Let’s face it; the influencer industry is probably one of the most vastly growing industries to date. It has went from social media being a place to simply display what you ate for dinner to million dollar photo worthy dishes; literally. It’s a wonder why so many people are transitioning to this platform. What once was considered a hobby, with consistency or a viral moment, one can make a lucrative career. Now while I started for the pure joy of fashion, it would be silly not to also being able to make a few extra dollars doing what I love.
However, the misconception has always been that only the larger influencers can make money. You need to have bazillion followers to get sponsored posts and the like. Well I’m here to tell you this is a myth and there’s money to be made by all. Brands are realizing the major influence of those with smaller audiences like the nano and micro influencer (1000-100,000 followers), and want to get a piece of what we have to offer. Here are some ways you can monetize as a nano or micro influencer.
Join Affiliate Programs
There are so many great affiliate programs to join that allow you to monetize. You simply create links that you share with your followers and when they purchase through your links, you receive a small commission. Think of it as you being a sales associate for your own personal brand. The more you share, the more opportunity you have to get a sale. The best part is that whatever type of influencer you are, you can link. Whether your beauty, fashion, home, travel, etc. there are so many vast retailers who participate in affiliate links. Sign up for one and share across your platforms. Even if you don’t have a blog to embed your links, you can share links directly with your followers and still receive credit. It may be slow in the beginning but trust me if you continue to be consistent with getting your followers used to it, you will start to see sales coming in.
I personally use and love Rewardstyle, but here are a few other great affiliate programs,
Work with Local Brands
Lots of times people think that you only have to work with larger brands. But honestly lots of times those larger brands are only looking for influencers with larger followings. Start with smaller brands that will resonate with your audience. It can be a local small business, a small boutique, etc. I have landed several partnerships this way. I think it’s a great way because you have a audience that trusts you and can dialogue with more. Your audience is more inclined to trust you because it feels like they’re listening to a friend. This means your audience will most likely buy; which can be major for smaller brands who don’t have a large advertising budget. They may have a smaller budget but you can work out a great deal for both parties. This way at least you can earn some form of monetary payment, in lieu of the free gifted product most larger brands offer as payment. This is a great way to get your feet wet in working with brands and boost up your resume.
There are lots of bloggers or publications who hire freelance writers to do guests posts on their accounts. You may not have a large following, but that doesn’t mean it’s because you lack the writing skills or value. Use those skills to write posts in your field of expertise. Some bloggers simply don’t have the time and prefer to hire writers to eliminate some of the work load. Even if this is not something you do often, it can be a nice way to earn extra cash when you have some time or things are slow.
Create Merch/Physical Products
No matter what type of influencer you are, there’s always a product that you can connect to yourself. If you are an inspirational speaker, create shirts with your quotes. If you’re a chef you can sell a cookbook or create your own spices. If you do fashion, create clothing or have an online boutique. The bottom line is, never put all of your eggs in one basket. The major takeaway is you should always be thinking of ways to create your own destiny and build your own wealth. A larger brand can tell you no, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have value. Take a minute to think about what it is you offer to people. Next make a list of possible merchandise that supports what you do. Start with one and keep building.
Sell an Online Course
Now this piggybacks off of merch. Not only can you have physical products in terms of merch, you can sell your intellectual property. As a content creator that’s what you’re doing anyway. There’s always something you can teach people in whatever field you’re in. Take that teachable thing, or the thing people come to you for most and turn it into what I like to call “intellectual merch”. Because your followers trust you, this is a perfect opportunity to capitalize on that. You could create an online course, offer a workshop, etc. Even if you only have a few clients each month, you are obtaining loyal customers; which is very important in building a brand.
Sell an Ebook/Digital Product
Another great form of intellectual property. If doing a workshop or leading an online course is not your thing, write an ebook. It’s a great way to compile your knowledge and make money off of something you’ve completed once. Not only can you sell to your followers as an influencer but you can also sell it on other sites like Amazon and Payhip. The other thing I love about an ebook is that it doesn’t have to be long. It can be a short pamphlet, or just a few pages. It’s not a traditional hardcover book so don’t think you need to write a novel; literally. Make it concise and informative on your topic and present it. I took what I know of fashion and compiled into a short ebook, The ABCs of Style; 26 Hacks to Elevate Your Style in just a few months. Now I’m ready to work on another. Make a outline of what you want to cover and write that ebook; its an easy way to make a passive income as an influencer.
Being an influencer or content creator many times forces you to wear many hats. You become photographer, marketing expert, videographer, editor, and so much more. Lots of times the information you have learned from hands on experience can be helpful to others. Most times people are wiling to pay for your knowledge to save time. It can be as simple as how to edit a photo in Lightroom, or how to create a IG reels. Whatever it is, there’s always a way to monetize it. You can also list these types of services on platforms like Fiverr.
Monetize Other Platforms-
Just because it may be harder to grow on platforms like Instagram right now, there are other platforms to consider. With everyone trying to keep up with the joneses, so many platforms are now offering ways to monetize. Start a YouTube channel and keep putting out content until you can monetize through ads. However, even before you reach the designated amount of subscribers and hours watched, you can still use affiliate links on your videos. Newer platforms like Tik Tok and Clubhouse are offering sponsored posts or opportunities to support your favorite influencers by giving them stars. Make sure you’re on several platforms and see which one works best for your audience, or which you are most successful on. Just because you are a micro influencer by Instagram standards doesn’t mean your aren’t a mega influencer on another.
Join influencer Agencies
If you are smaller influencer, this is a great way to get noticed by brands for sponsorship opportunities. Lots of times brands reach out to larger influencers because they are more well known. Influencer agencies allow you to put yourself out there so brands will be able to see you. You can do your own pitching to apply for campaigns. This gives you control to apply for opportunities you think you will be a good fit for, instead of waiting for brands to reach out to you. Now these are very hit or miss, but most are free so there’s no real loss to you. Here are a few to check out;
I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to monetize your influence as a nano or micro influencer, but these are just a few. Whats most important here is that you determine your worth and not let your worth always be determined by a brand. Lots of times as a smaller influencer, you can get discouraged (speaking from experience) because many brands will tell you no. You begin to think you don’t have enough followers, or you think no one will listen to you because you have a smaller following. But where did we ever get the idea 1000 or even 500 people was not a significant amount of people. I know if you stood in a room full of 1000 people, it sure wouldn’t seem insignificant. The main point I don’t want you to forget is that you have influence no matter how small or how big; so use it!