Influencer Marketing 101

The Ultimate Guide to Brand Partnerships

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Influencer Marketing 101
The Ultimate Guide to Brand Partnerships
Discover the five key elements to building strong brand partnerships.

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Earning a steady income as a creator requires you to wear many hats! Sure, there's the creative side of content production, but there's also the business side of things. How do you monetize your work and your content? For many creators, the answer is brand partnerships. 

In the US alone, it's estimated that influencer marketing spend will reach $7.14 billion in 2024. Influencer marketing is clearly now a core strategy for brands because creators have proven to be powerful partners through their authentic and creative storytelling that can help bolster a brand’s image. 

However, getting noticed by brands and building strong partnerships is easier said than done. 

Below is a guide that provides important tips for landing dream brand partnerships. Many of these tips come from influencer marketers at some of the biggest brands in the world including L’Oreal, Samsung, Coty, and Pandora. 

Looking to collaborate with brands today? Connect to Traackr’s Studios to get noticed by brands and easily collaborate on partnerships! 

The Ultimate Guide to Brand Partnerships

1. Tailor Your Social Profiles and Content to Attract Brand Partnerships

In order to partner with brands, you need to grab their attention. The number one way to do this is to set up your profile to correlate with what brands are looking for. 

Many brands use an influencer marketing platform, like Traackr, to find creators for their campaigns. These platforms allow brands to search and filter by a handful of demographic and content data. 

What brands look for: 

  • Brand affinity: Brands can view past content to see if a creator has mentioned their brand before or products that are similar to theirs. They’ll want to see that you talk about themes that are relevant to their brand. Most tools, like Traackr, can only search by post captions so make sure you mention brands, products, and themes there!
  • Audience demographics: Brands can see an overview of your audience’s age, gender, location, and interests to understand if their target audience matches your community. They can also see how many of a creator’s following are spam or bot accounts, so it’s wise to never use or buy any of those services. 
  • Performance metrics: Brands can view your engagement rates, video view rates, and more on various social media platforms.
  • Comment quality and sentiment: Brands are now looking beyond follower count and the # of engagements to determine how engaged a creator’s community is. Make sure you are taking time to respond to your comments and DMs – brands will notice. 

To increase your odds of getting noticed by brands, sprinkle these key items into your profile bio and content. 

What to include in your bio: 

  • Location: This is especially important if you want to be invited to local brand activations and events.
  • Email: Ensure this is an email that you or your talent agent regularly checks. 
  • Keywords that describe what you create: For example, if you’re a makeup artist, mention “MUA” in your bio because a brand might filter by that keyword. Think about the brands you want to work with and highlight the keywords they might use to source creators. This is especially important for nano to mid-tier creators. 

Here are a few examples of great creator profile bios

What to include in your content: 

  • Include relevant keywords and hashtags. Similar to your bio include phrases, keywords, and hashtags a brand might use to search for a creator they want to work with. Remember that you need to include this in post captions, not just verbally or in text overlayed over videos!
  • Tag/mention brands you want to work with. Get the attention of the brands you want to work with by tagging and mentioning their products. This doesn’t go unnoticed by brands and can help form deeper relationships. 

Feel free to have a little fun with trying to get the attention of brands! For example, Dr. Climb’s humorous “plea” to work with a variety of outdoor brands certainly got on those and other brands’ radars (look at the comments!). 

Ultimately brands want to ensure that your audience (or community) is the audience they want to reach. The goal for both you and the brand is to get your audience to like the content you make on behalf of the brand, so make sure you are setting up your profile to be noticed by the brands you want to collaborate with. 

2. Create a Clear Media Kit and Rate Card

A great first impression starts with answering the brand's questions. You can do this by creating a polished media kit that shows the value you will bring to the partnership. 

What to include in your media kit:

  1. Who you are. Provide a short bio that explains who you are, why you create the content you do, and the best way to reach you. Don’t forget to link to all of your social media accounts!
  2. Performance metrics. Have a section dedicated to your following, engagement rate, and general audience demographics for each platform. Consider including comments or DMs that show how engaged your audience is. If you’ve seen a recent spike in engagement or following, be sure to mention it! 
  3. Past brand content. Share top-performing content and which brands you’ve previously worked with, and include any testimonials from working with brands.
  4. Rate Card. Outline all of the services you can provide a brand including perpetuity fees/ usage rights, re-shoots and amends. 

3. Develop a Professional Approach for Negotiating Brand Partnerships

Money discussions are never easy, but they are a critical part of the creator and brand partnership and can really set the tone for the relationship. Having a polished rate card will help you get into the negotiation phase more seamlessly. 

