7 TIPS FOR BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES TO WORK WITH INFLUENCERS

Chic Geeks Macbook Case Black Owned Business

This week has been full of online panels, zooms and virtual meetups all about business. The main topics have been Black Owned Businesses and Wage Discrimination in the influencer industry, as well as popular brands and businesses being called out for their lack of diversity. I made an Instagram post shouting out a ton of my favorite Black Owned Fashion & Accessories Brands and I loved that so many people tagged their favorites or their own brands in the comments. I’ve learned about some amazing fashion brands. Similarly I did a post about Black Owned Skincare & Beauty Brands as well as listed a few of my favorite Black Content Creators and YouTubers. I got an overwhelming response from Black Owned Businesses wanting to know how they can work with and collaborate with content creators. Here are my tips for securing a collaboration with a content creator.

If you are a Black Owned Business looking to work with Influencers drop your business and what you’re looking for below in the comments.

If you are a content creator looking to collaborate with Black Owned Businesses drop your information below (Instagram handle/Website/Youtube), what you offer and the types of brands you are looking to collaborate with. 

Don’t Pitch Until You’re Ready 

Over the last few weeks I’ve received over 50 pitches from up and coming as well as established Black Owned Businesses. I loved what I saw too and plan to include a few in my upcoming Black Fashion Brand Video on YouTube but I’ve also noticed something that I want to highlight. Many brands are still in the aspiring phase. Meaning you may have one or two products, but no real online presence or website. You aren’t ready to work with any content creator Black or otherwise until you have a website. For me personally, if I wear something on YouTube or Instastories, people are going to want a link to where they can buy that item. They don’t want an Instagram account where they will have to email someone to send an invoice. Content creators are very selective with what they promote and want to make sure their audience is being directed to a trusted website. We know that there’s a chance if something goes wrong, we will be held responsible for not vetting a brand properly. I cannot direct my viewers and followers to a cashapp/venmo/paypal account. We’ve all seen content creators who’ve been dragged after linking to something and their followers were ripped off. That’s a real thing and it happens often. Take the guess work out of your legitimacy and create a secure website where purchases can be made. Some great places to start include Squarespace, Shopify and Etsy. 

Build Up Your Social Media Presence

Your Instagram is your portfolio of inventory. That’s usually the first place I go when deciding if I want to work with a new business. This is another area where I see new businesses making mistakes. Sometimes I can’t tell whether the business account is business or personal. For instance, I will click into a profile that’s dubbed a Fashion Business specializing in vacation dresses and see photos of pets, a person wearing 2-3 dresses and photos of food. Your business social media presence needs to be clear and concise and most of the time separate from your personal account. Use a free app like Plann to plan out your Instagram content. 

Know What You Want Before You Pitch

Before hopping into a content creator DMs and asking to work with them, know exactly what you want. When brands come to us, they come prepared with an ask. Think about what you want for your brand and how that content creator can help you. Do you want them to do an Instagram Post and a set of Instastories? Do you want them to mention you in a YouTube Video? Don’t leave it up to the content creator. Chances are they don’t know what it is you want and won’t bother spending the time replying back and forth to figure it out for you. Personally, I don’t have time to figure out what a brand needs. I always appreciate when they tell me exactly what they want from our partnership. I also don’t usually respond to emails or DMs that simply state they want to work with me. I appreciate a thought out, emailed pitch that won’t be lost in my DMs. Sometimes I don’t read my DMs, there’s simply too many. An email is definitely more formal and more professional and less likely to go unread.

Build A Relationship

If there’s someone you want to work with to promote your brand or business, follow them for a few months first. Interact with them and their content. See if their lifestyle or aesthetic matches with your service or product. Trust me you want people who are not only going to work with you one time but who will continue to promote and work with you because they genuinely like your service or product. This step cannot be skipped. Don’t just look at someone’s following and think if they post you one time it will change your life. That most certainly can happen but you want them to go above and beyond just that one sponsored post. Their audience is looking for that service or product to be continuous in that content creators life and if it’s not, it’s not authentic. Find the creators who will represent your product or service flawlessly and can seamlessly integrate it into their content. 

