From Blogger to Influencer: How to Expand Your Portfolio

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In this piece I answer the question: “I am a blogger and I want to become a social media influencer as well. How can I do that exactly?” The following answer is based on my talk at the Type-A Parent bloggers conference, and my experience with Dear Mishu, the social media influencer account I created.

Brand deals are doable, and here are the steps to achieve that:
Brand deals are doable, and here are the steps to achieve that…:

What is a Social Media Influencer?

Before you can become a social media influencer, it’s important to understand just what makes someone an influencer.

An Influencer is two things: (1) someone who owns a social media account (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) AND (2) has GREAT, fantastic relationships with their followers.

an influencer does NOT need to b a celeb
Not that one, or at least not necessarily. Someone does NOT need to be a big celebrity to be an influencer (and most are not).
One benefit of growing your accnt size is that you can earn more per post as an influencer.
Types of influencers by quantity, content, relationships and average payment per endorsement.

Types of Influencers

From the estimated amount of 98 million social media influencers, there are three main types of influencer: Mega, Macro and Micro-influencers. Only the Mega are known to the public (most fashion and beauty journalists confuse them with all influencers!). That means that all others – thousands and thousands – are not well known, yet make up most of the influencers.

One benefit – see the payment row on the table above – of growing your account size is that you can earn more per post as an influencer.

As you can see, there are all kind of influencers -  illustrators, twins, pets (that really knows what a good coffee is!), long form short forms writers, photographers, computer generated, jazz dancers, musicians, and - of cou
Here they are, the influencers – 47m of them! As you can see, there are illustrators, twins, pets (who really know what good coffee is!), long form short forms writers, photographers, computer generated influencers, jazz dancers, musicians, and – of course – Miss Piggy… all kinds! There is no one-size fits all …

OK – now let’s cut to the chase. I want you to understand how social media influencing differs from blogging and what you need to do to become a successful social media influencer. I’m going to go over seven different areas, starting with … Platforms!

Platforms

The first step in becoming an Influencer is to choose your platform(s).

The first step in becoming an Influencer is to choose your platforms.IM moves at the speed of SM
The first step in becoming an Influencer is to choose your platforms.

Many ask which platform to choose. My answer is – of course – where your audience is. For example, if your target audience are boys who play and video their soccer games every Tuesday afternoon, then most chances you’ll need to be on YouTube and maybe Tik Tok.

However — choose only the platform that you are absolutely CRAZY about and comfortable with! Otherwise – if you don’t like the platform, it will sho … Influencers spend a minimum of three hours a day engaging and publishing on social media, and if you don’t have passion for the platform you will be mentally and physically exhausted.

When you choose a #SocialMedia platform to spend your days influencing, choose only the ones you are CRAZY about and feel comfortable on. Otherwise,
(1) it will show
(2) you’ll hate it

#InfluencerTips

Inside a Billboard

Next – think of your social media as a billboard, just like a BB, its expiring and you can charge for it!

Next – think of your social media as a billboard, a billboard that will expire shortly (because the algorithm will show the post only momentarily, unless it picks-up engagement fast). But — this is a billboard that you can charge* for using!

*NO ONE EXPECTS to get a highway billboard for free – so why do marketers so often expect influencers to work for free?

Think of your social media account as a billboard, a billboard that will expire shortly, a billboard that you can charge for!

#InfluencerTips

“4.5M Followers”

Before you get carried away collecting new followers on your way to social media influencer status, a few words of advice and warning…:

Before you'll collect new followers, few words of advice and warnings...
  1. Unlike a blog, don’t think SEO! Your job isn’t just to be found. Instead, focus on making something worth talking about!
  2. Add only followers who will REALLY invest in you, your topic, and – very important for closing future endorsement deals – the brands you’ll represent.
  3. Followers count/number is not the key because – as we’ve found – big accounts do not necessarily equal big influence or great content.
  4. Community building – Influencers are community builders! They build communities around a topic (usually a niche one, such as “pumpkins“), and join followers (=community members) for fascinating dialogue around that topic. And it’s (usually) beautiful to see. When you add a follower to your social account, think community.
  5. Engagement – this topic is so important that I created a whole section about it:
It is important (and super interesting if not fun) to evaluate your progress in everything you do on social media, the quality of followers included. Measure, evaluate and re-evaluate:
Source: “Your Guide to How and Why to Add Followers for Social Media Influencers”, https://www.dearmishudad.com/your-guide-to-how-and-why-to-add-followers-for-social-media-influencers/

Eat. Sleep, Engage.

