Oh, my gosh, I totally want to work with that brand, but I don’t know where to start. Can you help me? I got you. I get it. Getting connected with brands in today’s social media landscape is extremely difficult. There’re so much noise and there’s so many tools at everyone’s fingertips that it makes it super easy for us to penetrate through, reach to the brands and tag them, share them, link them, and it’s hard to get noticed, so how do we do this? Honestly, guys, gone are the days where you can upload an image of a product, tag it, and all of a sudden you’re in a discussion. Now, that’s not to say that’s not what you should do. That’s actually the number one step, well, number two. Let’s first start with making a list of all the brands or influencers or industry leaders that you want to work with.
Maybe people that you want to get into their affiliate program, or you’re wanting to get a sponsored blog post. Whatever you’re looking to do, you need to start with creating a customized list for you. Don’t just look at everyone else and go, “Oh, she’s working with Aerie. Oh, she’s working with Victoria’s Secret,” or, “She’s working with Away suitcase.” You need to focus on what it is that you want to work within the lens of who your audience is, because that is how you’re going to actually attract brands.
What’s funny is I think that many times when you’re building yourself as an influencer or a blogger and you’re writing it in front of these brands, we often focus on ourselves and what we like, which is a part of it, but more importantly, we need to focus on who our audience is because that is who these brands are going to be mindful of.
So you need to connect the Avatar of your audience with the brands that you want to work with. Again, always throw in the aspect of what do you personally like as well. Oftentimes that’s going to align, and you’re going to go ahead and filter out the ones that you don’t like anyways just because it makes more sense for your business, and you’re going to be more authentic if you’re promoting a brand, or a product that you do like as well.
So step number one, make that customized list, make sure that it is in line with the customer Avatar, or the audience Avatar that you have, and then also connect it to the brand to make sure their audience is your audience as well because it’s going to make it a lot easier. Plus you’re going to be able to provide better content.
Step number two, you’re going to do the images like I talked about. You’re going to get products. This may mean that you’re going to have to go out and purchase products or contact the company to get loaner items. Oftentimes, if you’re newer on the scene, or you haven’t worked with a company before, they’re not going to take the latter option of sending you product. You’re probably going to have to invest a little bit. That’s okay. It’s a cost of doing business right? Just stick it into your budget and make it deductible, and you’re good to go. Always talk to a CPA about what’s deductible by the way. But you’re definitely going to want to get these products and take really good imagery and/or videos and pair that with content for your audience.
Now, the type of content that you do is going to depend on what type of blog or Instagram or YouTuber that you are. Whatever it is, how your medium of delivery. For me, I’m all about sharing content. Obviously, that is what you guys are listening to this is educational content. So oftentimes when I am putting brands and products in my workflow and in front of you guys, it’s going to be in the context of educational content. It’s not so much going to be of a salesy post, or look at me when I’m wearing, maybe sometimes, but I’m not a fashion blogger, so oftentimes that doesn’t make sense.
You got to go back to number one. What did we talk about? You have to think about who the audience Avatar is. People don’t come to me for what I’m wearing and if I was a fashion blogger or a fashion Instagram or YouTuber they come to me for the educational content. So that is how I’m going to take the list of products or brands that I want to work with and showcase. And then step number two is figuring out how I’m going to deliver that to the audience. For me, it’s in the context of educational content.
So step number three, create the content. You want to make sure that it is the right content, and you’re using the right platforms that the brands really do like. This is easy to do. You go back to step number one, you look at your list of brands and then you identify, okay, what are the biggest platforms that they’re using? You guys can do this for free. Hop onto Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, wherever it is, and check out where their company is really promoting the most, and that’s probably where you want to focus.
Now, keep in mind that some of these companies may be looking to expand into other platforms, so they’re going to look toward your existing platforms are right and that’s kind of where you want to mesh back together. You’re going to look at your audience were you already exists because that is how you’re going to draw the brand that you’re going to be able to serve this to an audience.
You’re going to pair your platforms that are already successfully on also with the platforms that the brand is either existing on or looking to move into, and if you do your right market research, then you’re able to figure out what that is super easy. Log on through your laptop, and you can figure it out.
