Did you know that the history of the word “influencer” may be more complex than you think? It’s true – we can trace the first influencers all the way back to the 1760s, when Josiah Wedgwood crafted a tea set for the Royal Family and declared himself to be the “Potter to Her Majesty”. Of course, the word “influencer” didn’t come into modern usage until the late 2010s, when Instagram and other platforms popularised it and created the job description we know and love today.
Despite what it may look like – after all, many Instagram influencers live very lavish lifestyles – becoming an influencer isn’t easy. You’ve got to be in the right place at the right time, and you need to put in a huge amount of work before you begin to be recognised for anything you’re doing. However, if you approach it with the right attitude, then you can turn social media into a full-time occupation. Here’s how to earn money as a social media influencer.
Amass followers and likes
The first thing you need to do if you want to make money as a social media influencer is to grow your profile. This can be incredibly hard to do, especially on modern platforms like TikTok, so you may want to use services like Social Followers Free in order to get some numbers behind you before you begin your campaign in earnest. These services will drip-feed followers and likes to your account, giving you the confidence (and the statistics!) you need to become an influencer in earnest.
Don’t neglect content
Don’t think that just because you know everything about the metrics and peripheral steps required to become an influencer, you don’t need to make great content. This simply isn’t true; influencers live and die by the content they make. Putting in the extra effort to elevate your content above your competitors – through editing, SEO, and innovative approaches to demographics and niches – will put you ahead in the long run, so don’t skimp on the quality of your content.
Collaborate with brands
A social media influencer’s primary source of income is often brands who want to partner with them to promote products or services. Because of this, you should be on the lookout for brands who want to partner with influencers, and if you get DMs or comments on your posts asking to collaborate, chase those leads up. Often, it’ll turn out there’s no compatibility between you and the brand, but you miss all of the shots you don’t take, so make sure you’re actively searching for those opportunities!
Do your demographic research
Pinpointing the kind of demographic that wants to consume your content will greatly help you to make money as a social media influencer. By doing this, you’ll be able to build more effective ad campaigns and target your content to your chosen demographic, thus increasing the likelihood that you’ll build followers and likes. You can often use built-in social media analytics tools to help you understand what kind of people are following you and consuming your content, but there are also third-party tools available that will let you do this.
Find an influencer network to join
Influencer networks are effectively exactly what they sound like: they’re networks of influencers, put together in order to facilitate speedier connections between influencers and brands. Finding one of these to join would be a great way to make money, because it’s more likely you’ll find the right brand to connect with this way. Of course, if you want to join an influencer network, you’ll likely need to be at a certain level of prestige already, so you may want to wait until you’ve built up some kudos before you attempt this step.
Patreon has been an eye-opener for many content creators and influencers who want to keep working at what they do, but don’t necessarily want to partner up with brands in order to do so. Using Patreon, you can ask your followers to directly pay you for the content you create. In return, you can offer them exclusive access to certain bonus content; many Patreon users choose to provide early-bird looks at content, or even entirely exclusive posts or images that non-subscribers don’t get to see!
Sell content directly
This can be quite a risky approach, because it can be difficult to get people to want to buy your content directly if it’s not of sufficiently high quality. However, if you’re an Instagram influencer, you could sell your photos as prints or canvases for your fans to buy. Similarly, if you’re a musician, you could sell your music on a pay-what-you-want basis. Depending on the nature of your social media influencer career, people may want to directly pay for your content, so don’t dismiss this option out of hand!
Sell your services
If you’re a blogger or an artist, you may want to consider taking commissions. Selling your art is never easy; if you do it right, you don’t need to give up creative control at all, but it requires you to stand your ground. You’ll also need to keep a cool head in the face of derision or incredulity at your pricing (which you will, unfortunately face). However, if your skills are good enough, you may find that people want to pay you in order to create something to their specifications. As a side effect, this can also be an excellent way to build an influencer platform; the more happy commissions you get, the more publicity you’ll enjoy!