Browse Instagram and you will see handmade brands posting gorgeous photographs of their products in action. Small children going about their daily activities dressed in adorable hand sewn outfits, dreamy nurseries full of one of a kind décor and toys.
Where do these brands get such a variety of styled and perfect images?
They may have a brand rep.
Put simply, a brand representative or ambassador is someone with brilliant styling and photography skills that can help you promote your products via social media.
Here are 5 ways that members of our group, Handmade Cooperative, are successfully making brand reps work for them.
Select a brand rep with a love and passion for your label.
There are different methods for hunting out a brand rep.
Some businesses will directly approach a repeat customer, whilst others will run a search for entrants via social media.
Whichever method you choose, it’s important to select someone who genuinely likes and supports your label. This will make the relationship much more natural.
Rachel of Puddle Ducklings (image below) says “You definitely do not want someone who’s Instagram feed is full of competition entries and no personality”.
Visit the social media feed of prospective reps to get a feel for whether they truly love handmade and genuinely interact with your business, or are just looking for free products.
Rachel conducted her search by watching the way they conducted themselves with other people and brands and chose her reps based on their online personality, generosity and loyalty to handmade.
Select a brand rep that takes awesome quality images.
In the online world, clear, crisp photographs are essential.
You are looking for a brand rep who takes stunning natural pictures, not in a studio, and whose styling fits with your brand aesthetic.
Karyn of KBS Designs (This site/resource is no longer available) recently ran a brand rep search via Instagram.
She visited the social media feed of prospectives over a period of time and “made sure that they were similar to the styling KBS Designs was already using” as well as looking at “who the reps followers were and what sort of interaction was evident on her posts”.
Don’t stress too much about the numbers.
Although having a popular feed is a good thing, thousands of followers doesn’t necessarily equate to a better brand rep.
Jodie from Twinkle Star (image below) says that, “It may be tempting to choose someone who has lots of followers, but I have learned that choosing an existing customer is much more effective as their support and promotion will come naturally.”
As well as being a social media beacon, your brand rep should represent your business in public, demonstrating your products to their friends and family in “real life”.
Jodie says to, “look for someone who genuinely loves what you do. If they already love your product, they will be excited to post about it and post regularly.”
Be clear about what you want.
Providing photographs is great, but a brand rep can be so much more to you in the course of your journey.
A brand rep can help to build your brand via a number of different methods, so make it clear what you expect them to do for you.
- Do you want them to test products?
- Are you expecting a certain number of photos per week?
- Would you like them to search hashtags and make comments about your label on social media?
- Are you hoping for someone who will promote your sales and new releases?
Write up a contract for each brand rep and make sure that you include your expectations and a clear time frame for the role.
Be upfront about the reward.
Your brand rep is going to be doing a lot of work for you, so make sure that you reward them.
At the very least, your rep will need to receive free products to style and photograph.
You may also wish to offer them discounts when shopping at your business, or family and friends discounts. Don’t forget to give them a whole lot of love too.
Engaging a brand rep can be a solid way to bring your business to the next level. Over to you – have you engaged a brand rep?
What tips and tricks would you recommend?
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