Step number four in connecting with brands, and this is one of my favorites, and I think this really is where many of you will drop off or have dropped off, but you’re not going to after this video. I take every month, and I will take a summary list and links of all the places that I’ve shared a product. You do not want to rely upon simply tagging or hashtagging something with a company. The reason for this is they get thousands upon thousands of notifications, especially if they’re an extremely large company.
You want to hand serve this to their content marketing team, which we’re going to talk about here in a second, but you don’t necessarily just want to rely upon throwing out the tags, throwing out the hashtags and hoping that the brands see you. Taking that a step further. Oftentimes the individuals that are interacting on the social media are not the ones that are actually going to be making the marketing decisions for who they work with, okay. So there’s often a big disconnect, especially in really large companies that the individual doing the social media is not actually the decision maker. And you don’t want to rely on them to have this internal system that the person checking their social media is relaying this information. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to make it easier. We’re not going to rely on the hashtags, or the tagging or the social media intern or assistant that is managing the social media.
At the end of every month, we’re going to have compiled links for the specific brands that we identified in step number one, and you guys can track this on a tracker, on a Excel spreadsheet, in a Word doc, notepad, whatever. I do it as I do it through the month. That way I can send a roundup at the end of the month directly to the marketing director, or the content marketing creator, whatever their title is in this specific company, and oftentimes you don’t really know how to get there. Used to be, we had to use PR or marketing firms, guys, you guys are sitting. If you have a phone right next to you or you’re watching this on a phone, you have literally, in your fingertips, the steps for the next step for us to be able to get all of the content stuff that you’ve just created in to the hands of the people that are making the decisions.
I don’t know how many of you are actually using LinkedIn, or you can even use other systems like Twitter or Facebook. I just find that LinkedIn is one of the best ways because you can search for the company, and it shows you the employees. If they have the company in their personal profile listed as their employment, it’s easy to find the content marketing person or the marketing director, brand ambassador director, whatever their title, whoever is in charge of the and connecting with influencers and bloggers or YouTubers, you can then get right into their hands. You can connect with them on LinkedIn, and you can also send them that roundup list that we just talked about. We want to get directly connected with the person that’s the decision making. We don’t want to rely on this passive hope that they’re going to see us.
We want to get into their hands and in that context of what you sent, not only are you going to send the roundup, not only are you sending it directly to them, you’re going to go ahead and ask them if you can work with them. Always got to go for the ask. You always got to end with the ask.
Now, I know this was really quick, walking through the steps, and it sounds really easy, but the important thing is that you have to consistently keep doing this. You may send out to the marketing director one month, and you don’t ever hear, do it again the next month. Keep creating the content and keep creating the quality images and/or videos until you are able to get some sort of response, whether it’s a yes or no, but even then you could still continue in a very respectful and professional manner. But being able to connect with brands just by interacting with them on social media is no longer enough.
You guys have to take these strategic steps, and I literally just gave you the checklist, so there’s no reason you’re not able to at least garner some attention from even some of the biggest brands. And when you’re sending this roundup, also make sure that you’re sending a media kit. I am not a fan of PDF media kits, guys, in the day where video is so super important. You don’t want to be attaching videos and sending PDFs and all late evening down people’s emails, right? Go for virtual media kits, link it onto your website, make it a full one page that’s interactive with videos about you, all your metrics and information, feed it all directly to the person so that when they do get your LinkedIn message, after you’ve done your savvy sleuthing, they’re able to see the roundup of posts that you’ve just done and how you promoted their products. They’re going to see who you are, what you offer, and then, of course, you’re always going to finish with the ask of what you want to do with working with them.
Don’t leave it open. Make it quick and easy because they’re probably going to be getting a lot of other messages. You don’t want to just rely on hope that your great smile and wonderful metrics is going to make it all. It’s really about personality.
I hope this helps you guys. Just always remember any time that you’re provided a product or a service in exchange for a review or a posting, you need to always disclose all of that as sponsored ad. There’s a variety of ways. Don’t rely on these standard functions in Instagram or Facebook. Please always make sure that you’re making it distinct, so you don’t get swept up in this whole FDC net. They’re fishing, they’re looking, they’re coming for the people that are receiving product or compensation, but are not tagging them as paid. So don’t get stuck doing that. Don’t let that deter you either. Go after the brands that you want to go from step one through five and start again. Do it monthly and good luck guys. I know you can do it.
Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.
Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke
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