If you prefer to watch this post, click here, but the blog post has a LOT more information.
Think of your Instagram page as your digital portfolio or resume.
Here is my professional Instagram @ladybossblogger.
Here is my personal Instagram @elainerau.
With every post, you are branding yourself and in essence, showing brands what you can do to advertise their product or service.
It’s best to promote stuff in one or two general niches, for example – fashion, beauty, and books, which is why it’s good to have separate accounts (such as a personal and professional one) if you want to post about more niches.
If you don’t have a niche or know what that is, read my post: 12 Most Profitable Niches For Making Money Online that went VIRAL on Pinterest with 22K shares! (I also have a quiz on there to help you figure out what niche you should be in!)
Before you post anything, make sure to convert your personal Instagram to a business one in order to track how your posts perform. This is how brands will be able to track your branded content as well.
We are in the era of the micro-influencer so there is no better time than now to begin!
How To Become An Instagram Influencer
Think of a product or service that you love and use every day… THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO YOUR BESTIE.
NEVER promote something you don’t believe in.
- Your audience is your biggest asset AND money maker.
- Access to your audience through your influence is what brands pay for.
- Don’t break their trust.
Think about this, if your friend recommended a product to you and you tried it and got terrible results, would you trust your friends’ judgment again?
The more engaged your audience is with you, the more they trust you, the more they like your posts, the more they would consider buying something from you or the company you’re representing.
For example, before I discovered HealthyLine’s Infrared Healing Mat, I had the worst cramps ever. I would just dunk a bunch of Ibuprofen pills in my body every month to stop the pain… until I got this mat! It’s a much healthier way to not only deal with cramps, but it also helps with chronic pain and actually detoxifies your body naturally.
Notice how the product solved one of my personal problems so I was more than eager to promote it to my audience.
Also, notice how I tagged Ikea in there as well. 😉
This is setting me up for when I pitch them to send me product to review so they already see what I am capable of and see who else I have worked with.
Because HealthyLine loved working with me so much, they sent me another item a few months later, this time it was their brand new Magnetic Energy Duvet. Their products are so high quality that it makes it easy to promote because they actually WORK… which makes people purchase them as well.
Promote products that are high quality and unique.
If you promote products that people can get from anywhere, they will probably get it elsewhere, however if the product is special and solves a unique problem, you’ve got a good product!
Because my post generated loads of sales for the company, they gave me another promo code to share, this time it was lbbfreegift for a free energy bracelet AND free shipping instead of just 10% off with ladyboss10.
Asking companies to give you promo codes is a great idea not only to track your sales but to offer great value to your audience.
The key to becoming an influencer is BUILDING GOOD RELATIONSHIPS with brands… and of course making money for them. I help HealthyLine make a solid 1K in revenue every month, this is all tracked through the promo codes.
Being an influencer is never JUST about receiving FREE product or getting paid for a post, it’s about what you can do to transform the company that wants to work with you. Put them first and you’ll reap the rewards too.
In addition to promo codes, if you become an affiliate for the company, you will earn a percentage of the sales that you make for the company – this makes your Instagram account EXTREMELY desirable AND profitable. 😉
If you don’t know what affiliate marketing is, sign up for my FREE 5-Day Master Affiliate Marketing Course.
Another company that I’ve partnered up with is ReviveLight.
I’ve been able to generate about 2-3K for the company every single month (and I’ve been with them for over a year now). The reason is…
- Their product works.
- They are extremely generous and gave me an incredible discount code VIPLADYBOSS for 30% off exclusively for my audience.
- It’s an uncommon product that you can’t just get anywhere.
Notice how it’s not about me as the influencer at all… IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BRANDS AND WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THEM.
If you treat them like royalty, post about them, talk them up, and go over and beyond, you’ll BOTH be extremely happy and make a solid passive stream of income each month.
I usually straighten my naturally curly hair every day. One of my besties from college loves it when I keep it curly and always encourages me to do so, but I rarely do simply because I didn’t have a tool that could imitate my curl pattern to help me fix it up a bit in the morning so it didn’t look messy to me.
That was before The Beachwaver sent me their Coast Pro Ceramic Hair Styling Iron Straightener! It’s basically a straightener with two curved and removable attachments that is actually designed for a salon blow out finish, but more importantly, the curve was exactly what I needed to imitate my curl pattern!
