? How to Make Money as an Influencer: An Influencers Guide

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How to make money as an influencer on social media and with a blog is a question so many are asking right now. If you’re wondering how influencers make money, you’re in the right place.

How to Make Money as an Influencer

a hand on a mac laptop typing with the text how to make money as an influencer overlaid

This was updated June of 2021 to make sure you have the most up to date information.

Did you know that a recent report shows that a company’s return on investment or {ROI} is 11x greater when marketed by an influencer? Why wouldn’t you want to use an influencer to represent your brand or be an influencer for that matter?

Before we get into how to make money as an influencer, we need to get into the what.

In other words, what is an influencer?

An influencer is defined as one that influences. More importantly, an influencer is an individual whose effect on the purchase decision is in some way significant or authoritative.

Think of it this way, if a friend buys a specific marinade or sauce to barbecue with and you want to make a similar recipe, wouldn’t you buy the marinade or sauce that they recommend?  You are 92% more likely to buy the friend recommended item over the T.V. advertisement recommended item.  It’s just a matter-of-fact and a large reason why there is such a resurgence of direct marketing companies.

Recommendations through social media influence

Companies over the last ten years have seen the important role that influencers play since social media has become part of our everyday life.

We are able to reach friends that we haven’t seen in twenty years with one Facebook post and we are able to move complete strangers with one picture on Instagram.  It is quite remarkable when you think about it.

Here’s the fact of the matter though, you don’t need to be a blogger to have influence. Gasp! Yes, It takes one picture that captures a companies attention to be seen as influential.  Being a blogger only adds to what you are capable of making.

Take for example the gorgeous shot below from my banker sister-in-law that she posted of her basement that West Elm ended up reposting on their Instagram channel. There’s over 12K likes on that post! She gave them content and probably sold tons of items because she tagged them on her original picture.

a screen shot of an instagram post for West Elm showing a gorgeous sitting room

Size doesn’t matter

Something I didn’t mention and you’d only know if you clicked through to her profile, but as of the original posting she had 1,353 followers. (now 4147)

You don’t need a ton of followers to be influential.  You just need to share what you love in an authentic way.  So let’s assume at this point that you have a social media channel that you either have a larger following or one that gets a ton of engagement with likes and comments, how should you leverage this following to make money as an influencer?

So how DO Influencers make money?

Influencers make money through ads on their sites, affiliate sales, and, most importantly, working with brands. Here are some examples –

  • Sponsored Instagram posts promoting a product
  • Unboxing videos for a brand
  • Writing a blog post using the product
  • Facebook shares reviewing the product
  • Tik Toks with the product in the background
  • Reels showing how you use the product in your everyday.
  • … and so on and so forth. The sky is truly the limit!

a tan woman' body in white bikini bottons with a pair of sunglasses in her lap on a yellow raft in blue water

Okay, ready to try it out?

Attract Attention to Make Money as an Influencer

Let’s be clear right from the start, that I am NOT telling you to do anything out of your character. Be you! There is honestly nothing more important than being authentically you.

Reach out to brands on social media by tagging them and talking about them in a positive light.  Pay attention to any hashtags that they use on their social media channels and products that they’re highlighting. In other words, do your research!

Getting a brand’s attention naturally

Here’s a perfect example, of an instagram post that I put out about our stay in Carlsbad. I tagged the hotel that we stayed at. The hope is that they notice the post and when we go to book again they will want to throw on some additional amenities or even comp part or all of the activities.

Most companies will check your social media channel that you tagged them on and see what your content looks like. They want to see if it might be worthwhile for them to invest in having you promote their brand. But a post like this is nothing out of the ordinary for me so it is authentic.

An even better way to attract the attention of a brand on Instagram is with Instagram stories.  By tagging a brand in your Instagram stories it goes to their direct messages and gives you the opportunity to truly build a relationship with the brand.  If you’re hesitant about using Instagram Stories be sure to check out the podcast on How to increase Instagram Story Views.

Realistic Pitch to Make Money as an Influencer

Once you get the brand’s attention, it’s time to pitch them.

Your pitch needs to be realistic and authentic. The best way to pitch a brand or company is via email.  You can find most emails on the company’s website under media relations or press releases.

I use my Pitch cheat sheet to make sure that I cover all aspects of the pitch.  You can grab my Pitch Cheat Sheet HERE.  The biggest take away when pitching a brand is that you want to show them how you authentically love and use their product so that they can envision how your influence might result in sales.

Download your pitch cheat sheet

Knocking Sponsored Content out of the Park

Once you land that campaign, you need to knock it out of the park.  There are two reasons for this.

  1. You want the company to see their return on investment so that they continue to want to work with you and build the relationship further.
  2. You want to be able to reference the work that you have done to other brands.

In order to knock it out of the park, you need to make sure that your photos are gorgeous.  You want your photos to be better than anything else you have ever taken.  Be sure to be engaging as possible with your audience as well.  Answer all questions and be sure to tag whoever you are replying to so that they possibly come back and continue to engage.

image of a boy on a bike pretending to be an astronaut with the brene brown quote "Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are."

Continue making money with repeat contracts

The hardest part is behind you. You’ve done all the work and you knocked it out of the park. Here’s where many of us drop the ball, making huge mistakes that cost us long term contracts and it is one of the simplest ways to be remembered by a brand or agency.

Once the campaign is complete, follow up with them showing them just how well you knocked it out of the park. If you received comments about how your followers were heading out the door to buy that product then let the brand know. Give them an email that includes a follow up that was just as good as your proposal.

You want them to remember you for the next campaign or to create that long term relationship so show them how amazing you did for them the first time around.


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