Starting a Business as a Social Media Influencer
Social networks like Instagram and YouTube are dominated by influencers whose followers act as a built-in audience for photogenic or disruptive brands. And it’s easy to see why — in a digital media landscape that throws ads at us everywhere we go, some people turn to celebrities and social media stars for advice on what products they love.
The question is, how can you become a social influencer and marketer and start a business based on the brands and products you share with your followers? It’s a crowded space, but for those who make it as influencer marketers, the rewards can be significant. We’ll share information on what it means to be an influencer, how you can turn that into a business, the best platforms to use and other useful advice.
How Social Media Influencer Marketing Works on Instagram, YouTube and Other Networks
Here’s how brands, influencers, social networks and end customers interact in influencer marketing.
Brand or Marketing Agency Finds an Influencer with the Right Audience
Once they understand audience demographics, a brand will look for influencers who have that audience. They will explore areas like follower counts, the influencer’s interests, the type of posts they create and various other factors. They will narrow influencers down to a short list and identify those most likely to connect with their desired target market.
Brand Identifies a Product or Service
Brands have certain products or services that they want to promote to audiences that are hard to reach via other means. For example, they may have a new clothing line targeted at women between the ages of 18 and 22. The brand decides which products they want to promote and defines an audience for each one, typically including age, gender, location, interests and similar demographics.
Approach the Influencer and Arrange Terms for Sharing the Product
This is where it gets interesting. Typically, a brand or marketing agency will approach individual influencers and discuss terms for promoting their products. This will include areas like:
How the brand, product or service will be represented
Social networks where the influencer will share their posts
Payment amounts for promoting the brand, product or service (on a per post, per purchase, campaign or other basis)
How often the influencer is expected to post on their social media accounts
Any hashtags and language that needs to be included in posts
How the results of the campaign will be tracked
Social Media Influencer Posts About the Brand, Product or Service
After terms have been agreed to, the influencer will create posts to promote the brand, product or service. They might use predesigned imagery, photograph a product themselves or work with a brand or marketing agency on other types of content. Once the posts have been created, they are then shared with the audience, typically on a predefined timetable.
Audience Interacts and Buys the Product
The post is shared with the audience and they purchase the offering based on the influencer’s endorsement. The brand or marketing agency will track the success of their social media influencer marketing campaigns based on the revenue they generate. This helps the brand understand their return on investment and which influencers are most effective.