You have a few thousand Instagram followers, and although you’re slowly climbing the ladder as a social media influencer, you want to monetize your influence better. Or maybe you’re fairly new to the world of influencer marketing, and you want to start your journey and make money on social media.
Whatever the case may be, this guide will help you understand what you need to do if you want to make money as an influencer through social media.
The Basics of Making Money as a Social Media Influencer
Before we get into the details of how exactly you can make more money on social media as a social media influencer, let’s talk about the basics of establishing your value as an influencer. Getting these basics right can help you gain more credibility and win the trust of potential partners. Some of the basics will also make it easier for you to get into the radar of brands that are looking for influencers.
#1: Produce High-Quality Content
The quality of your content can determine the kind of impression you’ll make on potential partners. And of course, high-quality content is crucial if you want to make a good first impression. When brands look for potential influencers to work with, they’ll look at the influencer’s relevance, reach, and engagement rate. But they’ll also go through the influencer’s content just to see how good of a content creator they are.
So whatever content you post on social media should be of high quality if you want to make money on social media. Invest in a decent camera if possible so you can produce better images. And make sure you use witty captions that will appeal to your target audience.
Take The Vegan Vibe for example. As you can see in the screenshot below, they only have a few thousand followers right now. But their photos are vivid, vibrant, and of high quality. There’s a good chance vegan food brands would want to work with them.
#2: Engage Your Audience
Brands also look for engagement rate when searching for influencers to work with. That’s why it’s crucial that you try to engage as best as possible with your audience. This will not only improve your engagement rate but also your relationship with the audience, which is crucial for building a loyal following.
Instead of simply creating content about yourself, you need to engage your followers in a two-sided conversation. For example, even if you post a photo of a certain product that you really like you could ask questions such as “Have you used it before? What do you think about it?” Or you could encourage them to create content in tune with what you’ve created and tag you in it.
Take a look at how popular micro-influencer Alex Aldeborgh (@daisybeet) engages with her followers in the following post. Even on her other posts, she normally engages her fans by wishing them a good day or even providing them with useful information.
#3: Sign Up for an Influencer Network
Whether you’re just starting out as an influencer or you want to further monetize your influence, joining an influencer network can be a great way to find brands to work with. It’s especially beneficial for micro-influencers who haven’t yet received a lot of proposals from brands and marketers.
These influencer networks match you with brands that are in search of influencers fitting your characteristics. In some cases, brands and marketers may also use the network to search for influencers in a certain niche. Some networks may even let you choose brands that you wish to promote.
All of these options will prove to be beneficial for both influencers and brands. And there are plenty of networks and platforms to choose from. Some good options are Scoutsee, Influence.co, HelloSociety, Activate, TRIBE, etc.
6 Ways to Make Money on Social Media
After you’ve completed these basics, you can start implementing some tactics to make money on social media. Here are some of the most popular and effective ways for influencers to monetize their influence using social media:
#1: Social Media Sponsored Posts
Sponsored social media posts are one of the most popular ways to make money on social media. It’s when brands or marketers pay you to promote a certain brand or product in a social media post. The post can either be entirely about the product or it could feature several products at a time. You could create review posts, informational posts, or simply feature and tag the products.
According to a report by Influence.co, the average rate for sponsored posts on Instagram is $180. But the cost can vary according to a number of factors such as the number of followers you have and the industry in which you specialize.
The report found that influencers who have fewer than 2000 followers may charge around $124 per post and those with 2000 to 5000 followers charge an average of $137 per post. The cost for one sponsored post increases and by the time you have more than a million followers, you could charge around $1,405 for a single Instagram post.
Image Source: Influence.co
So the more followers you have, the more likely you are to make big money on social media out of influencer marketing. This means it’s crucial you try to further increase your following by creating engaging content regularly and hosting giveaway contests that require participants to follow you.
Here’s an example of a sponsored post created by style blogger Chandler Nehrt for Quattro. She talks about her experience using the product and she addresses her audience’s pain points too.
#2: Become a Brand Representative/Ambassador
You can also make money on social media by becoming a brand representative or brand ambassador. This would normally be an extended contract lasting for at least a couple of months instead of just a one-off partnership. In some cases, the contract may last for a year or so depending on how long the project is for.
When you’re a brand rep or a brand ambassador, you’ll get free products from the brand. In exchange, you’ll have to promote these products on social media. Some brands may pay an additional fee for every piece of content their ambassadors create. Or there may also be a compensation clause in which you earn a percentage or a fixed sum for every conversion you drive.
