What Brands Look for in Influencers

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May 7, 2022

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Brands revel exactly what they look for in influencers

In this post I’m revealing what brands look for in influencers and content creators. So, if you’d like to partner with more brands on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube or your blog, keep reading.

With influencer marketing evolving so rapidly, brands are starting to get real smart and now paying a lot more attention to an influencer’s overall online presence to measure their brand value, rather than just vanity metrics as they did in the past. 

What Brands Look for in Influencers

So…while reach and engagement are still important, the size of your audience isn’t exactly what brands are looking at anymore. Instead they are looking for things that prove your content is authentic and your audience is engaged. Which means – for passionate, authentic content creators and influencers like you – the best, highest paid brand deals are literally at your fingertips! Regardless of the size of your audience. 

By the way, if you’re new here — welcome! My name is Jaye and I’m the creator of 11 St. Studio influencer agency. Also, if you’re interested in joining our private influencer community make sure to head over to our member’s area to join the VIP list. Once you join you’ll also get immediate access to exclusive discounts on our ebooks, pitch package and even coaching calls with me.

what brands look for in influencers

How to Attract Brands as an Influencer

OK, so as someone who chats with a lot of brands, often on a daily basis, I cannot tell you how much the times have changed. What brands look for in influencers NOW has changed significantly over the past few years! While in the past brands were quick to partner with influencers with the most followers — so…for example, your macro or mega influencers, they now consistently say that authenticity is their highest priority when searching for influencers to work with and so are often turning to nano and micro influencers everyday.

So, let’s chat about what brands look for in influencers so you can feel confident that you’re presenting yourself in the BEST light possible.

What Brands Look for in Influencers

First things first, like I mentioned earlier, they want to see authentic recommendations coming from YOU… and authentic comments from your audience. And, ideally they want to see that you don’t post an excess amount of sponsored content, but are staying within a healthy range of approximately 30% sponsored content vs 70% organic, authentic posts. 

Umm, so to break that down further, they basically want to see that for every 10 images you post to your feed, only 3 of them are “sponsored”. So, for example, if you post ONE image a day, that’s 30 images a month, right…and so that means that only approximately 9 images a month should be “sponsored” to fall in the 30% range. Why is that? Well anything above that kinda indicates to both brands AND your audience that your feed is becoming more of an ad network than a feed full of inspiring content….

what brands look for in influencers

Essentially, brands don’t want to be just another “sponsored post” among a sea of ad’s.

SO…to put your mind at ease, I certainly don’t mean you should turn down brand deals or post less sponsored posts — in fact, I actually mean the opposite! What’s important is that you upload MORE authentic, organic content to your feed!

Do you see what I mean? Because by amping up how often you post organic content to your feed, you can stay true to your style, your audience, your vision, AND keep increase your chances of winning more brand deals!

Because the truth is, nowadays, brands are lining up in influencers inbox’s and they’re quite honestly outbidding each other because (as you can see) there’s only so many sponsored posts an influencer can produce in any given month, before his or her followers feel exploited. Right?! So for every sponsored post, there has to be MORE organic content for a brand to feel comfortable paying an influencer to promote their products.

And, listen…there are a variety of reasons why you want to have a healthy balanced feed, but brand confidence and audience satisfaction are probably the MOST important. Because, let’s be honest, your followers fell in love with YOU and your content – not your influence – so they’re more likely to unfollow if they’re not getting content they connect with or relate to.

What Brands Look for in Influencers

OK, so moving onto what else brands look for in influencers. Well, let’s just state the obvious, brands view your profile before they approve you for any campaign. Rights?! So before reaching out to you to create ANY content, brands are going to check out your feed to ensure that your vibe aligns with theirs. 

Now, while they’re usually just checking to see if you’re a good fit, they will also be taking note of how many sponsored posts are in your feed AND, and this is important… the brands you’ve most recently worked with. So, this is again why I never recommend exchanging posts for free products from brands. Because if a brand with a budget see’s that you recently partnered with their competitor, they may move onto the next influencer on their list, so you better make sure you’re getting paid WELL to promote any brand’s products since doing so could potentially cause you to lose paid brand deals with other brands!

