The term “influencer” seems to always be met with a roll of the eyes, but the fact is, influencing is an actual job! Now more than ever, people are learning what influencers are, what they do to earn money, and just how much work and effort they put into what they post. But I think there is a difference between content creators and influencers, whether or not other people think so haha.
Although, they both hold relatively the same job basics, I personally believe that “influencers” are people who, more often than not, post-and-run. What I mean by that is that they write a simple one-line caption for a picture that they took in a rather neutral setting, and post a link to their outfit on LikeToKnow.It or have a call to action to click the link in their bio. Overall, from the outside, it doesn’t look like they really “work” on their content, but they still hold a high influence over others enough to make sales on their commissionable links, have great engagement on their social media platforms, and work regularly with companies with sponsored content.
But “content creators” are literally just that – they create content! I believe that content creators spend lots of time on what they post, make beautiful edits of their pictures that are fun and creative, continuously write helpful or insightful blogs or captions, and frequently engage with their followers through comments and DMs. Even though, it might be clear to you based on who you follow who is an influencer and who is a content creator, both jobs are very sought after!
Many people believe that influencers and content creators have a cushy lifestyle and make tons of money doing nothing. As a content creator myself, I can guarantee that is not the case (well at least for me it’s not!). But I am always striving to do more, work with other companies, and turn this side hustle of mine into something that makes me viable money for my future.
And if you are curious about starting your own journey into content creating or influencing, keep reading for five easy tips!
1} Take good quality pictures
I cannot stress this enough – good pictures are EVERYTHING! That being said, do not take your pictures or edit your pictures on Instagram. Don’t use the camera on Instragram and don’t use the editing options there either. Most every content creator/influencer uses Adobe Lightroom to edit their photos. This is the app that allows them to use editing presets that other people sell – you’re probably seen it before. But if you become acquainted enough with this app, then you won’t need to pay for presets because you will know how to edit them yourself – but sometimes they can be fun to use!
By having great pictures, it entices people to want to see more! Lots of people say that your feed needs to have a certain theme in terms of the editing technique that you use (ie, that you use the same way of editing for every single picture so your feed all looks the same). But that’s not necessarily a “need” for me and my content, or for the content that makes me want to follow someone else. I would say, just edit how you want to edit and the people will follow!
2} Build a following
This is a tough one nowadays, but it’s doable. Along with posting great pictures, you need to make sure your captions contain keywords (words that describe the picture, what you’re doing, what you’re wearing, or a conversation starter) and hashtags. This will be how people on the app find your content. Follow up your caption by asking questions because you will want people to comment! That starts the conversation and allows you to comment back and get to know your followers – and better yet, for them to get to know you!
Use Instagram Stories frequently for your followers to see you in action in your normal day-to-day or to take them on fun journeys during your vacations! Make sure to use engaging functions on your stories like Polls, Quizzes, Questions, etc.
3} Download an influencer app
I have downloaded and uninstalled a few of these kinds of apps. Some of them I even passed up just because there was an overwhelming amount of reviews that said the payouts were minimal, their app support was lacking, or that they weren’t paid at all! Either way, I can at least help a little bit to put you in the right direction.
Collabor8 – This was a nice app for a while. You can do one campaign at any given time for free, but as soon as I got an email that a company (they didn’t tell me who) wanted to work with me but that I had already gotten accepted for one already, I had to upgrade to a $4.99 monthly subscription to see it. Only to find out that the company that wanted to work with me is one that I didn’t want to work with. Lots of companies on this app also want you to work for free or cheap. I got accepted for a few campaigns through this app, probably made a total of $40, and got about 3 free items. It’s a great app if you’re just looking to get a foot in the door in places, but overall I would not recommend it. There’s lots of companies on there, but a lot of them were spam, scam (seriously, check their social media legitimacy first), or companies that I didn’t want to work with (like maternity or baby stuff).
Tribe – I downloaded this app maybe a month ago and already I can tell you, it’s a waste of time. This app is different in that it wants you to submit content upfront. What does that mean? Well they put up a very small amount of campaigns on this app and IF you happen to have the item from that company, then you would create content for them. Mind you, you haven’t been accepted yet! After you make your picture perfect to what you think they will like and once you set your posting rate, then you submit your content proposal to the company. Now here’s the kicker – IF this company decides that they like your content, THEN and ONLY then will you get accepted in to their campaign. Once you are accepted, then you will be given instructions on when to post and the payment you will receive. All I’m saying is that it seems like a big waste of my time to make content that might not even be accepted by the company.
