MICRO-INFLUENCING 101 – THE BASICS
There are so many different videos circling around social media about how to become a micro-influencer and I know it can get super overwhelming and it can be hard to know where to start. So I wanted to compile all of my tips into one place! I’m going to take you through how to start, how to reach out to brands and how to get brand deals with a small following!
I have a video linked down below where I go over all of this as well! So if you would rather watch, the video will be at the end of the post!
I started a blog for fun way back in 2015 when I graduated high school. But I didn’t start taking it seriously until 2019 right after I moved to LA as a creative outlet. I’ve always loved makeup and fashion but didn’t know what to do with it so I decided to start posting on social media about it. I first started with my Blog then created a new instagram account to go along with my blog. Then I started posting on Tiktok, YouTube and Pinterest.
I wanted to make this blog post because I’ve been getting a lot of questions on my PR unboxing videos on TikTok about how I’m able to get the PR packages I do with under 2k followers on my social media accounts. As of right now I’ve had about 100 brand deals with brands like Bali Body, Supergoop, Dry-bar, Third Love, Merit, Glamnetic, Charlotte Tilbury, Dr Dennis Gross, just to name a few. And I’ve done all of this with under 2k, my first brand deal was with Bali Body when I had 500 followers on my Instagram. So If I can do it you can too!
HOW TO START
Before I get into all of my tips I want to really emphasize that you can’t go into influencing because you want free stuff or to just make money. You genuinely have to have a passion for what you are creating or you aren’t going to be able to keep it up. Because it really does take a lot of time and effort and it definitely doesn’t happen overnight. So I’m going to reiterate it a few times but it is so important to have a why to why you’re creating content. In the end it should be a fun creative outlet first and the money should be second! I think that’s why I’ve been able to be so successful with such a small following is because I genuinely do this for fun and it’s just a bonus that I get free stuff or paid to post about it!
FIND YOUR NICHE/PASSION
A niche basically just means what category you post in like beauty, fashion, health and wellness, etc. For me I’ve always loved beauty and fashion so that was a given for what I would post about. You can be as specific or as broad as you want in the beginning but I think it is so important to have a specific category you are posting about. One of the main things I see in my comments is people saying “wow I have a lot more followers than that but never get PR packages.” And usually I’ll go look at their pages and they’re pages are so random, they’ll have birthday posts, random family posts, things like that. If you are wanting to get PR packages or brand deals it is so so so important to have a niche you are posting in! It can seem very overwhelming that you have to have every little thing figured out to start posting but I can promise you that you don’t. I’ve changed the style of how I post, what I post about so many times but It’s all stayed under the umbrella of beauty and fashion. So don’t get so hung up on the little details and just figure out what you like talking and posting about and start with that.
START A NEW ACCOUNT
This is one of the top tips I can give that I don’t think is talked about enough, starting a new account. If you are really wanting to take content creation seriously you are going to want to start a brand new Instagram or TikTok so you can build an engaged community that cares about what you have to say. For example It’s going to be really hard to get people to buy from your makeup links if your followers are mostly guys you went to school with. In the end brands care more about how engaged your community is vs the number of followers. The great thing about starting a new account is it really gives you the freedom to figure out your posting style and your aesthetic before you really build your audience.
So now that you know what you want to post about and you have your new account it’s time to just start. Just start taking photos/videos and post them! I would recommend at least posting 3 times a week and always have at least one story up for Instagram! You don’t have to have a brand new wardrobe or a new makeup collection to start. I know seeing all of the other influencers hauls and unboxings it seems like you have to buy a new outfit everyday but you really do not need that. Just start posting the outfits you wear everyday or the makeup you love and don’t be afraid to post about the same thing more than once. You want to try to be as relatable as possible. Because in reality everyone rewears outfits and uses the same makeup everyday so the more you post about it the more they are going to want to try it themselves. I once read in a book that it takes people seeing or learning about things about 6 times before they say yes to it. So the more relatable you are the more engaged your community is going to be.
