We Teach how to Become a Social Media Influencer and turn Instagram into your “day job.”
Want to become a social media influencer? Here’s the inside scoop on how to build your brand, create awareness & develop a valuable business.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work and get paid as a Social Media Influencer? Maybe the thought is crossing your mind right now for the first time. Neither my sister Jodie nor I began on Instagram with the intention of becoming Social Media Influencers. But we were passionate about sharing our authentic hearts and our homes.
That’s really all it took to get us headed down this road and eventually asking ourselves: How can we become Social Media Influencers? Our stories of success are really a result of commitment and perseverance, and we are here to tell you that if you don’t give up you will eventually reach your goals, whatever they are. And, if you’re interested in doing what we did, taking your passion and turning it into a business then you are in the right place.
In this article we share:
- The stages of becoming a social media influencer.
- Do’s and don’ts along the path.
- How to understand your worth.
- The importance of building bridges.
- How to negotiate with companies.
- Developing a media kit: when, why and how.
Key Stages to Becoming a Social Media Influencer
There’s no magic wand to turn someone into a social media influencer overnight. Influencers are made not born. If you take your craft seriously and go at creating something of value, you will succeed faster and farther than if you are not purposeful.
Stage 1: Build Your Brand
Obviously before you can command a fee you must create value. During this first phase you don’t have to worry about negotiating or working with companies or any other distractions. Just work on honing your skills, defining your niche, creating your identity (your brand), and building your following. Jodie and I have many blog posts here ready to share our best advice on how to be successful and how to grow on Instagram. Head to our overview post to learn about the many related articles. We recommend dedicating some time to reading them all which will be like taking a class in how to succeed on Instagram.
Stage 2: Building Bridges
In your early stages, and throughout your career, it is important to pay it forward. It is vital to spend time practicing your skills, gaining visibility and showing the love. Take time to identify brands that are a natural fit. Where do you shop? What do you show, buy or love? What are your dream brands?
Start showcasing them now. Feature them, tag them and talk about them. Get on their radar. Your goals during this phase are to be seen by them and hopefully be featured by them. You authentically love them, which makes you a perfect fit to work as an influencer for them as you grow. Build the genuine relationship now, and it will serve you well down the road. Think of this stage as building bridges. You are laying the foundation for future collaboration.
Stage 3: Know Your Worth
Once you have created a beautiful gallery and have a following you will enter the next stage of becoming a social media influencer, which is when you begin to have value. It is important from this point forward to realize your worth. At any point in your journey you can use the tool Social Blue Book to help give you an unbiased industry standard analysis of the current worth of your brand, specifically the value of one post.
This is a great tool. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to be able to get this price for your work, but it is a goal to shoot for. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be occasionally be generous with friends or brands you absolutely love and want to help. But knowledge is power, and it’s better to understand your worth than to be in the dark.
Stage 4: Think Collaboration
1. Go to them:
You don’t need to wait for companies to come to you. You can go to them with proposals. Companies big and small love to hear from their fans. They love to hear from people who love their products and want to work with them. The worst that can happen is they say no.
2. Be ready to get “No’s”:
Jodie and I get “no’s” all the time. Our guru teacher told us that you should get minimally four “no’s” to every one “yes” or you aren’t shooting high enough. Keep that in mind. Also, a “no” today doesn’t mean “no” tomorrow. You are on their radar even more so now. Which means the next time you propose something to them it is more likely going to be a “yes.” How cool is that? Get through the “no’s” to bring you closer to the coveted “yes.”
3. Working for free product:
The early stages of collaboration will be mostly for free product. Companies are ten times more willing to trade product for feature than they are to pay a fee. Some companies are too small to have a budget for it. But some huge companies have a policy against paying for it. I believe they have the view that so many people are willing to advertise for them for free there is no need to pay for it, which, quite frankly, is true.
