How do influencers make money?
I hear this question a lot, especially from aspiring influencers and side hustlers who want to make extra money from home.
The great news is that there are significantly more opportunities to earn some side income as an influencer than there were just ten years ago.
So, how can you cash in and start raking in the dough?
Here are 7 ways influencers make money.
How Do Influencers Make Money?
1. Affiliate Marketing
Have you ever seen someone share their favorite product on an Instagram Story or in a blog post?
Odds are that the link is an affiliate link, meaning that if you click on the link and make a purchase, the influencer will get commission from that sale.
Rates widely vary and are dependent on the platforms you’re using (Amazon, LTK, ShareASale, etc.) or if you’re an affiliate for another influencer’s product.
So how do influencers make money from affiliate marketing without becoming inauthentic?
They share only products they use themselves or know would be beneficial for others. Influencers who post links to anything and everything look spammy and risk losing their followers’ interest and, most importantly, trust.
Influencers interested in making money from affiliate marketing should avoid using these types of links in every single post or Story Clip. Again, you want to preserve your relationship with your followers and not turn them off by oversaturating them with a ton of random products.
2. Sponsored Posts
Probably the most well known and popular method for how influencers make money, sponsored posts are regularly found on your social media feeds.
If you’ve ever seen the little text that said “Paid partnership with ____” then you’ve seen a sponsored post.
Influencers get these opportunities from influencer networks, as well as brand-direct.
The brand and influencer agree on a price and the type of content that will be created and published, and then the influencer gets paid for sharing the brand’s product or service with their followers.
There’s a lot of talk about what the ideal price is for influencers to charge for these posts, and the reality is that there isn’t one good method for knowing your price.
It’s a little bit of trial and error, but I did try to take some of the guesswork out by writing this post: How Much Should You Charge as an Influencer? An Expert Weighs In!
3. Selling Their Own Products or Courses
Some influencers create their own products, whether physical or digital, and promote them not just on their social media channels or blogs, but also on platforms like Etsy and Facebook Marketplace.
Although the product creation process can be a bit time-consuming in the beginning, this is one of the most popular passive income avenues, especially digital products, because you can set it and forget it.
Now, physical products will take a bit more involvement, especially if you need to actively ship out orders and keep up-to-date on inventory, so most influencers tend to go with digital products and courses as they’re easier to update and manage.
4. Creating Content for Brands
Rather than hire professional photographers, some brands would rather hire influencers to create content for them.
Not only are influencers typically cheaper, but their content looks more “real” and less “staged”.
In this type of situation, influencers get paid strictly for their content creation skills. They aren’t posting content to their own channels, so things like follower counts and engagement aren’t taken into account.
So if you’re an influencer who takes great photos but might not have enough followers to get some of the sponsored post opportunities that have been coming up, this could be a great thing to try!
5. Consulting Services
I’ve seen influencers become consultants not just to other influencers, but to brands as well.
With more and more companies seeing the benefits of influencer marketing, it can be extremely beneficial for them to consult with current influencers in order to build effective campaigns.
Consulting services can be offered on an as-needed basis, can be one-off, or could be part of a long-term contract.
Influencers who provide these services typically have several years of experience under their belt.
6. Display Advertising
So how do influencers make money if they have a blog but no strong social channels?
Display advertising is one of the most popular methods!
While most ad networks require you to have a certain amount of sessions or pageviews every month, some allow you to start adding ads with little to no traffic.
Now, obviously you get paid based on impressions and clicks, so the more traffic you have, the better your revenue should be.
Rates can also vary by the type of site you have, time of year, ad size availability, and where your ads are placed.
This is another passive income stream that is great for influencers who only want to spend a few hours each week creating content and optimizing it.
The initial groundwork will be a bit longer as it takes time to build traffic, but once you have it and know how to maintain it, the ads do the work and you reap the benefits!
7. Social Media Takeovers
Another way influencers make money is by doing social media takeovers for brands.
These are particularly popular on Instagram Stories where you can interact with followers, ask questions, and activate polls for people to participate in throughout the takeover.
Brands may pay the influencer a set rate to have the influencer post “X” number of Stories throughout the day, as well as to be active on the account to answer DMs.
Pricing can be a bit tricky with this one, so it might help to come up with an hourly rate you can charge + any content you’ll be sharing.
How do influencers make money? So many opportunities!
The influencer marketing space continues to evolve, so always stay on the lookout for other ways you can make money. And don’t be afraid to get creative along the way!