Having worked for over 4 years on both sides of the coin, working as an influencer marketing manager for public companies and startups, and also working with brands for my personal Instagram account, I have a strong understanding of what it takes for creators to make themselves “brand friendly” and irresistible to work with.
On the creator’s side, it can feel like a tough task standing out from the crowd and landing deals with your favorite brands. On the brand’s side, finding truly valuable influencers is still hard for many marketing managers.
By following these 5 golden rules, you’ll immediately give yourself an advantage over many other creators and be on your way to securing long term partnerships with brands to earn money on Instagram.
1. Avoid scandals and politics
Brands’ target audiences may hold various political or other views, and they don’t want to alienate any of their customers. As a result, most brands avoid creators who are very political. It’s fine to share your views and have discussions, up to the point where you may be recognized because of your views.
Being politically active is appreciated, just don’t expect to receive frequent brand deals if that is what your page is all about.
2. Be authentic and engage with your audience
There are so many content creators out there but only one you! Brands look for authentic creators that share their personality and engage with their audience. Creators who are themselves and engage with their audience, create a real connection and build trust with their followers. Those are the most powerful creators: If your audience trusts your input and recommendations, brands will be lining up to work with you.
The more trust you build with your audience, the better results you will drive for brands. Part of this means making sure you don’t work with brands that don’t fit your personality and usual content. You may be tempted by the short-term profits, but in the long term it will ruin the trust of your audience which will result in worse engagement and campaign results.
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3. Create valuable content
Having followers and good engagement is not enough. If you want to earn money on Instagram like a pro content creator, you actually need to put in the hours. Create content that gives others value. I’m all for posting an occasional thirst trap for engagement boosts, but this isn't sustainable on a regular basis and doesn't appeal to brands.
For example: if your niche is fashion, make informative videos about important fashion figures, the journey of different brands, future trends in the industry, and cool styling tips. Anything that will be relevant for your audience, make them feel or learn something, and give them a reason to come back.
Post frequently, talk to your audience, and build the trust needed even when you are not being paid for it. Because a strong relationship with your followers often leads to a strong balance in your bank account.
4. Be professional and easy to work with
If you want to make money on Instagram and work with brands over the long-term, you need to be professional. Make sure to:
a. Have an updated media kit
Make sure your media kit has all the relevant information brands are trying to look for to understand if you’re a good fit: average analytics from the past 3 months, information about your demographics, examples of other brand campaigns that worked well.
B. Be responsive
Make sure to respond to your emails in a timely manner. When I discuss paid opportunities with influencers and they take several days or more to reply to my emails, it’s often a red flag. Also remember that time is of the essence for most marketing managers - don’t be a bottleneck for their work.
C. Meet them halfway
It’s great to give your opinion on what works best for your audience, but make sure you also accommodate the brand and their needs. Trust me - brands also prefer long-term partnerships! If the brand is happy with you and enjoys working with you, you’re massively increasing the likelihood of securing a long-term arrangement.
5. Have an attractive price
Brands always need to optimize their campaign results in the short term. Many understand the long term value that content creators offer, but still need an indication that the campaign is successful and has a good ROI.
An attractive price for brands is anything beneath a $100 CPM (the cost of a 1000 impressions). Price your content around that, with a bit of room for negotiation to show them you're willing to meet them halfway.
I’d recommend creating a rate sheet with different price options and bundles: give a price of each type of content by itself, and then offer a package with a more attractive price. For example - a 1 slide Instagram story for $150, or 3 slides for $300. Another option is mixing different content types for an optimal campaign. For example: 3 slide stories + reel with a link in bio for $X.
And that's it for now! In my experience, applying these 5 tips will help you stand out from the majority of creators and get more brand deals, so you can turn your content into a business.