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How Do Social Media Influencers Make Money?

Tips From Professional Social Media Marketers

The 21st century has introduced new forms of celebrity, most notably that of the influencer. From the Kardashian-Jenner clan to bloggers covering niche interests like travel, fitness, or fashion – influencers are filling up our Instagram feeds. These influencers have turned their popularity, and social media marketing savvy into full-blown careers. 

Becoming a paid influencer usually requires a significant amount of working for free with little return on investment (ROI) to gain a following and become an attractive partner for brands. How influencers make a living may seem mysterious, but the components are simple once you break it down.

What Does it Mean to be an Influencer?

Influencer is a catch-all term that belies the amount of work required for success. While what you see on Instagram is based in reality, it’s important to remember that the glamour and carefree lifestyle is presented only after taking dozens of photos, selecting the ones conveying the influencer’s image and brand, and editing and filtering them before  posting.

These are not accidental lifestyles. Achieving influencer status requires hard work, planning, plus some talent and luck. Like any unconventional lifestyle, the cost-benefit analysis must be considered. Brittany Kulick left a traditional career in marketing  to start The Sweet Wanderlust. “I’m working harder than I ever did when I worked a traditional job,” she admits, “but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I love sharing travel tips, hidden gems, and itineraries with my readers and getting to work from anywhere in the world.” 

Successful influencers essentially run their lives as a small business. “While my Instagram feed is full of me frolicking on gorgeous beaches and eating amazing desserts,” says Kulick, “many don’t know what goes on behind the scenes to make this lifestyle happen.” It’s crucial to learn and implement best practices for gaining traction online including Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Website Design, and so much more. 

Diversifying Revenue Streams

Even successful influencers need more than one way to earn. The most efficient among them join together two or more revenue streams in their social media marketing strategy. Even those who make Hundreds of thousands of Dollars Per Post still need to make plenty of organic content, or risk coming across as a sell-out.

Successful influencers produce a combination of organic content and sponsored content. Influencers must be careful – if they aren’t discerning in accepting partnerships, they could undermine the trust and potentially lose some followers as well as sponsors(more followers = more sponsorship potential).

Selling products, whether digital or physical,  produced by the influencer alone, or in collaboration with brands, is an obvious way to capitalize on your brand, Kayla Itsines is a perfect example of someone who has turned social media clout into a veritable empire, with over 11 million followers on Instagram, and a successful line of digital fitness products such as eBooks and a workout app. Physical products can be anything related to your social media marketing strategy, for example, T-Shirts with Cute Slogans, or Kitchen Products inspired by a love of food and travel. 

Partnering with brands, either as a brand ambassador or with a sponsorship deal, helps influencers leverage their likes. Brand ambassadorships are long-term relationships, often with a monthly paycheck and expectations to feature a product or service a certain number of times per month. Short-term sponsored content may be a single Instagram image of you using their product, a blog post review, or a series of posts. Both brand ambassadorships and sponsored content have specific rules regarding disclosure, and it’s essential to be mindful of that as both a producer and consumer. 

Branching out into other forms of media, such as podcasts or webinars, can help grow your audience and share your knowledge. Podcasts can be monetized through premium subscriptions, and once a webinar is created, it can be sold countless times and transformed into a passive income stream.

Many Influencers use affiliate marketing, which rarely pays the rent, but  provides a supplemental income. Most also work as freelance content creators, utilizing their skills and popularity to find clients. 

While savvy Influencers have perfected the formula of doing what they love and making a living at it, it certainly isn’t as easy as it looks! If you want to influence more people  get in touch with us here at Agency Partner Interactive, and let’s form a successful partnership today.

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