7 Ways Small Business Owners Can Find Honest Instagram Influencers

It’s that time of the year--winter is coming, and Instagram “influencers” everywhere are hitting up small independent businesses like Little Black Diamond for free swag.

Fellow business owners, I know you feel me when I say this act is annoying as hell.

I’ve sent clothing to influencers on Instagram in exchange for promotion in the past. 9 times out of 10, they never keep their promises. Period.

The outcomes are usually this: they don’t post your outfit at all, or they’ll post it and won’t tag your page, or they’ll post it and actually tag a different company.

Yes, all three of these things have happened to us (repeatedly).

Sending free clothing to influencers who don’t keep their end of the deal is a burden on small businesses. But it is possible to find amazing, truthful people out there who have respect for your hustle. Here are 5 ways to help you find helpful Instagram influencers who actually keep their end of the deal:

  • Make them sign a contract. Have your lawyer (or lawyer friend) draw you up an Influencer agreement contract where each party states what service or exchange they will be providing. Include dates and times. Be as specific and detailed as possible! If you don’t have access to a lawyer, there are plenty of legal contract templates you can search for on Google.

  • Create an influencer application form. Ask them for all their social media links, contact info, and a bit about themselves. Get creative with your questions. Ask applicants questions that would reveal whether or not they are truly passionate and enthusiastic about your brand. Directing people to a form is a helpful way to weed out lazy influencers who are only willing to shoot you a copy pasted DM.

  • Keep a record of how your influencers are performing. Have your promoters send you a screenshot of their Insights on Instagram and note their engagement. As your relationships with your promoters grows, you’ll be able to see who is helping you grow your business the most, and prioritize working with them.

  • Find influencers and connect with them on a human level in real life. Nothing is stronger than an in person human connection. Your promoters will be more likely to help grow your business and be loyal to you when you form a strong bond and a friendship with them.

  • Keep a canned response for wannabe Influencers in your Instagram DMs. This makes responding to all the requests for free stuff way less annoying. Do be kind--remember that these inquiries also mean you are creating amazing things and that people are interested and intrigued by what you’re doing.

  • Send potential influencers a discount code. You don’t have to send anyone free gear if it doesn’t feel right for you. But you can offer them a discount. You can decide what discount is fair and makes sense for you. At best, you’ll have gained a new customer and made a sale.

  • Believe that the right people are out there and that they want to help you succeed. Using this law of attraction will help you manifest the honest people to create amazing art with that also helps your business grow. Once you find your ideal influencers, celebrate and enjoy their friendship!