4. Build relationships:
This is so important and really goes back to authenticity. Be kind, be generous and collaborate with wonderful people who you connect with on all levels. You can grow together. A small company today might get big one day. You just never know where a relationship can take you. Also, it’s easier for both you and a company to continue to work together once you both know and trust each other. Think of it like any relationship in life, and always be looking long term.
The Finesse of Collaboration: How to Become a Social Media Influencer
Collaborating is the backbone of being a Social Media Influencer. It is very challenging. There are no real rules, no published guidelines. Honestly, Jodie and I learn more every day. While we certainly have guiding principles and apply what we’ve learned throughout our journey, we take every single case as on its own. We trust our instincts and use our faith and prayer to guide us.
We are constantly caught between a business attitude and our hearts for generosity. Here are some things to keep in mind to help you in this department.
It’s important to remember that every post has a cost. If you are posting for free product, make sure it is something you really want and that you can showcase beautifully so it adds value to your feed. If not, you really are paying for that product. Factor in the time it takes to negotiate, receive, style, photograph, edit, and create a heart-felt post sharing your love. This is time and effort. Is it all worth that free product? If you love it then it is. But understand that free product is not truly free.
Also, it is important to understand that every post has the power to help or hurt your feed. So, if you are posting product that is less than completely in line with your style and vision it can potentially hurt your feed and your authenticity. That is a real cost.
The bottom line is: Be picky. Just because a company is willing to give you something make sure the value exceeds the costs.
How to Decide If & When to Collaborate/Factors for Pricing
We also ask ourselves, what is this worth to us today? To determine this, we get very honest with ourselves on the following points:
- How authentically can we share this company?
- How much time will it take to produce, from beginning to end?
- Are there any extra costs involved? If so, what is the estimate?
- How much time do we have to devote to the project right now?
- Finally, what future can we foresee with this company?
Creating a Media Kit to Become a Social Media Influencer
What is a media kit?
A media kit is simply an information packet about you and your brand. It is a prepared document usually containing the following components:
- An introduction of you and your brand
- Your mission
- Critical stats
- Services provided
- Packages & rates (or on a separate price sheet)
- Contact info
Why have a media kit?
You come across as much more professional. The more professional you appear from the very beginning the more companies view your reliability. Also, having all this information ready to go saves you time and saves the company time in correspondence. Answer their questions, make it all clear so neither party wastes time. Additionally, time is valuable.
Social Media Influencer: It’s a Job
We’ve had numerous conversations with other successful Instagrammers who have, at different times, expressed guilt or a hesitancy to ask for money. Everyone is different but if you treat it like a job, dedicate your life like you do to a job, it is a job. Thousands of hours of work have gone into creating our feeds. Turning it into a business takes a distinct mindset and a lot of work. We don’t take a day off.
A famous social media influencer once said, “I can’t pay the bills with socks.” It’s true. I quit my day job because pursuing this career was too time-consuming and had to make a choice, one or the other. I gave up an actual paycheck. In addition to forgoing other income, we have costs to offset. A blog is a significant monetary investment to create. Additionally, there are monthly on-going expenses to cover. Paying for continual home decor updates, DIY projects, camera costs, phone upgrades, lighting, blogging classes, technical support, hosting fees even photography classes. The list just goes on. At a certain point, it becomes essential to make money or decide to redirect your life.
In Summary: How to Become a Social Media Influencer
To summarize, navigating the rough seas of social media are tough. When you turn it into a business it adds a whole new level of time commitment and potential confusion. But life as a social media influencer can be intrinsically and monetarily rewarding if well-managed. No two brands are alike and certainly no two journeys are the same. However, Jodie and I hope that the information here sheds some like on these topics and makes yours more successful and enjoyable. Wishing you great success and joy along your path.
Finally, we welcome your comments and questions. Please join our email list so you don’t miss any of our valuable insights on these topics and more. Also, don’t forget to read our many related Instagram success posts. Just a few of our favorites are:
How I Grew Over 100K Instagram followers
Grow Instagram Following: 10 Tips
Our Top 5 Tips to Increasing IG Followers
If you would like our specific one-on-one private analysis of your Instagram and our specific recommendations for growth click to receive more information and/or SIGN UP HERE.
