How to Turn a Commission Campaign into a Paid Campaign

If you are creating content as an influencer, odds are that you have received a few campaign requests from brands. But in their requests, they are only are offering you commission off of sales for your hard work and content. So how do you turn a commission campaign into a paid campaign? It’s not as hard as you think!

Now it’s pretty easy to get people in your inbox asking to send you gifted or discounted products. And if you’re just starting out on building a portfolio, ten you may find my blog How to Respond to Gifted, Non-Paid, or Ambassadorship Campaign Requests helpful first.

how to turn a commission campaign request into a paid campaign
Humm Kombucha was one company that initially told me they didn’t have budget to work with me. But when they finally had a paid campaign, they contacted me and we finally worked together!

But do you want to know a trade secret? Lots of those brands that are pitching you gifted opportunities have marketing budgets! The reason the vast majority of them don’t start by offering your posting rate is because LOTS of creators will work for free. Many people, including myself, low ball themselves and the credibility of their content. And for a brand who wants to get the most bang for their buck, they are looking for the people that will work for the lowest amount possible. Which is why they will start by offering a gifted campaign.

Turn the Tables to Get Paid!

Time to turn their pitch to you into your pitch to them! This is a company that has literally made it known that they are ready to work with someone – specifically YOU. So instead of accepting their offer for a gifted or ambassadorship campaign, open the conversation to working on a paid campaign.

Here’s an example of how to possibly respond back when that Brand sends you non-paid request:

Hey Brand!

Thank you so much for reaching out. These products are incredible and I love that you thought of me to promote them! However, I am not accepting gifted/ambassadorships, but I would still like to work with you. I truly believe my X amount of followers would like to learn more about Brand. If you are open to working on a sponsored post together, I would be happy to discuss my posting rates and my creative ideas for this campaign.

Thank you and I look forward to possibly working with you, Donna

Short, simple and to the point. Sometimes the company has room in their marketing budget, and sometimes they don’t. If they say they don’t want to work on a sponsored post, then you can still see if the original offer for a gifted or ambassadorship stands. If they say they aren’t doing paid campaigns right now, then there’s hope! Ask them when would be a better time to check in with them on a paid campaign. I have even landed a few campaigns like this.

And if they say yes right away to paying your posting rate, well then you’re in! Sometimes the “yes” can take a little conversation and negotiation though. For example, my most recent campaign request that went from commission based to a paid campaign took a little convincing.

working with brands takes negotiation and conversation
Also suggest working with people in your life to help pitch authenticity in your negotiation.

If this happens to you, then you will need to be prepared to negotiate and give strong reasoning why working with you is a great idea. Using facts and analytics will also help you seal the deal. Plus offering a price sheet is a great way to start the negotiation.

In short, I was able to turn a commission-only campaign request in to a paid campaign! Not only did I make $400 to make 2 Tik Toks and a blog, but they also allowed me to still make commission on the deal! And that commission resulted in an additional $300.

Final Thoughts on How to Turn a Commission Campaign into a Paid Campaign

Looking back on when I first started getting these emails, I think of just how many opportunities I missed. I used to just not respond to the emails, or say that I am not interested in working with them. But by doing so, I left so much money on the table.

There are definitely options when it comes to receiving these kind of emails. Learning how to respond to non-paid campaign requests could open the door to more opportunities!

Read more influencer tips and advice on Donna Gail Blog.

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The biggest mistakes when trying to gain followers on social media

The Biggest Mistakes of Trying to Gain Followers

If you are trying to gain followers, you may be tempted to join an Instagram Pod or Facebook Engagement Group. I am here to tell you that that is one of the biggest mistakes of trying to gain followers. I know the idea of these games to increase engagement and to gain followers seem harmless and overall beneficial. But I promise you that doing this will have long-term damage to your social page.

Here is my personal experience with each one individually:

Instagram Pods

I was a part of a pod when this idea first started out a few years ago. Now although the algorithm was a lot different back then, here’s why these don’t work. Simply put, people are not that responsible. I was always one of those people that would like and comment right away to other people’s posts. But there were a few people in our group that would literally post and leave. They would never stick around to do the same for the other people in the group.

I explain more of why Pods don’t work in the next section below because the idea of Pods has grown to MASSIVE sizes. The idea has grown far bigger than Instagram can handle in a group DM. And now they must be moderated via a Facebook Group.

Facebook Engagement Groups

flurry of social media notifications

If you aren’t familiar with these Engagement Groups, it’s essentially a large Instagram Pod. The one I joined on Facebook had over 5,000 active members, had strict rules for participation, and had many different opportunities per day to join games to increase likes, comments, Story Views, Tik Tok views, etc. I felt confident that I would be able to gain more traction on Instagram. Since there were many members, there would be probably 50-300 participants depending on the type of game. I thought that even 50 extra likes on my content would be a win! Here’s why I was wrong.

Having all those people flood a direct URL link to my page hurt my organic reach and engagement. My followers weren’t the ones liking my posts, and no one was commenting. After a few weeks in the group, I found that I had to play two or three of these games to get my post’s ‘like’ count back up to what I was getting organically before playing the games! Having those people ‘like’ my content that were not my followers, that were not my target audience, and did not spend more than a split second on my post made the algorithm all read that as “FAKE”.