PRO TIP: Get in the habit of tagging everything in your posts, just don’t go overboard. 7 tags max, anything over is considered spammy.
Notice once again how the product solved one of my personal problems so I was more than eager to promote it to my audience.
Also notice how I tagged Conair in there as well. This is once again setting me up for when I pitch them to send me product to review.
Now, I received another hair product Procabello which I actually had to pay $10 for, which was the ‘influencer discount’.
Some companies will send you stuff 100% for free in exchange for a review, others will provide a coupon code for a large discount.
I was going to buy the ProCabello Infrared Straightening Brush anyway since I had been dying to try it after seeing some reviews online, so I didn’t mind. Also, I really believed that it would change my whole morning routine and cut my straightening time in half.
Normally I have to brush my hair then straighten it then brush it while I straighten it, so I figured since it’s shaped like a brush I would simply have to brush it through my hair once or twice and be done with it like what I saw other influencers doing.
HOWEVER, I found it hard to get close to my roots and hard to straighten the ends of my hair. Since there is only one heated side, I actually had to keep putting heat on my hair and brushing it way more than if I had just used a normal straightener.
There are obviously pros and cons to every product or service and the best reviews point out both.
If you don’t like a product, either say it in your review or don’t promote it at all.
Trust me, your audience will thank you for your authenticity. Read the second comment.
After you get several reviews under your belt, companies will not only provide free product, they will also pay you!
How do you get there and how does it work?
- If you want to work with smaller brands, email them your pitch directly.
- If you want to work with larger brands, the best way to start is by joining an influencer platform. I would suggest doing both!
NOTE: Until you get really big, companies are not going to be coming to you – you must pitch yourself to them or join influencer platforms.
How do you ‘pitch’ yourself?
- Go to the company’s website and find their contact info.
- Go on LinkedIn to see who currently works there and what role they play in the company. (Connect with me on LinkedIn here if you’d like)!
- Write a personalized email including their name, why you want to work with them, and what value you can bring to their company. If you don’t know if you have the right name, simply address it someone and ask them to direct you to the right person.
- Then FOLLOW UP.
This is what I did with Elf Cosmetics, I searched for “Elf Cosmetics” on LinkedIn then I reached out to about 15 people I thought could potentially help direct me to who I was looking for and one of them responded!
I had actually gotten a bunch of their items for free at a tradeshow!
Another way to work with brands is by signing up for Influencer Platforms.
So instead of trying to find the right person to talk to yourself, the influencer platform has direct contact with the brand and has specific promotions the brand wants to promote that you can sign up for.
Below is an example of a pitch on an INFLUENCER PLATFORM called Activate.Bloglovin.com.
What is an influencer platform?
Companies who want to work with influencers sign up for a monthly fee or purchase software to get access to the influencers on these platforms. Some are competitive to get into, others all you need to do is sign up.
Sign up as a CREATOR, INFLUENCER, or INDIVIDUAL not as a BRAND, even if you’re building your own ‘brand’, you’re there to collaborate with other companies as an influencer.
Each platform varies, some offer opportunities on specific platforms or are Instagram only, some come in desktop form, others come as an app, some you have to create your profile then sell your services, others you sign up for opportunities, some only work with people in specific regions… etc.
Find a few that work for you.
One thing that I was surprised about after I signed up was how FEW opportunities there were on each platform. It was quite disappointing, so don’t be surprised when you sign up only to find they have just 1-2 campaigns going on.
I have yet to find a platform that delivers consistent and compatible brand collaboration opportunities. If you know of one, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know and I will add it to the list!
Here are some platforms that can help you get started.
This is not a full list of platforms out there, there are new ones that pop up every day!
I checked to make sure that everything I listed is actually a platform where influencers can sign up. Some “influencer platforms” are actually programs designed for brands to reach out to influencers like a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database or system which doesn’t include a login for influencers but it’s still called the same thing, an influencer platform.
After you sign up, make sure to complete your bio to the full extent on each platform. If there is any missing information that the brand might want to know that’s not readily accessible, they more than likely won’t reach out.
Make it easy for brands to work with you!
