How do Influencers find brands to work with

Welcome to the wild world of influencers, where social media stars reign supreme and brand partnerships are the holy grail. You might be wondering, “How on earth do these trendy tastemakers find the perfect brands to collaborate with?” Well, my friend, prepare to enter a realm of hashtags, selfies, and shameless self-promotion as we uncover the secret sauce behind how influencers curate their dream brand collaborations. So grab your camera-ready smile and get ready for a crash course in influencer matchmaking that would make even Cupid jealous.

Building a strong personal brand is the cornerstone of success for influencers aiming to collaborate with brands. To begin, it’s essential to define your unique identity and cultivate a distinctive online presence. This involves identifying your niche and understanding your target audience—what resonates with them, their interests, and preferences. 

how do influencers find brands to work with
How do influencers find brands to work with

How to build a personal brand on social media

Crafting a compelling personal brand involves more than just aesthetics; it extends to the values and personality you portray across various platforms. Consistency is key, ensuring that your messaging, visual elements, and overall tone align seamlessly. 

By creating a cohesive and authentic personal brand, you not only attract a dedicated following but also establish a foundation that brands find attractive for potential collaborations. Your personal brand serves as a roadmap for content creation and sets the stage for meaningful connections with both your audience and potential brand partners.

I always encourage creators to make sure they can always answer the question “who and how do you serve?”. In other words, how do you provide value? Why are people continually coming back to your profile to see your latest news & updates? A large following doesn’t mean you’re an influencer and ready to do any brand collaborations. Conversely, just because you’ve got a smaller following (yes, all relative I know), it doesn’t mean that paid brand collabs are out of reach for you. 

Stating a bit of the obvious, an influencer influences, meaning has something authority or expertise in a topic area. It could be that they’re your go-to travel person for any tips about Texas Travel like Jessica Serna of My Curly Adventures. Or maybe they inspire you to disrupt aging and age is just a number like Lorraine Ladish of Viva Fifty. Perhaps you follow them for their recipe inspiration and how-tos in the kitchen like Laura Muller of Las Recetas de Laura or Yvette Marquez of Muy Bueno cooking.

A personal brand serves as the influencer’s digital identity, conveying a unique voice, style, and set of values that resonate with their audience. This distinctiveness not only sets influencers apart in the crowded online space but also becomes a magnet for brands seeking authentic partnerships.

What are the benefits of brand collaboration?

  1. Increased Visibility:
    • Tap into the existing audience of the collaborating brand.
    • Expand your reach to new demographics and markets.
  2. Enhanced Credibility:
    • Associating with reputable brands can enhance your credibility as an influencer or content creator.
    • Positive brand associations contribute to building trust with your audience.
  3. Diversification of Content:
    • Collaborations provide opportunities to create diverse and engaging content.
    • Explore different styles, formats, and topics in collaboration with the brand.
  4. Monetization Opportunities:
    • Open doors to paid partnerships, sponsorships, and other monetization avenues.
    • Negotiate mutually beneficial terms for financial compensation or product exchanges.
  5. Access to Resources:
    • Gain access to resources such as exclusive products, events, or services.
    • Leverage the brand’s expertise, knowledge, and promotional tools.
  6. Cross-Promotion:
    • Benefit from cross-promotion as both you and the brand promote the collaboration on your respective platforms.
    • Increase followers and engagement through shared promotion.
  7. Networking Opportunities:
    • Establish valuable connections within the industry.
    • Build relationships with other influencers, brands, and professionals.
  8. Audience Engagement:
    • Spark discussions and engagement among your audience through collaboration-related content.
    • Encourage participation in giveaways, contests, or interactive campaigns. Getting tix to an event? Ask to do a giveaway to your audience with 2 additional tickets.
  9. Data and Analytics:
    • Gain insights into audience behavior, preferences, and demographics through the collaboration.
    • Utilize data to refine your content strategy and improve future collaborations.
  10. Brand Alignment and Personal Growth:
    • Align with brands that resonate with your values and personal brand.
    • Use collaborations as opportunities for personal and professional growth.
  11. Long-Term Partnerships:
    • Successful collaborations can lead to long-term partnerships and recurring opportunities.
    • Build lasting relationships with brands for sustained mutual benefits.
  12. SEO and Online Presence:
    • Improve your online visibility and search engine rankings through association with well-established brands.
    • Leverage the collaboration for positive mentions, backlinks, and social signals.
Benefits to collaborating with brands
Benefits to collaborating with brands

Influencer brand partnerships are beneficial for both the influencer and the brand. The brand gets to expand their reach and get in front of more eyeballs. Perhaps they’re expanding their product line into a new market so they partner with people who are geographically local to that store. Or maybe the brand is  marketing to their Spanish speaking customers so they partner with a Latina to help them spread the word. 