Social media engagement drives EVERYTHING (PR, company image, even sales!). Therefore, serious influencers engage all day long, all week, for many many hours….  

Here are examples of influencer engagement – as you can see, it’s intensive. Many followers want your close attention and smaller influencers can provide that. Get ready for that…

Influencers: Eat.Sleep.ENGAGE
Serious influencers engage all day long…

There are many ways and tools to measure engagement.  I like the practical ones, such as… :

Suggested Influencer KPIs - DearMishuDad  Source (updated often): https://www.dearmishudad.com/kpi
Suggested Influencer KPIs – DearMishuDad Source (updated often): https://www.dearmishudad.com/kpi

Pro tip 1:

If your average engagement rate <2% then you’ll be under the radar (of the platform algorithm and influencer-brand matching tools/marketplaces).

No engagement on social media = no influencer
This account – as you can see – has no engagement. It will be hard for that account owner to introduce herself as a social media influencer.

Sometimes you just need to ask people to reshare your content. That's it. Your audience will do it for you, because they care about the community you built, and they love to help. #InfluencerTip
Bonus: Sometimes you just need to ask people to reshare your content. That’s it. Your audience will do it for you, because they care about the community you built, and they love to help. #InfluencerTip

No matter how many times the algorithm is modified by Instagram, Tiktok etc, accounts with lots of comments will always benefit. So:

✌ Stick with followers who care
✌ Sleep.Enage.Eat.Engage
✌ Double down on influencers with high engagement

At this stage I know what you will be asking – HOW, how to get the engagement??

Testing testing testing…

Testing… test everything you can: all kind of photography, video and sounds, length of paragraphs, colors, use of words, attitude, CTA (call-to-actions), all kinds of attitudes (especially ones that bring emotional connection, such as humor, love, humiliation, humility, cursing, crashing, etc…), until you see what brings engagement with the community you are building.

example of engagement testing
Testing “Ask me” as a CTA

Influencer Content

Bloggers are content people, no doubt about that. Content by social media influencers – though – is different:

Compelling visuals = Attention Grabbing Photos

social media influencer = compelling visuals
social media influencer = compelling visuals

Its pretty obvious – photography and video – should have compelling visuals right out front on your social media post/billboard. This is how you get people to give you more than a few seconds.

What kind of engagement?
What kind of engagement expected from SMI?

Short form

You only have a few words to get your point across on social media because:

  1. When we’re on social media we don’t want to read a lot per post, otherwise it will take us more than a day to read all our friends posts…
  2. There is a text limitation – 2,200 characters on Instagram, for example.

Nevertheless, I’ve seen some influencers who write/inspire with 3 and even 4 long paragraphs, with great results. Sophia_Roe with the great curly hair, is a great example of long form writing. Here’s an example. Can you see how she combines great photos and text that shows that she really cares about the community she’s building?

Combine Great Photos and Text

Sophia Roe - Long Form social media posting

dear everyone, particularly wellness practitioners and/or those working in the wellness arena


According to a study done by the U.S Department of Agriculture more than 30 million people lack access to a grocery store within 5 miles of their home. To even call the places people do have access to “grocery stores” is laughable. Almost 100% of these areas are low-income minority, as well as rural communities. These areas have 30% more convenience stores, liquor stores, and fast food restaurants..and trust me..THAT IS ON PURPOSE.


But to call these places, “food deserts” simply isn’t enough. The word “desert” implies these communities have surrendered to living unhealthy. That is simply NOT TRUE. These communities are as resilient, and as elastic as any other community. To be honest, probably MORE SO. You won’t find fancy supplement stores, collagen powders, and/or boutique infrared saunas—but you will find community gardens, auntie’s and uncles’ growing tomatoes out of old plastic water jugs, community cookouts dishing out enough food to make sure the elders have leftovers, and plenty of callused hands.


