How to Become a Paid Influencer and Make Money on Social Media
Getting paid just for posting on social media is a dream job for almost everyone.
For some, it's their full-time job. They get paid to review applications, use a product, or get free clothes.
To be a paid social media influencer, you will need a social media following. Some people, like celebrities gain instant, massive followings online and start making money right away.
For most of us, it’s not that simple. It takes time, effort, and lots of work before we can get paid for our social media posts. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. You can get paid as a social media influencer, even if you’re starting from scratch.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a marketing strategy used by companies and brands. They ask regular people who have large social media followings or are experts in their fields to promote their products.
Using influencers is a way for companies to get real people to promote them on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube instead of using traditional marketing like print or television ads.
Influencer marketing is cost-effective for the companies, and it’s a way for the influencers to make money for posting on social media.
How Does an Influencer Make Money?
These influencers are generally paid in one of three ways: free products, brand sponsorships, or affiliate marketing.
Most influencers will start earning money in the form of free products. This can include hair care products, a king-sized mattress, or baby gear. The company will send these items for the influencer to discuss on their social media channel.
Free products are a good way to learn how your audience responds and which items they’re most interested in. If you’re just getting started, it’s tempting to accept all free products. But if you’re an influencer for bullet journals, your audience might not appreciate an ad for luggage.
Company Partnerships and Brand Sponsorships
Another term for this category is brand ambassador, which means that a company or brand will pay you to act as a spokesperson for them.
You share with your audience the positive aspects of a company, such as how their products can help you sleep better or be more productive, to increase their brand awareness and sales. You might also be required to post on social media about the company a fixed number of times per week or participate in social media campaigns.
Social media influencers typically earn a flat fee for partnering with companies, but they can also earn money through affiliate marketing. Be aware that if you choose this route, you must disclose this relationship via FTC guidelines.
When an influencer makes money through affiliate marketing, they share a special link or code for a product with their audience and receive a portion of any sales made through that code or link.
If you’re a well-known book blogger and you frequently recommend books, you can join Amazon’s affiliate program and each time a reader buys a book you link to on your website, you earn a small commission.
It’s a more passive way to earn money as an influencer but has the potential to be incredibly lucrative.
How Much Money Does an Influencer Make?
There’s no average rate or median salary for social media influencers. How much you can earn depends on factors like:
- Your number of followers
- The amount of engagement your posts receive
- The length of the advertising campaign
- How much you ask for
The larger and more engaged your following is, the more you can make. Even those with small social media followings can still earn money as an influencer.
If you only have 1,000 followers, you can pitch companies to work with you. For affiliate marketing, you might need just one well-performing post or tweet for a company to approach you. What truly matters to companies is that you have an engaged following who listen to your recommendations.
How much you make also depends on the type of payment you receive. Free products don’t generally translate to cash (unless you sell the product when you’re done using it), but brand sponsorships and affiliate marketing can generate a significant income. If you can, try to have a few revenue streams (e.g., affiliate marketing and free products) to earn the most money.
Regardless of how many income streams you have, it’s important to partner with and advertise companies and products you believe in and that provide value to your audience. You don’t want to compromise your morals or your followers’ trust for a paycheck.
Working as a social media influencer is still a business, so you’ll want to hone skills like negotiating pay, managing business expenses, and pitching clients. You might also consider connecting or networking with other social media influencers for tips, job leads, or support.
Choosing Your Social Media Platforms
Choosing the right social media platform is key to making money as a paid influencer. If you’re on several already, examine your stats like the number of followers and impressions. Wherever you get the most traction and engagement, pick that one to start. You can always add others as your influence grows.
The type of products you’re advertising or the company you’re partnering with might influence the platform you choose. Their products might perform better on one over another.
You should also consider the type of campaign they might want or how you communicate best. Whether you do well making YouTube videos or posting on Facebook, you’ll want to play to your strengths when working as a paid influencer.
Instagram is one of the top social media sites for influencer marketing. From IGTV to stories to posting pictures, there are plenty of ways to share with your audience.
If you want to become a paid influencer on Instagram, work on growing your account to a minimum of 10,000 followers so you can utilize their “swipe up” feature. Once your followers have the ability to “swipe up,” you can drive traffic to your own website or to specific affiliate products you’re promoting.
Even if you have a small Facebook following, you can still partner with and promote brands on your Facebook page. If you’re comfortable using Facebook Live, that’s even better for you as an upcoming paid influencer.
Many companies ask influencers to utilize the Facebook Live feature on their business pages to share a product or service. Some social media influencers even have a contract where they’re required to go on a company’s Facebook page live at regular intervals to talk about a product or educate that company’s customers.