As this is beneficial to the brand, the brand partnership also has advantages for the Influencer. Working with brands helps to build your client portfolio, connect you to more people who recruit & hire talent for campaigns and manage influencer marketing budgets. Yes, you have to be good about staying in touch with those people but it’s great way to expand your influencer network. 

Influencers who take the time to carefully curate their personal brand create a more compelling narrative for brands to align with. Brands are increasingly drawn to influencers whose identity aligns seamlessly with their own values and messaging. A well-defined personal brand helps influencers stand out from the vast sea of content creators, making it easier for brands to identify and approach them for collaborations.

Remember that when an influencer marketing agency rep scrolls your feed, you have less than 3 seconds to capture their attention & hook them to keep reading more about you. Yes, a lot of agencies use platforms such as Tagger and CreatorIQ to initially find talent.

Once they have a list of possible influencers to partner with, they will go to each person’s feed. Scrolling your feed helps them get a feel for who you are, the quality of your content and if you’d be a good partner for their client. 

Equally significant is the role of niche selection in this process. Influencers who carve out a specific niche within their content domain attract brands looking for targeted and relevant partnerships.

For instance, a Mexican food blogger like Yvette Marquez, who creates homemade recipes reminiscent of her grandmother’s dishes would be a great partner for a company looking to inspire people to get back into the kitchen. 

Niche specialization not only helps influencers build a loyal and engaged audience but also positions them as authoritative figures in their specific domain. You may have heard the phrase, if you try and help everyone you end up helping nobody. 

What this means is yes, you do have to niche down. If you’re trying to speak to multiple people and audiences about things such as recipes, fitness, home decor and parenting, it won’t be obvious what you’re good at. Don’t do that! 

PRO TIP : Brands aren’t looking for generalists with content creation. The more niche and clear your area of expertise is, the more likely that your audience is committed and engaged, thus elevating your status as a great brand partner. 

The question arises: How does crafting a unique personal brand and niche attract brands seeking authentic partnerships? The answer lies in the alignment of values and relevance. Brands are increasingly prioritizing authenticity, and influencers who have already established a clear and authentic identity become a natural fit for collaboration. As influencers invest in building a personal brand and niche, they create a compelling narrative that resonates not only with their audience but also with brands eager to connect with genuine voices in the digital sphere.

Brands looking for Influencers

In the ever-evolving realm of influencer marketing, leveraging social media platforms is a pivotal strategy for influencers aiming to showcase their content and attract brand partnerships. Each platform offers a unique space for influencers to express their creativity, engage with audiences, and, crucially, catch the attention of potential brand collaborators.

Influencers often tailor their content to suit the dynamics of specific platforms. Instagram and Pinterest are ideal for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle influencers to showcase their visually appealing content, while YouTube allows for more in-depth video content, suitable for tutorials, reviews, and storytelling. 

Threads, on the other hand, is a hub for real-time conversations, making it suitable for those of us who love words and engaging commentary. And Tiktok is well, tiktok! How truly does one describe Tiktok?

Optimizing social media profiles is key to attracting brand partnerships. Influencers should craft a compelling bio that succinctly communicates their niche, values, and personality. High-quality and consistent visuals, cohesive aesthetics, and engaging captions contribute to a polished and professional online presence that brands find attractive.

Now, the question arises: Which social media platforms are most effective for influencers in finding brand collaborations? The answer depends on the influencer’s niche and target audience. Instagram remains a powerhouse for travel, food and lifestyle influencers, while tech reviewers and vloggers often thrive on YouTube. LinkedIn, where I love hanging out,  is increasingly gaining popularity for influencers in the professional and educational space. 

Ultimately, influencers should strategically choose platforms aligned with their content and audience to maximize their visibility and increase the likelihood of attracting brand collaborations. Is there an strong reason to be on all the platforms? Yes, but also consider this. 

We all know that if you hate doing something, then it won’t happen…at least not consistently. Say you’re like me and you hate being on video, well then perhaps Youtube isn’t for you. But you may be great at short, sassy videos that do well on Reels and Tiktok, so be on those 2 platforms. 