You can look for top brands that offer a brand ambassador program and see if those brands would be suitable for you. Or you can even check out whether or not some of your favorite brands have an ambassador program you could sign up for.
For example, the Lululemon brand ambassador program is currently a very popular program among influencers. Although there’s no direct link or instruction on their website, you can get in touch with them to see if there are any opportunities for you.
Or instead of conducting a manual and extensive search, you can always sign up for a brand rep network. PrepReps and Reppr are some excellent options. These networks will make it easier for you to apply to become a brand representative for some of the biggest brands. As you can see in the screenshot below, Reppr even allows you to search for opportunities based on specific industries.
Brand rep programs are especially useful for those who are still in the process of building a large following. That’s because many brands aren’t necessarily looking for social media users with thousands of followers but rather everyday consumers who are relatable for their target audience.
Brands like Spartan Race have worked with a community of micro-influencers in the sports and fitness industry. One of their reps is Nick Vitale (@sharpenthesword), who has just over 6300 Instagram followers. As you can see in the screenshot below, he’s mentioned in his bio that he’s a Spartan ambassador. And he’s also included a link to his Scoutsee storefront in which he promotes Spartan products.
#3: Promote Affiliate Links/Codes
Another excellent way for influencers to make money on social media is by promoting affiliate links and codes. In this type of arrangement, you can approach brands or retailers that offer affiliate programs. And once you’ve been accepted as an affiliate marketer for the brand, you will be provided with a unique link or code that will be used for tracking your conversions.
You can create posts in which you review, feature, and/or promote their products. Depending on which brand or retailer you’re working for, you might have to buy the product yourself. Or you may be able to choose from a collection of products that the brand or retailer is willing to provide to you for free.
You will then direct your followers to use the affiliate link or code. And for every conversion resulting from your link or code, you will earn a commission. The commission may be a small percentage or even a fixed amount depending on the program you’ve signed up for.
There are tons of retailers and brands that offer affiliate programs. Look for program offered by your favorite brands or conduct a simple Google search for the best programs available.
ASOS is one of the most popular ones. Affiliate marketers can earn 5% commission for every conversion they drive to the site.
#4: Share Your Patreon Account
You can also make money on social media by directly appealing to your followers. Set up a Patreon account and then share this with your followers on social media. Through Patreon, you can offer exclusive experiences to fans that are willing to pay a small fee. The experience could be anything from early access to your content or more detailed and in-depth versions of your social media content.
Influential YouTuber Roomie, for instance, has set up a Patreon account that he regularly promotes through his videos. And by becoming a patron for him, his followers can get extended versions of the new songs he creates and access to Patreon-only streams. The membership fees range from just $1 per video all the way to $200 per video. The highest tier members can even decide what videos Roomie should create on his main channel.
Through this platform, you’ll basically get paid by your fans for exclusive experiences. This is ideal for those of you who are excellent content creators. Even if you don’t have tens of thousands of followers, you’ll still be able to make a decent amount of money. What you need is a few loyal fans who truly value your content.
#5: Promote Co-Created Products
You’ve built significant following and you’ve worked with several brands to generate a steady stream of income. And you might think there are no opportunities anymore to further increase this income. But there are still several ways to make even more money on social media after you’ve become a successful influencer.
One of the best methods is to promote products that you have created in partnership with brands. Some brands will want to partner with you to co-create products for their brand. And in return, they might pay you large sums along with a percentage of the profits. The compensation plan may vary according to your contract and your level of involvement in the creation process.
If you’re a big enough influencer, the brands may benefit from having your name on their products. And you’ll be generating even better income through this partnership. So this type of collaboration is a win-win.
YouTube sensation Bunny Meyer (@grav3yardgirl) partnered with Tarte Cosmetics to create a makeup collection. She posted photos and videos showcasing the product and encouraging her followers to get the collection.
#6: Promote Your Own Products
Maybe you could ditch the part where you partner with influencers and come up with your very own line of products. Sure you may need to make a small investment at first. But if you want to monetize your influence even better, this type of investment could prove to be beneficial in the long run. You can then promote these products on social media.
For example, YouTuber Jack Douglass has set up a merch store in which his followers can get products related to his channel. The store contains products such as t-shirts with catchphrases and quotes from his popular content.
These are six awesome ways to make more money on social media as an influencer. As you can see, it’s all about knowing which programs to sign up for and then leverage your performance using social media. Got any questions about these tips and ideas? Let me know in the comments below.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.