It’s a funny question to get, but so many people ask, “how do you make money as an influencer?” In this post, I’m diving into the dirty details and being realistic with how to make influencing a sustainable source of income.
How to Make Money as an Influencer
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about being an influencer is that it’s “easy” to make thousands or even millions of dollars. Sure, it’s easy for some. But not every person is going to create insane content that lands them brand deals with Nordstrom’s or Calvin Klein.
First and foremost to even think about making money as an influencer you need two things: a personal brand and a tribe. A personal brand is the story you share with your audience. It’s your backstory, your WHY for doing what you do. It’s the way your audience and potential clients perceive you in the marketplace. Notice for the second thing you need, that I used the word “tribe” and not “followers”? You can buy followers that basically act as a number or you can create a community full of loyal, die hard brand fans, aka your tribe. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that followers do not always equal money. Brands usually know when a following is inorganic or purchased so just don’t even go down that road.
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s talk about the tangible ways to make money as an influencer
How to make money as an influencer:
Instagram stories, a static post on a social feed, a blog post, a YouTube video, and the list goes on. All of these are spaces where sponsored content can be hosted. A brand pays for the content creation from the photography to the caption to the lengthy blog post AND they pay for access to your audience. So how do you determine your worth? Well, you can check out Social Bluebook, but the generally rule of thumb is $100 for every 10K followers on Instagram or a penny per follower. You also have to determine your hourly rate which should increase as your tribe grows.
I have a love/hate relationship with these. The one you are most likely familiar with is LiketoKnow.it. As an influencer, you are accepted into a program called rewardStyle once they deem you fit to be a member. Then you can earn a few dollars off the $100 shirt you bought at Madewell by linking it in your post on Instagram or your blog. So yes, every time you buy something from a blogger you love, they get a kickback IF you buy from their link.
Some people make great money off this, but some people spend way too much time trying to climb a popularity ladder for very little money. It’s convenient to use when you ask me about my foundation or the outfit I’m wearing from Forever 21 so I can easily provide you with a direct link. Other than that, it doesn’t do a whole lot to add to my business because I have chosen not to spend a ton of effort on growing on someone else’s platform. Julie Solomon calls it the affiliate rat race and that’s pretty accurate.
Some influencers are asked to speak at events or attend events where they are paid for their time to be there and cover it on their platforms. Whenever I am asked to attend an event, I almost always ask for compensation because time is money. If I’m covering the event on my social pages, the brand is gaining all kinds of attention from my audience because let’s be real, it’s fun to follow someone at an exclusive party or grand opening.
This is the next big thing for influencers in my opinion and it’s a way to create something that is your own vs. always creating for other brands. These can be educational courses, e-books, presets, t-shirts. If you can dream it, you can create it.
Now before you even go there, Ericka and I do not make a dime off of Indy Wine Chats, yet. This is on our radar for 2019 as our platform grows and our audience is established. Podcasts are a really great way to further connect to your audience and dive further into your niche. Promo plug: please subscribe to us on iTunes to helps us grow, thank you!
GUEST POSTING OR FREELANCE WRITING
If you have some real writing ability, and believe me some “bloggers” absolutely do not, then you may have the opportunity to freelance those skills. I’ve done that with a few publications and it’s a great way to create content you’d write about for your blog anyway, but now it’s reaching a different audience and you’re being paid for it.
Oh yeah, some people get paid to travel. Now that is living the dream. Your following has to be significant for this and extremed niched down. The Hilton doesn’t pay just anyone.
Being an influencer is essentially having a bunch of side hustles under one hat. It’s creating various services and hosting content on a variety of platforms to share your message. So remember, it’s not all about Instagram and it shouldn’t be.
Stay true to you, know your worth, and be confident in your abilities. The rest will fall into place.
Cheers to always hustling,