When I graduated, I never thought I'd be doing business anywhere near the creative field, and I certainly never thought social media would be one of the most valuable tools in my own business. Thankfully it is, and it's one of the platforms that I use on a daily basis! There's no textbook on how to best use social media, but that just means there are no standards or limitations. You get to learn by doing, by failing, or by asking.
A reader did just that and emailed to let me know her Instagram is growing and that brands are starting to reach out for collaborations. Sure, she was happy about being gifted products, but she wanted insight on how to convert those emails into an actual brand partnership. My lightbulbs started going off. I'm fortunate to get asked for my advice so I thought it would be helpful to share it here since so many of us are utilizing Instagram to build businesses.
Q&A: "I've noticed you've done brand collaborations. Could you shed some light on how I should charge or if there's a scale you use to monetize Instagram?"
Because we've been following each other for several years, I was already familiar with this reader's Instagram. Her beautiful photography and consistently authentic aesthetic was sure to garner a huge following in no time. After analyzing her profile, what I noticed was her reader engagement. For one picture, she was receiving close to 1,000 likes and 50 comments from her 5,000 followers. It's no wonder brands were eager to work with her. Here's how I replied:
I'm so glad you're gaining some much-deserved traction and brand interest! You've got a solid following and notable reader engagement. I personally didn't start charging for Instagram posts until I reached 10,000 followers. While there's no standard around this I just thought it was worth a business's investment, whether they were a small company or large. Since you do have significant reader engagement rate, I'd definitely include your average comments and likes per posts. I've also started to analyze how many followers my shout-outs convert into new followers for a brand. For instance, after my Follow Friyay for you I noticed about 300 new followers. So, if you have any additional metrics like that for the previous brands you've worked with, that'll definitely help.
I don't have a scale though that could be useful, but in my reply, I included a sample reply email I've sent to companies that I felt were a good brand fit for Upperlyne & Co.
Thank you for introducing me to your company! I'd love to brainstorm ways to work together. I'm currently open to Instagram collaborations as well as blog posts. My personal Instagram account is on track to reaching 10,000 followers by October 2014. This is generally where most of my brand partnerships have most impact. My rate for one styled and plugged (tagged with description) is $_____. We can also discuss more fun ideas for blog posts which will have different rates depending on the breath of the campaign.
I hope this helps you as you continue to build your personal brands into businesses! And, please share your strategies. I'd love to repost it for everyone to read. xo, Juley