It’s a crazy world we live in these days.. there are hundreds of thousands, MILLIONS of dollars to be made as an online social media influencer, all from the power of this little device called your cell phone (Do people call it a cell phone anymore? Just a phone? Am I getting old?)
Let’s back up here. You might first be asking yourself what is a social media influencer? An influencer is someone who has influence on other people, simply put. So whether you have an Instagram following or you have a podcast show or you’ve written a book or blog, whether you influence one or a million people, you are an influencer.
So ya’ll like money? I’m assuming you clicked on this post because you want to learn how to make money via your personal platforms. So I’ll give you some high level advice to get you on the right track. Is this the correct path? I didn’t learn this in a book or some agency, I’m just laying out what has and IS working for ME (& my happy bank account).
1.Who the F*&^ Are You?
One of the best lines I ever heard while working in sales is “if you can’t describe what you do, who you are or what you’re selling in the first 30 seconds you’ll lose the customer.” In our instance trying to build your social media brand, the first thing you must know is WHO and WHAT your brand is. More importantly than you knowing you, your audience needs to know who you are. Ask yourself who am I? What do I want my audience to know about me? Who is my audience? What are my passions? What am I willing to share? For example, my Instagram fam knows I LOVE me some spicy margs, my family, fashion & food. What would your audience collectively say about you?
2. Pick a Platform
You don’t need to be on every social platform, don’t spread yourself too thin. My primary social platform is Instagram. It’s what I know & enjoy. Yours might be Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, it does not matter. But don’t feel the need to do it all and get lost. One platform is more than enough but if you can manage multiple, by all means!
3. Time to Brand Up
Branding is just a way for your audience to recognize you. Is it important to have Photoshop and perfect, professional photos? No. Honestly that is just TOO much work, time & money for me, personally. Instead decide what your “look” is- do you wear a lot of pink? Are you a California golden girl? We just want everything to look semi- cohesive & professional, and you CAN do this from free apps on your phone. I played around with different apps over the years and finally found ones I love- try Lightroom, Tezza & ColorTone.
4. Make a Business Account
Turn your personal account into a Business account if your social allows. On Instagram this has saved me. This not only allows brands to email you directly for collaborations, but it allows you to the Insights features. This let’s you know who your audience is, the best time of day to post, & what stories/posts are most successful for future reference.
5. Make Instagram Friends
I’ll be the first to admit, some of my best friends I met online (some I have still yet to meet IRL!!) But finding like minded people- whether they are other moms who get your potty training stories, or health buffs who enjoy sharing healthy recipes with you, find your tribe and support eachother. My “Instagram friends” & I always like, comment & share eachoterh’s content, after all this can be a community of uplifting!
6. Post EVERY DAY
You heard it here, it’s the truth, you gotta post every day. One static post + a few stories is all you need. You are an influencer and have a social responsibility to your audience to give them what they want, essentially. A tip I learned over the years is to shoot lots of content when you can. If you look cute, shoot do an outfit change and get a few shots. Get one standing up, one standing down. Get multiple in one outing. You can also plan these out so you aren’t always on your phone by using apps like Planoly.
7. Google It
While your newfound friends eventually will be helpful, it’s important to remember these bloggers & influencers have spent years getting to where they are, why would they hand over their hard work to a stranger? Also even though it might appear they just take a cute pic and get paid, there are hours, days, sometimes weeks that go into one post, so respect their hustle. Instead, google it first. “How to start a blog” and “the best photo editing apps” are all online, so use your tokens carefully and SPECIFICALLY when reaching out.
8. Jump on Influencer Platforms
Many influencer platforms require a minimum number of followers or some sort of validation (metaphor for 2019??) but its worth a shot. Influencer platforms are where brands go to put out marketing campaigns that you can be invited to or request to collaborate with. I’ve found more than half of my opportunities on these platforms & have created amazing relationships.
9. Make A Media Kit
This is hands down one of the best things I’ve ever done as an influencer. A media kit essentially is a 2-5 page PDF that says ‘this is who I am.’ I include tons of my favorite pictures (remember to show your BRAND, for example I show a mix of family, fitness, fashion because that is my brand). This is also a “menu” if you will- you can put your rates & packages in your media kit to avoid any weird money talk. There are lots of platforms to make your own media kit like Canva.com or you can hire someone (like me!!) to make you one (email or DM me if interested).
10. How Much Do I Charge?
This is a journey in itself. I went from accepting product for free to now having a per post minimum rate +products + freedom to caption. I find that when the brand tells you what to write it LOOKS sales-ey and your audience never likes that. The general rule of thumb starting out is $0.10 per follower. If you have 20k followers you can charge $200/post. But the more you do collabs & the more work you have to show you can charge more. This is your leverage. And don’t be afraid to ask for more!! If you don’t ask the answer is always no. Example- one time a hotel asked me to come in for free beers for a post. Fast forward to me asking and I got a free night stay , event tickets for me and a friend, free dinner and rooftop drinks & valet parking all because I ASKED!
11. Your Audience is KEY
Your audience is your #1 tool. They are the ones following you for whatever reason, this is who you cater to. So when you are wondering what blog post to write- ask your audience, they’re the ones who will be reading! When they ask you for your morning routine, give it to them! Also, remember we are all humans and we CRAVE human connection, we crave to be heard & seen, so spike up your engagement by commenting back, answering DMs. And.. don’t be afraid to be real & vulnerable from time to time. We are all in this weird world together so it’s nice knowing someone else in the world went through a breakup, cried while breastfeeding or is struggling losing the weight.
12. Have No Shame
If you’re embarrassed asking someone to take your picture or do the same hand on hip photo with your boyfriend every picture, this ain’t the job for you. You’ve gotta learn to be shameless when it comes to posing and taking pictures when & where you want. Cute white brick background at golden hour? I don’t care if there are people watching I will snap pictures like a mother fucka. Also, you’ll want to switch up your angles/poses to have a variety of choices. Every influencer takes 50+ pics every shot! More is always better.
If you have ANY questions about social media branding/media kits do not hesitate to reach out @KristenLouelle or email me firstname.lastname@example.org I do offer business services with an e-book coming soon!