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How to become a social media influencer and make money in 2020 (ultimate step by step for beginners)

Oh, so you want to become a social media influencer? The influencer who has something to share with the world, helps people, builds a fantastic community online, receives items for free to try out (mmmm, more PR packages on the doorsteps?!) and most importantly, gets PAID for their influence. I see you, sis and this guide is all about helping you become an influencer for free in these internet streets.

 

What is a social media influencer

First let’s talk about what exactly an influencer is….

An influencer is someone who has specialized knowledge, authority, or insight into a specific field and can affect the buying process of their audience.

Ultimately, influencers have built a community on social media, and through their relationship with their audience, they influence (i.e., influencers).

We all have the power to be influencers and influence specific behavior within a community. You’re probably influencing people right now, such as when you recommend a product to your friends, and they buy it or when you brag about a restaurant you tried recently, and a friend tries it out based on that.

That’s affecting the buying process of a person… *ahem* *ahem* and influencing them.

There are all types of influencers; mega, macro, micro, nano, pimp daddy strong, and for the sake of this mega guide, I’m breaking down each 3 for you. You’re welcome.

 

What is a mega-influencer?

A mega influencer is ultimately someone who has millions of followers. They’re at the top of the list when it comes to influencers and has a massive audience with celebrity prestige.

 

What is a macro-influencer?

Macro influencers have anywhere from 100,000- 999,999 followers. They tend to focus on a specific category such as beauty, lifestyle, gaming, fitness, fashion, or business.

 

What is a micro-influencer

A micro-influencer is someone who has anywhere between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. They focus on a specific niche or area and generally viewed as an expert in their industry or specialist on a specific topic.

This is the most common type of influencer.

 

What is a nano-influencer

A nano-influencer is anyone with a following between 500-1,000.

Their following is small but intimate and tight-knit. Nano-influencers are usually hyper niched and tend to have a local audience.

 

Which type of influencer makes money?

All-lum-em(All of them)
You don’t need a million followers in order to be an influencer or earn income. You can make money and be an influencer no matter your audience size.

I personally believe you only need 1000 followers to get paid sponsorships. However, I know individuals who secured paid sponsorships with less than that!

There are perks to each type of influence, and a good brand knows this! While mega influencers have large audiences and massive visibility, a micro and nano influencer are generally better at pushing sales because of their engagement rate is higher.

With less than 3,500 followers on my Facebook page and less than 6,000 followers on my Instagram, I was able to completely sell out of my business event TWICE and I sold out in less than 2 weeks!
How? Since my audience is smaller, I’m able to possess a level of authenticity that is often harder for influencers to sustain as they grow larger audiences.

It’s the personal connections I have with my smaller audience that enables me to build an engaged and intimate community that drives sales for my events and digital products. You should aim for this too. Being influential > Being an influencer.

FACT: How much you make and how well you impact as an influencer is NOT tied soley to your audience size.

What are the benefits of becoming an influencer

Influencers are trendsetters and have a direct impact on their community’s buying decisions.

Some benefits of being an influencer include:

  • Helping people and impacting the world around you
  • Becoming a well-known, authority figure within your niche
  • Incentives such as free products and trips (technically, not free since you do have to pay taxes for gifts exceeding a specific price)
  • Paid sponsorships
  • Possible increase in sales for products and services since more people will buy from someone who is influential, especially on social media.

As an influencer myself, I have been able to leverage my influence to increase my income in multiple ways.

 

How do influencers make money?

Influencer marketing is a billion-dollar industry and there are plenty of influencers who make a living from their influence. There are millionaire influencers.

 

Here are some popular ways influencers make money

  • Working with brands to promote their product
  • Creating digital products such as courses and books to sell
  • Offering services such as coaching, web design, photography, video editing, etc
  • Selling physical products such as their own products or private label
  • Speaking engagements and hosting events
  • Promoting items through affliate marketing
  • Ad revenue on their blogs and videos

Influencers can make money in a multitude of ways depending on their niche, audience, following, and industry.

 

How to become an influencer for free in 2020

STEP 1: Choose your niche

An influencer is a well-known, sought-out, authority figure within a specific niche, so to become an influencer you need a niche.

When figuring out your niche, think about what you want to be known for, what interests you, and what you can talk about often. I recommend narrowing down your niche to no more than 2 when you’re just starting off.

When I first started, I only focused on Beauty, and then as my audience grew, I expanded into business content. Your niche isn’t permanent, and as you evolve, your niche will evolve too, but for now, focus on one thing!

