How to Become an Influencer (and make a lot of money)

Do you want to know how to become an influencer and make money on social media? You’ve come to the right place!

With the explosive rise of influencer marketing, there’s never been a better time to jump into the spotlight and turn your passion into a profitable career. 

So, if you’re ready to uncover the secrets of building your online empire, growing a loyal fanbase, and making a living doing what you love, today is the day to make that dream yours!

Let’s begin.

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New to IWT?
  • Watch Ramit Sethi host Netflix’s “How to Get Rich” 
  • Get the NYT-Bestselling book (over 1 million sold) 
  • Check out the podcast (200K plays per episode)

And join over 800,000 readers getting our Insiders newsletter, where we share exclusive content that's not on the blog:

Table of Contents

The Different Types of Influencers

Before we delve deeper into the world of influencer marketing (a.k.a. the real money-maker in the world of influencers), let’s explore the different types of influencers — from nano to mega ones — the different opportunities they offer, and how much money they make:

  • Nano influencers (1,000 to 10,000 followers): With a smaller but engaged following, nano influencers are ideal for niche markets. They earn ~$50 to $100 per post, making it a great starting point for beginners looking to build credibility and gain experience.
  • Micro-influencers (10,000 to 50,000 followers): Micro-influencers have a reliable impact on their audience. With 10,000 to 50,000 followers, they earn ~$100 to $500 per post. Brands appreciate their authentic connections with followers and their ability to target specific demographics effectively.
  • Mid-tier influencers (50,000 to 500,000 followers): These influencers reach a broader audience, making them stepping stones to higher levels. Earning ~$500 to $5,000 per post, they often collaborate with brands on long-term partnerships, showcasing their expertise and passion.
  • Macro influencers (500,000 to 1,000,000 followers): Macro influencers enjoy a wide reach and significant influence. Earning ~$5,000 to $10,000 per post, they work with well-known brands and have a substantial impact on consumer behavior.
  • Mega influencers (1,000,000+ followers): These are top-tier influencers with over a million followers. They earn ~$10,000+ per post, commanding high rates due to their massive reach and celebrity-like status. (Think Kim and Khloe Kardashian on Instagram.)
  • Package deals: Some influencers offer packages with multiple content options, such as static posts, video posts, and stories, providing brands with versatile marketing opportunities, depending on their budget.

If you are interested in finding out how much money do influencers make, I recommend checking out the following articles:

How to Build Your Online Presence as an Influencer

1. Selecting your niche and target audience

To build a powerful online presence, choosing the right niche and target audience is paramount. Think of it like crafting your personal brand, where you become the go-to expert in a specific field. By doing this, you’ll attract loyal followers who share your interests and values.

First, focus on what you’re passionate about, and consider your strengths and expertise. For instance, if you love fitness and have a knack for creating tasty, healthy recipes, that could be your niche! Remember, you want to be authentic, so pick something you genuinely care about.

Next, identify your target audience. Who would benefit the most from your content? Think of the people you want to inspire, educate, or entertain. For our fitness and food example, your audience might include health-conscious individuals seeking guidance and motivation.

Once you’ve found your niche and audience, stay committed! Consistency is key to gaining trust and credibility. Share valuable content that aligns with your niche, and interact with your audience regularly. Remember, it’s okay to evolve but stick to your core theme.

2. Choosing the right social media platforms

When it comes to building a compelling online presence, choosing your social media platforms wisely is vital because each platform has its unique strengths and audience demographics, allowing you to reach the right people with the right content.

For example:

  • Instagram: Ideal for visually showcasing your niche and engaging with followers through captivating photos and short videos. Perfect for fashion, beauty, travel, and lifestyle influencers. 
  • YouTube: Great for in-depth content, tutorials, and storytelling. Ideal for tech, gaming, beauty, and lifestyle influencers. 
  • TikTok: Excellent for short, entertaining, and creative videos. Ideal for dance, comedy, and DIY influencers. 
  • LinkedIn: Perfect for professional and business-related content. Ideal for career coaches, business experts, and industry thought leaders. 
  • Twitter: Great for real-time updates, engaging in conversations, and sharing opinions. Ideal for journalists, political commentators, and sports enthusiasts. 

Remember, you don’t have to be on every platform. Quality over quantity is key. So, only choose platforms that align with your content style and target audience. Consistently provide valuable and entertaining content, and you’ll organically grow your audience across the platforms you choose.

3. Content creation

Creating great content is the cornerstone of building a strong online presence. Your audience craves value and engagement, so focus on providing content that resonates with them.

