How Social Media Influencers Can Leverage Their Followers and Make Money
Updated: Sep 4, 2019
With today’s technology, social media influencers have multiple options when it comes to leveraging their followers on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to make money.
How Social Media Influencers Can Leverage Their Followers to Make Money
The reason companies have become doggedly obsessed with working with social media influencers is due to the massive and ever-attentive audiences online personas have managed to collect in the few, short years these platforms have existed. We spend an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes each day on social media and, according to Forbes, 84% of millennials make purchasing decisions based on who we follow. Companies have quickly caught on to this and, in 2019, are expected to spend $1.7 billion on influencer marketing.
The following are the top ways social media influencers can leverage their audience to make money.
Build Brand Partnerships on Social Media
To date, brand partnerships are one of the biggest money-makers for influencers – and for the companies who work with the right ones. For instance, after years of falling behind in name recognition with the younger generation, the apparel company U.S. Polo Assn partnered with four influencers in a targeted campaign to raise brand recall. Their influencers’ Instagram audiences ranged in size from 66k to 148k and, following the campaign, the company had increased brand recall by 95%. Ultimately, companies know that the size of the audience doesn’t matter as much as how much follower interaction that influencer maintains on a regular basis.
Whether you have 5,000 followers or 5 million, there are brand partnerships available for your audience. You just need to identify them.
Influencers need a clearly defined brand and must know their who their audience is. With this information, influencers can pitch their services to potential brands. For example, a beauty influencer who specializes in posting about makeup for dry skin would be a great brand partner for skincare companies like Olay or Kiehl’s. Furthermore, if the individual’s audience is older or younger, that can affect the partnerships they form as well.
Brand partnerships include sponsored content and brand ambassadorships.
Use New Ways to Personally Connect with Your Followers
Social media platforms have made it easier than ever before to build and connect with a global audience. Instagram and Twitter let anyone with an account to reach out to their favorite online persona. And, as such, a lot of their comments get lost in the shuffle of never-ending notifications. This has allowed a brand new crop of social platforms to spring up, offering dedicated fans the opportunity to connect with their favs on a more personal basis.
Patreon, for example, lets users set up subscription-based profiles where fans can choose from a selection of tiers that determine their level of access to the influencer. It’s not uncommon for some Patreon users to earn $20 a month from thousands of fans for exclusive content; early access to tickets, music, or videos; small group or one-on-one Q&A’s; and live chats. Needless to say, the larger your fanbase, the more you stand to make from sites like these.
In addition to subscriber sites, many people are choosing to roll out their own websites and apps to get closer to fans. While these cost a lot more initially to create, you own 100% of the profits at the end of the day.
Host Events or Make Paid Appearances
Again, if an influencer knows their audience, they may be able to set up some paid appearances in cities where they have sizable fan counts. At its easiest, hosting opportunities will come to you directly through a DM or email from an event booker or promoter. However, to ensure a consistent calendar of events, some people may need to be more proactive and start making calls and sending emails to potential locations.
Create a Sellable Product
In the digital world, you can make and sell a number of things without ever having to maintain an inventory or communicate with a manufacturing distributor. Sure, you could make branded T-shirts, but it would be easier(and likely more profitable) to create a digital product based on your actual skills. Webinars and e-books are good products for influencers with something to teach(such as filming or editing skills, motivational coaching, music consulting, et cetera). Websites like Amazon can help you
self-publish as well as distribute your work and track your sales.
“4 Ways Social Media Influences Millennials' Purchasing Decisions” by Andrew Arnold via Forbes.com. Retrieved on April 16, 2019 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewarnold/2017/12/22/4-ways-social-media-influences-millennials-purchasing-decisions/#56bf305b539f
“How Much Time Do You Spend on Social Media? Research Says 142 Minutes Per Day” by Saima Salim via DigitalInformationWorld.com. Retrieved on April 16, 2019 from https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2019/01/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic.html
“US Polo Assn. lifts brand recall 95% with influencer campaign” by Robert Williams via Mobile Marketer. Retrieved on April 16, 2019 from https://www.mobilemarketer.com/news/us-polo-assn-lifts-brand-recall-95-with-influencer-campaign/552592/
“Time Flies: U.S. Adults Now Spend Nearly Half a Day Interacting with Media” via The Nielson Company. Retrieved on April 16, 2019 from https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2018/time-flies-us-adults-now-spend-nearly-half-a-day-interacting-with-media.print.html