So, What's The Deal With Becoming An Influencer?

Here's the lowdown on how much money social media influencers can earn, and the steps to becoming one.

There has been a lot of talk lately about influencers -- and a lot of it's not great, if we're honest.

Jameela Jamil, of course, has been critical of the Kardashians for putting their names behind products like diet teas and shakes, for instance.

And now, the team at a hotel on the Philippine island of Siargao has said it's fed up with requests from "self-proclaimed influencers" asking to stay for free in exchange for promotion on their social media channels.

"We kindly would like to announce that White Banana is not interested to 'collaborate' with self-proclaimed 'influencers'.

"And we would like to suggest to try another way to eat, drink or sleep for free. Or try to actually work."


But whether you like them or not (White Banana, we're talking to you, here) there is no doubt that there is serious money in the influencer market and many businesses still can't get enough of them.

You only have to scroll through your Instagram feed to see former Bachelor contestants with huge followings spruiking all sorts of stuff. And with a celeb-a-minute telling us which teeth whitener to use, it really seems influencers are here to stay.

But what are they? And how do you get to be one? (Asking for a friend, okay White Banana?)

Influencer marketing typically involves brands paying for the endorsement of a celebrity -- or a "normal" person who has a lot of followers, ie. the influencer. And the reason they work so well? For brands, it's good to be associated with someone your target market already loves and trusts.

And another reason businesses love them? Ad blocking. If people are blocking ads, the best way to talk to them is through their social media feed, right?

According to Tribe, an Aussie influencer marketing platform,  82 percent of people say they're "highly likely" to take the recommendation of an influencer they follow.

Recently, many businesses have also shifted their strategy from the type of 'macro' influencers with 100k+ followers to influencers with smaller followings, meaning that 'micro-influencers' are the latest big -- little -- thing.

A 'micro-influencer' by definition is someone with 3,000 to 100k followers on their social accounts, according to the folk at Tribe.

They have small but loyal followings -- and they're usually everyday people who happen to make beautiful content and engage closely with their audience.

Either way, that engagement is worth $$$$. On both sides.

Roxy Jacenko runs her own PR firm -- Sweaty Betty -- and influencer management agency, Ministry Of Talent -- and she's an influencer in her own right, with 232,000 followers.

She says that she can make a hefty $2,500 per post.

Sign us up immediately ...

"There are a few reasons for that. At the moment I've become quite topical so my rate is going to be higher than someone who won't end up in the paper for posting that particular item," she told 10 daily.

Oh okay, we can wait.

"My daughter Pixie gets $650 a post and she’s sitting at 99,700 followers," she added.

"Someone with 20,000 followers would maybe earn around $450 a post.

For her, the key to being successful in the field is simple.

"This is a new medium and people are getting smarter about how to use it," she said. 

It's now not about 1.3 million followers necessarily, it could be that you have 130,000 and it's all about who you're engaging with. And it's down to the content."

"The biggest factor for success is how well you connect with your audience and how well you're able to showcase your own unique voice and style," she said.

"Simply having thousands of followers doesn't automatically mean you're an influencer, it's about genuinely inspiring people to try something new, experience something different or starting conversations."

As for what influencers should and shouldn't post -- well each influencer would have their own set of rules there.

For Roxy, honesty is key.

"There needs to be trust, likability, connection and a point of difference. For me, this means being authentic and not simply copying others.

There also needs to be consistency and some coherence to your images and the story you're trying to tell, so that your followers know what to expect from you."

"I don't take stuff from brands if it's not something I'd actually wear or use. I think people are smarter now who are following on Instagram -- how many times can we see someone with those blue lights in their teeth?"

Make up artist Max May, who has nearly 70,000 Instagram followers as well as his own blog -- Max Made-- agrees, and believes his success as an influencer is actually due to telling the truth, no matter what.

"Technically or creatively I'm probably not the most craziest or out there or the most technical makeup artist. I mean, I make girls look beautiful," he told 10 daily.

"It has to be your tone. People know when I don't write things or when things are, you know, not mine or not truthful."

How to become an influencer (according to those in the know):
  • Pick your niche -- if you're passionate about birds, for example, think about how you can make that passion work for you. Fashion, same.
  • Think differently -- don't follow someone else's model just because they're doing well, come up with something new that will get you noticed.
  • Choose your social media channel -- Instagram is where 93 percent of influencers have their audience.
  • Develop your content strategy -- work out how you will post, if you will use other people's content regularly to engage readers, what you will post about yourself and when.
  • Put content up at the right time -- it's important to know when to post and that depends on when and how your audience is online.
  • Grow your network through blogging and other avenues as well.
  • Engage with your followers -- answer questions, acknowledge compliments and make sure you are religious about doing so.
  • Be consistent. Schedule posts to make sure your audience can rely on your content being there when they want to see it.

Feature image: Instagram.