Let's admit it, everyone would love to get paid for their social media posts. Especially when the word is out there that the average payment for a sponsored post is $300. The bigger influencer can get up to and ever over $25,000 - craaaaazy, I know!
I am going to share everything I know and my tips and tricks solely from my own personal experience as a social media influencer. Good news for you guys I hope - I have never been a full time influencer and I've still been able to make a good amount of cash from it so hopefully a lot of you will be able to relate to some of the things I will be talking about here.
No one ver taught me what to do or how to do it. I taught myself and now I will be teaching you. But before I get into the detail, I will share some of the key terminology I believe is important for you to understand.
What is a social media 'Influencer'?
An influencer is someone with a sigfinicant amount of following on their social media channels that is sometimes paid by a brand and/or company to promote products and services by using their 'influence' on others. Influencers are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge, experience and expertise on a specific topics such as fashion, travel, fitness etc. They create regular content on their niche on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views. In this blogpost, I will be focusing on Instagram as a platform. Let me make something clear: you do not have to be a full-time influencer to secure paid partnerships on Instagram.
What is a sponsored post?
A sponsored or in other words a paid post, is a post made on your social media channels (for this purpose, Instagram) in exchange for compensation. The compensation can be in the form of a free product, a free accommodation stay or cash payment. Usually sponsored posts include hashtags such as “#sponsored” or “#ad” in order to comply with FTC regulations.
Why brand use Influencers?
More and more brands have been allocating their marketing budget to social media influencers. By using influencers, they can get their products in front of their target audience much easier than the traditional marketing techniques. They can target a specific social demographic with just one post and get as niche as they want to! They also like loyalty. Brands often chose to grow with you and prefer establishing a longer term relationship. So for example, if they started off working with you when you had 10,000 followers then over the months you grow to 30,000, their exposure will increase in line with your growth. What a great win win for both. Later on I will talk about some of the ways I develop longer term brand partnerships with brands.
What does it take to make it happen?
Let's get real. You have to be ready to work and to work hard. The life of an influencer is never as easy and glamorous as it seems from the outside. The industry is so saturated and everyone want to get paid for their work no matter how big or small their audience is. I am not saying this is a bad thing, it shows they know their worth which is what I will get onto next. However, it does make things more competitive and brands will not always fall into your inboxes. You have either got to meet them half way or be the one taking the first step.
How much should I charge? As I said above, it is important to know your worth. You need to start off by setting a price to get paid. As a general rule, you can get paid up to $10 per 1,000 followers. So if you have 10,000 followers you should be aiming at around $100 per sponsored post. What's even more important than your number of followers is your engagement. I'm sure you will have come across numerous accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers but yet they only have 2-3 comments under their posts or very few likes. There is definitely something sketchy happening there and brands always recognise this.
Have a media kit. A media kit will show off who you are what you do. Just like a CV but for content creators. It is absoletely necessary to have one as it's your one and only opportunity to really show your work and your follower stats and demographics and this is what brands look for when working on paid partnerships with influencers.
Start Contacting Brands
Now onto the exciting part! It's almost like creating a Christmas wishlist. You know your rates, you have your media kit, it's time to get cracking with a list of brands you'd like to work with.
As my page is mostly all about travel, I would start by making a list of hotels that looked dreamy and great for content creation in my dream destination that I would like to partner up with for free accommodation in exchange for content on my IG page. I've always been realistic, I am not going to get paid to stay in a hotel with just over 120,000 followers. However, good news is that it doesn't have to just be limited to hotels. I obviously have to wear nice clothes in my photos, right? This is where my paid partnerships would come in..
Knowing your brand options and maximising opportunities is very important. It can be anything from partnering up with a car hire company to photograhy equipment you might want to use during your trip. How about the healthy snack you want to take with you or the yoga mat brand you could promote during your 'staying fit on vacation yoga morning practice'?
What I find very important is to stay true to your brand and what you stand for. Do not go over board by focusing on the financial gains and put your brand and your social media profile at risk by accepting brand partnerships from brands that do not fit in with your story. I have been approached by so many companies to promote their brands that are not in line with my value that I have had to reject. I will not be naming any but hope you get the gist of what I'm trying to say here.
Stay patient and don't lose hope. Once you've reached out to the brands on your wishlist, be ready to be rejected. These brands get the same type of requests all the time. Trust that if you're good at what you do and you have high quality content, your work will shine through and you will eventually be recognised. Pitching to brands, finding the right contact, writing emails and proposal are more than 70% of the work. Stay with you and trust the process. As long as do the hard work it will start paying off eventually.
I mention finding the right contact as this is sometimes half the struggle. I always start off by sending a DM to the brands account on IG and follow up with a comment on their latest post as often my messages will fall into their 'spam' folder if we are not following each other. Also, make sure you do start following the brand as they want to know you are genuinly interested in working with them. I often get messages from strangers saying 'I've been following your content for a while and ...' I then go into their profiles and notice they aren't actually following me. Doesn't seem genuine does it?
The Pitch. Now that I know my plans and who I want to email, it's time for me to start pitching. This is always the hard one I get sucked into. I always try to remind myself that the shorter and briefer the pitch the better. It's like receiving a long CV for a job application which you don't bother reading as there's too much to get through. We all love receiving free products but the end goal is to make money. I always just bite the bullet and go for it. The worst case scenario it's a no. Even then, I accept it with grace and try to build a relationship with the person knowing we may cross paths in the future some day.
The pitch email should always be personalised to the brand and your proposal. You don't want to give them the impression that it's a copy paste email. The brands want to feel loved too! Always remember to include your Media kit and pricing in the email. There are plenty of website that have good pitching email examples for you to take a look at.
You've made it! Now a brand has accepted your fees and to send you your desired items to create the content, make sure there is a mention of a contract with the clear key deliverables and fees included so that all is signed sealed and ready to be delivered.
Hopefully you find this useful. I will be sharing more from my influencer life and more tips on how to turn your social media into a business in the upcoming weeks.