A few other quick tips on negotiations from Influencer and Special Needs Pet Advocate, Katie Beth Miedaner (@cappybears) include: 

  1. Come prepared with data to back up your rates. Share your successes with previous brand partnerships or how your engagement rate has increased over the past X amount of months. 
  2. Be open to discussion. “​​If a brand comes back with an offer that is lower than expected, it’s not a bad thing,” says Katie Beth. This just means that the conversation is opening up to discuss and find a middle ground. This is a great time to also jump on a phone call. If there is a lot of back and forth over email, it might be best to talk it out over the phone.
  3. Think creatively. If a brand is asking for a bunch of content but can only pay you for one piece, ask if they would consider partnering on one piece of content. Or see if you could put a special “bundle deal” together for them that might sweeten them up. 
  4. Know when to walk away. It’s okay to walk away when the numbers or vision aren't aligned. Trust your gut here! Saying no now doesn’t mean saying no forever. Leaving on a respectful note that signals this isn’t a “no forever” is the best way to leave a conversation. 
“I’ve learned that the brand side and agency side is a small community. It’s always good to keep professional and keep your cool. Always stay positive, keep the door open, and be respectful.” - Katie Beth Miedaner (@cappybears), Influencer and Special Needs Pet Advocate

Learn more about negotiations from content creator, Katie Beth Miedaner, and influencer marketing expert, Madeline Chambers, in this webinar. 

4. Strengthen Trust with Brand Partners Through Communication and Engagement

Relationships are a two-way street. Yes, brands need to make the time and effort to get to know their creator partners, but it’s also your responsibility as a creator to make partnering with you a seamless experience. 

Be proactive

Make a big impression before even entering a conversation with a brand by organically mentioning them in your content. 

This is a strategy content creator and founder of Hotel Lobby Candle, Lindsay Silberman (@lindsaysilb), encourages other content creators to use. For example, before Lindsay amassed thousands of followers, she organically posted about a small nail brand that she loved and ended up getting a lot of engagement on the post. This was noticed by the founder who reached out to her asking to collaborate on more content. The partnership ended up being mutually beneficial for both Lindsay and the brand’s growth. 

Now as a business owner, Lindsay takes note of every person, creator or not, who actively and organically posts about her brand. She says she’s more likely to gift them or promote them because they have a true affinity for the brand. 

This “grow together” mindset is a great way to set yourself up for working with the brands you truly want to work with. Remember that a brand can see who you have previously mentioned in your content, so if you’re saying you love a brand, back it up with a few posts mentioning them. 

A few other ways to proactively get a brand's attention can include 

  • Engaging with the brand's content on their socials. Light up their comment section! 
  • Posting and tagging brands if they gift you product. Share what you like about the products or if they included a personal touch (like a handwritten note!).
  • “Shooting your shot” or proactively pitching brands you want to work with using a tailored message. These tailored messages should share how the brand and products have impacted your life. Did you grow up using them? Have they helped you with a big milestone in your life? This could even lend itself well to how you would want to create content for them!

Be communicative 

Once you launch into a conversation with a brand, communicate timely and thoughtfully throughout the entire process. 

Campaigns move quickly and marketers have a lot to juggle with. If you’re not getting back to a brand within 48 hours, there’s a good chance you will miss your opportunity. A couple of key areas to update brands on include:

  • Content creation: It’s best practice to share when your content has been drafted and when it goes live. This gives the marketer peace of mind that you are holding up your end of the contract. 
  • Analytics: Once your content is live, share updates with the team on how it’s performing. Besides the numbers, it’s great to share anecdotal updates like any DMs you’ve received because brands won’t be able to see that on any influencer marketing platform they use. 

And don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the entire process! Be sure you’re aware of all the content you need to create, deadlines associated with the contract, and payment details. Asking questions is also a great way to work through things you might disagree with (like briefs!). 

Let’s say you’re in conversation with a brand you want to work with, but the brief they sent you is too prescriptive. You instantly know the content you create won’t perform well across your social channels. Instead of flat-out saying, “this is a terrible idea” ask them what it was about your content or profile that made them want to work with you. Lead them to understand that the content you want to create for them will work better than the content they are suggesting. Again, if this is a brand you care about working with, ask to hop on a phone or video call to ensure you both agree about the creative vision. 

Laying the groundwork by effectively communicating with your brand partners will lead to trust, and trust is the backbone of any deep brand partnership. 

5. Build Ongoing Relationships for Future Brand Partnerships

If you are looking to partner with a brand on another campaign or for a longer period of time, here are a few key ways to continue the conversation.

  1. Give them an extra treat: If you were contracted to create 1 IG Reel and 3 IG Stories. Throw an extra IG Story post in the mix for good faith that you enjoyed working with them. The extra effort won’t go unnoticed because influencer marketing platforms like Traackr can track all the content you’ve posted during the campaign. 
  2. Share your experience: Send a “thank you” email or letter saying how great it was to work with the brand and how you would enjoy working with them in any upcoming campaigns. 
  3. Ask for feedback: This can be a simple note like “I’d appreciate any feedback to help me grow” or ask for metrics that you generated for the brand like VIT. If you can grab a testimonial from the brand, make sure to add it to your media kit! 
  4. Pitch them their next campaign idea: A few more ideas likely sprung up during the content creation process. If you’re keen on working with the brand again, share your ideas with the brand in a follow-up. Sharing ideas with brands is exactly how “Starr the intern” was born from Taryn Dealnie Smith’s collaboration with Kate Spade New York.

Discover brand partnership opportunities and easily collaborate on campaigns with Traackr’s Studios. Here’s a full guide on how to get started with Studios today!

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