How to Network With Brands On Instagram Through Direct Messages
I used to encourage mass emailing companies, and I think that works to a large degree, but I think when a company gets direct access to your page (if you are direct messaging them from your Insta), they might get a better sense of you and your work and be more interested to work with you.
I find companies mostly by looking at products I might like, and see whether they have a large following. If the company is world famous like MAC, I do not bother asking for a collaboration because they won’t look at my request, never mind giving me a product. As I am writing this, I have 9,400 followers. Size doesn’t always matter, but it certainly helps to have at the least over 10,000.
But once I find a company that:
Has less than 50,000 followers
Has a product I would like to represent or am already familiar with
Could use some better product imagery
I’m genuinely excited for
I send them a quick DM saying something genuine and something that pertains to their brand. I don’t say “hello” because typically if you’re leaving a quick comment, or especially if you’re responding to a story of theirs, it’s best to jump right in.
“Your product packaging is S T U N N I N G”
“I’d love to collaborate! Is there a PR person I can reach out to?”
I send 2 individual messages typically because it looks much less spammy than one, long text that a user can hypothetically copy and paste to many accounts, quickly.
To make my life more efficient, I’ve created keyboard shortcuts for myself so that I don’t need to type in the same comments over and over again. Learn how I create the shortcuts here.
I also like to comment on some of the company’s posts, and like 3-5 of their posts because again, I’m trying to establish a relationship and a trust. I don’t want to simply spam them. I want them to understand that I genuinely want to work together.
Note that you can only send about ~15 direct messages to companies in an hour before you’re blocked from DMing people. So take your time, send a couple messages in the morning, a couple in the afternoon, in the evening. Space out your messages to companies because Instagram loves to block!
Once you send your direct message, several things will happen:
1. Nothing. A company will not view your message. Ever. You can follow up, but some companies are just not great at responding to their DMs. You can lead a cow to water as they say, but you can’t make it drink. Thought a company might have an Instagram account, that doesn’t mean they truly use it.
2. Company will say thanks but no thanks. “I’m afraid we are not looking for any new collaborations at this time, but thank you very much for your interest” is a message you can get used to seeing often. Don’t be offended. This company might not have the budget right now, might not like working with influencers, might not think your content meshes well with their product, might not think you have enough of a following. Keep it moving. Instagram has hundreds of thousands of companies.
3. Company will take your email. “Sounds great! What’s your email? Our representative will get in touch!” the messages will read. If a company takes your email, you can bet they won’t get in touch. It’s a nice, polite way of saying “we might email you. But we probably won’t.” Refer to #2 on what to do.
4. Company will give you their email. Say thank you, and email them immediately pitching your case. Wait for a response. You might get a happy response that says “Alright, what did you have in mind! Let’s chat further. Here are some products”, or you might get turned down, or again, no answer. Email them a follow up and see if you have any success.
Don’t feel upset or bothered if you’re getting denied from companies working with you. It’s an iterative process that takes time! You also have to find your style, and your language. And if you ever need help, reach out and join my community of Instagram influencers.