Don’t Drown As a Mainstream Social Influencer


Rocking the Digital Life 

Everyone wants to live off Instagram. Okay maybe not everyone, probably not your grandpa. But MOST people — That’s why even your mom’s work friend suddenly took up LipSense sales and ambassadorship.

That’s because in the last several years since Instagram’s growth and acquisition by Facebook, making money and getting ‘famous’ has become more and more possible. Or at least, more and more mainstream. Half the influencers, actually, get to where they are by selling advice on how to get where they are. It’s a confusing industry, so let us set some things straight:

  • It’s not the best marketing tactic. Unless you have thousands to drop for a single post from a major Kim K celebrity type, or the time and patience to track down a smaller influencer that has a genuinely engaged audience that also aligns with your product.
  • You can do it yourself and become the influencer, but it’s a TON of work, and you have to seriously understand personal branding.
  • You won’t make as much money as you think without a whole lot of time, some money to spare, and a lot of luck. Most influencers don’t make a whole living off their social platform- they pair it with a consultancy, freelancing, workshops, YouTube, and more.

Who’s Looking?

Supply and demand– that’s a pretty traditional concept, so let’s start there. There’s always a demand for attractive people to take nice pictures. But guess what? The supply is not limited. You’re the supply. Everyone from high school that wants to travel and go to festivals and get paid by Sun Bum and Red Bull is the supply. And brands know you are trying. In fact, a huge tactic these days by half-assed brands is to DM wannabe influencers and say “Hey babe! We love your style and your feed! Want a 50% off bikini in exchange for you tagging us in 3 posts of you in it?”

HINT: They don’t need the posts from you because they made money off your ‘half off’ purchase already.

They know the younger generations, those entering the workforce, are already leaning towards independence, remote working and traveling, being your own boss, and leaving the traditional 9-5 behind. And they know exactly how to advertise to you because of it. So don’t fall in line with the other million wannabes. If you’re going to go for it, go for it hard.

Here are some pointers:

  1. Take some free classes on personal branding and any other marketing-related topics you can (copywriting, understanding hashtags, finding your niche, identifying your genius zone, S.M.A.R.T. goals, Lightroom photo editing, creative advertising ideas, etc.)
  2. Build your portfolio and credibility — that means get published for what you know or what you’re good at. Blog, write guest articles, partner with other small influencers, enter digital communication or photography competitions and get noticed. There are plenty of Facebook groups and online communities that will help you get started.
  3. Set a schedule and stay committed. Not to be totally corny, but most people fail because they didn’t try long enough. Building a brand and a loyal community takes time.
  4. Stick to what you’re good at. You don’t have to take up food photography or modeling necessarily. Be honest with what your goal is (Mental health tips? Poetry? Mommy blogging? Skin care? Fitness?) and start working around that. You’ll end up with a more genuine audience that way too.
  5. Plan to not get seriously paid for posts until you have at least 10K followers and even then, your engagement has to stay stellar– follower count means bologna if your engagement is at 3%. (This is why buying followers never actually works in the long run.)
  6. Be open to, but cautious of, partnerships. It’s ok to turn something down if it doesn’t align with your brand or beliefs. Don’t be afraid to reach out to big and small brands in exchange for promotion. Get creative– what can you provide them in exchange? What makes you special? You don’t have to stand out in every way, stand out in your way.

 

An Attainable Feat

All of this said… becoming an influencer – on any platform – is hard, but not impossible. Creative advertising ideas and the marketing industry are constantly evolving, so it’s only a matter of time and wit to be at the forefront of the next wave of influencers. It starts with putting yourself out there. Win graphic design awards, take an online class so many times you could teach it, be bold in who you are and what you bring to the world.

That’s what we do, and it works pretty darn well.

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