For example…
When Amazon first started out, they only sold books online.
When Nike first started out, they only sold athletic tennis shoes.
When Oprah first started out, she was known only for her tv show.
When Will Smith first started out, he was known only for rapping.
When Dwayne johnson first started out, he was known only as a wrestler on WWE (Do you smell what the Rock is cooking?! *raises left eyebrow*)

BUT they evolved over time. It’s perfectly normal to grow eventually, but when you first start, focus on dominating one thing! If you want to become an influencer then you have to focus on being known for something within a specific field.

Whatever niche you choose, make sure it aligns with your passions/expertise and that you will continue to be interested in it for years to come.

 

Common questions to ask yourself when deciding on a niche

1. What comes easy to you and solves a problem for someone else?
2. What are your interests that you would love to create content about long term?
3. What are the things that you enjoy doing, even without getting paid for them?
4. What are some issues you’re able to solve for people easily?

 

Popular Niches

 

  • Beauty
  • Travel
  • Motherhood
  • Fitness
  • Food
  • Finance
  • Fashion
  • Gaming
  • Home Decor
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Love & Relationships
  • Hair
  • Family & Home

 

 

STEP 2: Choose your platform

There are a ton of social media platforms to build your influence on… Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, TikTok to name a few.

… but wait you can also choose to be a podcaster
… or a blogger

YES, there are a ton of social media platforms; however, you don’t have to be on every single one posting every single day!

If you are just starting out, I say focus on building 1-2 social media audiences first. Don’t spread yourself thin by trying to be on every single one!

The first step to becoming an online influencer is to sign up for the same exact platforms that your ideal audience uses. This may be Instagram if your perfect audience is 25 years olds, and you plan to take a lot of high-quality photos.

Perhaps you’re great on video and enjoy creating tutorials? Youtube may be better suited for you.

To set yourself up for success, think about what your perks are and what is the best way to connect to your audience. If your ideal audience is professionals who are interested in resume building, then LinkedIn will be a better fit for you over TikTok, which tends to cater to a younger teen demographic and be an extremely casual social media platform.

For me, my main focus is my blog, my YouTube channel and Instagram Pinterest. I invest the most time in these platforms because that’s where my audience is and tends to engage with me the most.

Additionally, each social media platform has guidelines and differences in operation, so you want to ensure you know the dos and don’ts of each platform. For example, those on Facebook enjoy live-style casual videos, whereas, on Youtube, editing is expected. Know the specifics of each social media platform so you can set yourself up for optimal success.

This step is crucial because you will be investing a lot of time into a platform.

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How to become an influencer for free
 

STEP 3: Study your craft

So you’ve decided on your niche and the platforms you will focus on, okay now what?

Well, chances are you aren’t the most experienced expert in your field, right? Therefore, I highly recommend dedicating time each week to learning and developing your skills so you can be that go-to expert.

Stay updated on the latest trends so you can help your audience.

 

Ways to stay updated in your niche as an influencer

Read books – I, personally, make it a goal to read at least one new book a month. I pay $9.99 a month which allows me to read unlimited books with Amazon’s Kindle Unlimted! You don’t need a kindle either! You can download the app on any phone, tablet and even access via desktop!
Click here for your FREE first month of Kindle Unlimted

Courses – There are a ton of courses out there, and I’ve watched A TON! I’ve watched courses to help me with my Pinterest strategy, set-up a blog, learn ads, and even become better at recording videos! I highly recommend skillshare. They have thousands of courses for one flat yearly fee.
Click here to get 2 free months of skillshare!

Join Facebook groups – Engage with others within relevant Facebook groups to learn trends and connect with others!
Two Facebook groups I recommend:
– my own personal one (I know, bias) The content creator circle
She’s a creative – a group for women entrepenuers created by my friend Kay who runs the Mrs Kay H Blog
Both groups are pretty high level and focus on creating content online

Listen to Podcast – Listen to podcast

Network with others – by attending local events and influencer events such as create and cultivate.

Invest in yourself – Invest in things that make it easier for you and allow you to spend more time on the things you enjoy (and less on the things you do not!). For example, if you hate to create emails pitching to brand, then invest in plug and play templates that take that guesswork out of it for you.

I use to struggle with being productive. When I purchased the Productivity bundle by Ultimate bundles it made it easier for me to be more productive because it included time management printables, routine building workbooks and even courses on better time organization.

Invest in you and the things that will make it easier for you to hit your goals.

