One way to get your products in front of more people (which leads to more sales) is to connect with a blogger or a popular Instagram account that specializes in representing small business brands.
You as a shop owner can partner with people to deem them either a brand rep, a brand model, or a brand enthusiast/ambassador. I will start by saying that there’s a whole subculture of reps on Instagram. In my research, I found hundreds of accounts dedicated to promoting Etsy shops. I also found that the reps are MOSTLY dedicated to promoting kid’s clothing brands. I would say 99% of what I found was specific for that niche of kid-related items but don’t let it dismay you if you are not in that niche. I have also seen a few reps promoting adult clothing brands, decor brands and personalized product brands.
The thing to remember is that if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
Let’s jump into understanding the beautiful world of brand reps, models and enthusiasts.
What is the difference between a brand rep, a brand model and a brand enthusiast?
This is one of the topics I spend over an hour talking about in my upcoming 8 week intensive group coaching program but I can talk about it briefly here. There are a few things you need to know right off the bat.
A brand rep receives your products for free in exchange for professional photography and promotional links back to your shop. They post on Instagram or their blog about your product. You can also pay them a pre-set amount but this depends on your deal.
A brand model receives your products for free, photographs them and then returns the products and the photographs to you. They are under no obligation to share those posts on social media. You pay them a fee for the photographs as well.
A brand enthusiast/ambassador PAYS for their products (usually at an awesome discount but never below wholesale) and then posts their photos on their blog or Instagram. They also gush about your brand on their account. You can create a special discount code for the customers they refer to you or set up a simple affiliate program. Shopify and Gumroad both have easy affiliate program set ups if that’s the route you want to take.
**NOTE** If they are making money via payment or affiliate and/or receiving free product, they must state (according to FTC rules) that the post is sponsored. This should be included in the caption in some way.
**NOTE** It is customary but not necessary to give the rep a code to share with followers/friends/family. Like a 10-15% off. This code is great way to track what rep is bringing in the most business. Some shops keep a point system, and if a rep’s code brings in X amount of revenue, the rep receives X amount of shop credit. The value for X is totally up to the shop owner (you!)
**NOTE** Last one, promise. Sometimes shops have their own definitions of a rep, ambassador, enthusiast, model, etc. Make sure you are clear when explaining what exactly you’re looking for in a rep and do not assume that the terminology is enough.
Finding a brand representative on Instagram
From this point through the rest of the post, I will only use the word “brand rep” but it can also apply to models and ambassadors.
You can secure a brand rep/model/enthusiast by putting up an image on Instagram stating that you’re looking for reps. You can use Photoshop or any graphic creation app (I love WordSwag but it’s not free). I also recommend you use these hashtags:
These were the hashtags that yielded the most results on Instagram.
In the caption of your post, you want to include who you’re looking for and what’s expected of your brand representative. Then, the interested parties would “apply” by reposting the picture and tagging your shop in it. You can see the obvious increase in viewership this produces even at this stage. You can select one or multiple (after screening them and communicating with them privately.)
I personally love the way RVDesigns and Aria Raine & Co. are both running their current searches. I recommend you see their various styles you can see their images and calls to action. Some people do short searches and some people do long term searches but I’ve seen 1-2 weeks as the average length in search in all my research.
Do you want to be an Inchworm Alley Brand Badass-ador? We are holding a Brand Rep and Enthusiast search! We’re looking for babies up to 12 months old who love our brand and want to promote our gear (unassisted sitting and standing is preferred). Moms and dads with sweet photography skills, a love for social media and a joy for snapping their little wildlings are welcome. How to enter: 1. Follow us on Instagram – @rvdesignsinc 2. Repost this pic with #inchwormalleyarmy and #brandrepsearch (do not tag @rvdesignsinc). Tell us about your babe – name, age, location and why you want to be part of our team. 3. Hashtag a max of 3 pics taken within the last 30 days from your feed with #inchwormalleyarmy. No collages with other searches, please. 4. Not required but consider tagging a few buds who may be interested in our Brand Rep and Enthusiast search. 5. No DMs or emails. Please be aware if you send a DM, you will be disqualified. Brand Reps will receive free apparel (2-4+ styles per month), after their mandatory monthly purchase. Brand Reps and Enthusiasts will receive a 30% discount and will be required to purchase at least one item per month. In exchange, you will provide high quality, crisp, unfiltered images with excellent lighting and a creative or minimal feel that make our apparel *pop*, as well as regular promotion of our products and engagement on your feed. Brand Enthusiasts may also be provided with free items after the first month. Reps and enthusiasts will also be featured on our website and other social networks and by entering our search, you agree to have your pics posted on these platforms. Search will run until Friday, July 1, 2016. Term runs from July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016. Search is open worldwide (international shipping fees apply to deliveries outside of the US). #brandrepsearch #brandrep #brandreps #repsearch #babyfashion #toddlerfashion #babystyle #toddlerstyle #brandrepsearches #brand_rep_searches #brandenthusiastsearch #brandenthusiast #RVapproves