This is a message to those who tout rhetoric such as, “if it’s not certified organic, it’s poisoning you.” “if you don’t get a lymphatic drainage massage weekly, you’re a walking septic tank.” “If you’re not taking a million and one supplements, than your body isn’t living up to it’s potential”—the list goes on. A reminder that even being able to take the train to the farmers market is a PRIVILEGE. Being able to live a plant-based lifestyle is a PRIVILEGE. Having a choice in what you eat, IS A PRIVILEGE.


The communities that don’t have access to tinctures, tonics, boutiques spas etc don’t need demonizing or criticism..THEY NEED RECOGNITION. They’re mostly without access, and are filled with some of the most beautiful humans I have ever laid my eyes on. If you’re in the wellness arena.. A reminder—it isn’t your job to scare, judge, or criticize. It’s your job to LOVE, SUPPORT, EDUCATE, AND ASSIST in establishing protocols for ALL PEOPLE..not just folks who can afford buying organic spinach solid in plastic.


I love you no matter what, don’t forget❤️

Sophia_Roe

Niche & Community

The Secret Weapon for Brands: Niche Influencers | Talking Influence

I’ve learned from my Dear Mishu that it’s easier for someone to influence when they build a community around a NICHE. So – for Mishu – she is an advice columnist for humans, from a dog’s prospective. That’s a niche, right?

Another example – Maggie, of onceuponpumpkins, who writes-inspires about pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins all day long.

Attitude is often what is expected from you if you are known to...have an attitude. As long as it's you, test it and see if your followers connect with you over that kind of approach. If so, it's here to stay! #DearMishuDad #InfluencerMarketing #Attitude #Branding
Pro tip: Attitude is often what is expected from you if you are known to…have an attitude. As long as it’s you, test it and see if your followers connect with you over that kind of approach. If so, it’s here to stay!

Story-telling

We’ve found out that influencers – even more than bloggers – are best at storytelling. Focus your social media posts on story-telling that brings an emotional connection and you’ll do great!

A story is not what it used to be, though. To understand, here is an example of what I call a story in today’s world of acceptance and excitement:

Remember:
Good brand story-telling helps lead your audience (and customers too) to good decisions.

Everyone has a story, what is yours?

Not Sales-y

While bloggers might do explicit promotions on their sites, social media influencers are not supposed to do any hard pushy sales. Here is an example –

Jessica Marx is a Macroinfluencer who was asked to endorse Chobani:

Jessica Marx Chobani endoresement is a beautiful ad
Jessica Marx Chobani endorsement is a beautiful ad

As you can see (above), Alison is not doing an aggressive sale at all – there is no “BUY NOW” or “Get a 50% off Coupon” or “promotion will expire tonight” nonsense – she just brings great emotions and vibes of beauty and a real desire to eat a good (Chobani ,of course) yogurt breakfast.

Related

For those that haven’t figured it out, if you prepare content that is related to what you are CRAZY about, and focus on that for your social media content, then not only will your followers admire that, but (especially if you become a leader in that sub-category) brands that are related to that topic will court you. It’s much easier in many ways to get that visibility on social media than on a blog!

Few of those on top can be your best ever Influencers.
Be the red shoes influencer, why not?

No need authenticity!

You might have heard that authenticity is everything for influencers. Well, I’ve found out that authenticity has nothing to do with influence. Just focus on a topic you are crazy about, create a community around that and… your community will accept you the way you are, no matter what!

If you’re an #Influencer, then authenticity has nothing to do with influence, the community that you’ve built has already accepted you the way you are

#InfluencerTips

More tips for Influencers.

Prep for Endorsements

influencers endoresments

Not surprisingly, this is the part bloggers love the most: preparing for brand endorsements. After all, you work hard, most days through the evening, and that’s how you might pay the bills (you can also pay the bills in different ways, btw).

To help you navigate the ins and outs of getting paid for social media endorsements, I share with you the four types of customers you might encounter:

Four Types of Customers

“Check” – those customers that heard that hiring influencers is “a must,” and added that as a task on their to-do list, a task to “check” off when completed and no more. The task is to “check” the task! These might bring you business, but since they’re not serious they might invest what they need to see results.