To start, remember the following tips:

  • Know Your Audience to Create Value: Research your niche and audience to understand them on a deeper level. What are their needs, interests, pain points, and motivations? What do they value? Then tailor your insights, practical tips, or entertaining content to align with topics that enrich their lives. 
  • Stay Trendy: Keep an eye on trends in your niche to stay relevant. Utilize tools like Google Trends and social media analytics to identify popular topics.
  • Focus on Visual Appeal and Quality Writing: Invest in visually appealing content and well-crafted writing. Use high-quality images, eye-catching graphics, and engaging videos. 
  • Mix it Up: Use a variety of formats to cater to different preferences. Offer videos for visual learners, blog posts for readers, and infographics for quick information.

Remember, consistency is key. Engage with your audience, listen to their feedback, and keep evolving your content strategy. By delivering value, staying updated, and catering to diverse preferences, you’ll build an engaged community and elevate your online presence.

4. Developing a consistent brand image and voice

Developing a consistent brand image and voice is paramount for influencers looking to set themselves apart in a crowded digital landscape.

Your personal brand is your unique identity in the influencer world, so let’s explore how to craft it effectively:

  • Personal Brand Power: A personal brand showcases who you are, what you stand for, and how you’re different from others. Define your mission, values, and unique selling points. Take fitness influencer Kayla Itsines. Her mission is to help women worldwide achieve their fitness goals with her Bikini Body Guides. She values inclusivity and body positivity, making her brand relatable and empowering.
  • Visual Consistency: Use consistent color palettes, fonts, and logos across your platforms to create brand recognition. Look at lifestyle influencer Chiara Ferragni, known for her fashion-forward posts and impeccable style. She maintains a consistent and chic aesthetic across her social media, contributing to her massive following.
  • Your Voice Matters: Develop a distinct tone of voice that aligns with your brand personality. Whether it’s humorous, informative, or empathetic, consistency is key. Gary Vaynerchuk, a successful entrepreneur and motivational speaker, uses an assertive and no-nonsense tone in his content. His direct approach has attracted a dedicated audience seeking entrepreneurial guidance.
  • The Power of Cohesion: A cohesive brand image and voice build a lasting impression. Travel influencer Jack Morris showcases stunning travel photography. His consistent style and breathtaking visuals have led him to become one of the most recognized travel influencers worldwide.
  • Be Authentic: Stay true to yourself and your brand. Authenticity fosters genuine connections. Brené Brown, a renowned speaker, and author, focuses on vulnerability and authenticity in her personal development content. Her candid approach has resonated with millions and has made her a trusted voice in the field.

To learn how much influencers made on different platforms, I reccommend reading these:

How Much Do Content Creators Make In 2024? (+Tips To Make $$)

Want to build a business, but have no idea where to start? Get my FREE guide on finding your first profitable idea.

Remember, building a consistent brand image and voice takes time and effort. Define your brand, stay true to it, and deliver value consistently. As you grow, your followers will recognize and connect with your unique influence, making your online presence truly influential.

Growing Your Following and Engagement

Strategies for increasing your followers

Growing your followers as an influencer requires savvy strategies. Here are three proven methods to boost your presence and gain a dedicated audience:

  • #Hashtags and Keywords: Don’t underestimate the power of relevant hashtags and keywords! Use them strategically in your posts to increase visibility. For instance, if you’re a fitness influencer sharing a workout video, use hashtags like #FitnessMotivation or #WorkoutTips. This helps your content reach users interested in those topics and attracts potential followers who resonate with your content.
  • Cross-Promotion Magic: Expand your reach by cross-promoting on multiple platforms. Share your Instagram post on Twitter, Facebook, or even TikTok. This way, you tap into different audiences on each platform, increasing your chances of attracting diverse followers. Imagine being a food influencer posting a delightful recipe on Instagram, and then sharing a short teaser on Twitter with a link to your Instagram profile — et voilà! More followers eagerly following your culinary journey.
  • Influencers and Brands Unite: Collaborating with other influencers or brands is a win-win. Partner with like-minded influencers to co-create content or host joint giveaways. This exposes your profile to their audience and vice versa, giving both parties a follower boost. For example, a travel influencer can team up with a hotel brand to share a memorable travel experience, reaching new travel enthusiasts.

By utilizing these strategies, you’ll entice followers to hit that “Follow” button and eagerly await your next post. As always, it’s all about connecting with your audience and providing value.

