So you want to be a brand rep?
If you have scrolled through your Instagram feed anytime lately, you would have likely seen call outs for brand reps or friends entering brand rep searches. It is becoming more and more common with more businesses entering the brand rep game everyday. But what is it all about? And how can you get involved? Here are some of the common questions and tips from brands working with reps that will help you on your brand rep journey.
What is a brand rep?
Basically a brand rep is someone that a brand chooses to represent their brand – simple right but what does that actually mean? Well, most often brand reps will come on board for a defined period of time (usually 3-6 months). During that time they will receive a certain amount of free product that they will need to photograph and share with their followers on Instagram, as often as weekly. So for the brand reps they get free product and for the brands they get exposure to a broader audience and images they can use on their own social media feeds.
What are brand enthusiasts?
Brands will have only a few brand reps they work with and then also select some brand enthusiasts to bring on board. Rather than receiving free product, brand enthusiasts receive a generous discount on product and then are required to share images of the product they purchase on Instagram. Starting out as a brand enthusiast is a great way to get your foot in the door and on the way to brand repping in the future.
How to become a brand rep?
Brands are always running brand rep searches on Instagram and a simple hashtag search will reveal who is looking right now. Try searching ones like #brandrepsearch or #brandrepsearchau for a localised option as well as #repsearch and #enthusiastsearch. Accounts like @australianbrandreps and @aussiebrandreps are also good to follow as they share brand rep searches happening around the traps all in one place.
A brand rep search will usually run for a few days or weeks. Entry requirements should always be listed but if you aren’t sure you can always DM the brand. You will most often have to share the brand rep search image and use a specific hashtag on some of your photos to showcase your style. It’s really quite simple!
The brand then has the arduous task of searching through the posts to find their winner(s).
What are brands looking for?
This will differ from brand to brand but at a high level they will be looking for good photography and an engaged following. The style of photography will depend on the brand and their products. These photography tips might help you if this is something you need to work on or browsing through other popular brand reps accounts can also give you inspiration for your own photography. Or take some advice from Rebecca from Aviva, who is no stranger to using brand reps for her blooming bow business. “I look for bright, clear photos, that suit my style. A feed that looks tidy and appealing, good use of hashtags, shopping small so other brands are present, and using hashtags!”
Tahlia from Who Is Q? creates gorgeous nursery decor says, “I like my products to look like they fit naturally in to my brand reps home/decor and isn’t being forced.” Brands want an alignment with their reps and what they are creating so relationships can build from a solid base. This all comes back to being genuine and authentic.
Your account will also most often need to be public which, when dealing with kids as brand reps, is something you do need to consider from a personal safety point of view. From the brand perspective, brand rep accounts need to be public so that more people can see the posts to increase reach and engagement. But having a public account means that all your photos are available for anyone to see so consider if this is something you are comfortable with before going ahead. It’s a totally personal decision!
Jess from from Livs World and Small Talk for Kids has experienced brand repping from both sides of the coin and says that what brands are looking for is “a friendly, supportive personality who is easy to deal with. There are horror stories of people becoming reps, getting their items and then going silent. That’s the nightmare scenario!”
What else do I need to know about brand repping?
Don’t be disheartened if you aren’t winning any brand rep searches. You won’t always be a fit and it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a cute kid/great photo skills but perhaps there was someone with better engagement or a photography style that is more suitable for the brand. “The biggest thing for us is that it is in no way a beauty contest. People can have the cutest babies but it is all about whether the style of photography fits in with our visual style. The downside is people get very offended when their child isn’t chosen.” says Kelli from Anarkid.
If it is something you really want to do then start building relationships with brands you love so you have a head start when they do a rep search down the track. Arwen from Hopscotch Baby says it is all about enthusiasm! “There’s no point having a brand rep that’s never seen one of your products. They should be familiar with what you sell and be applying because they love it – not just because it’s another rep search they can enter.” Comment on photos and genuinely show an interest in the product.
If you do get picked up as a brand rep, make sure you are crystal clear on the expectations (e.g. how many photos you will need to post, product value etc.) before agreeing to go ahead. You don’t want to end up in a messy situation down the track if expectations haven’t been set clearly from the beginning. Ask questions on anything you aren’t sure of and keep all your emails so you have a record of what you have agreed to. Treat it like a business relationship, as really that is what it is. Don’t fall into the trap that Fiona from Little Bow Co has witnessed, “I’ve discovered some people try to rep for too many brands and seem to get stuck in the search of others and forget to post who they are actually brand reps for!”
Finally, Jess (also half of the amazing duo behind Bargain Mum – does the woman sleep??!) has some amazing tips that are too good not to share!
- Don’t have a clogged feed. If you started out on Instagram just as a private account and then realised you want to pursue repping, clean out your images. You want consistency. Not pictures of your cat from 2013 with a red filter on it.
- Take bright, clear pictures. Not blurry. Not at night with the flash on. Think about what time of day you get the best light where you are shooting. You want as much natural light as possible.
- Really think about composing your shots. I have taken 50 frames and not felt right about the picture. Moved one item and voila! Image is 100 times better. If you are not 100% happy, don’t post it. The brands you work with have put their heart and soul into their products, they are looking for your best work.
- Have a name that makes sense!! This is so important. @debstar_385906 is NOT an easy handle to remember. Get creative. Try and think of something catchy (or even simple) that people will remember. It will help immensely in rep searches.
- Try NOT to rip people off. Yes, imitation is the greatest form of flattery and sometimes you can help but have the same items as other reps. But try not to duplicate other people’s styling. You need to carve out your own identity.
If you are a brand wanting more information on working with brand reps, or even if you are interested in more about being a brand rep, Clare from Trinket Store has written a fabulous post over on Mums With Hustle on tips for working with brand reps. So many nuggets of gold here!
Have you repped for any brands? Who are your favourite brand reps to follow? Any tips to share for someone wanting to try it out?
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