✨It’s that time again, ya’ll! ✨ We are ready for our summer brand rep, enthusiast and fan search!! My first team was unbelievable and I can’t thank them enough for everything they did to help grow my shop in just a short period of time! I’m so excited for all the new things to come this summer and can’t wait to get the summer term started! Interested in being on #teamariarayne? ✨ HOW TO ENTER: – LIKE this photo & follow me @ariarayne_andco – TAG 3 friends below that might be interested in our shop! – SHARE this photo on your page & tell us a little about your babe (age, location, why you would be a perfect fit for our team), use #ariaraynesummerteam and #brandrepsearch & then tag us IN the photo. THIS IS YOUR ENTRY! -Use #ariaraynesummerteam on ONLY 3 recent photos of your babe(s). ✨ DETAILS -Search will run from 6/08-6/29 and the new team will be announced on 6/30! The Summer Term will start on July 1st and end on October 1st. -Fans will receive a generous discount & only be required to make one purchase during the three month term – this position is great for you newbies that are just starting out in the brand rep world. There is also room for promotion at the end of your term!! -Enthusiasts will receive a generous discount and will be required to make 3 purchases. Promotion will also be a possibility at the end of the term. -Reps will receive 2-3 free bows per month in exchange for clear, high quality photos. Reps will also receive a discount for any additional purchases they would like to make during the term. -Reps, Enthusiasts & Fans will all receive a friends & family code to share with their followers! ✨ REQUIREMENTS -All profiles MUST be public during search. Private accounts will only be considered if you have a good following. -There is no age limit. Newborn to momma are all welcome! -At this time, search is only open to US residents only. ✨ As always, this is not a cute baby contest. I’m truly looking for people that have a love for our brand and are willing to help us grow! We want clear, well styled, high quality photos. I have absolutely no idea how many of each I will be selecting yet! I can’t wait to see all these adorable entries!!!💕🎉
A photo posted by aria rayne & co (@ariarayne_andco) on
If you’re ready to get started on your Brand Rep Search journey but feel overwhelmed with the search post, don’t you worry!
I’ve written up a Sample Brand Rep Search Script to assist your in your brand rep search on Instagram! Get it now by entering your email below. It will be delivered directly into your inbox.
Once you’ve selected your reps, I recommend you move the conversation to email because Direct Messages in Instagram can be deleted very easily (just swiping) and you want to make sure you send a simple contract (as a .pdf or .docx file) which you cannot do through Instagram.
Finding a brand representative in the Blogosphere
This is a little less straightforward and requires a bit more research but can potentially lead to even bigger conversions depending on the engagement the blogger receives regularly. This situation would entail you searching for bloggers that share a mutual target audience with you and then reaching out to them to see if:
- They’d be interested in representing your brand.
- They have an engaged following.
- They are awesome photographers.
- They get steady views on their site. (I use this website to check views but it’s also available as an extension for the Chrome browser.)
You want to make sure the relationship is mutually beneficial and that you screen them well. Set up a contract and make sure everyone agrees to the terms before sending any (even discounted) product their way
Here are a few tips for your initial outreach:
- Introduce yourself in one or two sentences. Keep it brief but descriptive.
- Tell them what you like about their account (without relating it back to your products).
- Tell them that you’d love to have them represent as the face of your brand and ask for their email address to continue the conversation. Some may prefer chatting by phone but an email address is still crucial for record keeping and file sending.
- Be aware that they may have never heard of the concept of the brand rep and might need a little more explanation.
This post is probably my longest post ever on this blog so I appreciate you reading it through. I’m really excited to support you more should you be selected to join my group coaching program.
It’s the Hobby to Business 8 Week Intensive.
An 8 week long group coaching program that will meet weekly (live in a private online group) to cover these topics:
Week 1- Target Audience and Branding
Week 2- Planning your Social Media Content
Week 3- Setting up Shop, Taxes & Shipping
Week 4- Business Plan Workshop
Week 5- Email Marketing 101 (& why everyone needs to be doing it)
Week 6- Using Facebook and Pinterest Ads
Week 7- Additional Streams of Income for Your Business
Week 8- Collaboration and Joint Ventures
The doors aren’t open yet but you can get on the waitlist to be notified as details are revealed.