20 Questions About Being An Influencer

You guys are the best. I was so nervous to publish last week’s post about the basics of being an influencer and you guys loved it! But I am so happy that it was received so well and I’m so grateful to all of you.

I told you guys all about it and then asked if you guys had any questions…well, you guys definitely brought the questions! From how I started to how much I get paid. So I’m tackling them one-by-one and hopefully answering all of the basic questions this week.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be going into detail about:

  • reaching out to companies for collaborations
  • responding to companies that reach out
  • creating a media kit
  • determining your worth
  • finding a niche
  • setting a schedule
  • creating a content calendar
  • getting paid as an influencer

All the things! So sit back, grab your favorite snack while I dive in! As I said, this isn’t a deep dive into any one topic but will hopefully give you a better idea of what it looks like on the other side.

Every single one of these questions are questions I received the other day when I opened up my Instagram stories for questions on this very topic! If you asked me a question and don’t see it here, it’s because it was asked many times and I combined similar questions together! If it seems like this is all over the place, you’re not wrong. It is ALL over the place. But it just shows me how little people really understand about influencers/influencing and how little people talk about it!

I also want to say how great it has been that I have learned to understand the whole “influencer” thing from both sides.  Having both a COMPANY (www.PoppyAndDot.com) that reaches out to influencers to help promote our products and being an “influencer” myself has made it extremely eye opening. So my perspective may be a little different than most.

So, here we go!

1. How many followers did you have before you reached out to brands?

I started reaching out to brands when I was still a nano influencer and had around 3,000 followers. That may seem small but the truth is, most brands would love to get in front of the eyeballs of 3,000 people. Especially a local audience! Plus, my audience has always been extremely engaged. As your following grows, your engagement will typically go down. Take a look at some of the bigger accounts you follow and you’ll notice that their engagement is much lower (percentage wise) than it was when they were a smaller account. Nano influencers are so great to work with because of this. Their followers are more likely to be connected more closely to them than someone with a million followers.

I plan to go more in-depth on audience size and influence in a dedicated blog post but the graphic below should help you determine what level influencer you are.

2. How do you/how did you grow your following?

There are a number of ways to grow an Instagram following and I would be lying if I told you there is one proven way. The truth is, no one knows the exact formula. BUT, there are things you can do to increase your audience size.

  1. Post consistently | Think of your IG/FB/Blog as a TV show. Think back to the days before we could watch anything on demand. Individuals would NOT miss their shows. Come hell or high water, they would be home, at 7:00 pm to catch the latest Friends/ER/LOST/West Wing episode. Your channels or platforms are the exact same. People will tune in daily if you show up daily. And the more screentime you get in front of them, the more they’ll watch. And the more value you provide, the more they’ll share. If you’re a math whiz, it looks a little something like this: CONSISTENCY + VALUE = GROWTH.
  2. Use Hashtags | You can use up to 30 hashtags on your posts and even in stories. Hashtags are basically the Dewey Decimal system of the Internet age. They tell people where to find certain content. If I’m a makeup junkie who wants to attract other makeup junkies, I might use the hashtag #makeuptutorial. Use hashtags that will help people find you. And look for hashtags that are specific. #beautyblogger has over a million posts attached to it – try to find a more relevant hashtag for what you’re posting that will still connect you with the right audience, but won’t get lost amongst the masses. Whatever you do, #dont #use #hashtags #like #this.
  3. Speak in your own voice | As you post more and more, you’re going to better define your voice. What you say and how you say it. And that’s what people latch on to. Think of how many cooking shows or beauty bloggers there are out there. Do you follow ALL of them? Of course not. You follow the ones that speak your language.
  4. Do giveaways | Even if you don’t have gobs of money to throw at a giveaway, don’t be afraid to ask a brand if they’d like to partner in a giveaway with you. Or ask a fellow influencer that has a similar size following. Exposing each other to your personal audiences will help you both grow!
  5. Share 4 Share | Ask another account similar to your size if they’d be willing to share your account with their audience and you share their account with yours. You do a series of stories explaining why you like them and why it’s worth giving them a follow. Try to do this with an account that isn’t exactly like yours.
  6. Provide Value | If your audience gets something from your content whether it’s: a laugh, knowledge, a community, joy, you’re providing value! I love to stick to the “3 E’s: make sure your content Educates, Entertains, or Empowers”

At the end of the day, a lot of these are gimmicky. My main advice is to just be true to who you are, put yourself out there, and provide value. If you don’t have a voice, a point of view, and don’t provide value, no one is going to tune in. As you start to put yourself out there, write a list of what you want people to get from the content you’re putting out there. And then make content and put things out there that are in line with what you wrote down! I love to provide info on products you can’t/shouldn’t live without, fun family activities, fashion, my everyday life, how to live creatively, and to make you guys laugh!

