The year 2020 has been something else and more than ever I’m seeing all kinds of assumptions being made about influencers at this time. I’ve even gotten a few questions about it from followers, viewers and subscribers of my social media platforms. So I’m here to be the voice of what’s fact and what’s fiction. This post is all in good fun and of course I don’t represent all influencers in the world. I can only answer these assumptions from my own perspective. I’m not sure when the word influencer became such a word people use with distain but in some form or another we’ve all influenced in our lives. Whether that’s buying something and a friend loving it and asking where we got it, to sharing our Yelp reviews with the world on our favorite or least favorite restaurants, we’ve all influenced and we’ve all been influenced. I was a blogger before I was ever an influencer (this term didn’t exist in 2010) and influence just something that comes with having people who trust your opinions and your recommendations. In any case, I get asked the most about being an influencer, my exact procedures for content creation and exactly how I make a living from it. I’ve written a number of Ebooks on the subject that you can check out here on my Etsy Shop and more recently I launched my Teachable School: The Business of Blogging, where I teach entrepreneurs to level up in the world of social media with video courses. My first course just dropped and it’s How to Clone Yourself in Photos with 1 App (no photoshop needed). This one skill helped me gain over 5K followers on Instagram and helped me negotiate a higher rate for 2 brand campaigns that specifically asked for cloned photos on Instagram for our collaborations. Make sure to enroll in my school to stay up with all the new courses I’ll be dropping monthly. Now lets get to the 5 assumptions about influencers in 2020
INFLUENCERS ARE BELOVED AND EVERYONE WANTS TO BE ONE
For those who aren’t really in this content creation and influencer world you probably don’t have a clue how influencers are perceived by the rest of the world. The general consensus is that influencers are horrible self-obsessed human beings that will promote anything to get a check. Just head to BOF instagram and check out the comments on any article they post featuring the word Influencer. Y’all people are BIG mad with influencers and I’m 100% sure it’s because we are getting paid to do/post the same things lots of people post for free. People who don’t create content don’t really understand the work that goes into it. It’s looks like a glamorous life and it certainly can be but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard work. Influencers are keenly aware of the perception about us. We just don’t care what people think and aren’t going to let that stop us from A. Living our dreams and B. Securing the bag. Lot’s of people who share a collective distain for influencers thought that a global pandemic would be the end to influencers….but it actually had the totally opposite effect. Which brings me to my next assumption…
INFLUENCERS ARE GOING TO DISAPPEAR
Sorry, no. We aren’t going anywhere and why would you want us to? As a fashion focused content creator, I’m grateful for influencers, bloggers and content creators. Why you ask?…because fashion is slowly becoming more inclusive! There was a time when only the people who went to a fashion show would know what would be hitting the streets 6 months later. And most of those people were white. Bloggers fought their way into the shows to bring that fashion to their audiences. Now all the shows are streamed for everyone to see, not just the fashion elite. For me it’s about being seen in places/spaces and working with brands that you don’t typically see people who look like me working with. No it’s not curing cancer but it’s a start when it comes to diversity and inclusion. In addition to that the standardized way of marketing has died, especially during this pandemic. If you don’t have some form or digital marketing your business is most definitely suffering right now. Using influencer marketing has become mainstream and most larger brands and established companies have allotted budgets for it. Even more so now that traditional marketing doesn’t work because of regulations against large groups (for shooting campaigns and marketing meetings) and because everyone who isn’t essential is at home. Like it or not influencers aren’t going anywhere. So if you are one of those people who hate all influencers remember it’s the same as watching a commercial on TV or looking at an ad in a magazine and you don’t complain about that…so…get on board.
