How To Earn Money As A Social Media Influencer
Some kids dream of being a veterinarian or scientist, but not me. I honestly don’t ever remember knowing what “career” I wanted to pursue.
Once I became a mother, that was all I needed for years. I took my job [as a mom] seriously and made it a creative outlet by doing ALL THE THINGS.
But over time, I felt a tug that there was more God wanted me to do. When my kids were small, I submitted a few short stories to magazines, but nothing ever got published. I first began blogging ten years ago for Skirt magazine, a publication out of Atlanta. I blogged off and on about ten years. I would go all-in, and then life would happen and I would become overwhelmed, and toss it aside. Timing is everything!
Having four kids with a variety of ages has kept our family “full of life.” I’ve always said that we could easily entertain the world with our own reality show. Unfortunately, the networks didn’t pick us up (or even know that we existed) and I’m pretty certain the rest of the gang wouldn’t have signed off on it anyway.
These days I would rather be on video than take pictures, but I haven't always felt that way. I remember having a love/hate relationship with the spotlight as a kid. I would want the leading role in a play, and then regret it on opening night when I was so nervous that my stomach was in knots. Over time, I’ve become more at ease with being in front of a crowd or candid on camera, but microphones still make me nervous.
I remember a couple of years ago, when Instagram first rolled out stories. I would post pictures but not video. The first time I posted a video of myself I probably recorded it 20 times only to delete it shortly after posting. Fast forward a year or two, and I rarely even proof most videos before sharing 😂 Why? Because I am comfortable with who I am, and I post from where I’m at in life. What you see is what you get. I’m not perfectly put together, and neither is my content. Being REAL with you is the thing I love most! For me, it’s more of a ministry, and I truly care about the needs of my online people. HOW DOES IT WORK?
Blogging and Influencing (I still hesitate to use this term) may be my creative outlet, but it is 100% a FULL TIME JOB. There’s no way I could afford to do what I do without monetizing. I do have a knack for marketing and talking to people in general, but the ins and outs of this journey have been completely self taught, off-the-cuff, learn as I go.
Through trial and error I’ve learned to petition brands for contracts to promote their brand or product. Much of the time, I create content for them based on their needs and specifications. I then submit the video content or static images directly to them for ads posted through their own social media accounts. Ultimately, I get paid to create the content and sell my “branding rights” (meaning they can post this content for the agreed upon time frame). In some cases, I don’t even have to promote the product through my personal platforms. This allows me to continue to post the content I want, and keeps my feed from being crowded with ads. It’s kind of like getting paid to make commercials for social media.
I do have one rule that I stick to: I never promote a product or brand that I don’t use or support. I want my audience to trust me, and sharing about things I really believe in is the best way to earn your trust.
If you follow my social media, you have probably heard me say that “I have no idea what I’m doing,” and that isn’t a lie. Although I have learned SO MUCH about this industry in the last few years, I realize everyday how far I have to go. This business is always changing, and if I want to succeed, I have to change and grow with it.
MY BEST ADVICE? One thing I’ve learned about life is that the more you try to have it all figured out, the more curve balls you’re going to get. A social media business operates on the same principle: You may not always know what’s ahead. Right now, I’m continuing to build meaningful connections with my local and online community. While growth is important, it can’t be the primary goal. In this business, solid relationships outweigh a gigantic following.
WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY THINK?
This is a loaded question because it probably depends on how busy I’ve been and whether or not they are feeling social that day! I will honestly admit that, at first, it could be a source of conflict. Especially between me and Woody. It‘s really easy to misunderstand this business. What looks like a waste of time to one person, could be a source of income or outreach to another. Ultimately, my family has grown to support me in what I do. They don’t love the spotlight but are the inspiration behind much of what I share and are willing to make cameo appearances every now and again. For the sake of the fans, of course 😂
Currently I am working with a group of creators on the beta testing phase of the next big Pinterest rollout feature. In addition, I have an ongoing working relationship with several house brands that provide me with steady projects as well. In the next few months I need to work on giving my website, laurakaminer.co some TLC, and work on building my email list (hint hint- feel free to sign up HERE )
For now, I’m just happy to have this opportunity for this season, and I feel so fortunate for the doors that have already opened and the new friendships I‘m making along the way.