How To Make Money: On Social Media
It seems like everyone wants to make money on social media these days which isn't necessarily a bad thing! It's actually making it much more possible and a lot of brands are now using social media to market their products instead of using commercials on tv. But at what point can you start making money off of your Instagram posts or stories? Do you contact the brands or wait for them to come to you? I researched this for weeks before starting to grow my following (which I'm still very much still doing) and actually took classes on social media marketing in college because I find it so interesting. So here's the information that I've found and what I've personally experienced with getting paid for posts.
When can I start making money / how many followers do I need?
You can really start earning money with as little as 5,000 followers on Instagram and/or 10,000 subscribers on YouTube. Depending on which platform you are using, this should be your first "goal". You'll realize once you get around these numbers, small start-up brands will start to contact you asking if "you want a free moisturizer and offer your followers 10% off with a code they'll provide." While these aren't bad deals, they really aren't something you want to saturate your feed with. Unless you really want to go for it, try to hold off until better offers start to appear in your inbox.
How much should I expect to be getting paid?
When you are just starting out, expect to simply be given free things. It will take a little while before brands begin offering money plus free product. So you'll probably start with just the products but hey, free stuff! Like I said earlier though, free stuff doesn't necessarily mean that it'll be worth it. If the brand wants you to provide a code and give your followers discounts, and put the link to their site in your bio, etc., it's just not worth the look that it will give your profile. We'll discuss how to handle this later.
If you are under but near 10k followers and a brand asks how much you charge, $50 - $100 is appropriate for a simple Instagram story or even a post. This also means you'll get the product for free plus a little gas money. Once you hit 10k, you can go a little higher and so forth. People try to have this down to an exact science of "how many followers I have = how much money I get".. It's just not that easy and differs per person. You truly get to set your own price. These are just appropriate examples.
How do I find brands to work with?
Luckily, there are lots of ways these days to find different brands and access them all in one place. Grapevine Logic is a website that connects creators with brands and vice versa. You (as the creator) set up a profile with your favorite Instagram photos or YouTube videos, it displays your current followers, and gives the brands a little background on who you are. Once this is done, you can access the "marketplace" which is basically where the brands display a post explaining what they expect out of the creator and what it is they are trying to sell. You can then message the brand and tell them your idea of what you'll do. I typically explain that I am willing to do an Instagram story as well as a blog post. You'll enter the payment that you think is appropriate, and they'll simply approve or decline your offer.
If you don't want to use a website like this, you can begin finding brands on your own that you think would be interested. I would recommend going for brands with a similar or slightly larger following than yourself. The brands with hundreds of thousands of followers will most likely already have affiliated influencers.
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How do I choose which brands to work with?
As frustrating as it may be, you really want to choose brands that fit well with not only your lifestyle.. but the lifestyle of your followers. You may even be offered commission from each sale that comes from you so why promote something that no one on your profile will buy? Promote things that will matter to your people. You can always tell the creators that have taken every offer because their following will grow much slower and they're profile is saturated with discount codes and call to actions. You don't want this to be you. Choose the brands that make the most sense and propose good, quality offers.
Is it feasible to expect to turn this into a full- time income?
You can certainly turn your social media into a full time income. Once you get a decent following, I really suggest applying your prior skills to sell a service or create something tangible to sell. You can really maximize your social media by not only earning from your posts but earning from selling something that you're proud of. We have friends that sell their services as life coaches as well as a few friends that sell merchandise from small companies they've created. This is the best way to utilize your following for extra travel money. It's even better if you create something that you can sell and operate from anywhere!
If you strictly want to earn from your social media platforms by sponsored posts and videos, it will be more challenging but still possible. In order to do this, you'll need a larger following because you will need to attract more brands. The bigger and more engaged you're following is, the better your chances are at getting quality brand deals and sponsorships.
I know influencers with roughly 60,000 followers that make their full income by posting on social media and working closely with brands to create quality photos for them to use. This isn't ONLY sponsored posts though. This often includes sending the brand 5-10 professionally shot images that you take for them of the products. A lot of influencers also make income by selling their own merchandise via social media such as clothing or even coaching in an area they have expertise. This also doesn't mean the above number is your holy number and that's where you need to be. Again, I'm going off my personal experience and knowledge.
Social media has opened up a new world of ways to earn money and make a living. It isn't a bad thing if you want to be a part of this and utilize it to the best of your ability. But it can be confusing and really difficult to research because nobody wants to let go of their secrets. I had a hard time coming up with numbers originally to give brands even after researching and learning. So this is what I have seen and come up with on my own after skipping many offers and only going with a few that really worked well for me. I hope this helps! The key to all of it is patience. Your following will grow if you work hard on it and the offers will come in. Don't get overwhelmed, and do your research on every brand before agreeing to work with them.