How to Collaborate With Brands on Instagram With 1,000 or Over 100K Followers and Actually Make MoneyRead Now
Some photos were taken in collaboration with Scott Reichard
How to collaborate with brands on Instagram with 1,000 or over 100K followers and actually make money, you ask? Let’s start with what I do and some of the terminology and my story.
Thus far in 2018, I have traveled to Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Peru, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Utah, Alaska, and Canada. Soon I’ll be on the East Coast of the United States as well as Sri Lanka. There will probably be last minute trips I take here and there too. How do I manage to squeeze all of this travel in a year? For starters, I work for myself. I am a freelance photographer, adventure travel blogger, and a social media influencer.
Follow me on Instagram for more of these adventures! @Dani_The_Explorer
Advertising on a social media influencer’s profiles means companies can find the exact audience they want to target. There are no guessing games. If a company wants to get in front of a specific demographic, they can do it in a single social post. Companies can get as niche as they want! Their products also can get exposure in different locations. Companies can work with influencers around the world and have their products featured in marketing material that they may otherwise have to pay a production team to create in small increments. Now let’s add another variable to that and talk about long-term partnerships. If a brand chooses to work with an influencer long term, now they’re able to grow with that influencer. If in the first month of advertising the influencer had 10,000 followers, and two months later the influencer has 30,000, now that brand is getting exposure to 20,000 more followers than they initially thought they were getting.
How you can collaborate with brands on Instagram with 1,000 or over 100K followers and make money.
Again, as companies find more ROI from influencer marketing, they will start to allocate more budget to these sorts of campaigns. That means your chances are better to collaborate brands on Instagram! For my travels, I pitch brands on where I am going and what content pieces I offer. I started by just offering brands exposure on my Instagram page, and now I offer image licensing, commercial photos, blogs and more. Making money from Instagram is what built my portfolio and still funds my travels today. In this blog, I will go over how you can get there too. Since Instagram is where I retain most of my social traffic, that is the social media channel I am going to highlight and speak to the most. However, some of these takeaways can apply to monetize other social media channels as well.
The Must Haves
Okay so before you can even dream about pitching a brand and traveling, I want to make some things very clear.
1) Be ready to work. This industry is a hustle, and everyone wants a piece. Before this was my full-time job, I was working a marketing job for eight hours a day, and then I would come home and work eight additional hours building the Mountain Chicks empire. Being a freelancer is not easy, and brands will not come out of the blue to work with you. You must meet them halfway.
2) Have a personal brand. You must understand your personal brand, who you are and what you want your audience to gain from seeing your content. You must understand what content your audience wants to see and what helps you tell your story. It is one thing to post pretty pictures, and it is a completely different thing to have a personality your followers can follow along. Your followers want to look up to you and to get to know you. Understand your personal brand.
3) You should have at least 1,000 followers. While is it 100% possible to make money on Instagram with 1,000, most brands require you to have at least 5,000 followers, so be aware of this ahead of time. That should not stop you, though! I always think you should try. If you are not yet at 5,000 Instagram followers, I suggest honing in on your personal brand and growth. Curator pages will be your best friend in those growing stages! You can continue to collaborate with brands on Instagram when you have 1,000, but put extra effort into growing! Growing will get you more brand deals and more money.
4) Know your worth. This blog is all about how to collaborate with brands on Instagram with 1,000 or over 100K followers. Getting paid means you need to set a price. As a rule of thumb, you can get paid $5 to $10 per thousand Instagram followers. If you have 10,000 followers, for example, you can get paid about $100 per sponsored Instagram post (10,000/1,000 = 10, 10 x $10 = $100). Since I am also a photographer, I stick to charging on the high end ($10 per thousand followers). Please note that the final number you choose to charge should also take into consideration your engagement. That is just as important. The better your engagement, the closer to the high side of the spectrum you can charge.
5) Have a media kit. A media kit is a 1 to 2-page document that lists out previous brands you have worked with, your rates, your audience demographics, your engagement statistics, your contact information and more. They’re easy to make if you have the time, if you don’t however, I’m happy to report that I am now offering to create personalized media kits! You can learn more about my media kit services by emailing me at email@example.com.
By the way, I also offer social media influencer mentoring! I would love to help you step by step to reach your goals when it comes to working with brands and growing your account! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
How to start contacting brands to work with on Instagram.
Now that you’re a brand master, you have your media kit, you know your rates, it’s time to get to work. To better illustrate my workflow, I’m going to use a fake travel scenario. Let’s say I know that in December, I want to travel to Hawaii. Here are the steps I would take to get paid on Instagram.
1) Make a list. What will I need to get me to Hawaii? Making this list will help me determine my budget for the trip and how to get paid on Instagram to fund my travels.
2) Know your brand options. Now that I know what I need, I’m going to make a list of brands I want to work with for my Hawaii trip. It’s best to think out of the box with this. Just because I need a car, a place to stay, etc., that doesn’t mean I can’t work with a shoe company, a granola bar company, or even a protein powder company. Why? Because you want to offer these companies a chance to come along for the ride. You’re giving them the opportunity to have their brand in Hawaii with you, in your Hawaii content, so that when your Instagram followers see that you went to Hawaii, they know what brands made that trip a reality. Whereas if these companies wanted their products showcased in Hawaii, they would have to pay a salaried employee to capture that content for them. Don’t just reach out to the car companies or the hotel companies, reach out to the brands that make you feel passionate. The brands that align with your personal brand and whose content you would be excited to promote. These also make for better long-term relationships that you may be able to use in the future. For the sake of this example, I want to collaborate with brands on Instagram by working with… *Please note these are fake companies listed below*
3) Find the right contact. When I want to collaborate with brands on Instagram, I start by messaging them on Instagram or Facebook. I always briefly introduce myself and ask if there is someone specific I can contact about a partnership. If I don’t get a reply, I resort to the email listed on their social media pages. If that doesn’t work and I REALLY want to work with said brand, I try doing a Google search for an email to their public relations team. Sometimes the search leads to a dead end, and that is okay! Try to look up trade shows in your industry where you can meet brands and network with their marketing/ public relations team.
