Real talk: How real influencers feel about brand collaborations
We spoke with some popular Instagram influencers about how they like—and don’t like—to work with brands.
“We love working with brands that have the same values as us and who allow us the freedom and flexibility to create content that best represents them in a way that is impactful with our audience and true to ourselves.” – Sarah Lajeunesse and Apryl Munro, Thiskindalife
“I prefer to work with brands that I genuinely love. It helps a lot when I use their products both personally and in my professional makeup kit. Knowing the product(s) firsthand helps to make my content come across as authentic and not forced. I have turned down brand deals before if I find they don’t align with my niche and what I like to talk about on my platforms.” – Janine Holmes, I Do! Beauty Co.
“As consumers and content creators, we love working with brands who have high regards and respect working with real, unstaged, unfiltered content creators that provide value to their community. Brands that hire creators whose feeds are filled with photoshopped photos, fake followers and fake engagement are being seen more now than ever. While this might align with a very small demographic it doesn’t align with the vast majority and at times can tarnish the brand’s reputation. Relatable content creators that align with your product or service are key to a successful partnership and campaign.” – Laura and Jos Cannone, The GG Sisters
Communication and creative briefs
“I love clear briefs and clients that love creativity. I hate when the brief is unclear because it leads to multiple back-and-forths.” – Jennifer Francis, myspicedlife
“A collab runs smoothly when a brand or agency puts together a well-thought-out overview of the campaign. I can get a clear understanding of what they are wanting to highlight with their product and I can begin to create content based on that. Also having exact deadlines for the written concept, first draft, final draft and posting date allows me to plan and prioritize accordingly.” – Holmes
“I enjoy having the creative freedom to create a concept that is my idea/style and that I know my audience would like to see. It can also be nerve-wracking to have little to no direction. I’m always worried they won’t like what I have put together. Having some direction from the brand, with ‘must include’ info is definitely helpful and appreciated.” – Holmes
“Our favourite brands are the ones who provide inspiration but leave the creativity up to us! We also love brands that understand the female perspective and allow us to share content authentically. Timelines can also be a challenge especially at this time of year, so it’s helpful when brands recognize that we need time to create great content on their behalf.” – Lajeunesse and Munro
“We have the best results when we have the most creative freedom on drafting our own concepts and ideas. Over the last few years, we have steered away from collabs that are too structured or salesy. Our community knows firsthand when posts or stories aren’t authentic to our voice and who we are. If our community doesn’t connect to it, it won’t connect to the brand.” – Laura and Jos Cannone
“I hate it when brands don’t repost my work or when they use my photos without tagging me.” – Afrah Fazroon, in_n_out_ontario