Social media has recently begun dominating the digital marketing world, and Instagram is at the forefront of this move. Today, one can boost product or service sales by getting more visibility on Instagram. Your Instagram account’s market reach is a reflection of the people that follow and actively engage you regularly. This engagement is much more valuable compared to the actual size of your following.
So, are you interested in boosting your Instagram engagement? Then you must have thought of running a collaboration. Collaborations occur when two or more brands come together for a joint campaign or partnership for mutual benefit. A brand can also collaborate with a blogger or an influencer for a series of Instagram posts.
In requesting a collaboration, you want to reach out to the brands or collaborators with whom you think you can have a relationship because your audiences and values align. It could also be because their products or services complement your own. If either is the case, then you would have found a natural fit to promote your brand or to have yours promoted. For collaboration to take place, however, a proposal is necessary to help you get started.
Collaborative marketing can be pivotal to your success on Instagram. It is a super-powerful marketing strategy and is the perfect opportunity to try new ideas while reaching a new audience. Both partners agree to help each other grow and learn through collaboration.
Writing a collaboration proposal to invite an Instagram influencer or a brand for a marketing campaign is not as difficult as one may think. However, it takes creativity and a good proposal strategy to engage the recipient and leave a lasting impression. Once there is clarity of the alignment between you and the other partner, you can easily pitch your proposal confidently to a potential partner. Since collaboration means working together, a typical partnership may mean:
An Instagram photo for a product: Here, a brand promises to send a free product in exchange for an Instagram photo and/or blog post. Or the influencer offers to create an Instagram post for free samples.
Product shout-outs: Your partner shouts out your products through an Instagram post in exchange for monetary payment or a return shout-out. Two influencers can use this method to develop their brands by connecting their audience. It is a form of beneficial exposure.
Instagram takeover: This is when a brand or influencer takes over the partner’s Instagram feed for the day, much like a guest host on a radio station.
Giveaways: As an influencer or a brand, you can host a giveaway for another brand on your account. Giveaways work well as they allow you to cross-promote products on both brand accounts. Your followers can stay engaged and invite their friends too. This way, you end up boosting your branding and engagement. Ensure to mention the terms and conditions for your giveaway so that everyone is on the same page.
Referrals: In referrals, you set up an affiliate marketing program, where you promote your partner’s products and earn a commission for each customer that purchases using your referral code. This agreement acts as a form of monetary compensation. It is often best because you are paid based on conversion.
Joint product releases: Two brands may join forces to launch a product. It acts as a branding strategy that can boost brand awareness for both parties if chosen well. The success of such a collaboration lies in blending brands that are focused on distinct industries. The expected result is creating a product that would be appreciated by all combined followers.
If you are terrified of writing a collaboration proposal, then you need to work on your mindset. Remember that you pitch proposals every day. You do it when inviting your friend or colleague to go to a restaurant because it is your favorite or to see a show that you love. In cases like these, you were confident of what you wanted because you believed in it. You would need to transfer that confidence to pitching brands and potential collaborators.
The easiest way of writing a proposal is to clarify why the partnership is beneficial to you and the potential partner. When you send a pitch and it is only evident how you would benefit, you are making a huge mistake. With a proposal, you want to come from a place of service, and genuine want to support the brand’s mission. So, it would help if you do not make it all about yourself.
Do Your Research
Before you begin your collaboration proposal, you need to know and decide on the brand you want to work with. You need the right partner, so search for influencers and brands that might be a good fit. Look through your niche and industry for businesses that are open for collaborations. You could also explore related niches so that your business will not clash with theirs.
Start by drawing up a list of possible partners. Your research on potential collaborators should be extensive. Go through their profiles, blogs, websites, and other social media accounts they have. Ensure to vet your partners to avoid any potential issues that may impact your campaign. The goal is to choose collaboration partners that complement your brand. The more time you spend learning about your potential collaborators, the easier it becomes to write the perfect collaboration proposal. Factors that should influence your collaboration partner choice are:
Target audience: Who do you want to reach? And is your audience the same, different, or related to your potential partner? You may want to work with a brand already linked to your target audience.
Shared marketing goals: Does the brand fall in line with your style and niche? Look for testimonials, engagement rates, and past promotions to find out if their goals match yours.
