Welcome to my baby, Picking Daisies Blog. I have been officially blogging for NINE MONTHS NOW! It is so surreal to me how much it has grown in such a short amount of time and all the incredible people I have met through the blog and Instagram.
The last few months I decided to start working with brands I love on Instagram. As soon as I started posting some collabs the messages started flooding in on how I got collabs or sponsored post with only have 7-9k followers.
So today I am going to share with you all my “secret”. (P.S- It’s a lot easier than you think!) If you are willing to put in a little work and post quality pictures, brands-big and small- would love to work with you!
INSTAGRAM POST IN EXCHANGE FOR FREE PRODUCT
I am super passionate about supporting small, handmade companies. Before I was exchanging post for free product, I would blog about them in Small Business Saturday. However, I stopped doing those because I felt like I put in more time and effort than was appreciated. Often the business owners would stop replying once the post was up and would rarely re-share on their page. They were getting great exposure from my blog and Pinterest but wasn’t willing to advertise the post with me.
So I decided to rewrite my strategy and reach out to companies that were willing to donate free product in exchange for exposure and advertisement.
DISCLAIMER: I am a firm believer in only promoting companies I actually believe in. So I reach out to the brands I want to work with and most the time turn down companies that reach out to me if I don’t like their product or feel like they are a quality company. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.
Whenever I am looking to work with new brands, I first go down my following list. I look to see who I already follow and what companies I have been supporting for awhile. Then one by one I send them an email or DM detailing what I am looking for and what I will do in exchange for it.
Once I run out of companies/brands that I am already following, I then search the following hashtags: #smallbusiness #smallbusinesssaturday #supporthandmade #supportsmall #handmade
Or if I am looking for a specific item/niche I search things like: #babyclothes #babytoys #customearings #plannerstickers #handmadebows and so on.
One tip is to look at “Most Recent” when searching hashtags and not the most “Popular”. Those brands are already getting exposure and half the time don’t even open your message.
REACHING OUT TO BRANDS:
I personally prefer to send DM’s so the company can see my Instagram easily and decide if we are a good fit. However, I go the extra mile and send a DM AND email to the company if it is posted on their page. We are looking to create a business relationship and I want to be professional.
STEP 1: Follow & Spam like their account and comment on your favorite pictures
STEP 2: Send a DM
STEP 3: Comment on their most recent post that you have sent them a DM
(Hey! I love this!! I sent you a DM!)
STEP 4: Send them an email
(TEXT) Hi there! My name is Mariah and I am the owner of PickingDaisiesBlog and Instagram! I am obsessed with your [PRODUCT/NICHE/WORK] and would love to do a collab with you! I love supporting small businesses!! I offer two different collab options and would love to know if you are interested in working with me on one of them. One is a collab for free product in exchange for exposure and the other is a giveaway collab. Let me send you a screenshot of the details on both for you to look over.
(SCREENSHOT OF TEXT IN YOUR NOTES) #1 Free Product in Exchange for Exposure
What I mean by that is you send me a free product of your choice (I love highlighting store/company owners favorite products) and I will do the following: Post an authentic picture to my Instagram Feed of me using the product, tag your account, and include what I love about the product. Post 5-10 stories same-day tagging your account and using your product. Include your link in my bio for 24 hours. Most companies like to provide a discount code for my followers but this is not necessary!
#2 Giveaway Collab
I love being able to share new brands with my followers while giving back as a “thank you” for their love and support. It is also a great way for you to reach new followers and increase your exposure & engagement. I offer 48-hour slots where the giveaway will go live at 10am PST and close 10am PST 48-hours later. If you do not ship me the product, I require the product to be mailed to the winner no later than 48 hours. I will also need a high-quality picture of the giveaway item(s) no later than 24 hours before the giveaway goes live. I will then provide you the caption we will both use for the giveaway! Once the giveaway closes, I then check all who entered are following the rules and enter their names into a random draw. I will then send you a video of the drawing and the name of the winner before I announce it on IG. Your giveaway will be posted on my main feed as well as advertised in my stories but I do archive the post after it closes and the winner has been contacted.
(TEXT) Let me know if any of those is something you are interested in! If not, I am open to other ideas as well! Feel free to send me any questions you may have.
