What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the word “influencer?”
For a lot of people, that term puts a sour taste in their mouth because we tend to think of these over-hyped celebrities and “public figures” putting the extra in extravagant lifestyles that seem way out of our reach. Right?
Well, I’m here to tell you to scratch that definition out of your mind! Believe it or not, I actually used to think the same thing.
That’s until I realized that we’re literally all doing the same things that a typical influencer does on a daily basis. We all use our social media to post photos, share information, motivation and memes, talk about our favorite products and life experiences etc. using these platforms to stay connected with the each other, and the world.
In other words, we “influence” wether there’s a payment involved or not.
So why is it that these people are getting PAID to do the same tasks we’re all doing anyway? Literally because they are posting with intent. They are treating themselves and their accounts as a business, and using these tips I’ll be sharing below, you can too!
I know we all share this dream of being our own boss, and being in control of our futures. Although that dream is definitely achievable, I will say it’s far from easy! This position requires your full-time attention and effort, more than any other business or job you’ve probably ever had.
You should come to terms with the fact that you’re almost never “off” because your works your livelihood, so be prepared to be doing lots of multitasking around the clock in order to keep the ball rolling.
I had no idea the amount of WORK and strategy that goes into being a content creator when I started, so I figured you guys deserved a fair warning before we jump into it.
What is an Influencer?
Contrary to popular belief, the correct definition of an influencer actually has nothing to do with numbers or the amount of followers you have on social media. An influencer is someone who holds value and has an influential voice that impacts others in their community.
That means whether you have 50 followers or 500k, you have built a community of people that really feel connected to you.
These people relate with your posts and believe in the things you share. Whether you have built a genuine relationship via messages, based off relatability or simply just people who are just inspired by your work or personality and enjoy your content. This is your beautiful, loving, growing community and these are the people who should matter to you most in this business.
Although it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game and feel discouraged that you don’t have a K in your followers, trust me I’m victim of it too, don’t let it stop you!
If this is something you truly enjoy doing, and you find a passion in it, then there’s no reason you can’t do it. As long as you find your niche, and stay consistent with what you enjoy sharing, you’ll attract all the right people in due time.
Yes, social media is oversaturated with millions of others who want to be self-employed entrepreneurs, but let’s not forget the fact that nobody is YOU and that is your power. Nobody has the uniqueness, the voice, the style or perspective like you. You are one of a kind, and there’s definitely room for you in this big world just as much as anybody else.
1. The Foundation
If you want to be an Influencer, ask yourself these questions:
- Who are you? What is your niche? / What category does your content fall under? (ie. Fitness, Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle etc.)
- Who is your desired audience?
- Who do you want to be influencing, and connecting with on your platform?
- What are your goals? What are the results you want to gain from committing yourself to this?
- How much time can you commit to strictly content creating to keep a consistent strategy?
- Do you have something you’re passionate about that you would love to share with the world and inspire others with?
- What sets you apart from everyone else? What makes you stand out?
- Do you know which platform you want to *mainly* focus on and build your community? (ie. Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Blogging etc.)
If you can answer these questions above, then you’re definitely ready to move on to the next step and get started on your journey. Keep in mind, you can absolutely do this as a part time job for extra income, but like everything else, the harder you work, the more success you’ll see.
2. What can you offer without having a large following?
This was a huge question I had when I first jumped into this field. How on earth can I stand out and connect with people and brands when I have such a small following?
For context, when I started back in May of 2020 I had about 1,800 followers or so, which may or may not seem like a small number depending on how you look at it. However, at the time I felt like I had such a small audience and had no idea how to get anyone to want to work with me, I just wanted to create and share content I loved and enjoyed. If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place.
Welcome to the world of micro-influencers.
Okay Nicole,What the hell is that?
Micro-influencer is basically the fancy term for anybody with a decent following from 1k-150k on social media. They have a loyal audience, and are much more engaged with them on a daily basis than celebrities or larger influencers. They have that “someone like me” relatability, and are typically an expert in their respective niche which can range from travel, fashion, fitness, beauty, business and the list goes on.
Frankly, people are tired of celebrity advertisements and endorsements as it comes off inauthentic. We no longer need a celebrities stamp of approval for validation because we don’t feel personally connected to them.
Instead, we’re turning to regular people that we follow and interact with daily and taking word of mouth to a whole new level.
So don’t think just because you don’t have a big following that this business isn’t for you. A smaller audience just means more hands-on personal and genuine interactions with your community, which is marketing gold in the eyes of a business. In fact, 83% of consumers stated they trust recommendations from peers over advertising.