Shared values: Focus on the kind of values they promote. Do their values align with yours? Could the content alienate your followers, and is there any controversy that you would want to avoid? For instance, if your brand promotes environmental friendliness or a healthy lifestyle, you should partner with a brand or an influencer who cares about your cause. Or at the very least, one that is not opposed to it. This type of partnership will make for a long-term symbiotic relationship. It will also make it easy for you to add a personal touch to your proposal.
Similar follower count: A small brand can look for an influencer with a follower count between 1000-5000 to collaborate with, instead of looking for top influencers who may demand more for their services.
Steps in Writing the Perfect Instagram Collaboration Proposal
Now, you know who you want to collaborate with, so it is time to reach out to them. Check out their Instagram bio and website contact page for their preferred contact method. If there is no preferred contact preference, research the email address of the Public Relations Manager. It is always best to reach out via email, which is a professional way of communicating about a business deal, as opposed to the Instagram DM.
Writing your proposal using the message feature on Instagram is less professional. However, if you seek a more casual approach, you could attempt it. Since the feature allows short messages, it facilitates being brief and straight to the point. It might also increase your chances of a fast reply.
Write a short and creative subject line to catch the eye of the recipient. Then, you introduce yourself and let the potential partner know you are a fan. You need to be genuine. Share in a sentence something you like about the brand/product. It is also more impactful if you share a specific compliment about the other partner rather than just saying “I admire your work”. For example, you might mention how you appreciated their recent IGTV video because it addressed a topic you are interested in.
Introduce Your Product
This point is where you share your blog’s or brand’s mission and your product’s name. Here you need to let them know who you help and how you do so. Include a link to your Instagram and/or blog. Explain who your audience is while trying to create a correlation between what you do and what the partner does in a way that makes the alignment very clear.
If the brand’s target audience is moms or people interested in baby products, and your niche addresses young techy men, imagine how difficult it may be for you to pitch a collaboration proposal. However, if you focus on diets and target supplements, it will be a suitable avenue to make that clear. Find the link that blends the two parties, and the proposal will come more naturally.
Make the Proposal
This part is where you make your offer. Enumerate what you hope to deliver, what you are expecting in return, and ask to collaborate. It could be monetary compensation, free products, an affiliate code, a feature, or a promise of an ongoing relationship. You could state what sets you apart from other influencers who do what you do. It could be your style of writing or video and photography creation. It could also be the type of topics you share. Including this here can help set your proposal apart from others.
Once a request is made, and your potential collaborator understands your specialty, give them an idea of what they can expect. Do this by sharing social proof, engagement rate, audience demographics, or pieces of content. For instance, as a fitness influencer proposing to make a post about a new athleisure collection, you might link a post about another clothing brand you promoted in the past that did very well.
If it is your first time communicating with the potential partner, you can inquire about ways to be of service to that brand. Instead of telling them what you will offer, ask them how you can be of service. If you also have an idea, share it and ask if it would be helpful to them. The goal then will be to start a collaborative discussion or to create an ongoing relationship where you meet their needs in a way that is also beneficial for you.
You would want to end the proposal by proofreading such that it feels like a human, and not a robot, wrote it. Be conversational and genuine. You might even read out loud to know if it sounds natural. More than text editors, make use of online digital writing tools for your proofreading and grammar checks.
You could also decide to take advantage of online writers who could construct your proposal for you effectively. Online writing service reviews such as Best Writers Online, Online Writers Rating, and Writing Judge are among the great channels that can connect you to dependable freelance writers. You could choose to save your proposal as a template and adjust it to fit other brands you intend to contact.
Note that you may have to contact more than a few brands or all on your list before you find your Instagram collaboration partner. Once you do, however, it is time to structure the deal. Set out clear expectations about how the campaign will go down and draw up a formal agreement. With every Instagram collaboration, your trust is on the line; make sure you understand all requirements before saying yes. Getting it in writing avoids misunderstanding and prevents requests for changes. Things you need to be clear about include:
- Products to be promoted
- Promotional efforts and frequency of posts
- Expected results
- Length of campaign or collaboration timeline
Each Instagram collaboration is unique and as an influencer or marketer, you do not have to wait for a company or brand to find you or seek you out. Be proactive if you see a great fit. Start by writing perfect collaboration proposals. Even if they are not yet ready to collaborate, they may consider you for future collaborations. Remember to follow up on each proposal and look for other ways to interact with clients, or seek another brand if they do not respond.