This message is a little lengthy and you don’t want to sound spammy. So I broke up the message on how I usually send it. I send them a straight message letting them know who I am, what I offer, and that I am going to send a screenshot of my notes with all the info so I don’t blow up their messages. After I send the picture I write them back a little thank you and let me know if you have any questions.
Some brands are starting out and are new to collabs. Be kind, patient, and professional with them. They are trying to make sure they are not being taken advantage of. If they have a million questions- answer them! If they ask for your stats or proof, send it! But most importantly, DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL.
Once the company has agreed, I send my mailing address and let them know once I receive the product I will schedule and send them the day the post/collab will go live. I never book out further than 30 days.
View this post on Instagram
They really need to warn you about ALL the changes your body goes through during & after pregnancy. Lately I’ve had a super dry scalp and my hair is coming out in the handfuls. I get it, it’s the hormones & it’s all worth it. But man, it’s hard to feel like one hot mama when you’re packing on the pounds and bad hair days are becoming the reg. . . I found @ThiqueHairCare on Instagram and after seeing everyone’s testimonials & reading how they use non-toxic ingredients I couldn’t wait to try it! All of their formulations are plant-derived and science supported, featuring natural plant extracts and the purest essential oils. Clinically tested and hypoallergenic, THIQUE products are safe on skin, scalp and hair and work effectively to create thicker, fuller looking hair. I’ve been using for about a week now and I instantly noticed my scalp stopped flaking which is HUGE for me (no more hats). Not only that, but a week later my hair isn’t thinning as much and regaining its volume and fullness. . . If you have a dry scalp or thin hair I HIGHLY recommend you give them a shot. You can thank me later 😉 link in bio 💓 . . . . . . #thiquehair #ad #sponsored #raedunnmug #raedunmothersday #hotmamamug #hotmama #raedunndecore #displaydesign #haircare #crueltyfreehair #thininghair #pregnancyhair #showmeyourmumu #rainbowbaby #rainbowbaby🌈 #pinkblushmaternity #raedunn #postpartumhairloss #prenatalvitamins #crueltyfreebeauty #crueltyfreehair #nontoxicbeauty #nontoxichaircare #lovenoxbaby #fabfitfun #crueltyfree #shampooandconditioner #naturalshampoo #thickhair
Subject: Product Question
My name is Mariah and I own @PickingDaisiesBlog Instagram. I sent you a DM about collabing but wanted to reach out through email if that’s easier.
I am obsessed with your [PRODUCT/NICHE/WORK] and would love to do a collab with you! I love supporting small businesses!! I offer two different collab options and would love to know if you are interested in working with me on one of them. One is a collab for free product in exchange for exposure and the other is a giveaway collab. Let me send you a screenshot of the details on both for you to look over.
#1 Free Product in Exchange for Exposure
What I mean by that is you send me a free product of your choice (I love highlighting store/company owners favorite products) and I will do the following: Post an authentic picture to my Instagram Feed of me using the product, tag your account, and include some highlights and what I love about the product. Post 5-10 stories same-day tagging your account and using your product. Include your link in my bio for 24 hours. Most companies like to provide a discount code for my followers but this is not necessary!
#2 Giveaway Collab
I love being able to share new brands with my followers while giving back as a “thank you” for their love and support. It is also a great way for you to reach new followers and increase your exposure & engagement. I offer 48-hour slots where the giveaway will go live at 10am PST and close 10am PST 48-hours later. If you do not ship me the product, I require the product to be mailed to the winner no later than 48 hours. I will also need a high-quality picture of the giveaway item(s) no later than 24 hours before the giveaway goes live. I will then provide you the caption we will both use for the giveaway! Once the giveaway closes, I then check all are following the rules and enter their names into a random draw. I will then send you a video of the drawing and the name of the winner before I announce it on IG. Your giveaway will be posted on my main feed as well as advertised in my stories but I do archive the post after it closes and the winner has been contacted.
Let me know if any of those is something you are interested in! If not, I am open to other ideas as well! Feel free to send me any questions you may have.
Talk soon and have a great week!
If you have a media kit, I highly recommend including it in your email and mentioning at the end that you have attached a media kit for them to look over. If you are unsure of how to create one, I suggest checking out Etsy. They have templates that are super easy to customize.
