as it provides a sense of direction and clarity for the brand.
Let’s use this Instagram profile we found on Collabstr as an example:
Within seconds of viewing the profile, it is clear that this creator is focused on the adventure and outdoor niche. Let’s dive deeper into what this content creator is doing right with their profile.
The username ‘laurensbigadventure’ does a great job of encapsulating everything you can expect on this Instagram page. Just by reading the username, we know that the page is operated by a girl named Lauren, and the content is focused on her adventures.
The username is a great way to add some context to your page, it’s the first thing people see when you interact with them on any major social media platform.
We’ve all heard the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and this is exactly why your profile photo is an important part of your social media profile if you want to appeal to brands.
The photo should be high-quality, and give some sort of context into who you are as a person or creator. It’ll be the first photo they see upon clicking on your profile.
Bio descriptions are typically limited to a certain number of characters no matter which social media platform we’re talking about. It’s important to maximize this valuable real estate to tell everyone about yourself and your content.
The content creator pictured above does a great job of explaining what their page is about, how often the audience can expect content, and where they’re located. Notice how there’s no fancy words or lengthy sentences? It’s best to keep your description short and to the point.
Highlights & Pinned Posts
A lot of social media platforms give users the ability to showcase some of their content at the top of the page. On Instagram, this would be the story highlight feature. On TikTok, this would be the pin feature, where you can pin up to three videos at the top of your page.
Regardless of what platform you’re on, it’s best to utilize these functions in order to pin content that tells visitors about who you are.
Lastly, you should include a link in your bio that leads to places where people can learn more about you. This could be a simple Linktree link that leads to your other social media pages, or maybe a link to your website.
The idea here is to include a link that allows for people to learn more about you as a content creator, you’ll also want to include your preferred contact method somewhere here.
Use Hashtags On Your Posts (The Proper Way)
Now that you’ve optimized your profile, you need to attract traffic to your page. One easy way to do this is by using hashtags properly.
Hashtags have one purpose: to help people easily find and follow topics they care about. If brands care about partnering with influencers, hashtags are one of the tools they’ll use to find potential partners.
The mistake a lot of content creators make with hashtags is that they use generic hashtags like #influencer or #foodie that are way too saturated, this makes it near impossible to get discovered by brands that genuinely want to work with you.
Instead, you need to be methodical with your usage of hashtags. Rather than going for quantity, go for quality. If a brand was out there searching for an influencer that fits your description, what hashtags would they be searching for? This is a great question to ask yourself before writing our your hashtags.
You want to target hashtags that don’t have too much volume, this will prevent your posts from being drowned out. It’s even better if you can work your way into the ‘top posts’ section on the hashtag, but this isn’t necessary as you’ll still be shown under the ‘recent posts’ section.
Let’s go over examples of good hashtags.
Using Location-Based Hashtags
There are several ways you can use hashtags to your advantage. One of them is to include your location, followed by the word “influencer”. As shown in the following screenshot, a lot of Miami influencers are already harnessing the power of this strategy.
There are only 161k posts under #miamiinfluencer, this means that you have a good chance of being shown near the top of this hashtag for an extended period of time since there is not a large amount of people using this hashtag on a weekly or daily basis.
Use Niche-Based Hashtags
Another great hashtag format is combining your location with your niche. For example, instead of using #foodie which has 210M posts, you can use the hashtag #miamifoodie which only has 511k posts.
Reach Out to Brands Via Email
Optimizing your profile and using hashtags that make you more discoverable are both great ways to attract inbound attention from brands, but those two things alone should not be your only strategy when finding brands that are looking to work with influencers.
The truth is, you’re going to have to hustle to find brand deals some months, and you do this by reaching out to brands directly. One great way to reach out to brands is by emailing them.
The reason a lot of influencers avoid reaching out to brands via email is because it can be time consuming and it requires effort, but with an organized process you could consistently land brand deals this way.
The first step to emailing brands is finding brands that are a good fit for you. You want to maximize your time and effort when reaching out to brands. This is why we need a discovery phase before we begin our outreach.
The discovery phase is the most time-consuming part of reaching out to brands, but if you can dedicate an hour or two to doing this properly, it’s highly likely your outreach will produce results.
During the discovery phase your goal should be to comprise a list of brands that are highly-likely to partner with you in some capacity. You do this by finding brands that fit your niche, and find your audience or content to be of value.
This process is not about quantity, but rather quality. It is much better to have a list of 20 highly-relevant brands versus 100 random brands. You’ll want to use a free tool like Google sheets or Notion to keep track of your list of brands.
Find the Point of Contact
Now that you’ve got a list of relevant brands, you need to find the point of contact at these brands. You never want to send your emails to the general inbox, they will most likely be ignored because you’re not talking to the person who’s in charge of calling the shots when it comes to partnerships in the first place.
Instead, you need to find the person who has the authority to facilitate the partnership between yourself and the brand. To do this, we can use a free tool like Hunter to find the personal emails of the people at that specific brand.
Once you have the direct email for the decision maker at a brand, you can begin your outreach.
The final part of emailing brands that are looking for influencers is actually sending the email. You’ll want to experiment with different templates and see which one performs the best. If you’re not sure what your email should look like, consider reading up on how to email brands as an influencer before you begin.
It’s important to add some personalization to your emails. People can tell when you’ve just copy and pasted a generic template into your email. Consider adding a sentence that is specific to the company itself, so that the reader knows that you put some thought into the email.
This is another strategy you can use, although replies or any type of contact aren’t guaranteed – especially if we’re talking about larger brands.
Reach Out to Brands Via LinkedIn
It’s highly likely that any brand you are pursuing for a partnership also has a presence on LinkedIn, this is a great place to contact decision makers at brands if you’re not able to find their email.
LinkedIn makes it quite easy to find the decision maker at a company. For example, let’s say that we want to reach out to the person in charge of influencer marketing for HelloFresh, you can go to their LinkedIn company page and click on the ‘People’ tab.
Once you click on the ‘People’ tab as shown in the above photo, you can search for people that work at HelloFresh with a specific role. In this case, we want to search for someone that handles influencer marketing at the company, so we’ll search the term ‘influencer marketing’.
This helped us narrow down the results from 7,505 employees down to 42 employees. At this point, we can go through the results and find the employee that would most likely be the best point of contact for influencer marketing.
Once you narrow down a point of contact, simply connect with them and add a thoughtful note as to why you’re connecting with them. LinkedIn is full of spam, so you want to make sure that you differentiate yourself from people that are simply spamming, and a good way to do this is by sending personalized messages.
Join An Influencer Marketing Platform
One great way to find brands that work with influencers is to go where they’re looking.
If you’re an influencer that is serious about working for brands, it’s important to be active on an influencer marketplace so that you can be easily discovered by brands.
Brands of all sizes use influencer marketplaces like Collabstr to find content creators that they can partner with for promotions or content creation. The great thing about joining an influencer marketplace as a content creator is that it’s a passive channel to acquire brand deals and earn an income.
On Collabstr, you can simply create a profile, set your pricing, and wait for brands to approach you. This works out great because you’re being approached by brands that are serious about working with content creators. This makes collaborations more trustworthy, since payments and communication are handled on the platform, and brands must pay upfront if they want to work with you.
Brands of all types and sizes are constantly looking for influencers to work with, and vice-versa. By following the tips mentioned in this article, you put yourself ahead of the ever-growing competition.
It’s important to harness as many mediums as possible in order to maximize your chances of success as an influencer, especially in the beginning. As you continue to build your portfolio, things will become easier.
Join Collabstr as an influencer today to get the ball rolling.