And for the love of god, please make sure you’re being smart and leveraging content. What goes on reels, goes on Tiktok AND YouTube shorts. 

Advanced ways to find brands looking for Influencers

In the dynamic landscape of influencer marketing, influencers can amplify their reach and streamline collaboration opportunities by actively engaging with brand discovery platforms, also known as Influencer Platforms. These platforms, often serving as intermediaries between influencers and brands, play a pivotal role in fostering connections within the digital marketing ecosystem.

These platforms act as centralized hubs where influencers can showcase their profiles, demographics, and portfolio of work. Simultaneously, brands utilize these platforms to search for influencers whose audience aligns with their target demographic and marketing objectives. This symbiotic relationship streamlines the collaboration process, making it more efficient for both parties.

I also recommend googling “influencer marketing platforms” as truthfully, they are often changing and being bought out. As of right now, a couple top ones that come to mind are Tagger and CreatorIQ. Get yourself a profile on these platforms and thank me later!

If you’re unfamiliar with how they work, think of them like a database for everyone agency/brand side who is searching for talent. Let’s say their client is a new mid-west grocery store & they’re looking for parents of twins to shop here and help promote the grand openings.  So the agency can do a search of parenting influencers who live within a certain distance of this new store location, who have a following evenly split between male & female and who are parents of multiple kids or who eat gluten free or something specific like that. 

The benefits of signing up with brand discovery platforms are manifold. Firstly, influencers gain exposure to a vast network of brands actively seeking collaboration opportunities. These platforms often feature tools for influencers to highlight their unique selling points, engagement metrics, and niche expertise, making it easier for brands to identify potential partners. 

Other Influencer platforms where you can find campaigns and apply are AspireIQ, PopularPays, Social Fabric, Izea, & Linquia. Remember, use the google first and don’t quote me on this. This is an ever quickly changing industry. Influencer platforms change over time!

3 ways influencers can find brand partners
3 ways influencers can find brand partners

Common ways to find brands looking for Influencers

Now, the question arises: How can influencers use brand discovery platforms to connect with brands looking for partnerships? To harness the full potential of these platforms, influencers should create comprehensive and compelling profiles that showcase their authenticity and reach. 

Actively participating in campaigns hosted on these platforms and engaging with brand briefs that align with their niche are effective strategies. By proactively optimizing their profiles and expressing their unique value proposition, influencers can attract brands seeking authentic partnerships and forge lasting connections within the digital marketing ecosystem.

Research brands in your niche

Empowering influencers to take a proactive stance in forging brand collaborations involves a strategic approach that goes beyond waiting for opportunities to knock. One of my favorite mottos that guides my business is an African proverb “move your feet while you pray.”  

Meaning if you want brand collabs, or more brand collabs, you have to go out and take action, do things to find them. Create profiles on the platforms mentioned above, follow brands you like on social, comment on their posts, follow their campaigns, ask who manages their influencer campaigns and introduce yourself to that person. 

How do Influencers reach out to brands?

Influencers can initiate contact with brands through several effective strategies. First and foremost, thorough research is key. Understanding a brand’s values, target audience, and ongoing campaigns allows influencers to tailor their outreach for maximum relevance. Just as they get to know you, your content, your expertise, get to know their brand and campaign style. 

Crafting a compelling outreach email is an essential step in making a memorable first impression. Influencers should introduce themselves concisely, highlighting their niche and unique selling points. Expressing genuine admiration for the brand and explaining how collaboration can be mutually beneficial creates a strong foundation for a partnership. Make sure to include links to your platforms and ways for them to see your work, perhaps include your media kit. 

Influencer pitch to brands template

Here’s a template for an effective outreach email:

Subject: Collaboration Opportunity with [Influencer Name]

Dear [Brand Contact/Marketing Manager],

Happy Tuesday!  My name is [Your Name], and I am an influencer in the [Your Niche] space with a dedicated following of [Number of Followers] on [Platform]. I love your recent XYZ campaign when you highlighted XYZ product. I’ve been a longtime follower of XYZ influencer who you worked with. Was great to see her partnership with you on my feed!

From what I’ve researched, XYZ is working hard to get in front of XYZ audience to share XYZ messaging. Great news – that’s exactly my audience and what my platform is all about. You can see more HERE and HERE.

What upcoming influencer campaign opportunities can I be considered for? What would you need from me to stay on your radar? 

 I’d love a chance to partner with you because XYZ reason. My audience is always asking me about XYZ thing related to XYZ brand and I’d love to show you off, after posting a lot about you in my stories over the year (share some relatable way you’ve been supporting the brand over time).

