How to Get Paid to Be an Influencer

Table of Contents

Have you ever wondered what an influencer really is and what monetization strategies you need in order to get paid to be one? If so, you are in the right place!


I've been selling my influence for years. Back in the day, which in the grand scheme of things was not that long ago, brands were looking to do business with bigger influencers, people who had thousands of followers, thinking that would be a better return on their investment.

Today, that dynamic is totally flipped, which is why there's so much more opportunity for the small community builder, the person who's either just getting started and, or who has a small connected community that may not be massive.

What's an Influencer?


We all have influence. I think that is something I really want you to hear.

When I say we all have influence. We literally all have influence. And I'm gonna give you a couple of examples of this. If you think you don't have influence, then I want you to think about it maybe through a different lens.

When you go to a restaurant and you like it or, you don't, you tell people about it, right? If you love it, you tell other people about it. And by virtue of that, more than likely, they'll go and try it out. On the flip side, if they've never been there before and you share that you don't like it, they will most likely mark it off their list. That's influence. Your opinion matters.

Similar to that scenario, it's the same with literally anything in the online space. Think about it. When you go and leave a review on Amazon, people pay attention to those reviews. When they look at them, they are being influenced by your opinions.

From a community perspective, a lot of times people are like, “well, what's an influencer in the social media space?” It's not the same in the context of what I think a lot of people assume it is.

An influencer is somebody who can influence buying decisions. So, if I were to say to you that you need to check out this stand for my phone and that I love it because of X, Y, Z. Then, you'd be like: “Wow, Kim loved this, so it must be awesome and I need to go buy it.” That's influence because you listened and purchased something I shared.

We all have the ability ultimately influence a buying decision. Whether we're just talking to a neighbor who wants to know what the greatest restaurant is that you've ever been to, the greatest latest movie or whatever. If we are talking to our community, it might be something like, “Hey, I love this tool” or “I love this product” or whatever. People pay attention to that.

So, the point is…we all have influence. And, we can get paid to be an influencer.

Different Levels of Influence

The next thing I'm gonna dig into is the different levels of influence and why small communities are having such amazing success today with brand deals and how you can tap into this opportunity if you have a smaller community.

So, you may be thinking that you can't get a brand gig because you don't have the influence or a million plus followers. Raise your hand if you've ever thought this.

So, let's break it down break it down.

Mega Influencer: 1,000,000+ followers

A mega influencer is someone who's got basically a million plus followers. Those are few and far between. When we think of those people, the Kardashians, sports figures and movie stars come to mind. They usually have a certain level of celebrity.

Now, there's obviously still brands that go for these bigger influencers, and in most cases it's because of their name recognition alone – someone like Kim Kardashian for example.

Even though some brands are looking for name recognition, a lot of them are also really looking for those smaller influencers. So, let's talk about the

Macro Influencer: 500,000-1,000,000 followers

Macro influencers are the next level down if you will. And, they're someone that's has between the 500K and the 1 million follower range.

Mid-Tier Influencer: 50,000-500,000 followers

Beyond that, you've got what I call the mid-tier influencer. This is somebody who has between 50-500K followers.

Micro Influencer: 10,000-50,000 followers

Then, there's the micro influencer. I would say the micro influencer and the next layer down is super, super rich in opportunity right now. The micro influencer is between the 10,000 and 50,000 range as it relates to their social following.

Nano Influencer: 1,000-10,000 followers

Last, but not least is the nano influencer at a thousand to 10,000 followers.

This is really where the money pile is stacking up pretty richly right now. At this level, you are really at a place where people are looking to connect. Not only that, but brands are looking to connect with you.

The Shift And Why Brands Are Looking to Work With Smaller Influencers

I've done a tremendous amount of brand/influencer work over the years and I've learned a lot from it. Through this journey, I've seen a shift as I've grown my following. It is not nearly as connected as it was when I first started.

When you start building a community of people and all these people start following you, that connection is what I would call intimate. You get to talk with people way more, you recognize names, you recognize faces. As it gets bigger and bigger, there are new faces all the time and you can't keep track of it any longer. You don't have as many one on one conversations anymore and you don't stay as connected to your community simply because you can't. It's physically impossible to talk to a million and half people a day. But when you have a smaller, small-knit community, it can be super powerful.

This is something that a lot of brands have realized is a differentiator for them. On average, brands make five times their investment when working with an influencer.

On average, brands make five times their investment when working with an influencer.Click To Tweet

If they invest $1,000 with a brand influencer and they get 5,000 in return, that's a no brainer, right? So, it's super powerful to understand that brands are lining up to work with influencers  and the opportunity is hotter today than it is ever been.

What Brands Are Looking For

You have influence and you can get paid to be an influencer!

1. Platform

When brands are trying to make a decision on whether to work with an influencer, one of the things that they're focused on is the platform that they're trying to target.

