According to the Fohr Card, I have reached a total of 21,651 social media followers. It has been exciting to watch Lavin Label grow over the past few years and I love engaging with y’all on the blog and through social media. Even though I’m proud of Lavin Label’s growth (and your awesome engagement), it can still be tough to lock in larger brand partnerships from time to time. It requires creative thinking. I figured if I’m faced with this challenge, then my fellow entrepreneurs might be as well. So today, I’m sharing four tips to get your brand in front of a larger audience and even secure a partnership that might ordinarily be out of reach, if it was solely based upon your following. Always remember, there’s a lot more than just numbers that make up your brand’s identity. Sometimes we’re judged too heavily on numbers, but hopefully this post will allow you to identify ways to use numbers to your advantage, especially if you have a smaller following or are just starting out.
One of the best strategies I have found, is to leverage a strategic co-branded Instagram takeover. If you’re not familiar with an Instagram Takeover, it’s when you post to another Instagram account for a limited amount of time, such as 24 or 48 hours. You post your images, captions and stories to their feed. Not only is this a great way to interact with another brand, but it also allows you to reach an entirely new audience. A co-branded Instagram takeover (I may have just made this term up) is when you and another company or brand pitch an Instagram Takeover to a publication or vice versa. The benefits include:
- Increasing your total reach and number of impressions
- Increasing your number of followers
- Strengthening your pitch (increases the likelihood that a brand will say yes because you brought in another reputable brand)
Last month I participated in a co-branded takeover with JetBlue on Coastal Living’s Instagram. I’m breaking down the steps I followed for this specific partnership. Hopefully it inspires you to creatively think about how it translates into your world and also provides a framework to point you in the right direction (AKA save you time).
One. Take a look at your upcoming partnerships. Is there a client that you’d love to exceed their expectations in order to increase your chances of a future collaboration? Identify them on paper.
Example: For me it was JetBlue. I love working with them and it’s such an authentic fit because I fly JetBlue every chance that I can when traveling.
Two. Plan out the purpose of your partnership. What is the scope of your collaboration? Is it a travel feature? Are you decorating a room? Maybe creating a recipe? Take time to grasp what all the partnership entails.
Example: I partnered with JetBlue to help promote their JetBlue Vacations. I invited Kelli Boyd, with Kelli Boyd Photography, to travel with me to Puerto Rico and help capture the fun. I booked dinners, sailing excursions, day-trips and pool time to give readers an insightful perspective of everything that the Island has to offer.
Three. What brands align with your client? Think about demographics, price points, aesthetic, etc.
Example: Coastal Living has a passion for life on the water. I believed our adventures in Puerto Rico would resonate well with their readers. Both Coastal Living and JetBlue inspire wanderlust, so I thought it would be a great fit for everyone involved.
Four. Make sure to run the idea by your client. Before you reach out to other people, make sure this is something that they’re interested in. Outline what they would like to see from the takeover. I would recommend including a hashtag or tagging them in the pictures. You certainly don’t want the content to come across as overly branded, so work on finding a good balance that satisfies everyone.
Often times I work directly with the Public Relations Firm and they do a wonderful job of suggesting brands that are a good fit for potential partnerships. They also have tons of contacts, so the PR firm might even pitch the takeover on your behalf. Most brands are open to this opportunity because you’re going above and beyond the original agreement.
Example: JetBlue is always great to work and they loved the idea! They also didn’t want it to be too logo or brand heavy so I opted to share their hashtag #JetBlueVacations in a few of the captions or tag @JetBlue in the images.
Five. Now you’re ready to make a pitch to the prospective brand. Do your best to pitch to the person that handles their social media. Be specific about what you have to offer and how it will benefit them. Since it is a co-branded takeover (which is a bit different than a regular takeover) be up front with your requirements. I always attach a formal one-page proposal to my email that outlines what the Instagram Takeover entails.
I hope this helps you creatively think about how to maximize your existing partnerships. Remember that an Instagram takeover involves a lot and requires a good amount of planning, but a well thought out takeover is definitely worth it! As a result of the takeover, Lavin Label gained over 175 new followers! Below is a snapshot of the number of impressions (total from Coastal Living and Lavin Label) from the partnership:
- Total Instagram Post Impressions: 504,279
- Total Instagram Story Views: 81,141
Of course, I was thrilled to offer these numbers to JetBlue and we’re already in the midst of planning our next trip! Since I already shared my specific example from our JetBlue and Coastal Living partnership, I want to outline some other ideas for you to think about below:
- Attend an event hosted by one of your favorite publications and bring in one of your favorite fashion brands. Pitch a behind the scenes look and your OOTD (outfit of the day) to either the publication or the fashion brand.
- Style a tablescape highlighting dinnerware from one of your favorite stores and partner with a well-known chef or foodie. Pitch the styled tablescape along with the chef’s recipes, to the retail store.
- Stay at your favorite hotel and partner with another blogger. Pitch the takeover to the hotel or a travel publication.
I would love, love, love to know hear thoughts and questions below. I’m happy to answer them and steer you in the right direction! Also, if you’ve found this post helpful check out ‘Five Tips to Land a Dream Partnership‘ and ‘How to Build your Media Kit.’
P.S. I’m taking over Bed Bath & Beyond’s Instagram today! Follow along @BedBathandBeyond!