Over the past few years, we have seen the rise of the influencer. But now that the dust is settling, a question needs to be asked – is being an influencer really a sustainable career path?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the rise of the influencer. Marketers and brands began to notice the devotion of online communities to creators and saw an opportunity. They were right, and for a while influencers were a sort of super-weapon of advertising. Influencers drive almost optimal results, delivering high quality original content to a highly engaged audience.
Some have even became de-facto celebrities, and turned it into their sole career making millions. But now that the dust is settling and the industry is becoming more regulated and standardized, a question needs to be asked.
Outside of the super-successful, is being an influencer a really sustainable and secure career?
The high-risk-high-reward of collabs
Today, influencers make a bulk of their income from brand partnerships. Typically the brand and the influencer, or his agency, decide on a price per sponsored post. The influencer proceeds to post the sponsored content and gets paid.
This is a good way to earn money. Partnerships are usually lucrative and you can get hundreds (and sometimes even thousands) of dollars for a single piece of content. But the data implies that partnerships can be few and far between.
Counting on collaborations is a high-risk-high-reward tactic. You can get a considerable amount of money for making a post, but there is no guarantee that you can get offers consistently.
If you’re counting on them alone you may find yourself with no income. Brand priorities change and when their marketing budgets change accordingly you may not get a piece of the pie, not to mention the possibility of being out-competed by other influencers.
Multiple streams of income are key
Most influencers have no guarantee to ever get an offer at all. For example, the majority micro influencers do less than 10 partnerships a year, and they don’t get paid as well as macro influencers. Furthermore, a majority says that sponsored posts aren’t their main source of income.
In order for most influencers to sustain themselves, they need a different, more systematized and consistent income stream. The best solution to make sure that you don’t suddenly find yourself at lost of income is diversification.
You should never rely only on brand partnerships, advertisement money nor on any other single thing. To be secure you need to create multiple streams of income.
Remember that you are making any money at all because you have an audience, and not because of brand, PR of platform decisions. You should strive to bypass platforms and brands to add an income stream independent from third parties. The only thing that matters then is your relationship with your audience – as it should be.
If you create video content you can try getting a sponsorship per video from a brand. You can open a Patreon to get paid per work or monthly by your fans. You can also sell your works as digital products, weather art or educational materials. These are all great way to add extra income and diversify your monetization tactics.
Affiliate marketing as a safety net
But one of the most effective ways to leverage your influence for secure income is by far affiliate marketing.
Affiliate links are great because they fit almost any niche. They also provide your audience with real value: products which they want to buy. Your fans will be able to buy things that they’d like to buy or need anyway, helping you monetize along the way.
To start incorporating affiliate links in your content you will need to be a part of an affiliate program. Amazon, eBay and many others offer such programs. You can join them and earn money for anyone who uses your links to make a purchase.
But there is even an easier way to start using affiliate links from all over the web. Some platforms offer several affiliate programs under one platform.
Shoperr is a platform for content creators & influencers to simplify the process of making online product recommendations and commissions, while also providing an enhanced shopping experience for their followers.
You can add to your shop products from Amazon, eBay, Walmart, top fashion retailers and many more. You can open a shop on the platform for your fans to visit, or directly post links to products on your social media.
Your own online shop of product recommendations allows you to bypass everything else that might stand between you and your audience. As long as you provide them with quality content and make their purchase experience better, you will be able to monetize consistently.
Be sure to check out our article about auditing your own social media accounts – learn all the important things to keep in mind when evaluating your audience!