Make it crystal clear in your bio what your personal brand is all about and what type of brands you want to work with. If you don’t have a focus, brands won’t contact you.
NOTE: YOU WILL NOT GET ACCEPTED INTO EVERY CAMPAIGN YOU APPLY FOR, BE PERSISTENT IN APPLYING FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES.
How much is your Instagram Profile worth?
Check out this free Instagram Money Calculator. Just type in your account name and it will churn out how much you should charge.
You can also compare how well you’re doing compared to celebrities using this Micro Influencer v.s. Celebrity Calculator.
Make sure that you’re posting consistently to Instagram, but not limiting yourself to one platform. If you can manage a Twitter and Facebook account as well, do it!
The more active you are on social media, the better!
I mean that’s what being an influencer is… having a large (AND ENGAGED) audience online.
However, make sure you’re not stretching yourself too thin. If you can only handle one account, focus all your attention on that one account and post on it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Why every single day?
If you’re not consistently showing up for your audience and producing GOOD CONTENT DAILY, you will be forgotten!
Click the image below to learn from our guest blogger, Stephanie Latorre, how to schedule your content for the next 12 months!
[If you’d like to guest post for LadyBossBlogger click here to learn how].
There is SO MUCH information out there right now, so why should people pay attention to you?
MAKE THEM… by being consistent.
When I started LadyBossBlogger.com, I didn’t fail to post every single day for 365 days at 6PM CST. It’s been a year and a half now and I just hit 100K followers.
Did I work hard to build my audience?
Was I rewarded because I kept showing up?
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-tzu
Now, back to influencer platforms.
I joined socialnative.com and got an email from them a few months later to work with Intel! Yes, that humongous company that is the world’s seventh-largest information technology company by revenue. And they wanted to work with ME!!!
They weren’t interested in my Instagram, but they were in my Twitter account, which is why I mentioned earlier to not put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to social media accounts.
Try growing them together and all at once.
Make it easy on yourself and simply share the same content on all of your accounts.
At that point, I had about 8,000 followers.
All I had to do was follow their post guidelines, take a picture and post!
It took me a total of about 30 minutes to come up with my concept, take the picture, write my caption and post it to my twitter account.
30 minutes for $100?
Now that’s pretty sweet!
And you know how I got that $100? I asked for it. They left it up to me to state how much a post was. Initially, I was going to go with $10, but then I thought about it and was like what if I tried for $100? And it worked!
Now it’s your turn to make some money.
Make a list of the brands you want to work with. They can be either a service or product provider.
I would strongly recommend promoting monthly subscription services over products.
The reason is that you can sign on to an affiliate marketing campaign with them and earn money through each referral! Then every month when your referral pays the company, you get a commission from it!
I know that may be a different approach than simply promoting products, but I guarantee it’s a better one – especially if you want to start making serious money as an influencer.
Below are the monthly services I have personally tried and use on a daily basis whose companies are easy to work with and receptive to my emails. I’ve broken them down into categories.
- ConvertKit – this is an email marketing platform. For every person you sign up, you get reoccurring commissions every single month. If they have an average size list, you get $8.70 every month from one person.
- Aweber – this is another great email marketing service.
- SmarterQueue – this is a social media scheduler that recycles your content. Their plans are extremely customizable but normally you get about $16.85 for each person you sign up. It’s the one tool I’ve used to grow my accounts on automation. It looks like I’m online all the time, when actually I’ve simply set everything up to recycle every 90 days and haven’t touched my Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts in over a year!
- Tailwind – best Pinterest scheduler and with their Smart Loop feature you can be 100% hands-free from your account as you watch your traffic grow. You get paid PER LEAD not just per sale. So for everyone who simply creates an account, you get paid .50 but for people who purchase you get $2.25. If they get the year plan, you get $17.98.
- Planoly – top Instagram scheduler because you can visually plan out your feed. Plus it’s one of the few Instagram-approved schedulers out there which is why you can auto post from it. You get $10 per person you sign up who pays for an account.
- Teachable – the most user-friendly platform to create and sell digital products such as online courses. I have my signature courses, Start A Money Making Blog + Make Money As An Influencer on there! They are always running contests for their affiliates to win cash prizes, they are super fun to work with and you get BIG payouts with them!