Admirer – they contact you and from day one you can see they admire you – they admire your photography, your writing style, your career as an influencer, your energy, your hair, your emails, everything!!! They trust you MORE than 100% to do the influence job for them!

Results – unrealistic – for eg.: “I have 900 T-Shirts left (translation – I couldn’t sell…) in my NJ warehouse, please help me sell them immediately because you are famous.” Avoid these.

Results – realistic – example – “Bring me new followers, as I manufacture red shoes and I want to create a community similar to you – as a brand selling red shoes – on Insta.”

Which of the customer types would YOU like most to work with 🙂 ?

There are four types of endorsement customers: the check lister, the admirer, the unrealistic results and the realistic results. Which one will you choose?

#InfluencerTips

What Brands Expect from Influencers

expectations

To be able to provide a very good endorsement, one need to understand the expectations from your customers – the brands.

Brands expect many things – a lot of them can be done by various types of influencers and probably not all by same influencer:

We do influencer marketing for so many reasons
We do influencer marketing for so many reasons: to get influence (audience and influence are not the same!), trust, a new dialogue that the audience LISTENS to, and of course – to get original, non-intrusive, impactful content and to fill the content gap for our social media/websites/storefronts.

Eight Things Brands Expect

  1. To influence for them (influence means change of opinion and not just posting to your audience)
  2. Great amazing content creation, as the brand may plan to reuse your writing.
  3. Attention is scarce these days. Influencrs are expected to bring attention to the brand from their followers and from anyone who will see your endorsement post.
  4. Trust is an important factor. Brands expect to gain trust from your hyper-targeted community, trust built on many hours spent on engagement, and excellent social proof.
  5. Brands expect you to bring an “unfair advantage” to the brand – the brand works hard at what they do, and so do their competitors. Having you on board should bring them an advantage over those competitors.
  6. Great story-telling – what I mean is – yes, of course you are good at telling your own story, but now it is the brand story that you’ll have to tell — in a fresh and impactful way that speaks to your audience.
  7. You are expected very often to be an expert in your field. For example, expert in flower arrangement, fixing pianos or iOT security in a certain city. This is especially, but not only, true in B2B if you want to be considered a “KOL” – Key Opinion Leader.
  8. Social media followers are the modern mailing list. Re-route some of your community members to the brands, they will appreciate it.
The modern “mailing lists” are your social media assets.
The modern “mailing lists” are your social media assets.

Endorsement – More Tips

Tips - Influencers - How to get endoresements

1. Decide in advance on the direction you are going to take with your social media influencing:

For eg:
– Your audience’s social media persona – which persona you prefer to target – soccer loving teenagers in Berlin or piano aficionados? 
-Will you stand for something? 
-Will you take any offer? Including “insert here” endorsements such as:

My name is Rubin. Please insert this: “VivaDog helps my dog [insert your name here] to walk in the dark and swim safely”

[insert your name]


2. Prep templates for proposals, negotiations, rejections, and answers to interviews:

Once you become a successful, on-demand influencer, you will need to spend a large percentage of your time to fielding requests and marketing (which is a bummer – I know – we want to write content on social media, not email!) Solution: prepare templates! And once you are there, make those templates really useful and readable, and improve them constantly — colors, attitude, call-to-actions, etc.

Influencers prep templates for proposals, negotiations, rejections, answers to interviews.​
Example for a template of an email to an interested brand for influencer endorsement.

As an influencer, you OWE your audience a fiduciary duty to do your due diligence before you recommend a product or service to them. Research the hell out of something before you ask them to jump on board because if they drown, best believe they would drag you down with them.
That’s a good tip!

Questions You Might Be Asked in an Interview
Interviewing an Influencer

A serious customer will invite you for a (short hopefully) interview, usually via DM, email, Zoom or Skype, and will ask you questions.