Engaging with your audience

Engaging with your followers is not just about racking up numbers; it’s about forming authentic connections that keep them coming back for more. Here are three top-notch tactics to win over your audience:

  • Respond with Love: Show love to your audience by responding to comments and messages. When followers feel heard and appreciated, they become more invested in your content. If you’re a fashion influencer and you get a compliment on your latest outfit post, reply with a genuine “Thank you!” and start a conversation.
  • Go Live, Get Real: Host live and Q&A sessions to break the virtual barrier and connect on a personal level. Live interactions create an authentic bond with your audience. For instance, if you’re a fitness influencer, go live to demonstrate a quick workout routine and answer burning fitness questions from your fans. It’s like having a virtual workout buddy!
  • Polls and Surveys: Involve your audience in decision-making through polls and surveys. It makes them feel valued and part of your content creation process. If you’re a food influencer, ask your followers to vote on the next recipe they want to see, or run a survey to gather insights on their favorite cuisines. This not only engages your audience but also guides your content direction.

Remember, your audience is the heart of your influence, so nurture that connection with genuine interactions and sprinkle some love and laughter along the way.


Monetizing Your Online Presence

1. How you can make money as an influencer

Now comes one of the most exciting parts of this article: How do you make money as an influencer? Here are four of the best paths to monetizing your influence and turning your passion into profits:

  • Sponsored Content and Brand Collaborations: Picture this — your Instagram feed is adorned with your favorite brand’s products, and they’re paying you for it! Brands pay influencers to promote their products or services to their engaged audience. If you’re a travel influencer, you could team up with a luxury hotel for a dreamy staycation and share your swoon-worthy experiences.
  • Affiliate Marketing and Referral Programs: Cash in while you recommend your favorite goodies! With affiliate marketing, you earn a commission for every sale made through your unique affiliate link. So, as a beauty influencer, when you rave about a game-changing skincare product and your followers swipe up, cha-ching!
  • Creating and Selling Digital Products or Services: Turn your expertise into gold by creating digital products. As a fitness influencer, you could whip up a comprehensive workout guide or meal plan that your followers can’t resist. And they’ll happily hit that “Buy Now” button.
  • Offering Premium Content or Memberships: Give your most dedicated followers the VIP treatment by providing them with exclusive content. A lifestyle influencer could offer a monthly subscription to behind-the-scenes videos or personal coaching sessions, and let’s just say, your fans will feel like they hit the jackpot!

Remember, keep sharing your passion and engaging your audience, and the rewards will follow.

2. How to build a strong personal brand for monetization opportunities

Think of your brand as the magnetic force that draws in companies, followers, and income. Just like a captivating character in a movie, your brand should make people say, “Wow, I want to know more!” 

So, how do you strengthen it? Here are four steps you can take:

  • What Makes You YOU?: Define a unique value proposition that sets you apart from others in your niche. Ask yourself: What makes you special? What do you offer that no one else does? For instance, if you’re a travel influencer, maybe you focus on budget travel tips for young adventurers.
  • Understand Your Target Audience Inside Out: This has been mentioned before, but it begs repetition. Know your audience — their needs, desires, and pain points. This helps you tailor your content to resonate deeply with them. Imagine being a fashion influencer catering to eco-conscious millennials looking for sustainable fashion choices. Your brand would reflect your commitment to sustainable style.
  • Consistency is Key: Use the same colors, fonts, and tone across all platforms to create a cohesive brand identity. Whether it’s Instagram, YouTube, or your blog, ensure your audience can recognize you instantly. If you’re a beauty influencer, using a signature color and tone in your content can make you instantly recognizable.
  • Building Credibility: Show your expertise by sharing valuable insights. If you’re a tech influencer, you could conduct live tech workshops or post detailed tech reviews to demonstrate your knowledge.

These four steps can help you create a loyal community that attracts lucrative monetization opportunities, such as sponsored content, partnerships, and product collaborations. Remember, being yourself while delivering value is the ultimate influencer superpower.

3. Negotiating fair rates and contracts with brands

Negotiating fair rates and contracts with brands is crucial to ensuring you get what you deserve as an influencer. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Research Industry Standards and Benchmarks: Know your market value by researching what other influencers with a similar reach and niche are charging. This will give you the confidence to demand fair compensation. 

For example, if you’re a travel blogger with 50,000 followers, check what other travel influencers charge for sponsored posts or brand collaborations. Knowing the average rates will help you avoid underselling yourself. (For more information on estimated rates, refer back to the “Types of Influencers” section above.)

