If you want to get paid for Instagram posts or become a brand ambassador you’ll have to put in the hours. That means you’ll need moxie, some great content in a niche you love, and a plan. It’s not going to be easy, but with a little help from this guide you’ll be on your way in no time.
More and more brands are seeing big returns from influencer and brand ambassador marketing. But starting a brand ambassador program may appear easier than it seems. On the flip side of the coin, social media up-and-comers and micro influencers are defining an entirely new way of marketing, and creating new income streams. Since we work with brand ambassadors every day, we’ve taken a moment to document the key characteristics that make great brand ambassadors. We hope these tips will help you on your journey to become an Instagram influencer.
1. Grow your following by reaching out to private pods, groups, and agencies to get paid for Instagram posts
It’s a big world out there! Brands of all shapes and sizes want to work with brand ambassadors in social media, and have teams or agencies searching for the right people to contact. So how do you get into the consideration set? Here’s the harsh reality of being a influencer: Optics like follower count and engagement rates matter. Because this is all so new, it’s the first place most brands start looking. They want to see lots of followers and content that matches their brand ideals.
That means there’s one major issue that sits at the top of every influencer’s list: Getting more engaged followers. Brands won’t pay to work with just anybody, they want to see at least 20,000 followers as a baseline. There are a couple of tricks of the trade that help big influencers get and stay that way that you can use too:
Grow your following by getting mentioned in a private pod. These huge groups of Instagram users have grown over time to support new members. Today there are agencies that can make introductions to these groups for a fee. For example, PodSquad offers submissions with guaranteed results within a week starting at $25 here: https://getpodsquad.com/collections/instagram-boost
Social media technology is also working in our favor. Influencers groups and collectives are growing at rapid rates. They usually form around specific niche topics. For example, if the fashion world interests you, try joining Facebook groups like the Fashion Brand Ambassador Group. These groups offer peer tips, advice, and trends discussion. You may also find brands posting job opportunities.
Compile a list of influencer marketing agencies and brands that use influencer marketing, and research influencer listing services to make sure you are seen in the right places. Join private networks that promise participation in brand programs.
Becoming an Instagram influencer isn’t all ice cream and fashion features. The good news? We’ve published a comprehensive eBook in partnership with NOTICE Agency: How to Become a Paid Instagram Influencer, How I make a Six-Figure Income Partnering With Brands.
2. Look to your favorite hobbies as starting points and become a brand ambassador
Doing something well usually means doing something you love. And what better place to start than hobbies? You usually take up a hobby because you enjoy spending time doing something that invigorates your mind. Thinking about starting in the fashion world? Hopefully you already live and breath fashion. By way of example, you can also read our niche-specific content on how to become a fashion brand ambassador. That energy will come through when you start creating content about your hobby. It’s an intangible, but very easy to identify trait of the best brand ambassadors.
We recently interviewed a successful brand ambassador on how to become Instagram famous and growing a following from zero to Instagram all-star. Waikei Tong, better known as @waikeezy, has worked with agencies and brands to become a brand ambassador in fashion, cosmetics, and lifestyle marketing. One key takeaway? It’s not about the money! If you’re in it from day one to make money on Instagram, you’re doing it wrong. Her advice is simple: start by being creative in a way that you truly love, and the followers will come. And right behind that? The gigs. The proof is in the interview: Waikei go her first serious deal when she had under 20,000 followers.
3. Know your audience niche (and stick to it)
Even within a very niche topic area, there are often certain types of people who gravitate to it in larger numbers. Being a successful brand ambassador can mean finding the largest audience group within your area of specialty and targeting them with content, outreach, or in-person meetings. It’s a great way to broaden your network, and become known for something within a small web of people. You can start by checking out Facebook events in your local area, or even asking around at stores and retail outlets that match your niche.
Love to showcase the latest fashion trends? Find that small boutique that seems to be ahead of all the trends and ask them if they go to any regular events. Quite a few people have translated real world meetings into an online income stream. Kit Graham of The Kittchen recently talked to us about her experience moving from a corporate job to full time blogging. If you want to become a brand ambassador, you’ve got to get out of the house and into the streets!
4. Learn to make amazing content that solves followers’ problems
Be it videos, written blogs, or beautiful Instagram posts, making great content is all part of the brand ambassador’s job. Its even better when you can solve a problem your niche audience may be having in an elegant, exciting, or totally new way. Think about what your audience really wants (and do some research by asking) and then give it to them! Brands are most interested in things they have never seen before, and that their competitors are not able to do. The more original ideas you develop for content, the more leads you’ll get. If you want to get paid for Instagram posts, you’ll need to prove you’re worth it to the marketer signing your check!