The hardest part is just to start posting but once you start posting it becomes easier and easier. I know the biggest thing a lot of people say is they are scared of what people think. But if this is something that makes you happy and you have fun doing it you CANNOT care what people think. Because in reality what people say behind your back has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. And in reality people are more obsessed with their own lives and no one is going to care that you start posting about makeup or fashion. And if they do they are probably just jealous that they don’t have to confidence to do what actually makes them happy. So you can’t be afraid of judgement. You just have to start posting what actually makes you happy. The more you post you slowly just stop caring what people think and it becomes easier and easier!
Once you have your new account and you are posting you are going to want to start growing your community and engaging with other influencers in your niche. A great way to do this is to find other influencers that inspire you or post in the same niche as you, whether that’s affordable fashion or clean beauty, and as creepy as it sounds see who follows them, who likes their content or even who they follow. And just start following who inspires you and commenting and liking of peoples posts in your niche. The important part is to be genuine. Give people genuine compliments and usually they will return the favor!
I want to go over engagement a little bit incase you aren’t familiar with it. When you start working with brands they are going to want to know your engagement rate. Your engagement rate is basically a combination of your likes/comments and it creates a percentage of how engaged your audience is. The higher your engagement rate the better! I use a website called fohr.co To find my engagement rate. They also have a great pdf you can download that shows all of your instagram stats that you can send to brands, so I would highly recommend checking out that website!
I do want to cover quickly that you do not, DO NOT want to buy followers, likes anything like that. Brands will know when you do that and it just hurts you in the end. So everything with social media try to do everything as genuinely as you can and it will help you so much in the long run!
GETTING BRAND DEALS/PR
So now that we’ve covered all the basics of how to set yourself up for success as an influencer lets get into how to start working with brands. I got a few brand deals here and there in the beginning but I didn’t start reaching out to brands until I had about 1000 followers. You can get brand deals by reaching out to the brand directly, brands reach out to you (make sure you have your email in your bios so that brands can contact you!) Or you can sign up for apps that will connect you with brands.
HAVING A BLOG
Having a blog has been my secret weapon to getting brand deals with such a small following. Not many people take the time to have a blog so brands don’t see it as much when people pitch to them. In the beginning I would alway pitch to brands that I was willing to write a blog post about their products and most of the time I ended up getting a response and getting sent a lot of products! Brands love blog posts because it is a more permanent form of advertising. Usually when you search a product on google the brands website will come up first and then usually it is just reviews or any articles that mention the products! I have a few blog posts that are the first thing that come up when you google the product, so its a great way to get your content in front of new people! I was able to work with Bali Body when I had only 500 followers because of my blog! Having a blog is another stream of income you can add in, you can make money by getting paid to write a post for a brand collab and you can also have ads that run on your page! If you are really wanting to take this seriously I would highly recommend having a blog! You do have to pay upfront and yearly to have a blog, I pay about $150 a year to keep my blog running. I personally use and would recommend WordPress, I love being able to customize everything but a lot of people use square space as well and really like it.
HOW TO REACH OUT TO BRANDS
Reaching out to brands is a lot more simple than you think. Brands will usually have a pr/collab email in their bio if they don’t you can try googling it. If you can’t find an email a great way to find it is to send them a DM on Instagram and they will usually direct you to who to contact or I’ve even had brand deals happen just from Instagram DMs. When I DM a brand I usually say something along the lines of
Hi “____” Team, My name is Payton and I am a beauty and lifestyle blogger based in Southern California. ” I then add any products I love, why I want to work with them, ect.” Do you have an email I could reach out to regarding a collaboration? Thank you so much, Payton
Then once they send an email I will then send them my email pitch which goes over any ideas for a collaboration, a little more about me, links to my socials and my statistics.
You want to make sure its short and sweet but gets the point across of why they should work with you. Always make sure any links are actually linked in the email, these people get so many emails they aren’t going to have the time to go search your username.
