As a business owner, collaborating with local influencers is a powerful and often cost-effective way to get your work shown to a wider audience. You provide free lash services to a local celebrity, influencer—even a friend with a wide social media reach—and in return they give you a shout-out on social media, a blog post about their experience with lash extensions, or photo content for your website. If all goes well, the new followers start rolling in—and better yet—the new customers. But planning a collab can be a bit daunting if you’ve never done it before. Who do you ask? HOW do you ask? What happens after you’ve asked? So we’ve put together a few hints to help you plan a successful social media collab to expand your reach and turn an influencer’s audience into your new customers.
As you're reading this you might already have the perfect co-collaborator in mind—awesome! You're half-way there! But whether your search is over or it's just begun, there are a few boxes you'll want your influencer to check before you seal the deal.
Location is key when choosing an influencer for your collaboration. If your lash business is located in Las Vegas, you likely won’t want to choose a co-collaborator whose audience is based in Toronto. Choose someone with a following in or around your city so their content reaches people close enough to use your service.
2. Follower count
When it comes to choosing an influencer, bigger isn’t always better. Particularly while you’re starting out, choose someone with a similar reach—ie. If you have 2000 followers, you may have better luck collaborating with someone who has 1000 - 5000 followers than someone with 60 000 - 100 000.
3. Interests and types of followers
Make sure that you choose someone who aligns with your brand. Not only do you want your collaboration to resonate with both of your audiences, but remember, this person is acting as an ambassador for your company, and should be someone that you feel proud representing you. That means choosing someone who aligns with your brand values and whose audience will be interested in eyelash extensions. Fashion and beauty bloggers, makeup artists, and local models are a good place to start.
If you’re receiving photo content from your co-collaborator, make sure you choose someone whose aesthetic fits into your brand. Look at how they edit their photos, the colors they favour, and their general style. You want to be able to share the content they create for you on your wall and potentially even your website, so make sure it will jive.
5. Or, ask a friend!
If you’ve never partnered with anyone before, keep it simple. Ask a makeup artist friend if she’d like to collaborate on a mini shoot. You’ll lash the model, she’ll do her makeup, and you both end up with cross-promo from each others’ social media accounts plus photo content for Instagram, Facebook, and your website!
Once you’ve picked your friend or influencer, approach them and propose your collaboration! But remember...
6. Approach professionally.
If at all possible, reach out to your potential co-collaborator via email rather than Instagram or Facebook message. This shows professionalism on your part, and also ensures you won’t end up forgotten in their message requests.
7. Make your expectations clear.
This is the cardinal rule of collabs. When it comes to partnering with bloggers and influencers, there’s no hard and fast formula to follow. That means you have a ton of freedom to work with your collaborator to come up with a partnership that you’re both happy with. What it also means, is you need to make your expectations really clear.
When planning your partnership, make sure you address these things:
The type of platform being used. Are they creating an Instagram post, an Instagram story, Facebook post, blog post, or photos for web?
The number of posts they're creating, and the time period they will post them in.
What the content should look like. Maybe they’re going on a trip and you want their photo taken at the beach with the ocean in the background. Or maybe you’re happy with any selfie that shows off the lashes. The person you’re collaborating with may have a very specific aesthetic, and even specific depths that they work with in their photos, so make sure you agree on the content beforehand so no one is disappointed.
Whether there is payment involved, or just an exchange of services.
8. Write up a contract.
It may sound a little intense, but this is a business deal, after all. Once you and your co-collab have agreed on the terms, get it in writing. This will help keep you both accountable, plus once this collab is over, you can work off the contract for future partnerships. Were there some parts of the contract that didn’t end up working out? Were some parts unclear? No problem! Now you know what to alter for next time.
Measuring your results is a must! Did your followers increase? By how many? And more importantly, did they convert into new customers? If the collaboration goes well and you get an increase in bookings, you might consider using this influencer again in the future. If not, have a look at what may have gone amiss, and try again with someone who might be a better fit.
9. Give them a coupon code.
A really easy way to see how many new customers you make is to give your influencer a coupon code to distribute to their audience, and a timeline to use it in. Anytime a customer comes in with that code, you’ll know they came to you as a result of your collaboration. And since the coupon has a time limit, you won’t be waiting around for months wondering if the collaboration was really worth it.
10. Get a report.
Ask your influencer to report back at the end of the collab how many likes, comments, or views their content received. This won’t necessarily be the best measure of success, but it will help you gauge how receptive their audience was to the content.
Now that your tweezer case is full of tips—get collaborating! With the right preparation and the right influencer, your collab can expand your reach, skyrocket your follow count, and most importantly—turn your new followers into paying customers.
Cover photo: @inthefrow