FULL TIME INFLUENCERS DON’T ACTUALLY MAKE ANY MONEY
This is probably the biggest assumptions I’ve seen. I think I went full-time when I had under 30K followers and even before that with just blogging and influencing on the side 15-20 hours a week I was making an extra 30-40K a year. In my first year of full time content creating I made 50K more than I did as a Senior Doctor of Physical Therapy who was the Director of 2 private practices. Influencers are replacing the traditional method of marketing because we do it all. We do the hair, the makeup, we scout the location, we shoot the content, edit the content and post the content. We then promote the content and drive traffic to brands or provide exposure for brands. We are a whole marketing team wrapped up in one person who brands can pay a lot less to do all that work they’d traditionally pay their marketing team. And I mean hundreds of thousands of dollars less. Many people laughed when this pandemic happened saying influencers would die out and have no work opportunities. This is completely false. If anything, I’ve noticed that I’ve almost tripled my income during this time. Marketing is one of the places where some businesses can afford to spend money being that other nonessential expenses have been cut. Almost every person I know in this industry has seen a surge of increased brand campaigns and increased pay especially amongst Black influencers. I also don’t personally know any full time influencers who make less than 100K a year. I was definitely nervous that I wouldn’t have work but I’m blessed things worked out in my favor. It’s tough being a freelancer in this kind of economy.
FASHION INFLUENCERS MAKE THE MOST MONEY
It seems that when it comes to bloggers and influencers, everyone covets the fashion blogger but it’s actually the niche of blogging and influencing that pays the least. There’s hardly any money in fashion when it comes to brand campaigns. Thus the best influencer is one who is well rounded. The lifestyle blogger is now what every influencer aims for because that encompasses everything including fashion, beauty, health, food, hair and more. Basically all of the influencer niches fall under lifestyle. Currently the most well paid influencers are those in beauty specifically makeup and hair. Makeup and hair brands have huge budgets when it comes to influencer marketing. Next up is lifestyle brands from spirits and wines to home goods and the like. The mommy bloggers and mommy influencers fall heavily into this category. Fashion is some where close to last on the list. Thus in order for a fashion influencer to do it full time it’s almost a necessity to be well rounded instead of being extremely niche. This is also why influencers often have multiple sources of income ranging from brand campaigns, to affiliate sales (if you don’t know what this means check out this eBook), to creating their own physical products to sell like magazines, accessories or eBooks and more. If one stream of income is lacking hopefully another stream will take up the slack. During a time like this, the more streams of income the better for more security.
INFLUENCERS WITH MORE FOLLOWERS MAKE MORE MONEY
Yes and no. I know a few influencers with a lot more followers than me who aren’t making as much money. There are different types of influencers as well. Not all of them are trying to sell something. Some are simply just showing their life and people enjoy seeing it or aspiring to that lifestyle. Some do it purely as a money making stream, most of which have businesses where they are either teaching you to become an influencer or selling a product they have created. Some are just in it for fun and then there’s influencers like me who do a little bit of all of the above. This is why brands are looking more at engagement now instead of follower count when it comes to getting people interested in their brand or product. I’m pretty sure I can out sell anyone with triple my following. It all comes down to your audience. But I can say that when brands come to influencers with larger followers they definitely start higher with their offers because they assume they will get that return on their investment.
FAME IS THE END GAME FOR INFLUENCERS
I’m sure a lot of people get into influencing for the fame or the free stuff. There is a market for stunting on the gram and not actually caring about the people who invest in you or your content. But I’ve found that for 95% of influencers this is not the case. Most of us have been creating content since before influencing was a thing. For many of us it’s a passion or a hobby we loved that just kind of morphed into actually being able to be a full time job and career. People ask me all the time what my end game is as if just doing what I’m doing now isn’t enough because being an influencing still isn’t considered a viable career by most people. I’m here to tell you all, I am currently living the end game. I’m not doing this to try to eventually be a magazine editor or to eventually start my own business. I am already an editor and I am my own brand and business. I am my own boss and this is the end game. Fame is most definitely not something I actually want, it just comes with the territory and that’s fine but I also know that the more I put myself out there the more cautious I have to be and the more things I need to hold close to my chest. Everyone isn’t out to support my every endeavor and every human is not intrinsically good. I’ve actually found that I’m having more conversations with my fellow influencers on how to maintain some sense of privacy and boundaries as your social media following grows. I’d rather be wealthy than famous any day of the week. Oh and the free stuff is nice, but if I don’t actually want it or need it, I turn down gifts every day.
