On this Monday for Creators we looked at Instagram influencer marketing. Our guest was Amber McCulloch, Chicago-based influencer and plus-size model who talked about going professional with Instagram, monetization, and time management.
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Instagram Influencer Issues: Monetizing, Time Management and Staying True to Yourself
With almost 50K followers on Instagram, Chicago-based plus-size model and Instagram influencer, Amber McCulloch (@StylePlusCurves), is a prominent figure in the influencer community. Her success as an Instagram influencer comes courtesy of her loyal following, as well as dedication towards her passion. Her experience on the platform is something that other up-and-coming influencers would be highly interested to know about, which is why this past Monday (February 2nd, 2021), Amber took some time off from her busy schedule to sit with forCreators for the first session of our brand new webinar series – Monday for Creators, and talk about some of the most common issues faced by today’s creators, including monetization, and time management.
Who Is Amber McCulloch
Over the last decade, social media has evolved many times. We started off with just Facebook and Twitter, and are currently seeing other platforms, like Instagram, taking over the market. Amber herself had to take note of these changes, and then prepare accordingly.
While many enthusiasts may enter the influencer community just as part of their hobby, or for the fun of it, Amber suggests that they take it seriously, if they want to make it big as an Instagram influencer. In simple words, being an influencer is somewhat like handling a business; you need to be very cautious of what you are doing, especially when it comes to monetizing your content.
Like any other business, you, as an influencer, need to set goals, be clear on what kind of money you want to make, how you want to do so, keep track of it all, and so on. You also need to handle a lot of formalities like preparing invoices, and maintaining communication with brands. In most cases, the brands themselves will approach you. But you too can pitch to them, and listen to what they have to say.
Making Money As Influencer
When it comes to brand sponsorships, they may or may not give you compensation for posting or talking about their products. Some brands will just offer you their products in exchange for promotional posts on your feed, while others are likely to pay a sum, based on your rates, and follow up negotiations. In such cases, they might ask to see your analytics, or how well the sponsored posts are doing in terms of reach.
Another way for influencers to make money is through affiliate programs. Once you have 10K followers on Instagram, you can directly link your audience to a product page or brand website. Every time someone makes a purchase through your link, you will get a percentage of the profit the brand makes.
Now if you are an influencer with a small following, and are worried that brands themselves are not going to discover you that easily, you should make a list of the brands that fall in your niche, and contact them individually. You can prepare your story, what your feed is about, and what plans you might have, and send their PR team a formal message of enquiry. Amber personally suggests that you go to the Instagram pages of these brands, and DM them, telling that you would like to work with them. They will then reply back telling you to contact certain personnel in their team, and you can then start contacting those designated people.
Staying True To Yourself
Then, Amber talked about the importance of staying true to yourself as an influencer. She was quick to point out that maintaining your own personality on the platform is the key to time management. As a content creator, you should make your content fit with your lifestyle and interest. Otherwise you will always hit obstacles, and you will find yourself struggling with time.
You do not need perfection in everything. Sometimes, you can just get it out there, and people will appreciate it. You have to trust that your authenticity is going to resonate among your followers. And those who are not that interested in seeing you as you are, you should not really care about them. People with such mindsets will never have anything nice to say about you, or your content. The best they can do is leave negative comments under your post, and you just need to chin up, and learn to ignore them.
Amber also believes that you can also stay true to yourself through your captions. You do not always need to say something witty. Sometimes, the things that are on your mind, or the words that strike you when you see a certain dress or product, are more than enough to work as the captions to your posts.
Managing Your Time
When asked about how she manages her time, Amber talked about 2 apps that she uses on a regular basis. The first is called ‘Later’, and it is visual marketing tool that allows creators to plan and publish social media posts, as well as keep track of the analytics. The other app is called ‘Camera 365’, something that Amber uses to take her pictures on her iPhone.
But relying on the apps alone will not be enough. The best time management tip, according to Amber, is to not over-edit your photos. Also, focus on the product or the outfit while taking the picture; not on what is going on in the background. You will find yourself wasting a lot of time if you just keep looking for a perfect background to go with your post.
Amber also suggests influencers to not be dependent on Instagram alone, and instead, explore other platforms simultaneously. Having your own website is also something you can try out. This is where the time management gets tricky, because you are having to post the same thing on multiple platforms.
All in all, Amber’s insights into the world of an Instagram influencer were very helpful. The ideas she shared can help anyone who wants to explore this fascinating career path.
We hope you enjoyed our very first edition of Monday for Creators. This series will give you the opportunity to hear from some of the best minds in the industry. So be sure to come back for the second session of our series. And in the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts, suggestions, and what you would like to see on Monday for Creators.