17/01/2017
It's called "collaborating."

Words by

Alyce Cowell

Your Instagram is a powerful tool. It has the ability to find you a new boyfriend, show you what the menu items look like IRL and makes your life look cooler than it actually is.

Sometimes, it can even get you free clothes, food and hair appointments… but there’s a system. 

If you’re keen to start working your Insta to get free stuff, I’m here to help. I give you The Seven Steps to Instagram Stardom (and Free Smashed Avo)

Chapter One: Scouting

The first step in fame, fortune and free teeth whitening kits is scouting. 

Which brands do you want to work with? If you’re a fan, it’s likely you already follow them already. Brainstorm a list. 

Have goals, but also be realistic. If you have 5000 followers, approach brands of around the same amount. It’s a you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours-type deal. On the other hand, if you have 30,000 followers, you’ve got a bit more to work with.

Now is also the time to research new brands you might not have come across yet. Casually drop by some of your favourite Instagram accounts – who are they wearing, where are they eating and what coffee scrub are they using? 

Chapter Two: Brand Connection

So you have brainstormed a list and you’re ready to werk. Head back to the Instagram page of your chosen brand – often they have a contact email right there in the bio. If not, visit their website for contact deets. 

If it’s a larger brand you can search it on Linkedin, look for the appropriate person and try to find their email via our creepy stalker friend, Google. 

No luck? You can try *guessing* their email using a combination of first initials, surnames and company names. This is equal parts humiliating, time-consuming and thrilling. Continue until you don’t get a bounce back. You’ve hit the jackpot.

Chapter Three: Etiquette 

Arguably the most daunting part of this whole process is the straight-up asking for free things part. 

In your email, be friendly and show some of your dazzling personality. Address them by name, ask them how their weekend was, mention that you’re a big fan of their brand and why, and enquire about their process for working with bloggers. 

Mention that you regularly work with brands – but only those that you truly wear and love – and that this sort of content gets a lot of engagement on your account. 

Add a couple of examples of the content you create, making sure they’re the ones with the most likes, obvs. 

Sign off, without being too formal. 

Chapter Four: Follow-up 

If they’re interested, they’ll be in touch, but there’s no harm in a little follow-up email about a week later. 

Be short and to the point, touching base to see if they received your email and reiterating that you’d love to work together.

Chapter Five: Negotiating 

Lucy in marketing has finally responded and is keen to collaborate. Yaaaaaas!

Usually brands will have done this before and will give you the low-down: some might offer an item of your choice from the website, some will let you pick from a lookbook shortlist and some will tell you to go away. 

Unless you have a hefty follower count, the product is usually your payment. But if you’re an Insta-famous superstar, you might get paid, too. Be prepared and have a rate, just in case. You’ll look more legit.

Chapter Six: Content creation 

Once you’ve received the exciting little package in the mail, it’s time to create the content. 

This part should be taken seriously: not only do you want a killer photo for your Insta, but you want the brand to like you and want to work with you again. Check their Instagram to see what their theme is like, follow any guidelines they’ve put forward, use the appropriate tags and don’t do anything naughty in the photo. 

Now that Insta stories is a thing, throw in a couple of those too, whether it’s a quick tutorial, a twirl for the camera or everyone’s favourite – a boomerang. 

Be a smart girl and post your pic when you get the most likes (usually a weeknight, about 6pm).  

Chapter Seven: Follow-up 

It’s important that you keep in touch with your brand – don’t drop off the face of the planet when you get your free things. 

Once your photo is up and it’s had time to rack up dem likes, send your brand an email with a link to check it out, plus screenshots of your Insta stories which would’ve expired by now (they like these). 

Let them know you’ve loved collaborating with them and you’re always available to receive free things… using different words, that is (see item #3).

Illustration by Twylamae who also made this amazing Broad City tee

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