5. Demonstrate passion and conviction beyond the basics
Everything up until this point has been simple. Pick a niche, start making content that speaks to a specific audience. What comes after is where most fledgling brand ambassadors fall flat. Only a truly passionate, unstoppable attitude will get you from a hobby to a job. If you want to get paid for Instagram posts, you must be willing to keep making great content and spending time building your presence for months. It’s the only way to really dominate a category and raise your profile to the top of the heap.
Creating a system can help make sure you stay on top of your game. Having a creative partner can help too. Take an artist or creator friend out to lunch in exchange for a whiteboard session on content ideas. Once you’ve got a long list, it’s a lot easier to start checking off those opportunities to become a brand ambassador. If you travel, start thinking ahead about where you’ll go and what you’ll see. Make sure you think about lighting conditions and time of day. The best shots have composition that’s planned in advance.
6. There are no shortcuts to get paid for Instagram posts
Want to become a brand ambassador? Be ready to do the work! There are many tools brands and agencies use to spot cheaters. You can’t fake being a great brand ambassador. While buying followers, faking engagement, and generally appearing to be super popular can get you inquiries, it won’t close deals. As brand expertise continues to advance around influencer and brand ambassador marketing, it’s becoming impossible to cheat the system.
Recently, Facebook and Instagram have cracked down on cheaters. That means deleting fake followers, banning accounts that bots to automate responses, and even going to far as to sue the companies that program software that breaks the rules. In light of the recent data and privacy scandal involving Facebook, we expect to see even more crackdowns. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of the fence, because it could mean being banned for life. That means the legitimate part of your effort to become a brand influencer would be thrown out as well.
7. Start small with collaboration in mind to become a brand ambassador
Don’t try to jump straight into the world of Instagram millionaires. Becoming a great brand influencer means practicing. You’ll learn a lot in the early days by working with brands, and it won’t always be for cold, hard cash. Offer to partner on a marketing effort and bring more ideas to the table. Make sure you give yourself a chance to let that passion shine through, showing brands what you’re all about. Eventually you’ll get paid for Instagram posts, it may take 60-90 days to get you there.
8. Learn how to speak, act, and think like a marketer to get paid for Instagram posts
If you want a career, you need to get educated on how professionals in the field do business. Unfortunately, there isn’t an Instagram University to teach you the ropes. We’ve put together a short Amazon list of required reading that will guarantee you are on the fast track to become a brand influencer before you even start:
- Instagram: How I make $10,000 a month through Influencer Marketing – It’s just a hobby unless you’re getting paid… This new tell all released in June 2017 is making waves in the influencer community, both for sharing great tips on how to turn a profit quickly and for exposing the seedy side of the business.
- The Influencer Economy: How to Launch Your Idea, Share It with the World, and Thrive in the Digital Age – Ryan Williams shares his knowledge and experience as a successful entrepreneur and influencer in his own right. The book is packed with how-to’s, and being passed around brand marketing circles.
- Influencer Marketing For Dummies – While it may seem trite, Wiley’s latest For Dummies book covers the ins and outs of influencer marketing from a brand perspective in detail and with real case studies. It may help you understand the marketer side as you try to become a brand influencer.
- Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small – Most brand marketers find themselves with smaller teams and smaller budgets than in past years. Understanding how they think about influencer and agency partners is key to winning them over.
- Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital – The de facto guide for understanding the marketing landscape in 2017, reading Marketing 4.0 will teach you how to speak about digital and traditional media, using the same language your clients will be used to hearing in their circles.
9. Know when to turn down offers to become a brand influencer
Money can be an enticing proposition, and brand ambassadors can be very well compensated. But how much do influencers actually get paid? The answer isn’t always cut and dry, and the marketplace is fairly opaque. If you have brand ambassador or influencer friends, ask them how they structure their payment terms. Don’t blindly accept the first offer to get paid for Instagram posts if you don’t know what your value in the market truly should be!
Remember, it’s better to make relationships through shared experiences before raising your prices or creating rate sheets. Learn about the benefits of influencer marketing that you can delivery upon before asking for large fees. You want to become a brand influencer for the long haul, right?
Being a successful brand ambassador often brings perks, cash, and the satisfaction of running your own business while doing something you love. With a little luck and a lot of determination, you too can leverage social media platforms to become a brand ambassador.
Need more followers? There’s still major brand demand for paid Instagram posts, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. If you want to become a brand influencer but need more followers, you may also want to start with our instructional on how to get likes for Instagram in the first place.