Don’t: Fall for influencer “collab” scams

Starting out your journey as a blogger/content creator/influencer can be a little tricky at times, especially because there’s not really ‘a one size fits all’ instruction manual of what to do. I wanted to touch base a little on brand collaborations, especially because for a lot of us, it’s kind of our end goal to being able to work with different brands. Below I have listed a few ways sketchy brands might reach out to you, and ways to spot a potential scam.

If a brand comments on your picture and asks you to reach out to them, through a DM, for a collab….

Just know that if a brand wants to work with you, they will reach out to you, and not the other way around.

Brands that typically use this method will enlist you in their “Influencer Program”, which comes with a discount on their items (which they make you buy) and an Influencer code for xyz% off for your followers. The reason this is a scam is that you should never pay for any items that you are supposed to promote. Definitely steer clear of this!

Luxe and Labeless Tip: Always be sure to have your email clearly listed in your bio section to make it easier for brands to be able to reach out to you. Also, make sure that the email in your bio is specific to your brand, not your personal email address, that way it appears more professional to the brands that do want to work with you.

If a brand emails you with collaboration terms that require you to first buy the product, then wait for reimbursement….

Again, never pay for any items you are supposed to promote…EVER!

Basically these types of brands are asking for you to not only pay for their product, to be able to work with them, but they are also requesting that you put your faith in them that you will get reimbursed. In my best Simon Cowell Impression….It’s a no for me.

As a rule of thumb, I rarely take on any collaboration or opportunity, that doesn’t include a budget to be able to pay me for my work. So I especially will never take on an opportunity in which I would have to spend any of my money on their product and nor should you.

If a brand wants to send you free product for a collab, but requires you to jump through hoops….

Let me clarify, these type of collabs aren’t technically a scam, but if a brand is not willing to pay you for them requiring that you create x amount of ig feed posts, x amount of ig story posts, hold a giveaway, write a blog post and throw in the kitchen sink all for the possible chance to be featured on their page….I would say walk away.

In the email shown here, they require that I would not only have to create several pieces content, but that I also do so within a very tight time frame. My “payment” that they mentioned is 1 of the courses that I would have to create the content around.

As a content creator, protecting your time is worth more than possibly appearing on their feed. In my opinion, it’s no different than if your were to be at your job, you complete x amount of work, then don’t get paid for any of the work that you do….that wouldn’t be right. So it’s not right for them to request that from you either. In this specific case, it would be like me completing x amount of work and instead of my boss paying me…they gave me a gift card to Bath and Body Works.

Luxe and Labeless Tip: Don’t feel obligated to take on any brand opportunity that comes your way. There are a lot of brands that will try to make it seem as though their offer is a true “collaborake sure you are making the right choice for you.

If a brand asks you to join their Affiliate Program…

FYI and Affiliate Program is a scam! Typically the brand will try to wrap it in a pretty bow and call it their ‘Influencer Marketing Program’.

Basically, a brand will either have you buy their product with a special discount code, or they’ll send it to you for free, but you are basically working for them to promote their products.

Typically you’ll put a link in your bio, in which followers will click on, and if they purchase from your link…you get a percentage of the sale.

Basic sales and marketing tactics state that you have to make at least 8 touches with any one person in order to turn it into a sale. That means you have to market constantly to the same person to make one sale. Even if the company is offering 50% commission on each product sold, if the product is $6, you have made $3….and you have worked extremely hard for those $3.

Even with the one shown, if I only sell 2 of their products in a month, I would at best make $40. It would not be in my best interest to work as hard as you need to for $40. Steer clear of any brand that reaches out to for these type of “collabs”.

If a brand truly does not have a budget to pay you, but can send you free product….

You have to weigh every option for what makes sense for you. I have and still will take on collabs, in which I only receive product for my post, but it has to make sense.

If I can see that it’s a smaller brand, if it aligns with my page and my niche, if the terms of the collab and the deliverables they are requesting are reasonable, I will definitely take on the opportunity. Even if it’s a bigger brand, but I know I can add it to my blogger resume, see my blog posts on media kits, then I may still take it on if the terms are right.

At the end of the day you have to do what’s right for you, not every collab has to be a paid one, but it definitely should coincide with your niche and what your page is about. Also, just wanted to put this out there, you do not have to have a certain amount of followers in order to ask if there is a budget. Even you have under 500, if a brand is asking to work with you, you have every right to ask for more than just possible exposure!

Luxe and Labeless Tip: If you receive the initial email from the brand, asking for a collab, don’t be afraid to email back asking for a clarification of the terms before accepting their offer. Especially in these situations, sometimes if you don’t ask, you won’t receive. Brands will flat out tell you if they have the budget to pay you or not. Other times, if you don’t ask, they may not mention that they are able to pay out.

At the end of the day, though I really love the thought of partnering with brands, I also really love creating for myself with no limitations. Hope this all was helpful, as always, I’m always open to answering any questions y’all may have. I love being able to help others navigate through the nuances of everything that makes up content creation.

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