SO YOU WANT TO BE A FULL-TIME INFLUENCER…
The influencer business is quite vast. There are a lot of people online via social media and blogs that state they are influencers, but it’s apparent that they are just in it for the wrong reasons. Being an influencer means that you are fostering a community that you will inspire and provide helpful information to influence them towards making decisions on products, experiences, and various other choices.
We, by nature, look to others to give us feedback and advice on whether we should buy a product or how to do something. How many times have you gone to purchase something and scrolled down to look at the reviews to see if it is worth buying? Influencers are that resource that gives reviews on products and experiences while also being an inspiration for fashion, beauty, travel, motherhood, lifestyle, etc. I know I’ve found a lot of recommendations for places to visit in Philly just through hearing about it from other people on social media because they visited the area.
You may have started out on social media or on your blog and blossomed into a influencer that works it all as a side hustle. But now you’ve tasted the waters and seen the potential that you have to make your business a full time business. I’ve gone through the same thing. When I first started out as an influencer, I truly believed that I would just work all of it as a side hustle and that my blog and social media platforms would only generate me some extra money that I could use for extra things I wanted to buy or do. But after a couple of years, I learned that I was able to make this a full time business and take my influencer business to the next level.
If you’re at that point and you’re ready to take your side hustle into a full-time influencer business, I want to help you to reach your full potential and make your passion your full-time job. So to start, I’ve laid out some tips to start establishing your influencer business and put you on a path towards generating a possible six-figure income.
Branding YOUR INFLUENCER BUSINESS
The first thing that you absolutely must do when starting your influencer business is to establish you niche and then create your brand. There are so many people that I have seen that have started out as an influencer on Instagram that never fully generated their brand and have landed them in the place where they aren’t building the community that they want and they are not attracting the brands they want to work with, if any. So, if you’re in that place or you are just starting out, the first thing that you should do is stop and think about who you are and what you have to offer.
SELECT YOUR NICHE
In the influencer business, selecting your niche is the beginning to your success. You need to define as to what specific information you’ll be offering people and why they should come to you to find that information. If a person comes to your blog or social media channels, what will they find. If they come to find that they have to sort through tons and tons of photos and posts to actually discover what unique perspective that you have to offer, they may not return.
You’ll want to pick a general niche and then “niche-down” to pinpoint your unique perspective. So think of it this way…if you’re going to be a fashion influencer, what perspective on fashion are you going to take? Are you going to talk about luxury fashion or budget fashion? Are you going to specifically talk about fashion found on Amazon or Target? There are so many places that you can go with determining your niche but it comes down to determining what experiences you have had, what your expertise is in, and where your passions lie.
Along with selecting your niche to go along with your brand, you’ll also want to do a complete branding. You’ll need to:
- Select a Name for Your Brand (that is not already out there)
- Pick Your Colors, Fonts, etc.
- Establish Your Tone & Voice
Overall, you want to create a branding that speaks to you and that is highly recognizable. This branding is something that you’ll use to connect all facets of your business as you expand. It’ll connect to other platforms that you may begin generating content on and will follow you through any other avenues of income that you plan to pursue. Prior to launching or going down the path of creating your influencer business, you’ll want to make sure that you determine your brand and don’t take the process lightly. Your brand is what will represent you.
Platforms for ESTABLISHING YOUR INFLUENCER BUSINESS
There are many platforms that you can start and base your influencer business off of. Many people house a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel and then use social media to support their blog and then others may focus strategically on one social media platform and then have the other platforms support the main one. There are so many options for basing your brand and fostering your community and each has selective pro and cons.
BLOGStarting a blog takes a lot of work, but it’s a website that belongs to you where you control what content is being put up and taken down. When starting a blog, you’ll have to make sure that your branding is embedded into all your pages, that you have all of the essential pages that you need to grow your audience and get pageviews, and that you are optimizing pages and posts to be SEO friendly. There is a pride that comes in growing your blog, and the great thing about a blog is that you can grow it to a website that houses not only blog posts, but your entire business. If you begin selling products are services, you don’t need to find another platform to put it on, you can just work to expand upon your digital home and grow it from there. A blog will cost you more of an investment and for upkeep, but it’s a long-term investment that pays off in many ways. For many people, their blog is where they get a great amount of their affiliate revenue and they also make money from sponsored blog posts. There are vast possibilities with a blog that aren’t offered on other platforms.
YOUTUBEYouTube is where video content started. When you think of an OG video content creator, you know that they started and, are probably still on, YouTube. When someone needs a tutorial on how to do something, they typically look for a video, and if that topic is searched, YouTube videos pop up and give that searcher exactly what they are looking for. YouTube is a great base platform to use if you are someone who isn’t quite into creating text based content and do better with video creation in long-form ways. You can grow a large following on YouTube and repurpose a lot of the video into short-form videos to put on other social media platforms. When it comes to revenue, brands pay content creators for sponsored videos and YouTube content creators can generate a great amount of affiliate revenue there as well.
