How to work with brands and get paid as an influencer
Social Media Tips

What Is an Influencer and How To Become One

Hey guys welcome back to another blog post! Today is a really exciting one, it’s all about social media, making money on Instagram, and how you can too! I have seven years of experience on this topic and a lot to say so I made a three-part series. This week will be part 1 out of three and I post new blog posts every Wednesday mornings! I also decided to make this weeks post a Q&A format but the whole series isn’t like this. So if you want to learn more about micro-influencers, engagement rate, brand relationships, how much to charge, and everything in between then just keep reading!

How to work with brands on instagram

I don’t have 100k followers on Instagram, can I still be an influencer?

Yes! I just reached 5k on Instagram and I’ve been doing paid collaborations since I had 2k followers. The days of needing thousands of followers on Instagram to be a paid influencer are over!

70% of people believe brand recommendations from friends which shows us that influencer marketing is far more effective than traditional marketing methods. With influencer marketing comes something a little more recent- Micro-influencers. So what exactly is a micro-influencer? A micro-influencer is typically someone with less than 10k followers. Brands are starting to realize that the number of followers doesn’t prove anything. It’s your engagement rate that matters the most.

What’s an engagement rate? How do I calculate my engagement rate?

Your engagement rate is simply how active your followers are. To find your engagement rate on Instagram you have to find the average number of likes your pictures get and divide it by the number of followers you have.

Calculating the average number of likes: find the mean average of your last 5 photos. (add the number of likes and divide by 5)
ex: 400+480+510+450+500= 2340
2340 likes/5 photos= 468 average likes

Calculating your engagement rate: Number of likes/number of followers
ex: 468 likes/5000 followers= .0936 (multiply by 100 to get it into a percent)
.0936 x 100%= 9.36% engagement rate
So in this example, it means your engagement rate is a little above 9% which is really good!

The higher the rate the better because it shows brands that your followers are active and interacting with your content. According to my research, the average engagement rate is 4.7% (source). So in our example, a rate of 9.36% is well above average which is fantastic!

How do I increase my engagement rate?

This is something that you will need to work on for months, it doesn’t happen overnight. Instagrams algorithm is also not in our favor because it keeps shuffling our posts to the bottom and not all our followers see our content. In order to increase your engagement rate, I recommend posting consistently, posting quality content and engaging with your community. Hashtags are also a huge part and help my engagement a lot! If you want more in-depth tips on how to gain Instagram followers and in return increase your engagement rate you can read this blog post.

What are some ways to make money on Instagram?

The two most popular ways to make money on Instagram is through influencer marketing and affiliate marketing.

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that involves brands working with influencers on Instagram. Affiliate marketing is when businesses reward people for making sales or bringing customers to their website. These transactions are tracked through an affiliate link.

How do I become a paid influencer or affiliate?

The first step is to find the right platforms to use. Paid influencers are also reached out to directly by PR companies or brands but that’s normally once you’ve established yourself. The more brands you’ve worked with, the more recognition you’ll get and the more your email and account will be passed on to other brands.

For paid Instagram content my favorite app to use is Tribe! I’ve made over $1,000 on it and I’ve worked with some amazing brands. It is highly competitive because you have to submit your content and get approved by the brand while competing with other influencers but it’s totally worth it for me. The best part is you’re able to give them a set rate and you can negotiate your pay. I’ve heard other people use websites and apps such as Activate and InspireIQ but personally, I stick with Tribe!

For affiliate programs, there are tons of websites to join such as Shareashare and Amazons influencer program. However, the one I personally use (and love) is Rewardstyle. It is pretty selective and hard to get into the program but once you do it’s great! There are thousands of stores and you simply link products on your social media with your affiliate ID at the end and earn commission after someone buys from your link. You can add these links to your Instagram bio or the swipe up feature when talking about a product.

Should I wait around and let brands contact me?

