Are You Being SCAMMED?!
How can you tell whether a brand really wants to work with you, or if they're just trying to scam you?
Some of you may know, I launched my first Content Creator Course in May. Since then I have gotten SO many questions from aspiring content creators; one of the most popular questions I get is “How the hell do I know if I’m getting scammed by a brand?!”
I’m sure a lot of you have seen or even had it happen to you where a brand will comment on your photo something like “DM us for a collaboration!” or “Want to be our brand ambassador? DM us for details!”
Speaking from experience, when you’re new to the influencer world these can seem like exciting opportunities… but most of the time it’s a scam!
So how exactly do you spot a scam?
First and foremost, if a brand genuinely wants to work with you 99% of the time they will either send you a DM or email you. If a brand comments on your photo telling you to DM them, it’s pretty much always a scam.
Now sometimes a scam can mean you pay for the product or shipping and you never get your product. And sometimes you will get a product, but paying for a product in order to advertise it on your page is a scam in itself! You should NEVER pay a company to work FOR them. That’s a win-win for the company and unless you realllllly wanted the product anyway, it’s a lose-lose for you. (PS most the time companies like this have extremely low quality products which you should not promote anyway)
I realize some brands may offer you a promotion code for your followers… they get a discount and you get a commission from each sale, but unless you have tens or even hundreds of thousands of followers, you aren’t going to make very much money in commission.
Speaking from personal experience, I wouldn’t entertain these offers. Keep in mind when you work with a brand it should be a mutually beneficial relationship!
But what if they did DM you? How do you tell if those are a scam or not?
I feel like most of the time, if you’re asking yourself whether it’s a scam or not, it’s probably a scam.
The best way to tell if a brand is actually reaching out to work with you is by the message they send. If it includes a lot of emojis or seems like it’s something they could copy and paste to everyone, it’s probably a scam. However, if the message speaks directly to you - like the example on the top left: “We read your love story and it was truly adorable.”
That shows that they are genuinely interested in you, took the time to look through your profile, and didn’t just copy and paste the same message to hundreds of other people to “buy their products at a discounted rate so you can be a BRAND AMBASSADOR."
They also mention specific details about what kind of work they are looking for. They offered a free canvas in exchange for content instead of a vague message about being an "ambassador."
Okay, so what if a company sends you an email? That’s got to be legit, right?!
A lot of the time, yes! If a brand is reaching out to you through email and they aren’t asking you to pay for shipping or their products, it’s probably a real offer! In the examples below you can see that the one on the top is a scam because the message is not personalized at all. Chances are if you receive a message like this they have never even looked at your profile.
They don’t want to “work” with you… they want you to pay for their products you probably wouldn’t buy anyway, at a discounted price, and give you the shiny title of “brand ambassador.” That’s a full-proof scam. Obviously, if you really want the product and would spend money on it anyway, then go for it. But personally, I wouldn’t entertain these offers solely based on the whole ambassador thing.
The one on the bottom IS personalized and specific. It mentions my Instagram account, has a specific date and clear instructions of the work we would do together, and asks for my rates. Nothing about this message makes me question whether it’s a scam or not.
After talking farther with the Influencer Manager she provided a contract and we have actually built a long-lasting partnership. My last piece of advice to avoid being scammed is ALWAYS sign a contract if it’s a paid collaboration.
If you want to start landing PAID collaborations with as little as 300 followers, don't wait until a legit brand approaches you. Even with 50K followers 90% of my high paying collaborations have been a result of ME reaching out and pitching my services!
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Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! I hope you found it helpful!
With love and light,