Old Zara Blazer & Bag | & Other Stories Dress | Altuzarra Sandals | ASOS Sunglasses Chain
GET THE LOOK
If it’s your dream to start a blog, a YouTube or to become a content creator or influencer, the time is now. Take advantage of the fact that everyone is online and brands are spending more for influencer marketing than they ever have previously. Check out this post for Everything You Need to Know Before Starting a YouTube Channel in 2020 along with this blog post on my 3 Tips for Growing Your Instagram Even In Isolation. Don’t forget to check out my Etsy shop for eBooks on How to Pitch To Brands, How To Figure Out What To Charge for Campaigns, How to Make Money with RewardStyle and more. Then head on over and enroll in my teachable school: The Business of Blogging for all my online video courses that teach you everything to level up your presence on social media. For more blog posts about blogging, balancing blogging and a full time job and more check out the Blogging Category here on my blog for over 20 blog posts!
SHOP MY EBOOKS FOR BLOGGERS, INFLUENCERS AND BUSINESS OWNERS TO WORK WITH BRANDS
ENROLL IN MY TEACHABLE SCHOOL: THE BUSINESS OF BLOGGING — ONLINE VIDEO COURSES WHERE I TEACH YOU HOW TO LEVEL UP ON SOCIAL MEDIA
I’ve only been blogging for alittle over a year. I recently started to incorporate more lifestyle things into my blog. So many nuggets in this blog post.
Yay! I was hoping it would be helpful! Congrats on your blog xx
Another great post! Yes, its work. I do this less than part time. It takes paintence and work. Along with making an investment into your brand.
Most definitely! Thanks so much for reading xx
This was an eye opener for me, I never knew influencers was labeled and targeted like that. For me it’s to each their own, I love what you guys do and appreciate it immensely for with out you guys I would not have tried many things that I owe so love and can’t live without
Thanks so much for reading! I feel the same way!
That was so helpful, thank you so much. I have just started my blog and creating Instagram content.
I find your blog so informative and inspirational.
Thank you so much! Good luck on your socials!
This was a great read Monroe. I mean this was educational, informative, direct and to the point. I have some MAJOR takeaways from this. This why I loooove you to pieces. You’re everything sis. Thank you so much
I’m so glad it was helpful xx
Straight and to the point, but also very informative. There are so many bloggers that I enjoy watching, Monroe Steele is one. Since the earlier blog post days I would listen to the places even thrifts to find the good goods. I work on the UES and would spot her on the at the resale stores, followed most of her advice and have amazing pieces to this day in my closet☺️So folks don’t he hating on these folks earning a living doing what they love! They are no different then our favorite entertainers, remember everybody can’t be Beyoncé. Enjoy that we get to have a lil more personal access to them via social media. For FREE! Count it as a blessing.✌
Thank you love. I appreciate you supporting for so long!
Went on a hunt for the Lele sadoughi earrings found them at Neiman Marcus black and pink love the black ones with white specks the pink ones were pink with white specks hope to be purchasing the black ones soon thanks PS I thought I would never find those earrings but I would like to have the exact ones that you have but oh well hopefully they’ll make more
YAY! Yeah the ones I have have been sold out for ages. Thanks so much!
Jackie Knight! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have been wanting and looking for those Sadoughi earring all summer. UGH! They are so good, like you I want that cream/black pair that the best to do it aka Monroe Steele has been flaunting in our face lol. Ms. Steele must get that contract with Neiman’s or Sadoughi, so we can get that 20% code (every bit helps, except for when you want something so bad lol), and so she can make a coin from all the unsolicited marketing she has done for the brand. Thank you!
M. Steele I am waiting for that collaboration!
thanks for sharing all that you do about the work and effort that goes into creating and maintaining your blog! also big thanks for being so open about the ins and outs of the business side of this job.
Thank you so much for reading! Glad you enjoyed it xx
That was a good read. I have a better understanding of the lifestyle and your hustle. Good job on breaking it down and you look cute! Continued blessings and I look forward to your vlogs!