Instagram is booming with content creators. Brands are typically finding content creators on this social media platform and paying for sponsored posts whether it be static posts, Reels, stories, or IGTV and that way has not been slowing down. There are influencers who base their entire business off of Instagram and have done it quite successfully. It gives them one main platform to focus on and as Instagram grows and changes, they grow with it. With video and static posts, Instagram provides various ways that information can be shared and ways for influencers to inspire. The only caveat about it all is that if Instagram goes down, so does your content. And if Instagram doesn’t like your content, they can take it down. So you don’t have complete control, but Instagram guidelines are defined and easy to follow.
TIKTOKTikTok is where many people are starting to thrive. It’s a platform that has generated a lot of overnight sensations just from one video going viral. This platform is a great one for influencers who are not quite into long-form video content but still are super creative with creating tons and tons of video content and can capture it and send it out into the universe in new an innovative ways. With TikTok, many people say that if it going to be your main platform, make sure that you not only are staying ahead of the trends but are creating new ones for others to follow after. With TikTok, influencers are getting sponsorships with brands, generating affiliate revenue, and with the TikTok marketplace, you can get sponsorships rights on the platform itself.
PODCASTThe podcast is a hidden gem that many people tend to not think of and stray away from. But over the years, podcasts have brought people new lines of revenue if they weren’t using it before, and many influencers are now starting with a podcast and using a blog, YouTube channel, and social media to support the content that they are putting on their podcast. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to write textual content and aren’t into visual aspects, but have great content so share, the podcast may be the place that you want to start. Your branding will still be present in the digital assets that complement each episode, but you’ll focus on sharing content in an auditory way that large audiences have been consuming and loving each and every day. Podcast are monetizable, which is something that many influencers don’t always know right from the beginning, but just like the other platforms, you can generate a full-time income from the content that you create.
Basic Legal YOU NEED FOR YOUR INFLUENCER BUSINESS
When running a business, you’ll always need legal to support your business. And new influencers typically find themselves lost in the legal wording and documentation that goes along with it all. From making sure that you have the right pages to legally operate on your blog to reviewing contracts when a brand wants to work with you, it can be a lot to understand and consume. And though there is a lot of lawyers out there that can help you navigate it all, you may be reluctant to hire one in the beginning when your business is not generating the income that you want to outsource that lawyer. To get you started with some basic legal in influencing, here are some keys terms that influencers encounter in their influencer business that are quite important to understand.
CONTENT OWNERSHIPIn many cases, you may see the clause state that you’re giving full rights to the brand to use for whatever purposes they may deem fit. This means that they can ask you to provide the raw image for them to use for other marketing purposes without the need to tag or give you credit. The goal for this section is that it states that the ownership of the content remains with you and that, if in any case, the brand may use the content to republish on their social media channel with proper credit to you
EXCLUSIVITYThis section represents who you can and cannot work with during the set term in the agreement.
DISPARAGEMENTIn this clause, you’ll notice language that says that you cannot, and must refrain from, any disparagement, criticism, defamation, or slander of the brand for a specific period of time.
INDEMNITYThis section protects the brand from any likelihood that an influencer may blame them for any debts, damages, or anything else that could go wrong with the influencer or the campaign during the term of the agreement.
DISPUTE RESOLUTIONIn some situations, there may be a disagreement between the brand and the influencer. This section in the agreement will outline the process of handling any disputes.
Streams of Revenue IN AN INFLUENCER BUSINESS
BRAND PARTNERSHIPSMostly any influencer who is using their platforms to establish their brand and grow their influencer business will be involved in brand partnerships. Brand partnerships are a great way to use your knowledge, skills, and experience to work and promote brands that you love. Brand partnerships can be obtained through reach outs from the brand or a PR agency and through pitching. If you are starting out your influencer business, you’ll want to make sure that you are actively pitching yourself to get your name and influencer brand in front of the brands that you want to work with.
AFFILIATE REVENUEThere are a number of affiliate platforms that are great for influencers who are on a blog, YouTube, podcast, or on social media. Affiliate revenue is a method of revenue that can continuously be gained years after you have posted the content. It is all about linking the products that you have used or products related to the content that you are creating and then updating them as the products sell out. Many people use timelines such as ShopStyle Collective, LTK, Rakuten, and other great affiliate revenue platforms to link products and brands in order to provide their community with suggestions of what to buy and where to buy it.
DIGITAL OR PHYSICAL PRODUCTSMany people love to take their influencer business to the next level and create physical or digital products. Whether you start a fashion line or begin selling stock photos of the photos you take on your trips, there are ways to take the skills that you have and generate products to sell. Some example of products that influencers sell are: eBooks, Website Templates / Themes, Photography, Printables, Music, Plugins / Apps, Courses, and Artwork / Designs.
SERVICESWith services, you can sell you skills as an independent contractor and have a multitude of clients. You can base your schedule on when and how you want to work and move through each day based on how you want to run your business. Some examples of services that influencers can sell are: Photography/Videography, Content Creation, Graphic Design, Consulting, Copywriting, Styling, and Creative Direction.