For example, a lot of top brands are targeting both Instagram and YouTube as their primary platforms to focus on. That doesn't mean that those are the only platforms that they're super interested in, but those two platforms are pretty powerful right now.

In the past, when I've worked with brands, they usually want me to leverage all my socials because I have communities on all them. So, wherever I have a social media community, they want me to leverage that.

But, if you are just getting started and you have a very small community on Instagram, or, you have a business page that has a connected community, or even a Facebook group, that is very powerful. So, the platform itself is important.

2. Reach

Brands also look at the size of your account(s).

Remember up above where I broke down the different levels of influence? What brands are essentially looking for is the size of your account(s) and how many followers you have. This is a huge qualifier when brands are looking at who they want to work with.

Honesty, this used to be the only qualifier. They first thing they would ask was, “How big is your community?”

That is no longer the case. Again, that's why I really wanna talk about this. The influencer marketing space has completely shifted and now they're digging deeper.

Brands have learned their lesson. They've paid the big influencers and not gotten the response or results that they thought because they were thinking, “Wow, if this person has a million followers, then 250,000 of them at least are going to take some action.” Eh, Nope. That's not what happens.

3. Engagement

The bigger your accounts get, the less engagement it has, which means you're ultimately not going to be able to drive as much traffic a brand's way.

Remember, Content is King! Without content, you can't get engagement. You have to have content in order to get people to engage with it. Right?!

But, this is where I think the difference is and why smaller accounts are so powerful right now. Engagement is the kingdom. I mean, seriously, if you don't have engagement, it doesn't matter how amazing your content is. It doesn't matter if you have a million followers or if you have one. If people are not engaging with it, it's not as impactful and it will not drive as much influence.

Let me give you a couple of examples.

So, if you take a look at Kim Kardashian in the image below, she's got 177 million followers and you may be like, oh my gosh, like, who has that many followers?


Then you've got a smaller influencer on the left who's got a little over a hundred thousand followers. The smaller influencer has almost twice the engagement rate of Kim Kardashian. So, her influence is gonna be more valuable to a brand.

Here's an example from Influencer Marketing Hub of the average engagement rate for Instagram and Twitter in 2021. If you have less than a thousand followers, your engagement rate on average is roughly 7.2% versus 1.4% for those with one hundred thousand plus followers.

Source: Influencer MarketingHub

I actually tested this with my accounts, because I was curious. I took my account and a few other people's accounts and ran them through a tool I use just to see. And, and this is right on.

On Instagram, I have almost 64,000 followers, so less than a hundred thousand. The engagement on my Instagram account was about 1.9%. And, for some of the smaller influencers and people I know that have smaller communities, their engagement rates were right in alignment too.

This is so powerful y'all, which is why I'm telling you this. Brands know it too. They have woken up and smelt the coffee, and they are reaching out and wanting to work with the smaller influencers.

Why Do Brands Want to Work With the Smaller Influencer?

Well, one reason is their engagement rates are higher, which means their communities are more connected, which means their person is more responsive engaging more with their content. Not only that, but they are more likely to take action. If an influencer says, “Hey, go check this out! I think you're gonna love it like I do,” they are gonna do it.

The second reason brands are super interested in the smaller influencer is they are traditionally cheaper and in some cases don't charge a fee.

So, this is where I'm gonna rant a little (okay, maybe a lot), because this is where I see a major breakdown happening from a monetization point of view.

If somebody approaches you and says they want to give you a pair of eyeglasses and all they want in return is for you to tell your community of a thousand people about them. This burns my bottom a little bit.

You may think that's amazing. I did too when I first started out. A lot of brands gave me their tool for free and all they wanted was for me to tell everybody about it. I did it many times, but I've learned a few things over the years and I want to make sure you don't make the same mistake.

So, if a brand approaches you and says, they're gonna give you something for free, say, “Thank you very much. I appreciate that, but I have a fee associated with this.” You've gotta know your worth. If you don't value yourself, then neither will a brand. Stop giving away your influence!

You've gotta know your worth. If you don't value yourself, then neither will a brand. Stop giving away your influence!Click To Tweet

You've spent a lot of time and energy and creating content and nurturing the community that you've built. Why would you give it away for free and not get paid to be an influencer? I see it happening so often and I was guilty of it too, so I get it, but I'm hoping that I can so help you not make the same mistakes.

4. Niche/Community

The fourth thing that brands look for when trying to find the perfect influencer to work with is whether or not you have an expertise in the particular niche that your commuity is associated with.

For example, if somebody was to approach me and say, “Hey Kim, I want you to share my dog food brand with your community.” That would be weird because my community is mostly small business owners. Now, I'm sure a lot of them probably have dogs, but that's not my specialty.

This is where you really need to lean in and hear this. I've said this for years, dogs and cats rule the internet. It used to just be cats, but now I think it's both dogs and cats because we are at attracted to the cute stuff when thumbing through our feed. It's a universal thing. It's a thumb stopper. People are building entire brands around their pets. The point here is…they are creating revenue from those accounts. So, pet brands are coming to them wanting to work with them.