I don’t know how the algorithm knows this cheap trick, but it does. It knows when you’re cheating the system and acts accordingly. It will always be smarter than us when it comes to trying to gain followers.

Pinterest Group Boards

Group Boards are a way for many Pinterest users to Pin their content on to one community Board. They tend to have many members actively posting constantly. When you post a Pin on a Board that constantly has other people pinning items too, your Pin quickly becomes old news. Inevitably that Pin will only show a few views, if you’re lucky, and 0 engagement. And that severely affects your engagement rate.

Not to mention that the only people who post on Group Boards are influencers who are trying to do the same thing you are. Boost their own engagement. Which means that they post and leave! They are not there to find new content to Repin. They are there to post their content in the hopes of someone seeing it and boosting their engagement. Essentially you are posting on a dead Board. Keep your valuable content to your Boards ONLY.

For reference, pre-Group Boards I had about 300k monthly viewers on Pinterest. Now I average about 60k.

Loop Giveaways

loop giveaways on social media

Many influencers believe that this is the only way they can gain followers nowadays on Instagram. And although you will receive more followers, you won’t receive better engagement. Why? Because the people gained in these giveaways are not there for your content. They are there to win and that’s it.

By gaining followers that don’t care about your content, your engagement rate will tank. Because when your content is published to Instagram, it will get pushed to a very small percentage of your followers. If those followers interact with your content, then Instagram will keep pushing it to more users. But if it gets pushed to one of these giveaway followers, they won’t like, comment, share, or save.

Ditch the loop giveaways, ditch the fake following, ditch the lack of engagement from that following! Just don’t do loop giveaways.

Final Thoughts on trying to gain followers

Now I know all these things will continue to entice you with a good time and the prospect of trying to gain followers. And trust me, I know everyone’s experience is different when it comes to each one of these things. This blog is written from my own personal experience! I am hoping that by giving my insight, you can come to a more educated decision of how you want to take your page. So take what I say with a grain of salt just because what works for me (and more importantly, what doesn’t work for me), might not be the same experience you have.

Read more Influencer Tips on Donna Gail Blog

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why am I losing followers?

Why Am I Losing Followers Even Though My Content Is Getting Better?

Posting on social media means its users are at the mercy of an algorithm. If you are confused about losing followers consistently eve though your content that is receiving more engagement – listen up.

Why do I lose followers on posts that get more engagement?

Chadwick Boseman mural in Downtown Disney Anaheim
This post got me 2,295 likes! But I also lost 50 followers in the process.

The reason you are losing followers is because you are getting closer to your true client market and getting rid of the people that are only holding your page back. I actually lose the most amount of followers on a day where my post does the best! The day I received 2,300 likes on a post, I lost about 50 followers.

“Well that doesn’t make sense. You put out good content that people really like, shouldn’t you be gaining followers?”

That’s what I would think and would like to happen! But unfortunately it’s not. The reason I am losing more followers is because my posts are FINALLY getting pushed to more of my followers. Those people that are unfollowing me probably haven’t organically come across one of my posts in a really long time. So either they:

  1. don’t recognize me, or
  2. are just no longer fans of my content.

Either way you slice it, they aren’t about my page anymore.

Even on normal days I still lose followers – what gives?

Another big reason you could be losing followers is that Instagram is getting very good at shutting down bot and spam accounts. Followers that you have lost could be Instagram helping you to do some housekeeping! You don’t want more followers if those followers are ghost or spam accounts. They won’t interact with your content and that will hurt your page so much more than having a lower following count.

I am dressed in a red two piece set from SHEIN. The top is cropped and the pants are high waisted over my belly button. They are also flared and flowy. This outfit was to Disney Bound as slave Jasmine from Aladdin.
My Slave Jasmine Disney Bound started off with slow engagement but the more my followers got involved, the more overall engagement I got!

When you post, Instagram only shows your post to a small percentage of your total following. If that group of people engages with your post, then your post will go to the next tier group of your followers. And so on and so forth. So the better the post does, the more it goes to your followers. But if you have all these fake or spam accounts in your following then it’s possible that your post will be pushed to those accounts. If that happens, then your post won’t do as well. Those accounts won’t engage with your content and then your post won’t get pushed to the next tier level of followers.

But what if I am losing followers that aren’t spam or bot accounts?

So circling back on that post that did really well for me but I lost 50 followers, my post probably got pushed farther then it has in a really long time to some of my followers who hadn’t seen me in a while, thus resulting in a massive flux to my page of people to unfollow me. But hey, no skin off my nose because they did me a favor my leaving!

What I am getting at here is that you do want to lose followers if it will help you get closer to your target audience. For me, I did a rebranding about a year and a half ago and changed my Instagram handle as well as the content I provided. I can’t expect that all of my followers got the news alerts when I was talking about it before I made the change. So it can then be expected that by the time my content actually turns up on their page, they might want to unfollow because the content I provide now is not what the originally signed up for anymore and that’s ok!