(the girls LOVE calligraphy and hand-lettering. This was also one of my favorite things to share with you!)

3. How do you contact brands/how many brands contact you?

As I said above, I reach out to brands all the time. And I plan to do an entire blog post on this and provide some email templates and other things for you to use! But first and foremost, start tagging brands in your stories and posts! This will get you on their radar AND help your audience to know where you got something etc so your DM’s don’t fill up with “Where did you get xyz?” You want to do what you can to make brands sit up and take notice.

Send a quick DM, introduce yourself and ask them where you can send an email (if not published on their bio). At this point in my growth, I probably get anywhere from 5 – 15 collaboration requests a day. 90% of what I’m contacted about is not a great fit for my audience. As you build your following and talk about products/experiences/services, it’s an opportunity to further define who you are and the value you bring to your audience. Be Choosy. Don’t say yes to everything, especially things that aren’t a great fit. Remember, you are your own TV station/show. Collaborations are commercials. You don’t want any collaboration to feel like a hemorrhoid commercial in between value-packed content. Your collaborations should be with brands you trust, love, and only add value to your audience.

Build good relationships. Not all brands reach out directly. Many use PR/Marketing firms to connect with influencers. Nurture these relationships. Once you’ve had 1 successful collaboration, your contact will be more willing to work with you on future projects. I promise, I have a blog post in the works that goes way in-depth on this very topic. Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to send a brand a DM or an email.

  • Do you ever decline an offer to be an influencer after trying a product?

All the time. Not every product is good. But I applaud all those brave enough to go the entrepreneurial route and I have so much respect for anyone trying to build a business. It’s freaking hard. and it kicks one’s butt. It is not an easy road and reaching out to people to talk about your product is daunting. So if I feel it may be a good fit, I’m always willing to try it out! But I’ve told even really BIG brands no. Without trying their product. Because it wouldn’t have brought value to, or been in alignment with my audience.

  • How do you become an affiliate and get paid?

Anyone can become an affiliate. Especially for Amazon. You can join for FREE right here. Some affiliate networks are invite-only and others have a vetting process. In order to keep your account active, you have to have people click your links and purchase things. In order to have the swipe up feature enabled on your account, you need 10,000 followers. But even if you don’t have the ‘swipe-up’ feature you can create highlights on your main page, include them in your blog posts, link them on Facebook and Pinterest, and type them into your caption. Don’t allow the 10,000 followers to be your excuse.

For invite-only networks, you need to have a proven platform, a steady, engaged following, and have a great track record! It truly is not easy to become a successful blogger/influencer. I am still very much learning the dos and the don’ts of this industry and still misstep.

4. How much money do u make when people buy something from “swiping up?” 

Every time you swipe up and buy something through any link I share, I make a small percentage of the purchase price. Like I said in my blog post last week, “Companies spend millions of dollars to advertise their products, sometimes spending that much on 1 commercial (we’ve all heard those crazy Superbowl stories). Advertising is big business and companies pay to get their products in front of our eyeballs.”

Affiliate links are a bit different. No company has reached out to me. No one asked me to share those products. When I share a product and provide a swipe up, it’s because 1. My audience asked about something I was wearing/had/purchased and wanted to do the same, or 2. I’m sharing something I truly love!

  • Are you supposed to put “ad” when a company pays you? Same with Amazon affiliate links?

Yes! Every time I partner with a company and get paid, I am required by the FTC to disclose that I was paid to talk about their product. When it comes to your blog, the FTC guidance on this is clear, you need to tell your readers about an existing advertising relationship (and this FAQ has more on the subject). If you’ve growing been your audience authentically, they won’t care if you get paid. They will know you only share what you truly love anyway and are usually grateful you connected them to something so awesome. If your audience is offended, you’ve done something wrong. It does not change the price for the consumer AT ALL and most times, saves them money because I’m linking to a deal instead of full price.

A quick “The links in this blog post are affiliate links. I may get paid when you click on a link and purchase something I recommended” at the end of each blog post is all that is needed.

(this was for a Cascade partnership and I disclosed on my stories that this was an #ad for a product I already used and love!)