I'll give you a quick example of how you can get paid to be an influencer. My friend Chalene's daughter just bought a pug puppy not long ago. She calls him Johnny Cash. He's got his own Instagram account. and he's just a cute little thing – totally adorable. Anyway, they're getting brand gigs all the time for this little brand new puppy.  And, she's not the only one. I see so many other people who just randomly start an Instagram account for their pet and they are driving revenue, y'all.

Click the Image to Check out Johnny Cash's Instagram Profile

There's so much opportunity these days to get paid to be an influencer, but the niche or the community has to match.

Here's another example. If  I were a fitness expert, it would be disingenuous of me to start sharing financial services.

So, the brand is looking for you to have alignment with whatever your product or service is and the community that you serve. They wanna make sure that you have a community of their buyers.

Likewise, when you're looking for brand deals, you want to do the same. You wanna make sure if a brand approaches you, that whatever they want you to promote for them is something that matters to your community. Otherwise you are going to burn your community -fast, quick and in a hurry. So, this is super important to remember.

5. Type of Content

The fifth thing is the type of content you share.

Different brands will want different things based on what goals they are trying to acheive.

For example, if I am working with a SAAS tool, they are usually looking to get more people to use their tool. So, their goal is to get more signups, you as the influencer need to have some knowledge on what type of content you can share that will affect the transformation that they're seeking.

If a brand wants you to write a blog post and they think that they're gonna get a hundred signups as soon as that blog goes live, then they are more than likely gonna be disappointed unless your blog community is super connected to you and you get tons of traffic. If you're a smaller influencer and you know you don't get a lot of traffic to your website, then 100 signups is an unrealistic expectation. A blog is what I call the “long play”. Even though my blog creates six figures in revenue through affiliate links, it's piecemeal. The revenue comes in bits and pieces, here and there.

Knowing what type of content is going to help the brand get the goal that they want is super important.

6. Content Rights

Content right is another thing you need to think about when working with a brand. If you plan to use the content in your own business, or you want to sell it to another brand at a later point in time, you have to negotiate these things.

Content rights are important.

7. Exclusivity

In some cases, a brand will want exclusive exclusive rights to your content. Good news is…you can and should charge more for exclusive rights. And, this is the reason I bring it up. If they want it exclusively for themselves, then you charge more for it.

Top “Influencer” Social Media Platforms

Let's take a look at the top influencer platforms today according to 2020 Influencer Marketing Outlook.

When I first started in social media, I primarily focused on the more prevalent social platforms at the time, Facebook and Twitter.

Some of the newer platforms like Instagram, YouTube have always been huge, but have gained in popularity because video has escalated over the years. It's like, if you're not creating video content, you're wrong. Right?! So, going down in the order, you've got Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, with Facebook being last.

  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • TikTok
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

It's kind of fascinating with so many people on Instagram today, how powerful those smaller communities are.

How Much Can I Get Paid to Be an Influencer?

Let's take a look at how much influencers make. Instagram nano influencers on average are making about a hundred dollars per post all the way up to a celebrity influencer who's making potentially in the millions.

Source: Influencer MarketingHub

Unfortunately, this is the dynamic I see in the influencer marketing space. Personally, I think we are seeing inequity in the space because the influencer doesn't know how to charge the brand for their influence. They don't know how to negotiate a fair rate, so they're giving it away essentially. I think these numbers are super low and it needs to change. So, you have influence, and you can charge for it. 

If a brand comes to you and says, “I would really like to work with you”, don't let them dictate what they're paying you. You don't go to the grocery store and tell the checkout lady what you're gonna pay for a loaf of bread. So, you have to establish your rates and understand that your influence is valuable and stick to them.

Interesting enough, YouTube nano influencers are earning about twice that – about $200 per video. My speculation is that YouTube videos have a longer lifespan. So, brands are probably more likely to invest at a higher price point, per video than they would on content that's going to have a limited lifespan.

Source: Influencer MarketingHub

These are just a few price points of where we are today, and why those numbers can and should be more.

Final Thoughts

Would you rather have invisibility powers or be able to fly with your influence? Do you wanna remain invisible and not get paid to be an influencer? Or, do you want to be able to fly with your content and get paid what you're worth?

If you are you ready to turn the content you're creating into revenue…

If you are ready to take the authority and influence you're creating from something small into something large…

I am getting ready to open the doors to a brand new program on the 22nd of this month. I will be helping emerging content creators figure out how to earn 10K+ per month consistently. There is a huge need for people to serve this community, so I'll also be teaching consultants how to help creators make, market and monetize their authority and influence.

So, if you are interested, hop on the waitlist here.

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1 year ago

A very great knowledge piece about Influencer.

Liam Smith
Liam Smith
1 year ago

Nice blog!. Such a wonderful content. Thanks !

1 year ago


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