  • Demonstrate Your Value and Reach to Brands: Brands want results, and you’ve got the power to deliver! Provide data and examples of your past successful campaigns, such as how your skincare review skyrocketed sales for a beauty brand. Brands are more likely to pay top dollar if they see a return on their investment.
  • Consider Long-Term Partnerships and Added Value: Think beyond one-off deals and focus on building strong relationships with brands. Showcase your commitment and reliability, and offer added value. As a fitness influencer, you could propose hosting a virtual workout session exclusively for the brand’s customers, deepening their engagement.
  • Seek Legal Guidance to Ensure Fair Contracts: Contracts are the backbone of any business agreement, so it’s essential to get them right. Consult with a lawyer to understand complex clauses and protect your rights. Investing in legal advice now saves you from headaches later.

Remember, negotiation is a dance, not a battle. Be confident in expressing your value and keep the conversation collaborative. Brands want to work with influencers who deliver results and professionalism. 

Need help negotiating? Here are my proven tips to enter the negotiation process and leave happy.

Maximizing Your Revenue as an Influencer

Diversifying your income streams

To maximize your revenue as an influencer, diversification is the name of the game. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Explore Multiple Baskets Simultaneously: Remember what they say about how we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket? While sponsored content is great, supplementing it with affiliate marketing, digital products, and coaching services is even better. It’s like having multiple sidekicks who each bring something unique to the table. 

For instance, if you’re a fitness influencer, you can earn from sponsored gym equipment posts, promote fitness e-books through affiliate marketing, sell your workout program as a digital product, and even offer personalized coaching sessions.

  • Seek Opportunities Beyond Social Media: Expand your empire beyond Instagram or YouTube. Launch a great podcast where you share expert tips, engage with a loyal audience, and monetize through sponsorships. Write a book that showcases your journey and expertise. These ventures not only diversify your income but also establish you as an authority in your niche.
  • Earn While You Sleep with Passive Income: Passive income is the dream. Recommend products or services you genuinely love through affiliate links. Develop digital products like online courses or templates that sell on autopilot. If you do this right, money will roll in like a gentle tide in a balmy night.
  • Use Your Expertise for Coaching or Consulting Services: Your knowledge is gold. Offer one-on-one coaching or group consultations to those who seek your expertise. Whether it’s fashion advice or financial planning, your insights can transform lives — and fill your pockets.

Remember, diversification is the secret sauce to a thriving influencer career. Embrace new opportunities, and let your creativity flow as you explore more income streams.

Explore additional revenue sources such as public speaking or brand partnerships

To maximize your revenue, think beyond your online presence and explore these additional revenue sources:

  • Public Speaking: Secure speaking engagements at industry events or conferences. Share your expertise, connect with a broader audience, and get paid for your insights.
  • Brand Partnerships: Seek ambassadorships with brands for consistent income. Long-term collaborations can provide stability and exciting opportunities.
  • Sponsored Content Across Platforms: Create engaging content on various platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and podcasts. Diversifying your content can attract different audiences and lead to more monetization opportunities.

Remember, diversifying your income sources not only maximizes your earnings but also strengthens your brand and opens up exciting opportunities beyond the digital realm. 

How to use analytics and tracking metrics to optimize monetization strategies

Using analytics and tracking metrics is vital for optimizing your monetization strategies as an influencer. It allows you to make data-driven decisions and understand what resonates with your audience. 

Start by leveraging your social media analytics to gain insights into audience demographics and engagement patterns. For example, platforms like Instagram Insights help you identify peak engagement times and understand your followers’ preferences.

Next, tracking conversion rates is crucial for affiliate marketing or product sales as well. By monitoring which content drives more clicks or sales, you can focus on what works best. For instance, using trackable links for affiliate partnerships helps you measure the effectiveness of each promotion.

And, finally, experimenting with different content formats is essential. Analyze the performance of videos, images, blog posts, and even a podcast to identify what captivates your audience. Adjust your strategies based on insights and feedback from your followers. Pay attention to comments and messages to understand their needs better.

Remember, analytics provides a treasure trove of information that refines your approach continually. Embrace these metrics to steer your monetization journey towards success.


Challenges You Might Face as an Influencer and How to Overcome Them

Dealing with competition and algorithm changes

As with anything in life, change is the only constant and, to top it all off, competitors come plenty. Dealing with these issues as an influencer requires a four-pronged strategic approach:

  • Stay in the Know: Stay updated with industry trends and adapt your strategies accordingly. For instance, if a social media platform’s algorithm changes, focus on new content formats or engagement techniques that align with the update. Keep an eye on what other successful influencers are doing to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Always Aim to Stand Out: Focus on your unique value proposition and differentiate yourself from others. Identify your strengths, passions, and expertise and keep leaning into them. For instance, if you’re a fitness influencer, showcase your specialized knowledge or share inspiring transformation stories to stand out.
  • Strengthen Your Network: Build strong relationships and collaborate with other influencers. Partnering with like-minded creators exposes your content to their audiences, increasing your reach in the process. For example, a fashion influencer collaborating with a beauty guru could attract followers interested in both niches.
  • Build on Audience Loyalty: Engage authentically with your audience to foster loyalty. Respond to comments, messages, and questions genuinely. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses or personal anecdotes that humanize your brand. Your audience will appreciate the authenticity and be more likely to stay loyal.