Thank you for considering this partnership, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Contact Information]

The question arises: What are effective ways for influencers to initiate contact with brands for potential collaborations? Influencers can leverage their existing network, engage with brands on social media, and attend industry events to establish connections. Personalized and well-researched outreach emails, like the template provided, can significantly enhance the likelihood of capturing a brand’s attention and initiating fruitful collaborations.

Benefits of brand collaborations for Influencers 

Participating in influencer marketing campaigns organized by brands is a strategic avenue for influencers to not only amplify their visibility but also establish the groundwork for long-term and mutually beneficial partnerships. These campaigns serve as a dynamic platform for influencers to showcase their creative prowess, engage their audience, and, most importantly, demonstrate their alignment with a brand’s messaging and values.

Collaborations within brand-led influencer marketing campaigns act as a catalyst for building trust between influencers and brands. By delivering compelling content that resonates with both the brand’s identity and the influencer’s unique style, influencers showcase their ability to authentically promote products or services into their narrative. This alignment is crucial for brands seeking ambassadors whose endorsement feels genuine and seamlessly integrated into their existing content.

The role of these campaigns extends beyond the immediate project, often laying the groundwork for enduring partnerships. Successful collaborations demonstrate to brands that an influencer possesses the storytelling skills and authenticity required for sustained engagement with their audience. Brands are more inclined to forge long-term relationships with influencers who consistently deliver high-quality content and drive meaningful engagement.

So, how do influencers benefit from participating in brand-led influencer marketing campaigns? Firstly, influencers gain exposure to a broader audience through the brand’s promotional efforts. This increased visibility can attract new followers and enhance the influencer’s overall reach. 

Moreover, successful campaign participation positions influencers as reliable and effective collaborators, paving the way for extended partnerships and collaborations on future initiatives. Ultimately, influencers leverage these campaigns not only to enhance their personal brand but also to solidify their standing as valuable assets in the eyes of brands seeking enduring and impactful partnerships.

Pro tip : Work begets work. 

How do influencers find brands to work with
How do influencers find brands to work with

Tips to find brands looking for influencers 

Attending industry events is a powerful strategy for influencers looking to elevate their presence and establish meaningful connections within the influencer marketing landscape. These events serve as dynamic hubs where influencers can immerse themselves in the latest industry trends, forge valuable partnerships, and engage with brands on a personal level.

The importance of influencers attending industry events lies in the unique opportunities they provide for face-to-face interactions. In a digital age, personal connections carry significant weight, and meeting brands and industry professionals in person fosters a level of trust and familiarity that can be challenging to achieve solely through online communication. 

We can all relate to the power of meeting someone and saying hi, shaking their hand or parting with a hug, right?! 

Getting out from behind the comfort of our laptops is widely beneficial to finding brands who want to work with influencers. Is it hard to motivate myself to put on real clothes and get out there? Absolutely. Does it pay off? Absolutely.

Effective networking strategies are pivotal for influencers seeking to build lasting relationships with brands at industry events. One approach is to approach networking with authenticity. You should genuinely express interest (never lie!) in the brands you engage with, sharing insights into your own content and values. 

Additionally, being prepared with a concise pitch on who and what you’re all about communicates your niche, audience demographics, and collaboration success stories can leave a lasting impression. Honestly, all you’re trying to do at a networking event is getting them interested enough in scheduling a call afterwards. 

Pro tip : Whatever you do, don’t word vomit all over the person you’re talking with. Don’t overthink it. Just be you. Connect and get their contact information. You’ve got this!

Now, the question arises: In what ways can influencers leverage industry events and networking to connect with brands? 

You can maximize your presence by actively participating in panel discussions, workshops, and Q&A sessions. Ask questions, raise your hand, go up and introduce yourself after the event. 

Pro tip : Engage with brands through social media before, during, and after events to create an ongoing dialogue. 

Collaborative partnerships often emerge from networking events, where influencers can seize opportunities to pitch their unique value propositions directly to brands, fostering connections that go beyond the event itself. 

By being smart about how you attend influencer industry events, you can transform a quick brief conversation  into lasting relationships, positioning yourself  as a sought-after collaborator with brands. 

What is an Influencer Management agency?

An Influencer Management Agency, which is my business, is a company that has a roster of creators or talent, that  manages all the paid brand partnerships for each influencer. This is my roster of diverse creators.  Any time a brand reaches out to partner with one of my talent, I respond to learn more about the project, negotiate the deliverables, also called the SOW or scope of work, rate and usage.