Invest in the things that will make it easier for you to accomplish your goals , BUT please know what’s an investment and what’s just a plain’ ol expense. If you are not making any money as an influencer yet, then you want to spend only what’s necessary. Bootstrap it so you can save money while making money.

For example, hiring a photographer may not be necessary and logical if you don’t have much money. Instead, try taking photos of yourself or having a friend take them.

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STEP 4: Define your personal brand

As an influencer, your personal brand is extremely important. It’s who you are, how you promote yourself, and how people see you.

 

What is a personal brand?

Your personal brand is the unique combination of your experiences, skills, and personality. It’s your story, quirks about you, how you conduct yourself, your behavior, your mannerism, your appearance, and your attitude.

Your personal brand is how you differentiate yourself from others.

For example, there are a ton of fashion influencers. Literally.

Perhaps what sets you apart is your focus on budget-friendly plus size fashion. Maybe you’re super funny with two dogs and a love for cereal. Your quirks and mannerisms set you apart from others.

 

How to develop your personal brand as an influencer

 

Know your voice

What is your brand voice? Traditional? Friendly? Quirky? Helpful? Professional?
Whatever your speaking style, make sure it’s consistent and aligns with your overall brand.

For example, if you’re a real estate blogger, it makes sense to be professional. However, as a gaming blogger, you may lose your audience if you’re too professional.

Determine your brand colors

This is extremely important if you’re a blogger. You should have brand visuals and colors that make it easy to identify your brand and is cohesive across the board.

If you’re not that great at creating visuals, I highly recommend Creative Market. You can purchase website themes, logos, scripts, social media templates and MORE!

Keep it consistent

People should be able to recognize your brand no matter the platform.

For example, all of your social media platforms should have the same name. If your name is Jessica Sue on Instagram and your blog is Jessicasue.com, then your Facebook should be the same.

Your profile pictures and colors should also be consistent.

For example, my brand is chic, polished, girly, and vibrant. I want that to clearly come across the minute you visit my website and socials, which is why my brand colors are black, white, and deep pink.

One way I make it easy to stay consistent with my brand is with Canva. I create most of my graphics using Canva, and with the premium version, there’s a section to add your brand colors and script so that you can stay consistent with your visuals.

When you visit any of my social media profiles, you see cohesiveness and consistency.

 

Ways to keep your visuals consistent

✓ The same design or logo
✓ The same slogan
✓ The same profile picture and images
✓ The same color pallet and color scheme
✓ The same font or typography
✓ The same marketing materials.

Remember, your brand should all convey a unified emotion, vision, and personality.

Need help branding yourself better? Inside my profitable passion bundle, I provide a FREE brand identity cheatsheet and content calendar!

 

STEP 6: Create a content plan

Now that you have your niche and the platform, it’s time to develop a content plan!

This content plan will help you understand how often you need to post on each platform, which topics you will cover, the best times to post, etc.

How often will you post?
What topics will you cover for the month?
Will you have themes?
Are there any Holidays you want to create content around? For example, if you’re a home decor blogger, then you may want to create blog posts content that is Christmas themed since “Christmas home decor” is trendy and heavily searched on Pinterest.

Create a plan for your content!

Remember, a goal without a plan is just a dream!

 

STEP 7: Start creating juicy content (and do it consistently!)

It’s time to create a really valuable and irresistibly juicy content.
Content that answers questions.
Content that solves problems.
Content that entertains, educates, informs, and inspires.

 

The quality of the content you release will determine if people engage with you or not. If your content is excellent, your audience will grow. If your content is trash, well, you won’t have much of an audience.

 

If your goal of creating content is to land paid partnerships then you want to be sure you are focusing on the quality of content as well. Brands do not and will not work with influencers whose images are blurry, and blog posts are janky. Therefore, this may require that you invest in your content to ensure its high quality.

For example, as a Youtuber, I invested in better camera equipment. Additionally, as a blogger, I invested in a website (I now use siteground for my hosting and domain). These are things I chose to invest as an influencer (and I’ve also made my money back in!).

Know that these are investments, and if you want to turn your influence into a business, it may even be tax deductive! Here’s a blog post all about tax deductibles you can claim as a blogger, influencer and/or youtuber.

Know these content details Start creating the content that you want to start posting. You’ll also to include the following details:
✓ Platform
✓ Date
✓ Time (and time zone)
✓ Copy
✓ Visuals (e.g., photo, video, illustration, infographic, gif, etc.)
✓ Link to assets
✓ Link to published post

I like to create my content inside of Trello. It’s free to join!

