What Brands Look for When Picking Which Social Media Influencers to Partner with for Sponsorships

Sometimes figuring out what brands look for when deciding who to sponsor on Instagram and Youtube can seem like a mystery. Do they only care about my follower account? Are they able to see how much dedication and creativity I actually put into my post? The answer is, brands look at a number of factors when figuring out which influencers to partner with. For instance, some brands might find it beneficial to only partner with influencers who have large audiences, while others find the key to success is partnering with those who have smaller audiences but better content quality.

With that said, I decided to solve the puzzle and lay out the top 4 components that I've noticed brands take into account when picking influencers.  Let's get started! 


1. Your Content Aesthetic

Naturally, the first thing brands are going to look at is your content to get a feel for your overall aesthetic. Brands want to see that your style is relevant to that of their brand story can be communicated effectively through your content!

Below is a great example - e-commerce fashion-brand JollyChic, which sells chic women's apparel, partnered with blogger @mangorabbitrabitt, who's feed has an overall fashionable aesthetic. This made for a perfect collaboration because not only did the blogger's content already portray the look and feel of Jollychic, her sponsored posts (only the left) organically fit into her existing Instagram feed, allowing them to look less like an advertisement, which is key! 

Not only are brands hoping to organically drive awareness and sales through your content, some will also want to repurpose it on their own social media channels, website and blog. For that reason, they're looking to see if your content is unique (meaning you own all of your pictures!) and high-quality. Now, we aren't saying you need to hire a professional photographer or buy an expensive camera. But, definitely continue to think outside of the box and use your creative juices when creating content because it will catch the brands attention and land your more sponsorship opportunities in the long run! 


2. The other brands you're posting about

Coupled with your content aesthetic, brands also want to see what brands you’re talking about or have partnered with in the past. Why? Because they want to see if their brand will also resonate with your followers like the others you've posted for have! This also helps to give them an idea of the type of content you could create for them surrounding their products. For instance, if you take a look at fashion bloggers @apinchoflovely on the right, you can see that her feed is filled with #OOTD posts of her wearing classic, feminine designs. Based on her engagement, her followers appear to be devoted to her chic style, meaning other like-minded fashion brands would gain the same attraction from Krystal's followers if she were to post about them. 

While this isn't the case for many brands, some will want to make sure you haven't posted about their competitors in the past months, mainly because your followers might not be interested if they've already seen a similar product.  For example, a teeth whitening brand would probably want to be cautious about partnering with an influencer who has already posted a positive review for another similar brand. If they were to post about another teeth whitening product soon after, his or her followers probably wouldn't' be as intrigued or influenced to buy it. Just as you want your content to appear natural and less like an advertisement, brands are also cautious about their products conveying the wrong message to your followers! 


3. Your and your audience's Demographics

  • Gender

Another factor in the decision making process - brands want to see that you have an audience that will be interested in their product! For example, fashion Instagrammers like @sincerelyjules or @manrepeller probably have a majority of female followers who love high-end fashion. So, brands like J. Crew or Zara would definitely benefit from partnering with these bloggers to reach an audience full of stylish girls who are influenced by fashion! 

  • Location

Brands are also want to see where you’re located and where you’re audience is located. Why? Because some brands can only ship their products to certain areas of the world or may have a location-specific campaign. Also, some areas of the world have different buying powers. For instance, cities like Miami or Los Angeles probably sell more sunscreen than say, a rainy city like Seattle. So, sunscreen brands would benefit more from partnering with influencers who live or have a large amount of followers from warmer climates. 

  • Age

Age isn’t a huge focus unless brands have a very age specific product, but it’s something to keep in mind. These are pretty obvious but for instance, a wine or alcoholic beverage brands would definitely want to make sure to partner with influencers who are over the age of 21. Another, not-so-obvious one would be an anti-aging beauty brand who's core customer base is over 35 years old. They definitely want to make sure they're reaching an age group that's interested in their products and have the means to afford it since skin-care can be pricey! 


4. Your Follower Count/Average number of likes

Brands do look at it but, keep in mind, your follower count isn’t everything! They also look at your engagement and want to see that your followers care about what your posting and are reacting to it!  For instance, an engagement rate of about 2-3% would definitely make a brand feel like you have a really engaged audience and be excited to partner with you. Try and shoot for this number if you aren't there already! 

Your comment section is also another area brands can use to see what your followers are saying/interested in. Start a conversation with your followers and write a caption that asks a question. This will definitely get your audience engaged and brands will love seeing it! Check out how one of our favorite beauty influencers, @iheartmakeupart (on the right) gets her audience reacting!


So they're you go! Those are the main points brands take into account when picking which influencers to partner with. Hopefully this gives you a better understanding for which brands you should spend time on reaching out to so you land more sponsorship deals. Still confused? Feel free to e-mail me at anytime - chelsea@revfluence.com