Sponsored Post are posts that you are paid for or given a product worth a lot of money (usually over $100). For example, the collab I am doing with Knotts Berry Farm and Legoland are Sponsored Posts so those require a little more work on my end. (But we were given 2 Park Hopper Tickets for both parks so I am glad to do it!!)
When I am asking for payment or a large item from a company, I always include a blog post that is circulated on my Pinterest as well as their link in bio for 72 hours, a non-deleted Instagram feed post, and 10 story posts. While we are at the amusement parks I will be sharing stories of my food, rides, and experience!
Also, I would never DM a company when you are asking for compensation or large items. Emails are a 100x more professional and will make you stand out. Plus when you do DM them, they will ask you to email their marketing team. You can find company emails usually on Contact pages or if they have a “Media” section. If you’re not sure who the main point of contact is, send an email to everyone who has one listed.
If you don’t hear back, I would recommend following up in a week through email and ask if they would like you to submit any proof of stats or references. Remember, you are asking for payment or something large for free, you need to make them feel comfortable and show them that you are a reliable source to work with.
BEING AN AFFILIATE/AMBASSADOR
I get asked ALLL THE TIME if being an affiliate for a company is worth it. In my personal opinion? Not one single bit.
Let me explain.
Usually, they will accept you in their program and offer you 20-40% off your first purchase and then commission for sales made using your promo code. It sounds super awesome but 99.9% of the time you end up losing money.
And sometimes the products actually just suck. I signed up to be an ambassador for Just Strong and I received my shirt in the mail with a huge tear in it. It was super thin material and cost me $40 WITH my 30% discount.
Plus most of the programs come with stipulations like you can’t be apart of another affiliate program that competes or you have to post 5 times a month using their product, or you have to make $500 in sales a month. You are essentially working for this company and they can’t even send you a shirt for free.
So I stay away from affiliate/ambassador programs and work with smaller brands where we collab together and it benefits us both.
One thing I do enjoy doing though is promoting apps, stores, products, etc that have reward programs. Instacart, Uber, Teami, and so on offer a “Send 5 friends $5 and get $5 per friend” type of promotions and I feel like those programs are totally worth it! I am already using their service/product so I am not out any money and it helps me create a super authentic post!
I promote the shit out of Instacart because I literally use it EVERY SINGLE WEEK (multiple times a week sometimes). So if I can share with my followers something incredibly useful and get a few bucks off my next order I’m going to take full advantage.
Look out for reward programs and refer a friend programs for services/products you already use! It may surprise you what’s available out there!!
Okay so even though there are some great companies out there, there are also A LOT of scammers.
Here are some Red Flags I have personally delt with or noticed:
- Asking to transfer funds to your PayPal account for you to purchase the item
- This is so dangerous because once you purchase it, they can open up a claim with Paypal that they never sent you the funds and that was a fraud charge. Paypal usually rules in their favor and withdraw the money back out of your account meaning you just paid your money for the product. Usually, the company doing that will then block you on Instagram beforehand so all your messages delete and you have no proof to send to Paypal
- Also, they ask you to leave fake reviews on Amazon. EW. I feel like I don’t even need to explain that one
- Companies ask you to pay for shipping
- They say they will give you a commission but you have to pay $10.99 in shipping for a pair of sunglasses? It makes no sense and usually is a scam. IF you receive the product its never high quality and I can promise you will never see a commission check from them.
- Not using your first name
- SO MANY PEOPLE MESSAGE ME SAYING “Hey Picking!” or “Hey Daisy!”. I mean come on, obviously, that’s not my name and you lose all credibility right then and there. Half the time its a bot messaging you and BIG FAT SCAM.
Honestly, just use common sense. If something seems off, it probably is. You will have so many opportunities to collab with other companies that you can be picky on the ones you work with.
The more authentic you are and promote high-quality products, the happier your followers will be and you will see an increase in engagement. Your followers know when you’re full of shit. Don’t risk it- it’s not worth the cheap product.
Well, that’s it for now! I will do another one soon all about giveaways and how to successfully host your own! If there are any other Instagram or Blogging Strategy post you would like to see, comment below.
Thanks for reading!