I’ve written a lot about how influencer management agencies work. Here’s a great article to start with : ” What do talent agencies do for Influencers?

what does a talent manager do
What does a talent manager do?

Collaborating with influencer agencies serves as a strategic bridge between influencers and brands, streamlining the process of connection and collaboration. Our talent management agencies play a crucial role in connecting influencers with suitable brands by acting as intermediaries equipped with industry insights, extensive networks, and the ability to match influencers with brands that align with their content style and audience.

One key way influencer agencies facilitate collaborations is through our curated roster of influencers and brands. Agencies often maintain a diverse pool of influencers (or they should!), each with their own unique niche and expertise. By understanding the specific needs and goals of both influencers and brands, agencies can make tailored recommendations, fostering partnerships that are mutually beneficial.

I often get emails looking for talent, called casting calls. This is when a brand is looking for a certain profile of content creator for their next campaign. I can either submit my talent, anyone I recommend and/or share with my network for others to submit their talent for the paid opportunity. 

Benefits of Working with an Influencer Management Agency

Access to Diverse Opportunities: Influencers gain exposure to a variety of brands and campaigns through agency networks, increasing their chances of securing partnerships.

Negotiation and Logistics Support: Us Influencer Talent Managers  handle negotiations, contracts, and logistical aspects, allowing influencers to focus on sponsored content creation without the administrative burden. You can read more here about What does an Influencer Talent Manager do?

Expert Guidance: Agencies provide valuable industry insights, pricing guidance, and strategic advice to help influencers navigate the ever-evolving landscape of influencer marketing.

Cons of Working with Influencer Agencies:

Agency Fees: Us Talent Managers earn our income by earning a percentage, a commission of the brand deals that we close for our clients.

You can read more here about “What does an Influencer Agent cost : A comprehensive guide.” I also wrote this article “How do Influencer talent managers get paid?”

Now, the question arises: How do influencer agencies facilitate collaborations between influencers and brands? Influencer agencies employ dedicated talent managers or account executives who actively seek and negotiate collaboration opportunities. They analyze influencer profiles, understand brand objectives, and facilitate introductions, ensuring that the influencer and brand share a common vision for a successful partnership. This personalized matchmaking approach enhances the likelihood of creating authentic and impactful collaborations.

Interested in seeking an Influencer Talent Manager for your business? I recommend this article “How to find an Influencer Talent Manager”.

4 benefits to have an influencer agent
4 benefits to have an influencer agent

How do social media influencers get brand deals?

By showcasing compelling examples of past collaborations, influencers not only demonstrate their ability to create engaging content but also showcase their effectiveness as brand ambassadors. In order to build your client brand collaboration portfolio, you have to begin with the first one. And then the second and so on. 

When sharing your past paid brand collaboration projects, other brands gain valuable insights into your influencer capacity to integrate seamlessly with a brand’s messaging and resonate with their target audience. This transparency builds credibility and trust, positioning influencers as reliable collaborators.

Basically, other brands want to know that you’ve done this before, that you know how to navigate a paid brand collaboration and you’d be a good partner to them. 

Getting those first few wins of a paid brand collaboration is essential to ensuring more come your way!

Now, answering the question—how can influencers use past collaborations to attract new brand partnerships? The key lies in strategic storytelling. Influencers should leverage their online platforms, social media channels, and websites to showcase visually compelling and engaging content from successful collaborations. 

Incorporating key performance indicators (KPIs) and audience feedback (screenshot those DMs and comments) reinforces the positive  impact of these partnerships & how much your audience loved them. 

Additionally, you can actively engage with brands on social media, tagging them in posts featuring collaboration highlights, putting them into your story highlights and more. This not only acknowledges the brand’s role but also creates a ripple effect by capturing the attention of other brands searching for influencers with a proven track record of successful and authentic collaborations. Ultimately, leveraging your collaboration success stories is a potent tool for you to organically attract new brand partnerships and solidify your position as influential voices in the digital landscape.

You’ve got this!
Ready to do more paid brand partnerships? Here’s an article I wrote about “How to become a full time influencer.

Pro tip : If you’ve loved this article, sign up for my weekly newsletter HERE. It’s full of industry insights, brand negotiation tips and scripts, events I’m attending, perspective on how to grow your Influencer business and more. I keep it pretty scrappy and real – would love you to join us over there! CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.