Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have brought about a revolution for those who consider themselves content creators. Today it’s possible to find an audience that’s passionate about your interests, however niche they are.
As a result, brands are lining up to secure brand advocates and sponsorship deals to improve their influencer marketing strategies, especially for growing verticals like esports influencers or handcrafts. In 2021, the creator economy was valued at over $14 billion, with micro-influencers becoming increasingly sought after for their more personal connections with their followers.
While some monetization tools are beginning to blossom on social channels, many creators still have difficulty accessing that money. For newer influencers who have attained an engaged following but don’t know where to start with compensation, here are five strategies.
For newer influencers who have attained an engaged following but don’t know how to get started making money, it might be useful to consider these five strategies.
1. Choose How You Want to Be Paid
While the content you produce to benefit your followers and potential brands you work with is a crucial pillar of being a creator, so is knowing your worth and defining a compensation strategy. Some brands you’re interested in working with may have rigid payment guidelines, while others may be open to work with you on compensation.
If you’re just starting out in the influencer space, you may want to consider accepting free products or exclusive deals instead of expecting cash. This flexibility may help you land deals with better brands and paves the way for you to build a lasting relationship that could later result in cash compensation.
Boohoo sends creators free clothes in exchange for a “haul” video showcasing their favorite pieces.
When it comes to defining a rate for cash payment, there are a few factors to consider. Beyond follower count, creators with a high engagement rate and a loyal audience (often common with micro-influencers) can typically charge more for their services. On the other hand, creators who are producing content for the brand to use on its own social channels may want to focus on content quality and time spent creating when defining a price point.
Check out our influencer pay guide for more details on how to know your worth and the different ways to get compensated by brands.
2. Promote Brands You Love With Product Placements
Brands love influencers. In fact, over 89% of marketers say that influencer marketing is a highly effective channel for them. Influencers represent extremely targeted and highly effective word-of-mouth recommendations, which are like gold to brands and their marketers.
As a creator, your audience trusts you to provide valuable content and make personalized, genuine recommendations when it comes to brands and products. It’s crucial to partner with brands you actually enjoy and ideally already purchase from so you don’t risk appearing inauthentic in your posts.
Instead of just a video or image of you holding up a product and saying it’s great, showcase how you use the brand’s products in your everyday life, and what problems it solves for you. This type of content sets you up for better discovery by other brands and improved engagement from your audience.
Embroidery influencer @knittyknotts promotes DMC threads while showcasing their specialty: custom sneakers.
3. Become a Brand Affiliate or Ambassador
Ecommerce referral programs provide a simple solution to influencer compensation; creators are usually given unique links to share with followers when promoting a brand or product, and earn commission on the sales they generate.
Finding an affiliate marketing gig can also be easier than directly reaching out to a brand on social media. Many brands have signup or application links on their websites for interested creators to connect with them. Plus, influencer marketing platforms like Pixlee TurnTo may offer influencer signup opportunities that can be found with a simple web search.
KiraGrace’s ambassador program offers application submission directly on the brand’s site, and showcases existing ambassadors in a Pixlee TurnTo-powered shoppable Instagram gallery.
4. Offer a “Tip Jar” in Your Instagram Bio
If you don’t want to create a course or talk to brands just yet, a simple, low-stress way to monetize your audience can be found in simply offering a “tip jar” via your Instagram bio. Remember, many of your followers absolutely love what you do and would be grateful for the chance to give back to you. A tip jar is a great way to do that.
One of the easiest ways to set up a virtual tip jar is with a tool like Lightricks’s Link in Bio. There, you can monetize some of the valuable real estate on your Instagram profile and give loyal fans a way to say thanks for all the amazing content you’ve created for them so far.
It’s free to use, comes with highly customizable templates, and the tip jar is powered by Stripe, which means both you and your fans can be confident about safety.
5. Sell Your Own Products
Finally, for passionate creators, one of the best ways to monetize your following is by selling your own products. Creating and selling your own products can also position you as a great fit for collaboration on products with the brands you love in the future, like Morphe’s influencer-inspired makeup palettes.
This is one of the harder ways to monetize your following, because it involves more setup. But it’s also one of the best ways to earn money with your audience, because you’re creating something tailor-made for them. With your in-depth audience knowledge, you can sell a product you know they’ll be excited to buy from you.
It can be hard to understand how to monetize your audience. Maybe you even feel guilty for attaching a price tag to your fans. But the truth is that often enough, they’re excited for extra ways to engage with your content and help support you as a creator. Brands are equally enthused to have the chance to reach their dream audience by collaborating with you.