Remember, facing competition and algorithm changes is part of the influencer journey. By staying adaptable, focusing on your strengths, collaborating, and genuinely connecting with your audience, you’ll overcome whatever algorithm changes or competitors that come your way.

Managing your time

Trying to juggle all the things we’ve taught you so far while staying on top of your game can become overwhelming. 

Luckily for you, we have a four-step process to help you manage your time effectively as an influencer and avoid overwhelm:

  • Prioritize Tasks and Set Clear Goals: Use the 80/20 rule to identify tasks that have the most significant impact on your growth. Set specific, achievable goals, such as increasing engagement or launching a new product. For instance, focus on creating high-quality content rather than getting lost in minor details.
  • Establish a Content Creation and Scheduling Routine: Create a content calendar to plan your posts in advance. Allocate specific time slots for content creation, editing, and scheduling. For example, dedicate Mondays to shoot photos and Tuesdays to write captions. This routine ensures a consistent flow of content without last-minute scrambling.
  • Automate Processes and Use Productivity Tools: Utilize social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to automate posting. Explore email marketing platforms like Mailchimp to streamline newsletters. These tools save time and help maintain a consistent online presence.
  • Delegate Tasks When Needed: Recognize your limits and outsource tasks that consume excessive time or don’t align with your strengths. For instance, hire a virtual assistant to manage emails or a graphic designer for creative visuals. This way, you can focus on content creation and engaging with your audience.

Remember, as an influencer, time management is key to your success. By following these four steps, you’ll not only avoid overwhelm but also make the most of your resources.

Balancing sponsored content with organic content

Balancing sponsored and organic content is key to maintaining authenticity and trust with your audience. Here’s how to nail it:

  • Find the Sweet Spot: Your audience will appreciate a genuine approach without feeling overwhelmed by constant promotions. Aim for a balance between promoting brands and sharing genuine, non-promotional content. 
  • Stay True to Your Brand: Authenticity builds trust and ensures that sponsored content feels natural. So, only partner with brands that align with your values and resonate with your audience. 
  • Spice It Up: Offer a variety of value-driven, educational, and entertaining organic content. Engage your audience with captivating stories, useful tips, and maybe a sprinkle of humor

For example, if you’re a fitness influencer promoting a new protein powder, create a fun workout video using the product, while also sharing useful nutrition tips and workout routines without any sponsorship. 

Remember, it’s all about striking the perfect balance of sponsored and organic content to keep your audience happy and your influence thriving!

Legal considerations and disclosure requirements

Navigating the legal landscape as an influencer is essential for a smooth and successful journey. Here’s how to handle it like a pro:

  • Know the Rules: Familiarize yourself with advertising regulations and guidelines in your area. Whether it’s the FTC guidelines in the US or ASA rules in the UK, understanding the rules will keep you compliant. For example, you can use hashtags like #ad or #sponsored to indicate sponsored content.
  • Disclose, Disclose, Disclose: Always be transparent with your audience. Use clear and conspicuous disclosures whenever you post sponsored content. It builds trust and keeps you on the right side of the law. Using upbeat captions like “Excited to partner with [Brand Name] for this amazing product! #sponsored #ad” is an easy way to approach this.
  • Seek Expert Advice: When in doubt, consult a legal expert. They can provide valuable insights and ensure you’re following the correct procedures.
  • Stay Updated: Regulations may change, so stay in the loop. Follow industry news and industry law experts, and join influencer conferences and be aware of any updates in disclosure requirements.

By being legally savvy, you can focus on creating great content while confidently building your influence. Remember, honesty is the best policy, both in life and on social media.


Wrapping Up

And there you have it — all the strategies and tips on how to be an influencer, all laid out for the taking! From building a strong personal brand, to creating engaging content, and diversifying your income streams, you’ve learned the essential strategies to make your mark in the digital space.

Now, armed with knowledge on negotiating fair rates, harnessing analytics, and handling legal considerations, you’re ready to take on the influencer world like a pro. 

Remember, the key to long-term success is staying authentic and offering real value to your audience. Share your unique voice, connect with your community, and make every post a delightful experience for your followers… and beyond!


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Written by

Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be Rich Podcast. For over 20 years, Ramit has been sharing proven strategies to help people like you take control of their money and live a Rich Life.