- Podbean – everything you need to create, manage and promote your podcast!
- SimplePodcast – another podcast player, but this one is designed to grow your audience and get more downloads!
- Shopify – I would recommend this over Amazon because you can actually build your own brand with Shopify instead of it just being a marketplace where you don’t have access to your customers. You get paid $29 per new store owner.
- Printful – the fastest way to create a custom drop shipping brand.
- FreshBooks – comes with an app to make it easy to keep track of your mileage, receipts, and invoices on the go. Great way to track your income and expenses all in one place. They also run a ton of fun promotions for guaranteed earnings, but each person you sign up you get anywhere from $2-10.
- Dubsado – business management software built to save you time, it helps with invoicing, signing contracts, scheduling appointments and more.
- HubSpot – marketing, sales and CRM (customer relations management) tool all in one.
However, there are only so many services you use and can promote, so promoting products is necessary and the best way to do that is through AFFILIATE MARKETING.
If you don’t know what affiliate marketing is, here are 3 ways to learn:
- Read my blog post titled: What Is Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work?
- Sign up for my free 5-day email course: 5-Day Master Affiliate Marketing
- Or sign up for this course taught by 6-figure blogger: Making Sense Of Cents. It’s the most comprehensive course about affiliate marketing out there.
The very first product I ever became an affiliate for was:
- Ultimate Bundles – this is a service that bundles up resources all for one amazingly low price. Basically, they gather 1000+ resources that are normally priced at $5000 or something and sell it for $97. You get 40% commission on each bundle you sell, but if you contribute to a bundle you get 70% and it becomes your product!
Some companies have their own affiliate programs, such as BlueHost, but a lot of them, especially bigger companies such as VistaPrint, sign up to find influencers on affiliate marketing platforms such as:
- Awin – the top brands work with this affiliate marketing platform. You have at pay $5 to get in, but you get that right back once you make your first sale. This is the #1 platform I recommend.
- ShareASale – suitable for anyone, no matter how newbie you are to affiliate marketing, to help you get in contact with brands that will pay you to promote them.
- MaxBounty – you get a dedicated affiliate partner who helps you find the best deals for you to sign up for and promote.
How do you get in touch with companies to promote their products?
Start emailing the companies you want to work with.
The more persistent you are, the more opportunities you’ll get. Such is life.
Don’t be afraid to reach out, the worst they can say is no… and you may even be able to change their minds later. ?
Quick personal story: My husband asked me out 5 times over the course of 6 months before I finally said yes! Now THAT is persistent… or creepy haha but it worked! Hehehe!
Anyway, my own personal persistent story begins here: I had reached out to celebrity stylist @SarahPotempa’s team (she does the Victoria Secret Angel’s hair for the runway) to see if I could interview her on my blog, LadyBossBlogger.com, which they gently turned down.
I reached back out in 5 months with proof that my blog had grown immensely in hopes of interviewing her again and they presented me with another opportunity instead! ?
So don’t worry if you’re rejected. THE MONEY IS IN THE FOLLOW UP!
That being said, I wasn’t paid for the review ? but you know what I mean!
If you keep popping up, people will take notice and eventually provide you with the opportunities you’re looking for – or in this case, it wasn’t what I was initially looking for but it helped me launch my review section!
Here are a few of my FAVORITE companies that I promote:
- Sudara – charitable fashion company that supports women who have escaped human trafficking by giving them a job.
- JustFab – I get all my shoes from here.
HEALTH + WELLNESS
- DaisyCup – a menstrual cup that has helped me stay focused on business without worrying about leaking or getting toxic shock. The owner is also fantastic.
- Heat Therapy Mat – infrared mat embedded with natural gemstones designed for wellness and pain management. Use “ladyboss10” for 10% off! They are an INCREDIBLE company to work with and their employees LOVE their jobs (especially Jade).
- Just Natural – all their products are 100% natural.
- Revive Light – red light therapy for anti-aging and health benefits. Use “VIPLADYBOSS” for a whopping 30% off!
If you have any questions about being an influencer, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com and I would be glad to answer any questions you may have!
If you loved this post, PIN the pic below!
<3 Elaine Rau
*Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in this post, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.
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