With love & gratitude,
What a great post, Julie and Jodie!!! I so want to build a social media influencer business!!! Thank you so much for all these amazing posts!!
Ellen, With determination you will get there Honey! We hope we can continue to help. Never hesitate to ask us specific questions, and stay close. We will continue to share all we learn and all we can here on the blog. Your success is our success. With love and best wishes, Julie & Jodie
Your blog looks like a million bucks! I haven’t commented for a while so I thought I’d say hey. I hope you’re having fun and raking in the bucks! You go girls!
P.S. It’s summer so come on over and hang out at the pool.
Thanks so much Marjie! So nice of you to come and visit us “on-line.” We would love to come visit you for a swim day….Julie arrives in another week, Bianca the week after that and then Julian by the end of the month so we’ll definitely be in touch when the we weather warms up a bit! See you soon! xoxo Jodie
Thank you so much for this an all your other related posts. I save many in my ‘blogging ‘ file to review again later. I’m very close to launching my own blog now whitewoodandlinen.com all about our journey to renovate and rebuild our home in the beautiful English countryside…..you ladies have helped me no end! Much love x
Helen, How exciting! Jodie and I love England so much. Not sure if you know but for our 50th birthday last year we took a long-awaited first trip to your beautiful country and even with great expectations were blown away by everything…the history, the beauty, the kindness of everyone. We cannot wait to return! Good luck on your blog. We will have to check it out. Blessings, Julie & Jodie
You are so amazing and generous in what you share. I’m not sure I’m social influencer quality, but for very personal reasons I consider my little blog my business and eventually I hope a source of income so I can give my family some much needed help.
Thank you for your words of encouragement and inspiration.
We are so happy to hear from you. We hope very very much that what we share can positively impact you and others. We wish you great success on your journey. We hope you will continue to enjoy our blog for all kinds of reasons. With gratitude & blessings, Julie & Jodie
Thank you for this very detailed post and sharing your social media journey. All your posts are so helpful. I’m new to IG so this is invaluable information. I am enjoying the process and I am so delighted to see how kind and generous the home decor community is. I am also very happily surprised at how many other believers are in this community. That was not something I was expecting and find God has met me here on IG and is with me on this journey too. Thanks for sharing your struggle along the way too. Your blog is such a blessing. Take care.
Denise, How wonderful to hear from you. We felt and feel the same way you do. So gorgeously surprised to find such kindness, authenticity, and beautiful believers here on IG. You will find what you seek and IG is no exception 🙂 We wish you continued enjoyment on your journey. With blessings, Julie & Jodie
Joie Gahum says
Make use of good instagram tools like hashatory. Its for finding hashtags for your post.
Savvy snowbirds.com says
I needed this post today. I have been doing my blog http://www.savvysnowbirds.com for approximately 2 years as nothing more than a creative outlet. I mentioned to my husband today that I think it is time to take it to the next level. I get a lot of compliments on my writing…but my photos? Not so much!! LOL…I’ll have to hone in on that skill. Anyway…so glad I happened upon this post of yours today. It really resonated with me. You ladies are so, so inspiring.
We are so glad you enjoyed our post! You are too sweet for saying so. We hope you are able to take your blog to the next level. You got this!
Lots of love,
Jodie and Julie
We love hearing that you are inspired by this post my friend. In anything we do it’s always a journey, a process. We all have room to improve, and that challenge makes the journey rewarding. Your time is valuable, and you should be paid, so there’s no reason to not expect financial reward. We say go for it! We’re so happy to hear you’re ready to take it to the next level. Blessingss, Julie & Jodie
Thank you ladies. Very helpful. I found myself so busy with Instagram but needing to monetize and explore new options. I started doing interior design consults and loving it. I hope this helps to grow my brand and my audience as well and I can one day monetize as an influencers
Nice post. I like very much this article. because you have to shared this interior designs are amazing. Thank you for the sharing.