Once you’ve grown your Instagram account to the desired number of followers, whether it’s 1,000 or 25,000, and fine-tuned everything from the aesthetics of your feed to the pluckiness of your bio, you’re ready to start reaching out to brands. Brand partnerships can be anything from becoming an official ambassador for the brand on Instagram, or just a sponsored post paid in free products. It can be daunting and overwhelming knowing where to start and how to approach brands, so here are five hacks to make the whole thing a lot simpler.

Hack #1 – Join An Influencer Agency

If securing your own sponsorship opportunities sounds like too much work, or you don’t feel up to the challenge straight away, there are Influencer Agencies you can join to help you get started. These include companies like Viral Nation and Hire Influence. They match their clients to brands they have on account, and it can be a great way to land partnerships. However, don’t forget to properly go over your contracts before signing them.

Hack #2 – Find Suitable Brands

This may seem obvious but by finding a brand that is already looking for what you offer is much easier than having to adapt to what a brand wants. Look out for shared themes obviously, and shared values too, as these will resonate more with your audience. Do this by checking out the brands on Instagram and once you’ve compiled a list you can start approaching them.

Hack #3 – Create A Media Kit

While you don’t necessarily have to send this out straight away, when a brand replies to your initial enquiry it’s a good idea to have a media kit ready to go. If you keep them waiting on your stats, it won’t give the best impression and they might think you have something to hide or aren’t as reliable as they want.

Media kits should include all your media outlets (blogs and podcasts etc. as well as your Instagram account), along with all of the analytics for each. Include your follower count but also emphasize your engagement rates and that your content is high quality. Follower demographics are also very important to include in your media kit, so brands can assess whether your audience is similar.

Hack #4 – Hashtags And Location Tags

These are the only ways brands are going to find you when they are looking for Influencers to endorse their brands. It’s such a basic strategy but so important. If you team this with keeping your email address listed in your bio, it helps any brands that stumble across your posts, and contact you directly if they like what they see.

Hack #5 – First Contact Via DM

When you’ve compiled a list of all of the brands you want to reach out, try contacting them through a direct message on Instagram. Keep it short and sweet, and be smart. If it’s a skincare line, for example, introduce yourself and mention that your followers always ask what moisturizer you use, and ask for the email address of the PR department. This is a short enough message for them to actually read, immediately lets them know your audience are interested in their products and by asking for the PR email, it gives them a reason to reply.

These five tricks should help you get started in securing your first brand partnership. Once you’ve secured the first one, you’ll find it quickly becomes easier and easier. You’ll find what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll likely keep growing your list of followers and getting more and more offers.