5. Is there ever drama or fights between influencers in similar realms about stolen content?

Honestly? Drama people tend to find drama everywhere they go. You can choose to rise above the fray or sling mud.

Do people steal my content? Yep. All the time.

Do I get mad? Yep. All the time.

Do I berate them and call them out and publicly humiliate them? No. I’m not into drama and I never want to contribute to someone’s feeling less-than. Sometimes we see or read something and it sticks with us and goes on to “inspire” us in our work. Sometimes there is only 1 way to say something. Either way, plan on it happening. But I think Gary V. says it best when he says:

“You may have heard that imitation as a compliment. But when your work has been copied, it feels like anything but a compliment; it feels more like an attack on your creativity. Sadly, this is often the nature of being in a competitive field; competition comes with the territory. If the infringement is blatant and could negatively affect your business, seek counsel and take any legal actions necessary. If it’s on a lesser scale, abstain from retaliating or talking poorly about the offending party. Instead, use this circumstance as motivation to get better at what you do. Continue to innovate and deliver a product above and beyond your audience’s expectations. Copycats never get ahead in the long run because they’re always one step behind.”

If you never look in the rear-view mirror, it’s hard to see the haters. Keep your eyes on your lane and be the best you can be at what you know.

6. Is it weird when people come to say hi?

NEVER GETS OLD. IT’S NEVER WEIRD. IT’S MY FAVORITE THING IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!!!

7. What did your family think? Mine just wants to see the kids not a bunch of products…

Same. You guys know, sharing my family is one of my favorite parts about this gig so they still see them all PLENTY.  But at the same time, I am not on social media to connect with my family. I nurture those relationships in real life. And I connect with my family on the phone and in person. I also talked about this on one of the Talk To Me Tayla episodes. My extended family doesn’t get it. Why would I want to talk to all of you? But at the end of the day, their understanding and approval isn’t essential or necessary for me to do what I love! But again, people love seeing my family so like I said, they’re still on there all of the time.

8. How do you keep your family and children’s lives safe when you have a public profile?

I don’t publish their school or say where we’re going to be in real-time. I don’t share hotels when we travel.. Typically I share after we leave a place, or a week or two later. Other than that, I have taught my kids to not talk to people we don’t know. All the typical stranger danger things.. If I thought about it non-stop I probably wouldn’t do this as a job or even a hobby. You are the only one who can determine how private or public you are and you need to decide how comfortable you are with the level you expose your family.

9. Is the whole “like” my stuff if you want to see it/algorithm real or a gimmick to get likes?

It’s absolutely real. If your perceived favorite influencer/account isn’t showing up in your feed as often, it’s because you haven’t shown Instagram that you like them. You haven’t engaged. It’s so common to scroll, really love a post, and keep scrolling without doing a double tap. But that double tap basically tells Instagram what you want to see more of. Commenting does the same. The more you engage on a specific profile, the more you show Instagram that you love that type of content. Not only will that account start to show more because of your increased interest, but it will start showing less of what you don’t really pay attention to.

This is why comment pods are such a bad idea. Your continued behavior of liking a set of accounts all the time will tell Instagram that those are the only types of accounts you want to see. If you want me to go on in more depth about this topic, tell me below!!!

10. Did or do you do social media ads to promote your business as an influencer?

No. I never have. However, brands have taken the content I created for them and used them in their own paid advertising campaigns.

11. Do you ever feel silly when you are recording yourself in public and you see people noticing??

Haha, yep! And I just laugh it off. You know me – I laugh at the most inappropriate times. And you just gotta be willing to laugh at yourself or you’ll never survive!

12. How do you keep a work/life balance with the phone? How do you set phone boundaries when your work is the phone?

If you see 20 clips from me during the day, that’s only 5 minutes of my day…TOTAL! I am not on my phone all day. And believe me, I totally know how it looks but the reality is so different. I get on when I want to share but I don’t spend hours scrolling through everyone else’s content. More of my time is spent researching blog posts and making sure I’m putting out great content. Even if you have a brain or folder full of ideas, bringing it to life, making it cohesive, and having it be of value to my audience instead of just a jumbled mess takes a lot of time!

13. How do you feel comfortable posting what you love and not care what people think?

At the end of the day, I can’t rely on other’s opinions about me. I had someone tell me that if a person or business does not fill my spiritual, mental, physical, or financial bank account, then they don’t get a say. And I am not the exception. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. You should never change your direction or voice because someone doesn’t like it. If I suddenly changed who I am and what I talk about, I would let down so many people – first and foremost, I would be letting myself down.

