I meet a lot of new bloggers and so I end up giving a lot of practical advice and how-to's on growing and succeeding in this influencer world. I love sharing information, and when I was starting out, I was lucky enough to meet bigger bloggers who also shared with me how they grew.
One of the most common questions I get is: how do I get sent free products and invited to events? The answer: aside from straight up reaching out to specific brands and PR agencies, the best way to get started while you're growing and increasing your following is to join as many influencer PR platforms/apps as you can. This gets your name on PR lists (which are often shared between agencies and brands), and even if you don't get any campaigns or invites right away, at least you get on the list and they'll notice you as you grow.
Important reminder: avoid platforms that require you to pay to get products. You should be getting products for free as you're starting out, and you should get paid for your work as you grow your influence. It's my opinion that you should never have to pay for products if you're offering social media content and promotion in exchange. Those are usually scams anyway. Value your work, babe!
Here are the apps that I recommend joining as you get started:
Fohr Card - fohr.co This platform will give you deep insights into your followers, engagement, the health of your account. It's good to be authenticated on here. They do offer paid campaigns for larger bloggers, and they do a lot of large event-based campaigns (NYFW, Coachella, etc.)
Collectively - collectivelyinc.com A bit secretive (they email you with campaign offers, but there isn't any feedback if you don't get chosen, and no platform for your stats), they offer some great larger paid campaigns. Think Uber, Macy's, etc.
Linqia - linqia.com Most of their campaigns are click-through (meaning you only get paid a few cents when people click on the link they provide you with or like your photo), but they're growing and getting some better campaigns.
Clever - realclever.com They have a variety of well-paid campaigns for blogs and social media, and they're all listed on the platform, so you have to actively apply.
Obviously - obvious.ly Not a lot of campaigns, but some fun ones if you're just getting started. They email you with new offers.
Revfluence - revfluence.com A lot of campaigns are product only, but some paid.
Influenster - influenster.com You take surveys, leave reviews of products, and get receive curated brand boxes with beauty goodies, in exchange for posts. No paid campaigns.
Octoly - octoly.com It's like an online store, but everything is free! No paid campaigns. You get 5 tokens to order products you like (the brand has to accept your request), and once you publish and submit content, you get the token back.
Trendship - trendship.com Same as Octoly - online store where you can shop for free in exchange for posts.
ApexDrop - apexdrop.com They have great unpaid campaigns, and you get emails (and texts!) for new campaigns.
Buzzoole - buzzoole.com Not a lot of campaigns, but some good paid ones sometimes.
Social Fabric - socialfabric.us Good if you like basic big brands, like Dunkin' Donuts, Smirnoff, Odwalla. Lots of campaigns, paid.
Hype Factory - hypefactory.com Not a lot of campaigns, but you get to place your own bid for how much you want to get paid for the collaboration.
Activate - activate.social They have a ton of campaigns all the time, some are paid, some are unpaid, and some you get to enter a quote for your services. Mostly more basic brands here as well, such as pasta, family travel, Best Buy, etc.
Influence Co - influence.co There's a list of campaigns that you can actively apply to - most are for product trade. A variety of brands, including food, fashion, pets, etc.
These are just a few platforms to get you started, but there are hundreds, maybe thousands out there! You can literally Google "influencer marketing platforms" and then just request to join them all. Honestly, when you're starting out, I suggest joining everything you can, just to get your profile out there. Then, as you grow, you can pick and choose which are best to work with, and as you make personal connections with PR agencies, you'll rely less on platforms.
Did I miss any platforms you love? Leave them in the comments!
Now go out there and grow, queens!
Julia O Test is a lifestyle blogger and photographer based in San Francisco.