People today just want a recommendation they can trust, and not some BS. That’s where you come in!
Here’s a list of some things you can offer a brand as a micro-influencer:
- Branded Content – This can be product photography, articles, videos, or podcasts that bring relevant and valuable information to the consumer. Here is where you share your honesty, your creativity, and story-telling to create value and credibility with the targeted audience whom you’re sharing to.
i.e: This was an image I posted on my IG feed featuring my current favorite makeup Il Makiage product lineup and some daily accessories. The brand liked it so much to actually share the image on their feed to 735k followers and tagged me for photo credits. In return, I’m building a relationship with the brand and we’re both attracting new people who share the same interests, which is key!
- Engagement – Your connection and relationship with your audience is valuable currency to a brand. This allows a guaranteed reach to new potential consumers that you can offer a brand, in exchange for free products or payment. Micro-influencers tend to have double to triple the engagement rates compared to larger followed accounts.
- Creative Ideas to target/expand their audience – If you have a creative idea you think would boost awareness for a specific brand you love, pitch it to them! Your community is likely filled with niche-focused individuals like yourself, which is gold for a brand that represents a product or service for that specific avenue. It would’t hurt to send a friendly yet professional DM or email to your desired brand and suggest your collaboration idea. It may take a while to gain the confidence to do so, but write those ideas down any chance you get for future reference.
- Authenticity – Unlike celebrities, people like us give our unbiased opinions every single day and “influencing” wether there’s payment involved or not. We keep it real no matter what, no gimmicks and our audience appreciates us for that and takes our word as bond.
- High Quality Content – I’d highly recommend investing in a tripod with a bluetooth clicker to take your own photos. For me, I started to plan, style, shoot, and edit all of my own content and honestly, it’s so much easier than having to make your mom or bf/gf try to take the same photo 1,000 times trying to get it right. Skip the middle man and have fun with it, you’ll thank me later.
*Tip: Make sure you are always tagging the brands/businesses you share in every post or story! You never know, they might reply or even ask to use your photo for their feed or website! You’re a business now, take yourself seriously and brands will too.
3. Two Words: Influencer Marketing
This has absolutely changed the game for me and opened me up to the world of collaborations and allowed me the opportunity to work with brands I’ve always loved and admired, such as Ofra Cosmetics, Artis, Rituals, and more.
Influencer Marketing is basically liked a LinkedIn for brands & influencers. You apply (most are instant approval), make a profile, pitch yourself to open campaigns or get invited to apply for gigs based on your portfolio.
This is a GREAT way to get started monetizing as a content creator and building a portfolio and network.
4. How do you make money from Influencer Marketing?
In the beginning, a lot of these opportunities you’ll come across are gifted campaigns, which means free product in exchange for posts. As you grow and continue to share your creativity, you will start to receive paid gigs as well.
As you get more established, you’ll need a Media Kit which will basically be a marketing resume that will summarize who you are, your services, your social media statistics, previous partnerships and your rates. The best part about this career is you get to choose your own rates and set a price you believe your work is worth.
That’s how most of the larger, well-known influencers you see on the explore page make a living off Instagram. Everyone started somewhere, but now you have the cheat code!
Affiliate Marketing is another big way bloggers and influencers make a quick buck, by using affiliate programs to generate links for products you use that you can share with your audience and earn a small commission. Yes, I’m going to share some of those programs too, keep reading!
5. What’s the catch?
It is imperative to your reputation and your community that you always remain true to yourself and who you are.
With that being said, be very selective with who you work with in this business. I know the idea of having a marketplace of brands out there to work with can be exciting, and initially you want to jump right in heads first and collaborate with just about everybody, but trust me, nobody respects that person and they usually end up being muted or blocked for coming off “spammy”.
Also, if you’re actively posting on social media, you’ve probably received comments or DM’s that look like this:
These are not safe nor recommended to collaborate with and most times they are trying to scam you. If they offer you free merchandise but you have to pay the shipping, just close it and delete. Please be very aware of suspicious accounts and do not give your personal confidential information out to them.
Now, without further adieu, the moment you’ve been waiting for! Here are some of the best apps and programs to use when trying to grow your platform and make money as a creator.
Affiliate Marketing Apps
Influencer Marketing Apps
8. Hashtag Paid
I hope this post answered some questions you may have had about this business and how to get started! I am definitely not an expert but I have noticed a ton of growth since May while using these platforms and staying consistent, so I wanted to share all of my resources to help the next person out. That’s what this internet stuff is all about, right?
What are some other questions or topics you’d like to read about? Let me know in the comments! While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe for more awesome posts like this below.