Instagram Marketing and Brand Deals

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Instagram can be a good place to make money, either by becoming a fitness coach, an influencer, a brand ambassador, by starting a business or sponsoring a product. Brands want to work with Instagram influencers because they target real people and have more of an impact on sales than almost any other form of marketing.


Just kidding—I have no idea if any of that’s true, but it sounds realistic. If I see someone I like on Instagram using a product they’re raving about, I’m going to want to buy that product myself. And I have! If you think about it, it’s genius. Instagram marketing through influencers has truly shaken the way we interact with products and services.

Aside from sponsorships, there is also the world of coaching, fitness groups, and businesses. Those are the hustlers. They join a company like Herbal Life, Beach Body, or Arbonne and either sell you the products themselves, or they become coaches. They might even start their own company and sell a weight loss product or item of clothing—or any other product they believe in.

Like most people, I get a few DMs every day offering to sell a product or inviting me to join a program or fitness group. Sometimes I get brands asking me to wear or test their fitness products. Most are really kind and sweet. I did, however, receive a message this week from a coach inviting me to join his fitness group, and upon kindly rejecting his offer, he responded with, “Oh wow, do you always limit yourself like this? Huh.” Among other manipulative and condescending remarks . . . I mean, hustle your hustle, but trying to manipulate someone into joining your group may not be the smartest move in the game.

People on Instagram hustling to succeed do not bother me... What bothers me is how they are treated. I always see remarks from other people on IG saying stuff like, “Stop asking me to become a coach!!!” “NO sales!” “I never respond to sales,” and “I ignore all offers.” I find this to be so unkind and I'm not even sure why. You have every right not to want people to approach you, but I can’t help but put myself in the sellers’ shoes. They are hustling to make money. I respect it. If I had a business to advertise on IG and was spending hours DMing people (because I’m sure it takes hours), I would want people to respond to me, even if it’s to say they’re not interested.

We are all just people. I picture, for example, a stay-at-home parent who has just joined Arbonne and wants to sell their products to make some money—maybe to buy their kids supplies or go on a trip. I don’t know. I picture them DMing tons of Instagrammers to get their products out there and try to make it. The least I can do, the least, is thank them for reaching out and then kindly declining. So that’s what I usually do. While I cannot always get to everyone, I do try to respond to as many as I can. I came across a person on IG the other day who was very loudly and proudly going off saying, “I will never respond to your DMs trying to sell me a stuff!!!” . . . and while I’m aware that you have every right to feel that way, all I kept thinking was: "just get off your high horse, man." And I say this kindly, with tons of respect and understanding.

Do I enjoy declining every offer? No. Do I enjoy the fake interest of trying to get to know me only to try to sell a product? No. But I think responding is the kind thing to do. Treat people the way you’d like to be treated, even if they don’t treat you the way you’d like to be treated. Does that make sense?

I’m lucky I’ve gotten a few companies to send me their products to test out. One of these companies, for example, was Built Bars. They sent me a box to try out; I liked their bars, so I gave them a shout out. I also sometimes get products I don’t like, and sometimes I talk about why I don’t like them . . . or I simply won’t post about them. You can’t review it all, but there’s no amount of money you could pay me to promote a product I don’t like or believe in . . . which takes me to IG influencing.

My Instagram
I opened an Instagram account back in January to share what I was doing and the products I was using to get fit. I used my posts like a diary as a form of accountability for myself. I wanted a community of support and ideas . . . not to make money off of it or “influence” people. Not that there’s anything wrong with being an Instagram influencer; it takes creativity, dedication, and loads of charm and time and fun posts. (That’s also why they’re called “content creators”). But . . . I almost feel like it’d be a disservice to my four years of college, two years of grad school, the money invested in my education, and the hard work I’ve put into my career to end up becoming an Instagram influencer and live off the platform. So, that’s not what I’m going to do.

I enjoy seeing my own fitness progress. It may sound selfish, but I post for myself. I’m grateful I’ve gotten support and that am able to motivate people, but I only seek to motivate myself. Using my Instagram as a diary has been a great motivator for me to keep going and stick to my fitness journey. I may not want to make a career out of social media and live off Instagram, but I’ll happily accept the fun opportunities I get because of social media. I was recently invited to visit Planet Air Sports in exchange for posting about my time there on IG. I went with my best friend and had TONS of fun. I’m planning on going back and paying for it myself because I liked it so much. I also received an invitation to visit the Dominican Republic with my friends on a dance cruise, as an "instagram influencer." Of course I accepted! I only accept things I would have done regardless of receiving them for free. That’s my policy.

Aside from the fun opportunities, the only brand or ambassador deal I’ve accepted so far has been with Built Bars.

This bar is actually not a Built Bar bar lol jgdjghdjjldgfk soz
There are no rules to their ambassador program, which I love. I don’t HAVE to advertise their brand, nor do I need to post about their bars a certain number of times. In fact, pretty much anyone can be an ambassador for the brand. This is what made me feel comfortable with it: I love the product, and I can be as honest as I want to be about it.

The first time I tried Built Bars, I had left the box unattended in my PO Box for weeks, and I tried them room temperature. Some of the bars had a slight aftertaste, and after mentioning this on my IG, I got a few DMs from people screaming at me to refrigerate them before trying them again. So I did. After trying them refrigerated, I fell in love with them (Minus the mint, orange and banana flavors so far). I’m not even sure what it is about these bars that keeps me coming back for more. They have a sticky, marshmallow-y texture inside, so when you bite into them, it feels like you’re biting into chilled caramel…

Was that not a good way to sell the bars? Perhaps not, but I love them, and I go to sleep thinking about them. I purchased a second box myself, and that's when I decided I would give the ambassador program a try. If you look at the ingredients, they’re not the most organic bars in the world, but I like them. No, not like . . . I love these bars.

Me: They are chewy.
Me: They are not the most organic thing in the world.
Me: They initially had an aftertaste.
Also me: I love them!!!

Lol. I love these bars. But if you don’t like the texture I’m describing, you won’t like these bars. I haven’t promoted the discount code they gave me on Instagram, but if you’d like to give these bars a try, please use the CODE GETFITWITHCABI for 10% off. Is this what it feels like to be an Instagram influencer? Is this how they do it? Use it, USE MY CODE!!!!! Just kidding, you don’t have to. In fact, here are other codes you can use for that 10% off: DREA or Rita10 or TWUNFIT

Either code will get you 10% off, and you can use it as many times as you want. I use my code to buy my own bars.

All I want to do is share my journey, enjoy my cauliflower rice, and give people love right back on IG. I always try to leave comments and "like" pictures, watch IG stories, and respond to every comment… because it makes me happy to interact with others, and I’m truly appreciative of the love and support I receive. If someone takes the time to leave me a comment or send me a DM, my time isn’t more valuable than yours, so I’m gonna make time to reply or at least like the comment. That’s just what I like to do. IG is fun. Maybe not as a business for me, but as a form of entertainment and motivation.

I will continue pursuing my real-life-unrelated-to-IG goals and dreams, while having fun with social media. So please, if you ever see me do one of those #ads or #sponsored stories or posts, just know that even though it’s an #ad, I believe in the product, I love the product, and I use it regardless of if I’m making money off of it or not.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Be kind to people.

–Cabi

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