 

Be consistent

You can’t make one blog post and expect to go viral. It takes time to build an audience, and if you’re consistent, it will take a heck of a lot shorter time to do.

Make sure you’re posting consistently. Every single social media platform including your blog and podcast requires consistency and patience to grow.

    Here are a few tools you can use to be consistent and schedule post:
  • Planoly – For Instagram & Pinterest
  • Tailwind – For Pinterest (My favoriteeeeeeeee since they have Pinterest Tribes)
  • Later – For Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest
  • Mailerlite – For emails

Consistency is a huge component if you want to become an influencer. Too little and you won’t grow. Too much and you’ll annoy your audience until they unfollow you. *real tears*

 

Engage with your audience

Building a community involves you engaging with your community too! Respond to comments, answer questions, create polls, and ask even ask questions, so your audience feels included.

Don’t post a photo and log out of Instagram as if you’re Beyonce. Instead, end your caption with a question and spend time replying to comments, DM’S, and engaging with other accounts.

 

The best way to build an authentic community is to connect with your community, and you do that by engaging!

 

 

STEP 8: Know your audience and study your analytics

Now your brand is poppin’, you’re creating juicy content, your audience is growing and you’re being consistent with it…

You go, girl!

Wait, you thought it was over? Oh no, girl.

This is a perfect time to learn about your audience. Most social media platforms will let you know what your demographics are including age, gender, and location. KNOW THESE.

Look at your content and find out what is the most popular and gets the most engagement as this is the content your audience wants to see more of.

By studying your analytics, you’re able to tweak your content plan and grow your audience (and even determine if your audience is growing!).

Additionally, if you want to work with brands, it’s extremely important you know your audience demographics and numbers (such as your engagement rate) because brands will ask to ensure it aligns with their target market.

 

STEP 9: Attract & reach out to brands

If you want to attract brands then you need to create high-quality content. Your goal should be to create content that also garners healthy engagement rates with your audience.

I believe once you’ve grown your account to 1,000+ followers, you can start reaching out to brands in your niche.

A common misconception is that you can’t work with brands with a small account, and this is absolutely not true. If you have an engaged following and it’s the brand’s target audience, then you can land an opportunity.

 

How to work with brands

Create a list of all the brands you want to work with. If you’re a style blogger, create a list of your favorite clothing brands. If you’re a fitness YouTuber, write out all the health and fitness brands that align with you. Create a list of all the ideal brands you would like to work with that align with your personal brand that your audience will enjoy.

Once you have your list, then research who is in control of influencer marketing! Go to LinkedIn and look up who is the head of influencer marketing/social media or visit the website to see if there’s a contact email for it. If nothing else, you can even hit the brand up on social media and ask for the email contact who is in charge of influencer marketing.

From there, you want to email the brands and pitch to them. It may seem scary at first, but if you do it enough, I promise you eventually get a YES back.

Hey, your first pitch email might be that big, YES you need! Pitching is one of the best ways to make money when it comes to how to work with brands as an influencer.

Interested in getting my exact scripts to pitch to brands? Check out my influencer with income toolkit! I also provide a FREE media kit and videos to help you determine how much to charge as an influencer!

 

BONUS: Your network is your net worth

Collaborate and connect with other influencers in your area! Other influencers are NOT to be looked at as competition but as ways to collaborate and connect.

Having blogger and Youtuber friends is one way I have been able to grow my influence and my business. I absolutely recommend attending influencer events, joining influencer communities (such as masterminds and even Facebook groups!), and reaching out to fellow influencers on your platform.

I want to add a disclaimer to this. If you’re a brand new influencer, I recommend reaching out to other new influencers. Don’t reach out to influencers who have been in the game eight years with 500,000+ followers and expect them to want to collaborate. Be mindful of the collaboration request.

 

BONUS: Make it easy for brands to reach out to you by having your email on your social media platforms


Make sure you have your contact info on every platform. Your email should be on your social media platforms and blog.

If a brand discovers your content, make it easy for them to reach out to you for possible collaborations.

So here is my ULTIMATE guide step by step to becoming a social media influencer. Are you ready to become an influencer and work with brands? Let me know below in the comments!

Need help determining how much to charge as an influencer? Want access to the same emails I use to pitch to brands and land 4 and 5 figure deals?! Yup, I’m giving you ALL of my templates PLUS MORE inside my INFLUENCER WITH INCOME TOOLKIT!

 

In my next blog post, I’m sharing 5 websites EVERY influencer should sign up to so they can start working with brands.

 

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