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Since this blog is all about making profit online, why not write about influencer marketing? In my early days of social media marketing, I used influencers a lot to build my following on my Instagram account. I used influencers to advertise a lot and made many of my sales that way. But Leah, you’re supposed to be teaching me how to become an influencer, not how to use influencers! I’m telling you this because I have been in both positions – as an influencer with brands, and using other influencers.
While trying to search for a topic to write about, I happened to do a search on influencer marketing and there was a peak of searches during the pandemic. I guess everyone was trying to figure out ways to make money while we were all locked up at home. Becoming an influencer can be really lucrative if done right. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably curious and want to know how to become an influencer right? Is it too late to become one though?
What exactly is a social media influencer? An influencer is someone who has built up a following in a particular niche. They are the go to expert and have built influence in this niche. Because they have built up the influence in this niche, brands want to work with them to reach their audience. There are micro and macro influencers. Micro influencers usually have 10,000-50,000 followers. Macro influencers have an extremely large following compared to a micro influencer. Macro influencers also cost thousands of dollars to work with, but don’t worry because plenty of brands love working with micro influencers. Brands can reach many different audiences working with micro influencers instead of blowing that money off on one macro influencer that might not even bring them a lot of sales. Micro influencers are really popular to work with so it is not too late to become an influencer as building a 10,000 following can be done extremely quick, especially on TikTok. TikTok is still a fairly new platform that doesn’t block reach.
Pick your niche
To become an influencer, you must pick your niche first. What do you not mind talking about for days? When I mean days, I really mean days because you will be talking about this topic for a really long time. You’ll be building your business around this niche. You don’t want to confuse your followers so you must talk about the niche until you are credible enough to start branching out to other topics. You will become the go to authority in this niche. You will build influence in this niche. Make sure that this is also a popular niche so that there are plenty of brands to partner with. After all, brands are part of how you will get paid.
Grow your following
You’ll need to grow your following on a social media platform. Focus on one platform that you can master and build influence on. Instagram and YouTube are popular platforms to partner with brands. TikTok has become quite popular and is one of the easiest platforms to go viral because they haven’t regulated reach compared to Instagram.. Brands want influencers to have at least 10,000 followers so this would be the first growth goal if you are thinking about becoming an influencer that makes money. Depending on the platform, you’ll need to have a business account or content creator account. There are other names for these accounts, but basically you need an account that allows brands to run ads on and be able to see your insights or analytics.
Brands begging to send free product
As you build a following, you will start getting brands contacting you to send you a free product in exchange for a shoutout. This is when you know that you have made it. A lot of influencers will gladly accept the free product especially if it is more expensive. Who doesn’t want free products right? The thing with accepting a free product is that it devalues the whole influencer market. Why would brands pay influencers lots of money when they can find many new micro influencers accepting free products?
If you have 10,000 followers and accept the free product that probably only took a few dollars to make, the brand makes huge money savings and profit because of your reach. It would cost them thousands of dollars just to get a reach of 10,000 if they were to do their own advertising. Not only that, your word to your followers is more credible than their word to an unknown market that they are trying to advertise to. You’ve built up your own brand and your followers will naturally agree to what you say making the sales for whatever you are pitching easier. If a brand was trying to target your same followers through an ad, they wouldn’t have the same impact because they are an unknown brand to your followers. It is also harder for brands to target their customers compared to using an influencer.
Many brands will approach you to become their ambassador. They are hoping that influencers will pitch their products to their following. This is a great opportunity for the brand, but it’s not that great for the influencer, unless the commission is high. Most of the time the commission structure is so low. It is usually 10% commission when one of the followers uses a code. This is really a ton of free advertising for the brand when they would normally be paying thousands in ad spend to get that much reach on their product. However, if the item aligns with your following and you can negotiate with the brand a higher commission rate, then you could very well make a lot of money as an ambassador. It’s even better if your followers know that you use the product every day because then they will want to use it too.
Pitch to brands
Want to start working with your favorite brands? Go ahead and do it. It can be intimidating at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. Brands want to know what you can do for them. It really isn’t about you. It is about how you can help their business. With your pitch, you’ll need to send over your media kit. Your media kit should have your contact information, a little about you, your social media accounts, your following count, your following demographic, your engagement rate, etc. Brands want relevant information that would help them make the decision to work with you. A lot of brands also want the ability to run ads through your social media account so it is also best to have a Facebook page for this.
Sign up for agencies
One of the best ways to get paid partnerships is through influencer agencies. There are many agencies out there, but they aren’t all equal. Some agencies have a lot of brands that will only pay $25 for a post. Please do not work with these brands. You’ve worked so hard to build your following and this would be a disservice. With the influencer marketing agency, you are able to bid on projects as well as be found by branding managers. My two favorite agencies are Izea and Popular Pays. Working with a brand is not just limited to one post. There could be a whole campaign around a product that you will have to do. Sometimes brands will use an influencer’s account to run ads on Facebook and Instagram. Have you ever seen where your favorite influencer is running an ad about a brand? It’s not your favorite influencer running the ad, it’s the brand running the ad through your favorite influencer’s account through Facebook Business Manager. Make sure you charge a good amount of money for doing this.
Build a blog
While building a following is great, a blog can get even more partnership work with brands. A blog is also a medium that you control, unlike a social media account. A social media account could get wiped out or the servers could go down like it often does. It’s really easy for it to just disappear and unfortunate if it does happen because of all the time spent on building it. With a blog, you have full control of what content you can post. The best part is that your content could circulate all around the internet and can be found through a Google search. A blog also allows you to generate more income from other sources rather than just relying on paid partnership with a brand. Check out this article on how to start a blog that makes money.
Build an email list
Building an email list should be the first step in any business. Especially if you are selling things online. If your social media and blog ever goes down, there is always an email list that allows you to keep in contact with your subscribers. The good thing about email lists is that the person has to go through a series of steps to actually give you their email compared to social media where they are just hitting the follow button. There are many email marketing companies out there, but my favorite one is Active Campaign because they have amazing automation sequences. Want to learn how to set up your automated email marketing campaigns that becomes passive? Check out this blog article on how I automate my email marketing strategy so that I only have to build it once and it continues to run passively.
Leverage affiliate marketing
While working with brands is great, it also involves waiting around for them to come to you or you approaching them with a pitch, affiliate marketing is a lot easier and you can start making money as soon as possible. All it requires is an approval from a company to become their affiliate. Then you can start making commission for selling their product. Amazon is one of the biggest affiliate programs and it is called Amazon Associates. Ever wonder how YouTubers make money? Plenty of them are affiliates for Amazon. Amazon’s commission structure is very small though. It’s about 3% or less per sale. Other companies have 10%, 15%, and 25% commission. There are even others that pay as much as 50% or even higher in commission. It takes the same effort selling something for $10 as it does selling something for $1000. Why not sell the product that is $1000? Check this training out on how to build a high ticket affiliate business.
Sell your own thing
If you’ve built such a big influence, why not sell your own thing? A great example of this would be Kylie Jenner with her makeup brand. Why wait for others to pay you to promote your brand when you can promote your own brand and make all the profit? There are so many products you could private label in your niche. You can create and launch a course. You can sell tshirts. You can also dropship where you don’t have to buy the product and it ships directly from the seller. You could even sell on Amazon. There are so many ways you can leverage selling your own product all from the comfort of your own home. Which one would you like to do?
Most influencers will make money through brand partnerships. Why only stop there though? Brand partnerships are an active form of income. If you want to build a business that has passive income, then it’s best to implement the other sources of income generation too. Why wouldn’t you want to leverage your influence into other income generating things?