  • Are people mean and do they send/say mean things to you?

Yeah.  I’ve been told I’m ugly, that I’m a horrible parent, that “this or that” that I am eating is filled with _____ (insert unhealthy ingredient here) that I travel too much without my kids.. but then, from those same people.. that I take my kids out of school too much too….the list is enormous. And again, these people don’t make any deposits into any of my bank accounts. They don’t pay my bills, they don’t lift me up spiritually. These individuals don’t fulfill me mentally and physically and don’t in any way contribute to my life. So why would I allow their negativity to make an impact? They don’t get a vote. I am not doing this to appease the individuals who don’t think I’m their cup of tea. ‘Cause guess what, they probably aren’t my cup of tea either and that is fine!

I’m here to connect with like-minded individuals who celebrate their weirdness alongside me. I want uplifting things in my life. I don’t read the nasty blogs, give in to nasty DMs, and I just put those things out of my mind.

14. What website is your blog through?

I use WordPress as the platform to host my blog. There are so many creative and awesome platforms out there that are wallet and user-friendly. Squarespace, Wix, etc – all of these are great options!

15. The market is so over saturated! What is your #1 advice for someone starting?

The market may feel crowded but there’s always one thing missing. You. Your unique point of view and your voice. No one will say it like you. No one will laugh just like you. The world needs your uniqueness and your voice. No one is youer than you. Someone may be out there already talking about budgeting, fashion, or being a first-time mom, but no one will say it exactly like you. There are a million cooking shows on TV but every single one serves a different audience.

People often think the world of opportunities is a perfectly round pie. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s the wild wild west out here and it’s a big land grab. Stake your claim, raise your voice, and join the fray! There is someone out there who needs to hear something that is uniquely you.

16. How long did it take for you to start making money?

It took me a few months to make money. And I didn’t start this with the intent to earn or make money. But if I had, I think I would have been greatly disappointed right away and most likely would have quit. It’s not easy to build a following or to start talking with brands. A lot of it is trial and error. You’ll learn as you go.

17. Is there a mathematical formula for figuring out how much to charge?

There is an “industry standard” that I’ve heard at many conferences and podcasts and it is that you’ll get paid $100 for every 10,000 followers that you have. Again, use this loosely. I have found that it isn’t entirely true in all scenarios because in the end, your engagement trumps all (see below.) You can use this little guide to help you price yourself as an influencer:

10,000 = $100

20,000 = $200

30,000 = $300

40,000 = $400

50,000 = $500

60,000 = $600

70,000 = $700

80,000 = $800

90,000 = $900

100,000 = $1,000

This rate is for a post or set of stories (3-5 frames) on your feed. Keep in mind, these numbers and scale are just a starting place. And if you have incredibly high engagement, you may charge higher. If you have purchased your following or don’t have a really engaged audience, you may not be able to charge this much. It’s important to be transparent because if you misrepresent yourself and your following, brands may not work with you a second time. And while you may have gotten a 1st paycheck, it may also be your last. As you give companies and brands your rate, they will also want to see your analytics/numbers. If you have 50,000 followers and are able to make $500 a post, you could commit to 10 posts a month and make $5,000 income.

I have a blog post in the works that goes through all of this that I’ll post in the next few weeks!

18. How much do influencers make?

Honestly? I don’t know specific numbers for any influencer. They’re all pretty private about what they bring in but many who have a few hundred thousand followers make really high 6-figures and many break the 7-figure mark. It’s not uncommon for a popular influencer with 250k followers+ to make anywhere from $2,500 – $5k for a post. Possibly more if they have killer engagement. That’s why you see influencers work so hard to increase the number of likes/comments/shares each of their pieces of content gets.

There are many influencers who get year-long deals with big brands that are 5-6 figure deals. It is possible. But again, it’s difficult. Just like not everyone is a CEO, a $20-million a movie actor, or an award-winning journalist, not everyone is cut out to be an influencer. Brands are looking for someone who is incredibly authentic, who connects with their audience, who has a very distinct point of view, and who is a great match for their brand. And when brands partner with an influencer, they do so because of that influencer’s creative direction and ability to help their brand come to life.

