Insider Tips

When Should Influencers Start Approaching Brands?

You’ve hustled hard to become an Influencer, and now you’re itching for a brand sponsorship. But how do you know it’s the right time to monetize your business? From metrics to branding, we’ve got the scoop on when Influencers should start approaching brands.


Parker Sheil


December 15, 2020

No matter how amazing your business proposal is, when you say “partnership,” a marketing department hears “budget”. Investing in a new sponsorship deal could mean increasing ad-spend…. and reworking a budget. So if you want that investment, you’re going to need to be able to sell your influence.

How Many Followers Do You Need To Get A Sponsorship?

The first number a brand is going to check is your followers. How many followers do you need before a brand will include you in their influencer marketing campaign? Well, there isn’t a strict minimum. Celebrity influencers are revered by some brands (totally ignored by others), and micro-influencers are steadily gaining traction. Though there aren’t firm rules/regulations, most brands will recognize accounts with 10,000 followers (or more) as micro-influencers, and anything less as nano-influencer. It may be easier to land a partnership once you attract 2,000 followers, but smaller accounts can also be interesting for brands. The only concrete guideline is this: prove your worth, and the partnerships will follow.

If you’re new to the influencer world (ie: your audience is on the smaller-side), start small. Asking a brand for a few thousand dollars in exchange for one post probably isn’t going to happen if you’re just starting out. Start with small asks - like a single post, or a few stories - and see where that takes you. 

Pro-Tip: Free stuff might not pay the rent, but it does build a portfolio. Though you’re trying to grow your business and set a precedent, don’t dismiss trading your content creation in exchange for free goods or services. Even if you don’t make money off your first few #gifted posts, you’ll walk away from those early campaigns with tangible numbers that prove your influence. And in your next pitch, you can leverage those numbers for a proper payment.

What Makes An Audience A Target Market?

A target market is a group of potential customers. You can use Instagram Insights to build out a clear summary on your audience, explaining why your audience is an ideal target market. The more specific the trend, the stronger the pitch (eg: For a popular new yoga studio, pull a screenshot of your most recent exercise-post, paired with an engagement rate). 

Pro-Tip: If you think you’re ready to pitch a sponsorship deal, check out your Instagram Insights. What trends do you see? How specific can you get, while still presenting a convincing percentage?

The most convincing sales tactic is real results, so share your past impact! Maybe a #gifted product sold out online. Or you have a ton of DM’s asking about a particular pair of sunglasses. This is where blogger mail is so helpful - even if you weren’t paid for promoting a product, you can still use metrics from past posts to prove your Influence. 

How Do You Pick A Brand To Partner With?

Branding is a two-way street: you want a brand partnership that strengthens your online image, and a brand wants paid promotions that sponsor their own online image. If a company feels genuinely on-brand to you, your profile is going to feel on-brand to them. And vice versa - if a product feels inauthentic to you, your promotions aren’t going to help a brand’s image either. 

Look at your Instagram profile, and try to see it through the eyes of a stranger. Is there a clear brand image - or a strong tag-line - that comes to mind? If your niche is super clear,  take that one-line summary, and start sharing it with brands. If it isn’t, keep posting to build your brand. 

Pro-Tip: With so many influencers to choose from, the best competitive advantage will win out. So make sure your content creation is authentic, and stands out from the crowd. Notice what everyone else is doing….and try something different!

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