4) Begin pitching. Now that I know where I’m going, my budget, and who I want to email, it’s time to start pitching. Pitching is by far the scariest part of figuring out how to get paid on Instagram. It’s easy to accept free gear and items, but what about asking for money? My advice is to just go for it. The worse thing a brand can say is “no.” And at that point, oh well. No one ever got anywhere by quivering at “no.” Below is an example pitch email. Should you choose to use this, please tailor it to fit your needs. If brands get the impression that you’re sending them a blanket email, they’re less likely to throw you a bone. Personalize it.
To: Explorer Backpacks
What makes this pitch successful? For starters, I have briefly said who I am, what I do and what I want. I have also noted that I am a customer of this brand. On top of that, I have let Susan know that I have a media kit I would be happy to send over- now this doesn’t sound like my first rodeo. Susan may or may not reply. And you know what, she might not even be the person I need to reach out to in the first place, but you bet I’m going to keep following up! All you need is one “yes.”
5) Close the pitch. I have finished pitching companies, and I finally got a reply! Susan told me she is interested in hopping on a call. What the heck do I do now?
“I would love to take your products with me to Hawaii and create some unique social media content around my adventures.”
What to do when a brand contacts you on Instagram.
I do not always pitch brands on Instagram. It is common for brands to contact me about working with them on Instagram. When you want to collaborate with brands on Instagram with 1,000 or over 100K followers and actually make money, when this happens you should still take a similar approach as if you were contacting them!
1) Start by reading their email carefully. Understand exactly what the brand wants and what the collaboration entails.
2) Ask questions. Do not be afraid to ask questions! If the brand makes no indication of monetary compensation, ask them if they have a budget. Attached your media kit to the email and let the brand know you have attached it for their review.
3) Know your worth and stay true to it. I have run into so many situations where a brand tried to undercut my rates by over 50%. I kindly let them know that my rates are firm and I would love to make it work, but if they do not have the budget to match my rates today, then we can try again later. Do not be afraid to negotiate!
4) Don’t be afraid to say “no”. See above! Also, don’t be afraid to say no to a collaboration you’re truly not passionate about. More jobs will come, I promise.
5) Always sign a contract. Never agree to any job without a contract.
1) I don’t travel much. Is travel the only way I can get paid on Instagram? Definitely not. I used travel as an example because that is the brand I created for myself. How to get paid on Instagram can vary from industry to industry. You can always do a basic pitch to brands and merely state that you would like to promote their products on your pages, asking them how they have worked with influencers in the past and how you think you two would be a great fit together.
2) A brand has offered me a free product instead of payment, should I take it? That’s up to you. However, the next time a brand offers you free product, think about how easy you’re letting them get off. Please do not confuse this as me saying you should never do free work! If this is your first rodeo, yes, do it for free and get some experience under your belt. You should start charging once you've completed at least 5 jobs successfully.
Brands have a huge marketing budget (at least most do) and creating content is hard work. The second you agree to a free product, you’re agreeing to go on your adventure, trip or wherever, and work as a free marketer for a brand, and all you got was a material item that you probably won't have in a year. For the long term, I think you should help set the standards for brands and ask for payment!
3) I’m an ambassador for a brand, and I don’t get paid. What do I do? I think ambassadorships are sometimes the best way to work towards a paid partnership! You can always do work for free for a brand you love, and after a certain amount of time (3-6 months) start the discussion of how you can get paid and what that would look like. Ambassadorships can sometimes make it easier to collaborate with brands on Instagram and actually make money.
4) Exactly how much money should I be asking for? That is entirely up to you and the project at hand. In my experience, ask for the base amount (mentioned earlier in this blog), do the work, and reflect. Was doing 3 Instagram posts for a total of $50 worth your time? Would you charge XYZ again or would you ask for a higher amount of money in the future?
Working with influencer marketing agencies
If you want to collaborate with brands on Instagram with 1,000 or over 100K followers and actually make money, but are too afraid to pitch brands, turn to an influencer agency for easy ways on how to get paid on Instagram. Websites like Aspire IQ (previously Revfluence) and Popular Pays do the work for you. These agencies allow you to create a profile on their online platform where you can upload your social media profiles to pull your statistics, then apply for jobs posted by brands looking for social media influencers! The accounts are free to create, and there are some large brands posting work on there.
There is so much more I could write about on how to collaborate with brands on Instagram, but these are tips I wish someone would have told me! I hope this has given you some more insight on how to get paid on Instagram and what exactly I do for work. I’m lucky to call the Dani The Explorer and Mtn Chicks brands my job. I hope some of you can make a few extra dollars doing this as well!
What other questions do you have around these topics? Let me know in the comments!
This blog was written by Mountain Chicks Founder Dani The Explorer.
Author - Dani The Explorer