~ Bookstagram Tips ~
How to become a ‘Rep’ for bookish companies
What does it mean to be a rep?
Being a rep for a bookish company means you are going to represent them and promote their products to your followers. The company will send you products to use in your bookstagram photos and you’ll usually be given a “rep code”. Your followers will be able to use that rep code to receive a discount when they make a purchase from that company.
Being a rep is NOT just a way of receiving free products. Please don’t apply to be a rep for a company if that is your aim.
What should I consider before applying to become a rep?
Do I have adequate time to devote to repping for this company?
Is this a company I want to rep for?
I take my rep jobs seriously. Each company will usually outline what they expect from their reps in a rep search post. If a company asks you post once a week showcasing their products, but you already rep for 7 other companies asking for the same thing, will you have enough time to devote to them? This will obviously depend on how many posts you like to do per day, and how many of them you want to be ‘advertisement’ type posts. There’s no right answer, but it’s probably bad form to take on a rep job you know you will struggle to fulfil the requirements for.
I also like to think about the company I’m applying to rep for. Are their products high quality? Is their customer service good? Would I personally use their products? For me, I never want to promote products to my followers that I wouldn’t pay money for myself. I want people to be able to trust that when I say “this product and company are fantastic, you should buy this thing and use my rep code to save” that I’m sincerely excited about it. Some people might feel differently, but I believe it’s not worth risking your reputation as a trustworthy influencer, just to receive some free products you would never spend your own money on anyway.
So, you’ve read the requirements and know you can fulfil them, you think the company and their products are high quality (or even better, you’ve bought from them yourself before and know they are!). What next?
Do I have to have lots of followers to become a rep?
Not necessarily, BUT please remember that many of these companies are fairly small businesses in the scheme of things and sending free products to someone (something that costs them money) with very few followers makes no business sense. However, follower count isn’t the be all and end all of it. These are the other type of things businesses are looking for when it comes time to choose reps:
- Accounts with great engagement. Do you talk to your followers? respond to comments? interact with the community?
- Accounts that seem like they’ll stick around. If you opened your bookstagram account last week, don’t expect a company to select you as a rep tomorrow. You need to build confidence. No business wants to send their products to someone, only to have them close their account and disappear the next month.
- Do you post regularly? Taking long breaks or posting very sporadically makes your account look a bit flaky, and could be interpreted as you starting to lose interest. Again, this goes towards confidence in your account.
- Do you post clear, good quality photos? They need to know you’re going to make their products look good!
So don’t despair if you don’t have a very big following, still apply if you meet all the other criteria because it doesn’t mean you won’t get picked! However, I have seen more than one comment where people have complained that it seems “only accounts with over 1000 followers ever get picked”. Please understand that, due to the nature of Instagram, often only about 10-15% of your followers see your posts at any one time, so from a marketing point of view, when you have a follower base on the lower end of the scale, that is not a lot of people that are going to see the post advertising their product. Just last month, I saw someone make this complaint and then go on to say “all the accounts that get these jobs look like they put a lot of time into their photos. I don’t have time for that”. At the end of the day, the people who do make a commitment and do put the time in are more likely to get the jobs!
How do I go about applying?
Usually companies will advertise that they are looking for reps via a “Rep Search” post on their account. Often the rep job will be for a certain period of time (3 months is common). They will detail what you need to do to apply in the post. Mostly that will involve making a post of your own with a collage of a few of your best photos, together with a picture of the rep search post. I usually screenshot the rep search photo, crop it to size, then use an app such as “Layout” to make the collage of photos. Below is an example – this is the rep search entry I created for Unicorn Crate (who I am proud to be repping for during June-Aug 2018!)
You’ll need to create a caption to go with your photo and address any points outlined in the rep search post (such as telling them about yourself, where you live and why you think you’d make a good rep). Make sure you read the requirements carefully and include anything they’ve asked you to. Lastly, there will be a special hashtag you will need to make sure you use in your post so the company can see your entry! The hashtag will be shown in the original rep post so don’t forget to include it in your caption. Do not put the hashtag in a separate comment on your post, often hashtags in comments do not get posted properly by Instagram.
I didn’t get the job!
It happens to everyone! I can’t imagine anyone ever gets every rep job they apply for. As you gain traction in the community you will probably be accepted for more and more jobs, but try not to let it get to you if there’s ones you miss out on. There are often so many people applying for each position (especially when it comes to the bigger companies) and I don’t envy them having to go through all the entries and narrow it down. It must be such a big job with so many worthy accounts. Just try again next time!
What do I do after I become a rep?
You got accepted, woo hoo! Now what? First, you should receive a rep code. You’ll usually get this close to the time your rep period will start. Your products will sometimes not arrive until after your rep term starts though, especially if you will be repping for a book subscription box company (and especially if you live somewhere like Australia, where our postal system operates on the back of a snail). So, in the meantime, you can let your followers know in your posts and stories that you have a new rep code. Share any news, sales, product announcements etc from the company you’ll be repping for and remind people you have a code that will get them a discount.
Important: Make sure you display the name of the company and your rep code in your bio (or your linktree in your bio if there is no room)
Once you receive your rep package, it’s a nice idea (and sometimes a requirement) to share an unboxing video or photo. Tag the company in your post or story. Mention your rep code again.
After that, start sharing posts with the company’s products as the main focus. That means, don’t have their products as a little background piece in your picture, make it stand out. Make sure it’s clear and people can see what it is. Tag the company in the photo, tell people in your caption how much you love it and where they can buy it themselves. Again, don’t forget to mention your rep code!
I keep a little list of the companies I rep for and their requirements. Once you are repping for a few businesses, I find it helpful to have at least a loose schedule of what I’m going to take photos of and when I’m going to post them. That way you can make sure you’re meeting your requirements without suddenly thinking “Hmm, did I do a rep post for that company this week already?” and find out you’ve been accidentally neglecting them!
What if a company approaches me direct to be a rep?
This has happened to me a few times now and it’s great! But, make sure you still ask yourself the same questions as if you were applying for a rep position. “Do I have the time” and “Do I want to promote these products”. There is no harm in thanking the company for thinking of you but explaining you just don’t have the time to rep for them right now. You are much better off doing that and having the chance to rep for them at some stage down the track than neglecting them once you’ve received their products. Or, finding yourself obligated to represent a product or company you feel uncomfortable about promoting.
Do you rep for bookish companies? Which ones have been some of your favourites?
Next week’s post will focus on hosting giveaways!
I’ve listed my intended future topics below and will link to each one as I post them. Let me know if there are any others you’d like to see me discuss!
Gaining more followers and managing expectations