Heartbeat – Now this is the app that I use most often for frequent campaigns. I will say this now though – their payouts are VERY minimal. They say your rate is based on your engagement and reach, but I have worked long enough in this business to know that my normal pay rate is about 4 times more than what Heartbeat pays me per campaign. But since I am relatively new to the game and because I am not getting many companies knocking on my door to work with me, I will take whatever side cash I can get. I also really like them because they are constantly posting new campaigns. Use my referral code and you will get $5: http://hrbt.io/join/1128865.
4} Get started on Reward Style and start posting on LikeToKnow.It
Next step – getting commission from items you post about! Reward Style is probably the most popular commission-based influencer program. They make it super easy to convert regular website links into your personal commissionable link. Also what’s great about this program is that you don’t have to own the item to post your commissionable link!
Reward Style is also hooked up to the app called LikeToKnow.It. You might be familiar with it already with some of your favorite content creators or influencers putting something in their Instagram caption like “Shop my style on LikeToKnow.It: www.(whatever-their-link-is).com. LikeToKnow.It is pretty much an app that influencers (and ONLY the influencers that get accepted into the Reward Style program) can post on. That’s right, that means that for anyone else, it’s just an app to look at what popular influencers and content creators are posting. Their posts are pictures of their style with linked, pictured products that consumers can easily click on and buy. It’s a one -stop shop to browse and shop your favorite influencer’s style.
The commission for Reward Style links depends on which retailer you are posting about – I’ve seen rates anywhere between 5-20% for what I normally post about. Each retailer has a different commission rate and obviously the higher the commission rate, the more enticing it will be for you to post about. But obviously don’t go posting about Chanel bags if that’s not what your style is – it will look super unauthentic to your personal brand.
But here’s the big catch! This program is getting to be so big now that the only way to apply to the Reward Style program now is to be referred by someone who is already in it! Dun dun dun… Lucky for you, I can help with that! If you would like to get started getting paid a commission for the links that you are already posting, email me at email@example.com with the subject heading “Reward Style Referral” and tell me your legal name as it will show on your tax forms (they will need this information for me to refer you and for them to also send you a tax form at the end of the year). I will send you an email back once I have put the referral in and shortly after that you should receive a form to fill out!
However, not everyone will be accepted – they are looking for people who post good content, have an engaged following, and who post regularly with original content! There is absolutely NO FOLLOWER MINIMUM! That’s right you DO NOT need to have a certain number of followers to be accepted. I have seen people get accepted for as low as 1,400 followers. All I’m saying is, don’t think you don’t have a big enough following to try to get accepted into this program!
If you do get accepted, email me or DM me! I would love to follow you on LikeToKnow.It to help to build your following up!
5} Email companies that you want to work with!
Last but not least, put yourself out there and email companies that you want to work with and let them know “hey I want to work with you!”. But maybe say it in a much more professional manner haha. I am still trying to get my foot in the door with companies and let me tell you, I have been told “no” or haven’t even received an email back PLENTY of times. But because I feel confident in my page with the great pictures I take, my loyal followership, and the fact that I can go to them and be like “here is what I have done for this company” or “here’s a list of companies that I have worked with in the past”, I put myself out there!
I usually cater all my emails to the company itself, I talk about why we would be a good fit together, and maybe sprinkle in what I love specifically about their products (maybe I even already own something from them that I can send pictures of me wearing or using). I also send along my Media Kit which shows who I am, a brief description of my blog and what I post about on social media, the demographics of my followers, a few key companies that I have worked with in the past, and a photo gallery. This is pretty much the influencer’s version of a resume but made a little more colorful and fun than a regular resume.
It’s also important to make it known that you wish to be paid for your work. Don’t say “Let me know how much you want to pay me, thanks”. But simply state, that if they would like to work with you then you would love to discuss the type of collaboration payment available for posting on your different social media accounts. Sometimes they will respond saying that they will send you something for free (i.e. you will only receive payment in the form of free merchandise), and sometimes they will respond saying that they would like to hear what you offer for certain social media platforms.
Want more information about this tricky subject, read this blog: How to Pitch Yourself as an Influencer to Brands
These steps aren’t hard but they aren’t easy either! They all take constant attention and require you to work hard without seeing a lot of pay in the beginning. Be aware that this will start as a way to get your name out there and more so it will be a side hustle. Don’t expect to make this your full time job for quite some time. But believe in yourself and keep moving forward because it is achievable! You got this!
If you want a referral for the app, Heartbeat, click here. And if you want a referral for Reward Style, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “Reward Style Referral”, or use the contact form below!
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