Question number one was actually from a brand and was asking when influencers DM asking for opportunities. If they're not a good fit for the brand, the brand will reply back and say, "Hey. We don't have any opportunities right now. Thanks so much for reaching out. Unfortunately, we don't have any opportunities this season." Then, they're saying, the influencer then reaches out the next season and says, "Do you have any opportunities now?" I'm going to talk to my brand people for a second and we'll bring it back to influencers as well.
It's a tough one. As a brand, you don't want to put in writing, "Thanks for reaching out but there is no way in hell we would ever work with you." Because obviously they could screenshot that and take it in some way and it could become this whole thing that you just don't want to deal with. There is this delicate balance of rejecting people, but doing it in a way that doesn't feel overly harsh. Also, you don't want to waste their time and you don't want to waste your time. You don't want them sending the same message four times a year asking for an opportunity and you having to, once again, say, "Hey. There's no opportunities."
I do think one, influencers try and reach out on email, the DM thing is pretty annoying. I don't know any companies that I can think of where the person who handles influencer marketing handles their Instagram account. You're barking up the wrong tree. There's the social team, the social team is the brand's content, and there's the influencer team. Those teams, as far as I can think about right now with our clients, are never the same team. Reaching out and DMing a brand is not the right contact.
Now, if you're a brand and you're turning someone down via email or on DM, I would just say, "Thank you so much for reaching out. Right now, we don't have any opportunities that would be a good fit. We've taken note of your name and we will reach out if anything changes. Thank you so much." That says subtly, "Thanks but no thanks." This is advice for influencers as well. If anyone reaches out to you and they want to do a collab or something, you don't want to lead people on because that's really annoying. You don't want to say, "It'd be great. Let's definitely do something," and then just make it really hard to schedule with you. That's really fucking annoying.
You could say, "That's so sweet. Thank you so much for reaching out. Right now, I'm not doing any collabs with other influencers. Or right now I'm really busy. Love your feed, if anything changes, I'll reach out."
If you're never going to reach out and you're never going to work with that person, you don't want them leaving feeling like you're a jerk. You also don't want them leaving feeling like, well, I could get this, maybe in six months it's going to happen, if it's never going to happen. Because that only causes people to get more angry. Learning how to say no to people in a respectful and kind but firm way is a life skill that is absolutely needed and is hard to learn.
I struggled with this a lot when I was younger, I was a people-pleaser, I didn't like confrontation, I didn't like to let people down. I would avoid telling them bad news until it was so late that I couldn't possibly get out of it. I really tried now to have this new rule where when I have some news to deliver that I don't want to, I try and give myself 15 minutes. No more, no less. I literally used to hit a stopwatch and say, "I've got bad news I've got to tell my boss." Boom, 15 minutes starting at the end of this I have to have told him. For me, it was the only way to retrain my brain to deliver that bad news quickly and it has made my life exponentially better.
It's meant that sometimes I can't deliver the news in the way that I want or it's through text when I'd rather it be in person. You start playing head games with yourself like, "I'll just tell him next time. I'm going to tell my friend this bad news tonight when we go out for drinks." Then you go out for drinks and they're like, "Hey, I'm breaking with my girlfriend." You're like, "Well, I can't tell him now. What am I going to do?" Then you wait another week and then you keep putting it off.
I'm going down another tangent here as far as the question goes, but I do think it is a good life skill and certainly one if you're going to be a manager or work with clients or anything. You have to be able to say no. You have to be able to push back. You have to be able to do it gracefully but firmly. That's a whole other episode we could just talk about. How to push back on clients or how to say no or how to tell people disappointing news.
If you're an influencer, should you be responding to DMs? If you go back to thinking of your followers like clients, then you should be responding to DMs. I know it's a lot of work and maybe it's not sustainable, but you have to try and figure out a way to continue to be able to have a relationship with your audience as that audience grows and you need to have a way to scale out what you're doing.
Maybe if you're getting similar questions, maybe you need to be doing live Q&As more or something like that. Again, I say this without knowing much about how many DMs influencers are getting and how frustrating it is to answer them. Maybe you guys can throw in the comments and have a little conversation together about what you do. I'd be interested to hear from you guys in the comments like how many followers you have, on average how many DMs you think you're getting in a week, and what percentage of those you feel like you're answering.
Because I don't get many DMs. I mostly get people saying, "Your account looks really great and we would love to give it more engagement. Authentic real engagement. Please message back for details." I'm like, "Fuck, yes. Let's do this." Let me know.
- Overdelivering Assets, Responding to DMs, Swearing on Instagram