Thanks so much for reading. I’m glad it was informative and thank you for supporting xx
This was so much good information that I want to print and save it!!! Very good read for anyone who is currently an influencer and trying to become one. Thanks for all the details. There is no one like you!!! ❤️
Thanks Gloria. I appreciate you!!! You’re killing it too xo
You are one of the influencers that inspire me, my daughter wants to do this and you are inspiring. I want her to go to college and have a career/plan to decrease the stress of living but you are so organized and thorough that I believe this is a life/career worth striving for.
Thank you! I appreciate your support. Yes, my mom was the same way with me but it can definitely work.
I truly think you are awesome young lady….I always wanted to be influencer you remind me of the younger me…always be you that’s were the treasure is….
Thank you so much!
Hey Monroe! To me, you are the epitome of a professional influencer. Everything you do is well structured, purposeful, organized, and intentional. Followers like myself appreciate this level of quality and therefore will always support you. This can’t be said for MANY influencers, so I can see why some may not obtain the same level of success. I guess that can be said for other professions, too. Anyways, keep the great content coming 🙂
Thank you so much Jennifer I appreciate that and you’re absolutely right.
I am an OG follower..right from Nasty gal days..your love for shoes! I lost touch with you and recently reconnected on Instagram lol. You have not changed..stayed true to yourself and that I appreciate!
This was a great piece, informative and straight to the point. I love that you love what u do!
As someone who uses the services of influencers for my brand, it’s really interesting to see all the work that goes into blogging. It really is a huge amount of work. For my brand, I always looked for engagement vs follower count because if someone doesn’t have an engaged following, then it doesn’t matter how many people are there if they’re not clicking the links and checking out the brands they’re promoting.
xoKaelen | Darling Marcelle
What you are doing is inspiring. I read your posts and content and find I enjoy it, I can relate to it, I learn from it, and I get resources that I would not have discovered without your direction. I did a blog…just for fun…it was A LOT OF WORK. I enjoyed it for a year and then I didn’t. I do like instagram. I love sharing and posting outfits with little stories. To do what you are doing takes drive, focus and a lot more work than my retired self would do. I taught in public schools for decades. I am done with the work part. I admire your strength and truly feel invited into your style world. You keep it real and you present authenticity and a down-to-earth style that connects with others so well. Sadly, I have watched how some “influencers” start out fine, but then they move away from their audience. They stop inviting us into their homes and go from one exotic location to the next… wearing 10,000 dollar gowns riding camels in a desert…which is not part of most peoples real world. There is nothing wrong with taking a vacation and shooting pictures, but what I watched happening is the brands changed the audience for these “influencers” and they became disconnected from their original followers the more they allowed brands to influence them. I do not see that happening to you. You like high end, but you mix it up with a variety of other pieces….like Vince Camuto, & Other Stories and H&M. You greet us like old friends and invite us into your home. We are delighted to go on vacation with you or to Fashion Week Shows as your invite us to be part….not apart. That is why you will last. You stay with your followers fit comfortably in a world we can all aspire to even if we are not interested in taking the lead…
And another one… Girl! You just don’t disappoint. From the info (ebooks) you provide to the looks, damn. Your ability to cohesively tie everything together does not elude me. The follow up YT video was so beautiful, from the looks to the scenery. If this is work, then I am buying and studying every book, mag and video you produce! I messaged one of your other supporters that you need to get that contract with Neiman’s or L. Sadoughi because you have people searching hard for those earring, among other items, smh. Jackie… found them and put us on. I am going to wait a bit to see if you get that collab, so we all win. If not I will purchase them anyways, but we all agree we want that cream/black combo in the earrings. As I said you and DadouChic need a real(ity) series all about Travel, shopping and vlogging.
I have so much admiration for you and what you and other influencers are doing. As an “elder” (ugh!) Who grew up without social media, its great watching you younger women living your best life and just enjoying the fruits of your labor on your own terms. I love to see it.