Offer Payment

I know most small businesses don’t have a budget and can only gift. If gifting in hopes of a shout out is all you can do then by all means offer that! What you should know is that when you are gifting an influencer you can’t put stipulations on what they have to do or when they have to do it by. Those things would be considered deliverables and would need a contract & payment. I usually feature all my gifts in a YouTube video once monthly. If you have a budget, even if it’s a small one, it’s better to lead with that than gifting. Nine times out of ten you will make that money back. If starting with a very low budget, offering to pay upfront is often a good incentive for a content creator especially if it’s something simple that they can do. I also know that new brands don’t have very big budgets and so I usually reduce my fee if it’s a big ask like a YouTube Video Mention or Instagram Post for Black Owned Businesses or new small startups. Then I continue to promote that brand for free. Most of my peers in the content creator space do the same for Black Owned Businesses. 

Consider Smaller Content Creators with 20K followers or less

Microinfluencers and nano influencers tend to have higher rates of engagement. Meaning their followers value their opinions and have a closer relationship to them. If you have a smaller budget, it’d be worth it to start with smaller content creators. The return on your investment will be worth it. There are also fewer content creators in this follower range that are full-time content creators and not dependent solely on brand collaborations for survival. Most content creators in this range have full-time jobs and are creating on the side and bringing in supplemental income with brand collaborations. There’s also less of a chance of competing with an exclusivity clause as well. For instance at this point in time I have 12 contracts in motion over the next 2.5 months. I can’t take any new campaigns at this time simply because I don’t have enough time to do them all and make sure they don’t overlap or breach exclusivity time frames.  

Don’t Take It Personal

Full-Time Content Creators are very selective with who they work with. Some times aesthetics may not match up. Sometimes creators have exclusivity clauses. I’ve had several Black Owned Skincare Brands reach out to me to try and promote their products and I have to respond that I’m currently in contract with another brand and not allowed to breach that contract by promoting another skincare brand for a certain amount of time. Don’t take it personal if a content creator says no or if you don’t hear from them at all. It has nothing to do with you personally. I don’t have a manager or a team and have to sift through hundreds of emails daily. There’s nothing wrong with following up after 3 days. Some times content creators don’t have PO Boxes or Business Mailing Addresses and in those cases may be weary of giving out their addresses for gifting. I have actually limited how many gifts I receive monthly (from anyone) to cut down on waste and to reduce my carbon footprint. I am also pretty weary of packages in general at this time and believe less is more.


If you are a Black Owned Business looking to work with Influencers drop your business and what you’re looking for below in the comments.

If you are a content creator looking to collaborate with Black Owned Businesses drop your information below (Instagram handle/Website/Youtube), what you offer and the types of brands you are looking to collaborate with. 

Let this post be a resource for bringing Black Owned Businesses & Content Creators together. 

Make sure to check out @stylenbeautydoc & @thisthatbeauty Instagram Live on Monday June 15th, 2020 for a chat about how Black Owned Businesses can work with Black Influencers.

xx

Monroe

Check out my Pitch Templates & Ebooks for Bloggers, Influencers & Businesses to Work with Brands

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12 Comments

  1. June 12, 2020 / 9:46 am

    Monroe; again another great post! Love that you choose to speak freely on topics that there’s minimal information on especially for black creatives like myself! And thanks for giving us the opportunity to share our work and interests!
    My name is Crista and I’m an black/Afro-Caribbean content creator from the Bahamas (based in south Florida) who is passionate about Caribbean culture, carnivals and helping others navigate traveling to their first carnival, as well as staying consistent and having fun with their physical health and wellness to live their absolute best lives! I also love dressing up and have a love for edgy, bohemian style clothing so I love doing fun haul videos to my favorite Soca, dancehall/calypso hits.
    Website: https://www.bahamianista.com,
    Instagram: https://instagram.com/bahamianista
    YouTube: bit.ly/bahamianista
    I offer a range of deliverables via blog/social media and or YouTube that can position your brand or products authentically and organically in front of my audience. Please feel free to contact me at hello@bahamianista.com.

