As an influencer just starting out, there are some simple tricks to grabbing the attention of a brand you care about, and potentially create a lucrative sponsorship deal.
"I've had a handful of deals where I just randomly hit the brand up," YouTube star Alisha Marie told Business Insider. "They ended up loving it and not only that, they were willing to pay. It was the perfect situation where they needed me to reach out."
Alisha has 8 million subscribers on YouTube and created her channel in 2008, where she shares DIY, lifestyle content, as well as her tips on fashion and beauty. She also cohosts the podcast, "Pretty Basic," with fellow YouTube creator Remi Asten.
Alisha has promoted companies like BMW and Starbucks through branded sponsorships on her YouTube and Instagram pages.
She spoke to Business Insider about her tips for influencers who want to get started with their first brand partnerships.
Where to start:
When you are first starting out as an influencer, Alisha said it can be easy to get caught up in wanting a brand to reach out to you. Although it's exciting for a company you care about to pop up in your email, she said to refrain from getting stuck in that state of mind.
"I think what's cool about social media is that, that's not the traditional route," she said. "You can literally hit up a brand and they'll totally be down to work with you."
Alisha said several of her brand sponsorships came from her reaching out to brands she uses and cares about on social media. She said look to see if your favorite brands are on Instagram and if you can direct message them from your professional account.
What to say:
It's not about formulating the perfect pitch, Alisha said. What's worked for her has been to show off her interest in the company by writing a simple note on Instagram direct message.
"Not that is was very professional, but it was very me," she said. "It was in my own voice."
What she wrote:
"Hey, I've loved your stuff for forever, let me know if you're ever interested in collabing." Or, "Do you guys ever work with influencers?"
She said she's had luck with this request and brands have agreed to work with her, sending over an email for Alisha to contact.
"I just expected some free swag or something but they wanted to work together," she said. "It does take time and I heard somewhere to expect two years in the beginning before you make any money."
Use your Instagram page as your portfolio.
Yes, having a following already will entice a brand to work with you, but Alisha said you shouldn't count yourself out if you don't have millions of followers. But your page needs to align with what the brand wants.
"The first thing a brand is going to do is come to your page, and that initial vibe that they get from it will honestly probably be a deal breaker," she said. "Just make sure you're ready to present it to a brand the way you would a presentation for work."
Think of your Instagram page as your portfolio and show off what you want your dream brands to see.
There will be people who blow up overnight, and have a massive following in a just a few days, she said. But, as a whole, "slow and steady wins the race" when it comes to being an online creator.
"My channel didn't take off for three or four years," she said. "If you just keep your head down and keep working, the brands will come out and reach out to you. Focus on your content and be proud of it."
For more on how influencers are profiting from their success online, according to industry professionals and creators, check out these Business Insider Prime posts:
- How Instagram influencers land their first brand-sponsorship deals: Influencers and brand execs share their tips for landing that first deal.
- An Instagram influencer breaks down how much brands pay for sponsored posts, starting at 10,000 followers: A social-media influencer shares how she determines her rates when negotiating with companies like Disney and Walmart.
- How to start a YouTube career without spending tons of money, according to a creator with millions of subscribers: One YouTube influencer shared starting a YouTube channel doesn't require any fancy equipment, and broke down four basic steps to start an online career.