Why don’t loop giveaways work?

Close up of me in front of a colorful and floral "Happy Valentine's Day" mural in Escondido, San Diego County.
My followers have loved seeing how I am finding new spots around me to create engaging content.

I used to do those huge loop giveaways and granted I gained a lot of followers but it severely hurt my engagement because what I found was that my content was then being pushed to those dead-weight followers who were literally only following me out of obligation to get something for free. Those are not the type of people you want on your page – you want fans, not fakes! So I made the very tough decision to delete about 10,000 followers from my page as a way to help get my content back onto the feeds of people who actually wanted to follow me.

Since that hard decision, my content has THRIVED! My content is being pushed back on to the page’s of people who actually want to see my content. Don’t be afraid to drop the dead-weight followers, and don’t be scared that you are losing followers even when you are putting good content out. It is all for the better that you get closer to your target audience and that you cater to their needs and not to the needs of people who don’t like your content and wouldn’t have engaged with your page anyway. They did you a favor by unfollowing – trust me!

Read more Influencer Tips at www.donnagailblog.com



how to become an influencer or content creator

A Guide for How to Become an Influencer or Content Creator

The last few years have seen a huge boom in people becoming or wanting to become an influencer. Thank you, Tik Tok! Many people believe that influencers and content creators have a cushy lifestyle and make tons of money doing nothing. As a content creator myself, I can guarantee that is not the case. Well at least for me it’s not. People are learning who influencers are, how they earn money, and how much work they put into their post.

If you are curious about how to become an influencer or content creator, keep reading for some easy tips!

1} Make good quality content

This starts with having a good camera. Nowadays, your iPhone should suffice for most situations! From there, you will need a way to edit your content. And the best way to do that is outside of the social media platform.

Most every content creator uses Adobe Lightroom to edit their photos and videos. This is the app that allows them to use editing presets. But if you become acquainted enough with this app, then you won’t need to pay for those presets because you will know how to edit them yourself.

2} Build a loyal following

Notice how I didn’t say a “large” following. Along with posting great content, you need to make sure your captions contain keywords and hashtags. Use your captions to ask questions because you will want people to comment! That starts the conversation and allows you to comment back and get to know your followers – and better yet, for them to get to know you!

Just remember though – your content, the caption, and the hashtags all need to be telling the same story. Don’t write a caption that has nothing to do with the content. And don’t include hashtags that don’t exactly relate to the content either. You should be using 3-5 hashtags MAX and they should be an extension of your caption. Not something to spam.

3} Follow trends

The best way to get noticed is to do something that a massive amount of people will like. Whether this trend is a specific audio, dance, joke, whatever it is – jump on it. A lot of people want to go viral from their own, original content. And that is fantastic. However, going viral isn’t necessarily good. Start building a following doing trends and sprinkle in your own original pieces so that people have a well rounded understanding of what it’s like to follow you.

4} Get started on commissionable links

Next step – getting commission from items you post about. Reward Style is the most popular commission-based influencer program. They make it super easy to convert regular website links into your personal commissionable link. You also don’t have to own the item to post your commissionable link!

The commission for Reward Style links depends on which retailer you are posting about. I’ve seen rates anywhere between 5-20% for what I normally post about. Each retailer will have their own commission rate. Obviously the higher the commission rate, the more enticing it will be for you to post about. But obviously don’t go posting about Chanel bags if that’s not what your style is . It will look super inauthentic to your personal brand.

5} Email companies that you want to work with!

Put yourself out there and email companies that you want to work with and let them know “hey I want to work with you!”. Lots of companies will also have an email listed on their site specifically for influencers and partnership requests.

Remember to cater your emails to the company itself. Talk about why you would be a good fit together, and maybe sprinkle in what you love specifically about their products. Maybe you already own something from them that you can send pictures of you wearing or using.

Want more information about this tricky subject, read this blog: How to Pitch Yourself as an Influencer to Brands

6} Interact with your favorite brands over social

If you really want to work with a brand, odds are you are a fan of theirs. Act like it! Like and comment on their posts. Interact with their Stories. Follow them on multiple platforms.

And better yet – post about them with no other incentive! Not only are you putting your name out there to them. But you can also speak to your engagement numbers when pitching to them. You can mention your post, reference the link, show them a clear visual of how you would work with their brand, and you can brag about how many likes, comments, link clicks you got just by that post.

7} Make a schedule and keep your posts consistent

Making content is time consuming. It requires planning, filming, editing, and more. The only people who will be able to make it are those that are organized. Get a planner and plan your days. Plan what days to sketch your content. Plan when to film your videos in batches. And plan what you post and when. Taking the guesswork out of this job is essential to growth. Not to mention, brands love when you can tell them exactly what days you are filming, editing, and posting!

Things to Remember

These steps aren’t hard but they aren’t easy either! They all take constant attention and require you to work hard without seeing a lot of pay in the beginning. Be aware that this will start as a way to get your name out there and more so it will be a side hustle. Don’t expect to make this your full time job for quite some time. But believe in yourself and keep moving forward because it is achievable!

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Read more influencer tips and tricks on Donna Gail Blog.