19. How much do you make annually just from your Instagram and blog?

I really don’t like answering this question but it was definitely the most asked. I will also say that I will never give exact figures, I have found that people get really “weird” when they know details like that. So I am going to give you as much info here as I feel comfortable with at this time. 😉 In 2018,  I did make over 6-figures blogging and partnering with brands on Instagram. Also, 5-figure months became more common. But in 2018, I worked more on my personal brand than I ever had before. There were some days where I reached out to 20+ brands (that I already used and loved) a day. I worked 80+ hours a week on organizing, brainstorming, researching, writing my blog and learning from other bloggers at masterminds and classes. And I stepped more out of my comfort zone than I ever have before and sometimes it paid off and sometimes I had to rethink how I wanted to represent my brand. But, more often than not, my emails don’t get answered. Many of the brands that reach out to me aren’t a great fit. Combine those two and I spend a good amount of time curating the content I share with my audience. Because working with brands is fun and all… but teaching you guys something in a tutorial, sharing my favorite tech gadget in a Tech Tuesday post or showing you guys how my girls and I make bracelets is what I LOVE. That is the stuff that keeps me going. Believe it or not, I am not driven by money. AT ALL.. Yes, it is nice that it has come in as a by-product of doing something that I love but I thrive on engagement, sharing rad products and going back and forth with you all.

  • Do you get paid more in cash or products?

Money. I still have to pay taxes on ‘free’ product and many times the value of the product doesn’t cover my fee. But, I never promote a product that I haven’t tried and have on hand.

20. If Instagram disappeared would I be sad that your money-making went away?

NOT AT ALL. Money is a perk. A means to an end. It’s never been a reason for me to do what I do. I was sharing long before I made a paycheck and will continue long after. I think this question brings up a really good point though – if Instagram disappears, have you spread your business to other platforms so that your business isn’t tied to Instagram? Cause if you aren’t building a website, putting things out on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, or other platforms, Instagram owns your business. And having Instagram own my business is the last place I want to be. As your audience grows, it’s important to start an email list, building a home for your content (website), and connecting with your audience in various ways.

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Phew, I think I was sweating the entire time I was writing this. You guys asked some tough questions and I know the 3-4 sentences I used to answer don’t help paint the whole picture. But don’t worry, I have so many of these blog posts already in the works to help you

  • reach out to brands you love
  • how to respond when they reach out to you
  • and how to increase your following, how to find your niche
  • what sets you apart from the pack
  • and how to get paid for your unique point of view
  • how you can turn your side-hustle into an incredible job that you can’t wait to do every day!

I’m so thankful for you. Your kind words and attention are the highest compliment I can be paid. So stay tuned for next week where I plan on diving into going public with your account, finding your niche, and building your following!

If you’ve got more questions, leave them below!

Xx Tara

 

 

 

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Thank you Tara for sharing this! I’m starting just now on my journey and I have no intentions of “growing quickly” but I want to do it right as best I possibly can. I don’t believe in buying followers or likes or whatever and I hate pods cuz it’s not TRULY someone who likes my content. So to me not real engagement. (Not judging anyone else who disagrees just my opinion). I appreciate you opening up though, if you don’t know it this really blessed my life and give me some good knowledge I needed. I love you and thank you

    -Brandi Marble

    1. Hey Brandi – first, thank you for being here! I appreciate it more than you know. I’m so glad this helped – that’s what this series is for. I think this whole thing is a bit more mysterious than it needs to be! Good luck on your journey!

  2. This is so great! Thanks for sharing. (Not that I’m gonna do it, but wanted you to know I enjoy you and appreciate your hard work!)

  3. THANK YOU! I had a blog about a decade ago when no one knew what a blog was and it was so time consuming that I stopped to just focus on my tiny growing humans. Now that they’re a little older, I want to get back into it but it has changed so much! I have followed you for a long time and love your voice and info. Thank you for the general overview! This is extremely helpful! Can’t wait to read the next installments.

  4. Thank you for being honest! I had no idea it took so much time to create the content you do. It just looks like you are just sharing. But then again, your pictures and stories are “professional” looking, and once I realized you had to have a photographer come in and take pics for your blog, it was my clue that this is indeed WORK.

    1. Sometimes I take them myself and that’s even more work, haha! There’s lighting, editing, making sure I’m highlighting the product but in a way that feels natural to me…then there is usually a few rounds of back and forth with the brand and edits/reshoots as well as scheduling and creating whatever other content is required: blog post, fb, pinterest, etc. It definitely is work and I have so much respect for other bloggers!

  5. Tara, thank you so much for opening up about all things “Influencer!” I can’t wait to read the next blog posts you have in the works about this topic. And also thank you for sharing all the things you do – I’ve found some amazing brands and products from following you. <3

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