Heck no! There is nothing wrong with contacting brands first. If you see a brand you like simply go to their website and try to find a contact email. I would suggest finding a PR or social media related email first. Usually, if you search the “brand’s name + pr contact” on google you can come up with one. For example, if I wanted to get into contact with Daniel Wellington I would google “Daniel Wellington pr contact.”

Sometimes these emails are hidden so you’ll have to do some research to get a hold of their team. Other times brands have a whole page on their website for influencers and bloggers to contact them through. A small number of brands sometimes don’t give them out publically so if you can’t find a public relations email then just email their support team. The support team will almost always forward your email along to the correct department.

I have a lot more to say on this topic so I’m actually going to be making a second blog post all about how to contact brands for collaborations and how to word those emails. You can subscribe to my newsletter at the end of this blog post to be notified when that post it up!

What if a brand doesn’t reply to me?

This happens sometimes, don’t let it discourage you! Sometimes brands are way too busy and big so they don’t even see the hundreds of emails they receive daily. What I like to do is aim for brands that have smaller followings. It wouldn’t make sense for a brand as big as Apple to want to work with me when I only have 5k Instagram followers. Instead, find brands that fit your niche that typically have less than one million followers on Instagram. It’s all about starting small and working your way up.

How much should I charge?

This is a big question and honestly, it differs for everyone. You don’t want to sell yourself short but you also don’t want to shoot too high and have the brand not wanting to work with you anymore. I’ve done a lot of research on influencer rates and pricing and get a variety of answers. Some sources report the average rate is $1000 per every 100,000 followers and some say $100 per every 10,000 followers.

I personally don’t really agree or follow either of those metrics because it really does vary on your engagement rate. If your engagement rate is around 5% that’s pretty average, anything below that isn’t the best and any number above that means you have a high engagement rate. For example, I have around an 8-9% engagement rate so I price mine above what other influencers with 5k followers and lower engagement rate would charge.

Another useful way to get an estimate is to use this website. It includes an engagement rate calculator and gives you a pricing ballpark. I recommend using the higher number in the range but then increasing that by 25-50% if you have a higher engagement rate.

Should I Negotiate Pay Rates?

Absolutely! You should always negotiate if a brand isn’t giving you the numbers you would like. Sure this might turn some brands away but most of the time if a brand sees value they will invest in you! If a brand asks you how much you charge then it’s a trial and error process to see which rates brands respond better to.

For example, if the website above gives you a range of $60-$100 try negotiating with a brand for $100 if your engagement rate is average or $125 if its above average. If the brand agrees than when you work with another brand try shooting for $150 and see if they agree. If they don’t then stick to your rate of $125 but if they do then make your new rate $150. There really isn’t a perfect math to this, it’s all about how much value you add to a brand and how good you are at negotiating + selling yourself. So it really is a guess and check process. If you are asking for $200 per post and five brands decline your offer then I would recommend lowering your price.

That is it for part one of my how to be a paid influencer series. I tried to include answers to commonly asked questions and also asked my Instagram followers what questions they had. If you guys have more questions I can definitely make a part two to this blog post just leave your questions here or comment them below!

Thank you so much for reading I hope this helped you out! Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s blog post for part two of this series.

As always you guys can keep up with me on Instagram, I answer lots of questions on there and post blog updates. I also post exclusive tips on my stories and host Q&A sessions. Also, make sure to check me out on Tiktok!

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  1. Very helpful post! Thank you for sharing this. -Jenni

    1. So glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Some great advice Zara! Thank you so much x

    1. Thank you for reading 🙂

  3. This is so interesting. I have more than 10K followers and all I really knew was that I got the swipe up feature. I’ll have to look into this for my account.

    1. 10k is amazing! Yes definitely start to utilize your account more, good luck!

  4. I honestly couldn’t understand tribe. You have to submit your posted content and then maybe you get paid?

  5. Great advice and helpful tips. Thank you Zara. I have less than 2k but I post great content and different styles. If only the algorithm would look that way instead of the numbers.

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