I know there is a lot of debate on social media about not taking gifted collabs and getting paid for your time, which I definitely agree with. But at the same time you have to have high quality content to provide brands, which takes time to be able to learn how to do. I think of all the gifted brand collabs I’ve taken as free schooling. I’ve gotten so much experience taking pictures, shooting videos, editing, email etiquette, perfecting my pitch, and building relationships with lots of brands. That now I feel confident in what I can create and offer brands it’s a lot easier to get paid brand deals now because I’ve really taken the time to learn how I like to create content. And with gifted collabs you are getting free products along with experience.
So say you are wanting to turn a collab into a paid collab, even if you are the first one reaching out you can still get paid. I usually send my same pitch, without talking about payment and once they respond if they don’t talk about payment in the response I will usually ask “Do you have any budget for this campaign” you never want to send over your rates first because usually what they’ll offer is higher than what you’ll say. For example I got an email from a brand last summer I had about 800 followers on tiktok at the time and in their pitch to me they mentioned payment but not a specific amount and in my head I was thinking I’ll do this for $50 but I asked them first what the budget was and they said $100, so ended up making double what I would have If I would have just sent them my rate.
Another great way to get brand deals when you are starting out is with websites or apps that connect you with brands. My personal favorite is Octoly, I get sooooo many things from this app. You have to have at least 1000 followers to get accepted but once you are they update it every day with different brands and you can apply to different things. You just have to post on instagram or tiktok in exchange for the product. I only use two other ones called Aspire IQ and Obviously. There are so many different websites you can use to get brand deals but those are the 3 I use on a consistent basis!
Another really simple way to get paid is to just create content that you send to brands for them to post. You don’t have to post it on your page you literally just create the content send it to the brand and then they pay you! So you can also ask if they have any content creation opportunities available when you’re sending your pitch! Just make sure you only do this one if they actually pay you. Normally brands would have to pay for a studio, model, photographer, makeup artist, all of that and with you creating content for them it is saving them sooo much money so please only do this if you are getting paid!
I also wanted to cover getting PR because that is one of the main questions I get asked about. PR is basically when a brand just sends out new launches to creators in hopes they post about it. There are no strings attached with PR you literally just get free stuff! But in all honestly there’s no just simple answer about how to get PR. It just kind of happens naturally as you build connections with brands. Sometimes when I send my email pitch to a brand they’ll just respond by saying they would love to add me to their pr list and to send my shipping info over. But usually I’ve gotten the most PR just from the brand reaching out to me. They’ll usually email when they have new launches. You always can pitch yourself to brands to be added to their PR list but I usually don’t love to do that but everyone is different.
I also quickly want to cover red flags to look out for with brand collabs. If a brand wants you to pay for the product, pay for shipping or even pay a dime. It is not a collab, do not take any collab that makes you pay for anything. The DMs you get on Instagram saying please dm this account they want to work with you, it is a scam do not do that
Ok I feel that I’ve covered all of the basics but my last tip is just to stay consistent and the growth will happen! I know it can get so overwhelming with all the different platforms and everyone saying you need to be posting 5 times a day on this and once a day here. But you have to do what works for you! Start out with 1-2 platforms then once you feel confident that you can maintain posting consistently on those add in the next, and go from there. In the very beginning I was very focused on my blog and Pinterest, then I started taking instagram more seriously then about a year later I started my TikTok and YouTube channel.
My biggest tip on how to stay consistent is to create a posting schedule that works for you. Don’t listen to all the accounts saying you have to do this and this. I think it is more important to have quality content over quantity so literally just do the best you can. For me a good schedule is 3 Instagram photos a week, 1 tiktok a day, I then post that tiktok onto reels, one blog post a week and one YouTube video a week! But that doesn’t always happen so you have to be easy on yourself! And don’t get frustrated if you don’t see your numbers going up, it will happen you just have to put in the work and I promise you will see growth!
I know this is a long post and it’s a lot of information but I promise if you put in the work you’ll shock yourself with how successful you will be! If there’s anything you want me to go over more please let me know! Feel free to message me and I would love to help with any questions you have.