  2. June 12, 2020 / 2:50 pm

    This was another great post! I’m so ghlad that content creators are shifting and shedding light on what’s going on. Also so inspired

  3. June 12, 2020 / 9:46 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this as I feel better prepared to start pitching more to influencers. Loved the section about being prepared and clear on what is wanted. Thanks for this! ❤️

  4. June 13, 2020 / 4:56 pm

    Lorimeadowsweddings.com. I am a Wedding Officiant

  5. June 13, 2020 / 9:07 pm

    Yes yes yes to all of this! I really appreciate you taking the time to make a blog post where actual brands can get advice if they are new to the game. You don’t usually see this type of content! Anyways I love your blog! I will leave my info down below as you requested 🙂

    My name is Jerika, And I love to create beauty & fashion content. I love anything involving hauls, & creating fashion looks to post online, as well as makeup looks. I am currently working on my blog so that I am able to post more content on there. Travel is also a passion of mine and I love doing travel photography & showing where I am and perks of what is offered there. I am currently based in St. Louis, Missouri. I can offer high quality photos & videos of anything fashion, beauty & lifestyle oriented! I will leave all my info below! Thank you!

    Blog: http://www.jerikasyncere.com (still working on it)
    IG: http://www.instagram.com/Jerika.syncere
    YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/jerikasyncere
    Email: business@jerikasyncere.com

  6. June 13, 2020 / 10:47 pm

    Great post, lot of good food for thought. I am the owner of Vuliwear Designer Sunglasses. Looking for male and female influencers to help promote our functional fashion eyewear that promotes good eye health and looks great. follow us @vuliwear FB,IG,Twitter

  7. Angela Baltimore
    June 14, 2020 / 9:03 am

    Great post Monroe! My name is Angela Baltimore and I am a nano influencer. I have great engagement with my following and would love to partner with more black owned brands.
    Instagram @angela_baltimore
    Website- http://angelabaltimore.com/

    I Can offer video or single post content mainly related to fashion as that is my expertise.

  8. Marcia Swanson
    June 14, 2020 / 4:05 pm

    Hi Monroe, I just finished watching your ” Spend the weekend with me ” video, and I just want to thank you for sharing your thoughts, and opinions on the current state of the country. It upsets me that some people feel the need to attack you for continuing to live your life, and run your black business. I love how you are always promoting other black businesses as well. A lot of this critique is of course envy because of your bubbly, and vibrant personality. A constant prayer of mine is that our community would learn how to love and support each other. I hope you continue doing you my sister, and never let anyone steal your joy.

  9. Janice Luke
    June 15, 2020 / 2:03 pm

    Hello Monroe! I started watching you earlier this year and have throughly enjoyed your God-given gift of fashion. I just subscribed. I would like to take this opportunity to show my appreciation to you. My brother recently passed away, and it was a very emotional time for me; but your UTube channel was one of the tools that God used to help settle my heart. Thank you for the great fashion content, and I also admire your willingness to share your gift with any audience. As a new subscriber, I jotted down an address that was provided. Therefore, I will be sending you a gift, bearing earrings, necklace, and ring set that I made from my JanArt Collection. I am sending this set to you sincerely out of my appreciation and not for any other reason. I am 65 years old, but I am and have always been very fashionable, and I have no plans for being frumpy, doudy, or old lady…just so you know LOL! God Bless You Monroe! Much Love! Again, thanks for your service…..and I will be sending my gift to you at the address provided with my subscription.

  10. June 18, 2020 / 12:01 am

    Hi Monroe!

    Thank you so much for this. This was very helpful and consistent with what Felicia and Danielle talked about in their live.
    My name is Marie and I created a line of clean body care products like Soufflés, body oils and Bath Soaks after a really bad allergic reaction to a lip stain. I would love to connect and work with beauty and lifestyle influencers.

    My website is http://www.kharisorganics.com
    Instagram – @kharisorganics

  11. July 2, 2020 / 3:49 pm

    Hola! This article was a delight to read! I’m the owner of Gold Label Cosmetics and being a new mom has really cut my available work time in a third. 🙁
    This article helped my wheels to start turning again. Thank you so much for your help.
    ALSO, I’m dropping those links!

    Kristen Brown
    Gold Label Cosmetics
    website: http://www.goldlabelcosmetics.com
    email: kristen@goldlabelcosmetics.com
    insta: http://www.instagram.com/goldlabelcosmetics
    facebook: http://www.facebook.com/goldlabelcosmetics

  12. September 18, 2020 / 6:16 pm

    Great post! My blog is thefashionkor.com do you think Squarespace is a good host for bloggers looking to monetize

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