So do your best to keep your feed fresh, authentic and organic, because doing so will highlight your value and integrity as both an influencer and a creator.

What Brands are Looking for in Influencers

OK, so what else are brands looking for in influencers? Well, keep in mind that brands care ALOT about authenticity. Everyday brands are on the lookout for creators that already use and love their products. They want real recommendations from real people, and genuine content that communicates the value of their brand to your followers. If your feed is bursting with sponsored posts, brands may begin to question the authenticity of your recommendations. But, if you’re already mentioning them in organic content, whether in your posts, stories or reels, that is a green light to them! So by all means tag them in all your posts, stories and reels to catch their attention right away.

what brands look for in influencers

Another thing is, they don’t want to fight for attention. So, to put it bluntly, brands don’t like to share the spotlight! They definitely don’t want to be sandwiched between other sponsored posts or competing with similar brands for the spotlight. So, by giving your sponsored content a bit of breathing space, brands will be more confident approaching you for paid brand deals because they know their product will get the attention it deserves.

What do Brands Look for in Influencers

OK, so last but not least, brands are looking to see that you have a strong connection with your audience, and that you are creating content that is relatable to them. So always remember that your followers care about you and your CONTENT, not your influence.

Remember — your audience followed you in the first place because they discovered you and LOVED your content! The thing is, most people don’t mind sponsored content. In fact, 67% say they have no negative reaction to sponsored posts whatsoever, and 37% feel that, if influencer content is authentic and high-quality, it’s irrelevant that it’s sponsored.

What people expect is simple — that the sponsored content is relevant to the NON-sponsored content, and that it’s aligned to that influencer’s values. Break those rules, and you’re likely gonna see some backlash. So stay true to yourself and your audience and accept brand deals that are relevant to your niche and long-term vision for YOUR brand.

And remember, this doesn’t mean cutting back on sponsored content and losing out on $$$, instead just get busy doing what you do best and create more of that stunning, authentic, organic content your followers love!

Another thing that brands look for in influencers is that they’re active on other platforms, so TikTok, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest for example. Why? Well because they often want to create multiple touchpoints with a potential audience. So, while they may hire you to create content for Instagram, they quite possibly will pay you extra to also post that content to Facebook, or Pinterest, or Twitter if you also have audiences on those platforms. 

They also are often interested in having influencers create content for say Instagram AND YouTube, or Instagram AND TikTok. So by having an audience on multiple platforms, you easily increase your opportunities to partner with brands and get paid to create content for multiple platforms. Right, I mean who doesn’t want to double their income?!

How to Attract Brands as an Influencer

Also, brands want to see that your engagement rate falls within a natural range. So, if your engagement rate is higher than average, this is a red flag to brands and they’re often quick to move onto another influencer whose engagement rate is more natural. So, what’s average? Well, according to influencer marketing hub, here’s some average Instagram engagement rates: Less than 1,000 followers: 7.2%…Less than 5,000 followers: 5.3%…Less than 10,000 followers: 3.7%…Less than 100,000 followers: 2.1%. You get the idea. But in my experience, most brands have said that an engagement rate above 2% is acceptable for brand partnerships.

what brands look for in influencers

OK, that pretty much sums up what brands look for in influencers, but here’s one more tip.The key to an impressive feed is to plan ahead. So by all means use apps like Plann, Planoly or Later for example to plan your content out in advance. And, take time to really consider the composition of your posts, the variety of shots, your niche and aesthetic, and your overall vision – the more you know exactly what you want to share with your audience and why, the easier it will be to create stunning content that really connects.

OK, so I’m officially challenging you to post more organic content going forward so you can naturally create more variety in your feed. Also, try to break up your content, ya know, by posting both images and reels. This will ensure that your sponsored posts don’t affect your overall style, and that the brands and products you work with appear natural in your feed. Plus, since so many brands are searching for influencers who can create video, this will also naturally highlight your skills, and allow you to earn more money since you can charge a heck of alot more for video.

OK, that pretty much sums up what brands look for in influencers! Before you go make sure to take a peek at our YouTube channel and of course, check out our eBooks, Professional Pitch Package and eCourse!

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