Questions Serious Customers Ask

  • “Show me where your content has been used” – the more you’ll have your amazing content posted – and not only on a website and social media – the better.
  • “Do you love our product?” – brands want to know that you love their product, it’s really important for them, and for you, that you do, otherwise the endorsement won’t come across as trustworthy…
  • “Have you ever promoted my competition?”
  • “What’s your fee and why?” – prepare in advance the price range you’d like to charge and to have a reasonable, logical explanation for it. Attitudes may vary.
  • “When is the best time to post to get engagement?” – know your stats…
  • “Can I keep the creative?” – An experienced brand executive/owner knows that if they don’t get written consent to use the content you were hired to create for them, it will be illegal for them to use it. It is recommended – for good partnerships sake – to be generous – all the way, give them what they want. A happy customer is equal to hundreds of additional customers.
  • “What is the best strategy?” – most brands really understand very little about social media influencing and marketing. Try to give useful strategies — make friends!

3. Brand-Influencer Contract​

Important – see next section, or here:

4. Proactive during campaign: listencomment, give attention

So you made a deal with the brand to post next Tuesday at noon? BE THERE, to respond, to engage, to show your power as a community leader, all the way, take all the time in the world to do so, it’s what you’ve being hired for. Fast engagement will spike the platform algorithm and get the post more exposure.

Influencer - Being proactive
Responding/engaging with your followers for the endorsement you’ve created for the brand is super important!


Brand-Influencer Contract

It’s a good idea for the brand & influencer to sign a formal contract. It’s not because of suspicion, but because you want everything to be clear:

signing a brand-influencer contract is important, to make it all clear: schedule, ownership of the content, etc
Sign a Brand-Influencer Agreement, so all arrangements will be clear to both sides.
  • Schedule: What’s the schedule for the post EXACTLY?
  • Deadlines? Will a preview be made avail prior to posting? 
  • Ownership – Who owns the creative?
  • Hashtags: ask the brand which hashtags should be included on your post(s). That should include the #Ad / #sponsored, required by the FCC — you want to do it in a legal way. 
  • Social channels: Which social channels will the endorsement be posted on? Instagram only or across the board: Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, etc.?
  • Deletion: How long the post will stay up (some influencers expire sponsored posts shortly after posting them)?
  • Payment details: Both parties should agree on payment details and and timelines of the payment.
  • Etc….. There are many items to clarify… use the contract template I use (which is on Amazon now).

I strongly recommend using a contract for any sponsorship to protect yourself and your business, such as my Brand-Influencer Contract

Extra Tip

Be on the lookout for the next new thing…

If you look closely, most super successful influencers were early adopters of new social media platforms and so – be on lookout for the new thing, you may even have meteoric success there too!

Related:

  • Here are some things I’ve seen influencers do to pay their bills. Source: https://www.dearmishudad.com/how-influencers-make-lots-money/
  • RapidSongs makes audio and video edits on TikTok for a living
  • Make Money as an Influencer: TipJars
  • MR Beast is launching a resturant chain via ghost kitchens, AND his App is #1 on AppStore...
  • Influencer selling her book via instagram bio - an example
  • Dan Frommer - $20/mo paid newsletter membership for marketing execs, investors, and tech news junkies
  • Dixie (left) and Charli D'Amelio are two of TikTok's biggest stars—with nearly a collective 130 million followers—and have now launched a podcast, "2 Chix." (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for EIF & XQ) Getty Images for EIF & XQ
  • Idea to make a living as a social media influencer: get sponsors that are related to what you do.
  • Influencers can make money from follower donations
  • Jiffpom - a dog influencer - find me at Walmart
  • Twitch already has a tipping and subscribing feature
  • Huda Beauty is by Huda Kattan, an influencer
  • Your Turn: Learn How with 1:1 Coaching DearMishuDad.com/11

Conclusions

Social media influencing is different than blogging in focus, pace, attitude and readiness for big payouts. You can do it, if you work strategically as well as spend the time to build a community. You can do it — good luck!!

How does one move from being a blogger to a #SocialMediaInfluencer?
A bonus: How does one move from being a blogger to a #SocialMediaInfluencer?

Bonus:

Instagram profile grids are wonderful, until someone is forgetting to follow the puzzled structure of it...
Instagram profile grids are wonderful, until someone is forgetting to follow the puzzled structure of it…

Related:
How to Get Brand Deals as a Social Media Influencer #InfluencerTips

More tips for Influencers.

Related:

If It Can’t Be Transactional, Then What Am I Getting from Influencer Marketing at All?





Sincerely yours,

Dear Mishu's Dad

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SMI* = Social Media Influencers