Do you ever get on Instagram and feel like everyone is trying to be an influencer? Well friends, here’s the thing… If you have just 10 followers and are sharing things you love, chances are that you have an impact on someone’s decision making therefore, you’re influencing.
That being said, being an “influencer” isn’t an overnight success. In fact, for many, it will never be able to sustain a full-time income unless you really have your ducks in a row. With an ever-changing social space and marketing tactics, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and have a game plan for the personal brand you’re building. Below, I’m going to share my best tips for being a micro influencer with you.
Tip 1: Ask Yourself Why
Why do you want to be a micro influencer? Maybe you want to help people find the best home décor at affordable prices. Maybe you want to share your adventures with your tribe.
If you’re doing it for the self-validation of “likes” or “followers,” you should not play this game, sister. In other words, if any of your reasons for influencing include elaborate trips, thousands of dollars, or popularity, go ahead and take a step back to reevaluate.
Tip 2: Find your Niche
I like to explain niches in terms of expertise. Trendy in Indy started because I wanted to share my expert styling advice with an audience that could relate to me. Now, I didn’t go to school for fashion, but I’ve worked in the industry for almost 9 years now and I’ve learned enough about casual style to call myself an expert. You certainly don’t need a doctorate to be an expert within your niche. Just find one thing you’re stellar at, and share the shit out of it.
Tip 3: Pave your OWN path
This micro influencer marketing industry is saturated with accounts that look identical to each other. You are not the same as everyone else because you have your own story so why are you trying to write yours like the girl you’ve been following for two years? Share YOUR story because that’s what your tribe wants to hear.
Tip 4: Stop Asking for Handouts
Guys, I want to help you and serve you, but it is so frustrating to receive DMs asking to “pick my brain” or asking me to divulge how I build relationships with brands or how I got invited to X networking event. The truth of the matter is that I’ve networked my way into events, I’ve developed strategies on my own, I hired a business coach, and I’ve taken courses to help me grow my platform.
You need to do the work and take ownership for growing your brand on your own. Figure out what you want to learn and take a course or buy an e-book. In fact, this is why I launched my e-books. I layout the exact growth strategies for Instagram in one and the tactics I’ve used to build long-term relationships and paid collaborations with brands in the other. You can click here to check those out if you’re interested.
Tip 5: Develop your Own Products or Services
As a micro influencer, you are constantly relying on someone else to provide an income for you and say yes to your pitch. We’ve reached a point of insane saturation and brands can’t say yes to everyone. It’s crucial for you to have something that you can call your own and that can provide a passive income. Developing your own products or services is what will help take you to the next level in your personal brand.
Tip 6: Don’t Focus Solely on Instagram
Instagram is RENTED space. RENTED SPACE. RENTED SPACE. Did you catch that? You don’t own it, you don’t own your followers, and you could lose access to your account at any time. Yes, Instagram is important for building your presence and it’s a great creative outlet, but do not let it dominate your business plan. It should be a supplement for sharing your messages, but ultimately you should use Instagram to drive your followers back to your own site, store location, etc.
Tip 7: Develop a Personal Brand, not just a Platform and not just a Business.
A brand is the voice behind your business. It’s how you communicate with your audience, how your business looks and feels, the story you share with your audience. A personal brand allows your audience to feel like they can relate to what you’re creating and most importantly, a brand can pivot as you pivot and grow.
Tip 8: Know your Worth and Be Fair
This is a sensitive topic, but one that needs attention and thought. Right now, the industry standard is a penny per follower based on Instagram (so for 10K followers, one post is valued at $100). This standard is evolving to include engagement, stories, and content creation. For me, I always think about what’s being asked, how much time it’s going to take from start to finish, and what stipulations are involved. From there, I come up with an hourly rate.
But guys, everyone wants theirs and that means that if you’re asking for compensation, you better be driving results. It’s up to you to have a clear understanding of the marketing goals with your brand partners and to follow up with them on ROI.
Tip 9: Pitch Yourself and Get Your Name Out There
If you really want to be an influencer and start earning an income for sharing what you love, you’re going to have to pitch yourself. In the e-book I wrote on building long-term partnerships with brands, I included both good and bad pitch examples. I walk you through the exact steps you’ll need to land successful partnerships.
Along with pitching, you need to go to networking events. If it’s open to the public, within your niche, and there could be an opportunity for connections, you need to be there, Rockstar.
Tip 10: Partner with Brands that Align with your Mission and Have Integrity in your Promotions.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen a micro influencer that I know personally promote a product that I know for a fact they don’t actually use. You guys, have some integrity. If you don’t use it, don’t promote it just for the paycheck. If you get to that point, go back to your why. Each partnership should align with overall mission and core values. If it doesn’t, don’t do it. I promise that your authenticity of sticking to what’s true to you is more valuable than that one-time paycheck.
I could chat with you for hours about the research I’ve done on micro influencer marketing, what works, what doesn’t, the brand side of things, and so much more. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be this: being popular doesn’t pay the bills and “likes” from strangers won’t fulfill you.
Find a way to share your story on your creative terms and serve your audience through your expertise.