6 Steps to Becoming an Influencer
From mega-stars with six-figure deals to small accounts with a handful of sponsors, the influencer space is ripe with opportunities to earn.
But before you can start landing brand deals and collecting ad revenue, you'll first need to establish yourself as an influencer and build an audience. With our steps, you can go from an empty account with zero followers to a dedicated fan base of your own in no time.
1. Make a Business Plan
Business plans aren't just for traditional businesses like retail stores and restaurants — they can also benefit content creators. When you're creating yours, you can use the following general format:
2. Name Your Business
If you haven't already decided what your influencer business will be called, now is the time.
You can always name your business after yourself, of course — it's simple and straightforward, and you can tack on a word like "designs," "lifestyle," "looks" or "art" to make it stand out.
Or, if you're more of a creative type, you can create a completely unique name, too.
3. Register Your Business
Once you've formed a plan and settled on a business name, you're ready to make things official by registering your business with the government.
That means settling on a business structure. While there are several options, from S Corps to C Corps to nonprofits, most influencers (and most small business owners, for that matter) find that it makes the most sense to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Why? LLCs are quick and easy to set up, and they protect your personal assets (i.e., bank accounts, house and car) in case your business finds itself in legal trouble.
Still not sure which type of business structure is right for you? Our Business Entity Quiz can help you find out.
And when you're ready to take the plunge and register your influencer business, you canfile it with Incfile for $0 plus state fees.
4. Create a Business Bank Account
Any experienced entrepreneur will tell you that you can avoid a lot of headaches by keeping your business finances separate from your personal ones.
How? By creating a business bank account. If you do, you'll be able to:
And since some business bank accounts don't have any monthly fees or minimum balance requirements — like Bluevine's business checking account, for example — there's no reason not to open one of your own.
(Psst: Our free Influencer Income Tracker Worksheet makes it even easier to keep tabs on your earnings and expenses.)
5. Prepare Legal Contracts
Every influencer should know how to protect themselves (and their income) with fair legal contracts.
Here's what we mean. Let's say you're exchanging direct messages with a brand that wants to pay you for a series of sponsored posts. They offer $200 per post, and you gladly accept. But after creating and publishing the posts, they say they'll only pay you $20 per post.
You go back to your direct messages to find the proof that they promised much more, but you find that all of their messages have been deleted. Now you have no proof, and you're stuck with a much lower payment than expected.
That whole situation could have been avoided if you and the brand had simply signed a legal contract before working together.
Luckily, you don't need a personal lawyer in order to prepare legitimate legal contracts. With Incfile's Business Contract and Legal Document Library, you can choose the template that works for you and start using it for your brand deals.
6. Develop a Media Kit
Once you've established an audience (even if it's relatively small) and created a variety of content, you can make your business look even more attractive to potential brand partners by creating a media kit.
In short, an influencer media kit is a polished, one-page portfolio that sums up your image, social media presence and content:
What Is a Social Media Influencer?
In short, a social media influencer is someone who's built an audience on social media that looks to them for recommendations, entertainment and/or information.
When brands want to grow their audience, they work with influencers relevant to their niche to promote products or services. For instance, a culinary brand could work with an influencer who reviews food and beverages, or a clothing brand could work with an influencer who's known for their on-trend style.
Types of Influencers
Influencers can also be categorized by the size of their following:
Best Social Media Platforms for Influencers
There is no one social media platform that's objectively better for influencers than others — some types of influencers tend to do well on some platforms, while some may thrive on others. And for many influencers, a combination of platforms works best.
How Influencers Make Money
So how do influencers make money, anyway? Possible income sources include:
And remember that income doesn't always mean dollars and cents — many influencers are also paid in products and services from the brands they work with. (Influencers usually need to pay taxes on those gifts based on their monetary value, too.)
Generally speaking, the larger an influencer's audience, the more income they'll be able to make. But with an increasing number of brands recognizing the value of micro influencers (they have measurably higher engagement rates than their macro and mega counterparts), it's possible for more influencers than ever before to turn their clout into cash.
How Much Money Do Social Media Influencers Make?
If you want to become a social media influencer, you don't just want to know how influencers make money — you also want to know how much they make.
The answer isn't as straightforward as you might like, especially since many influencers are paid in gifts as well as money. But thanks to some data from Influencer Marketing Hub, we can at least get a clearer idea of common influencer rates.
Across all platforms, here’s what influencers typically make:
Social media has launched the careers of many successful influencer marketers. If you can find a great niche, build an audience and put together a solid business plan, you will have every chance for success.
Want help launching and managing your influencer business? Incfile's got you covered. From forming an LLC to figuring out your finances and trademarking your brand, our services are built to make your life easier.