Have you ever thought about building a professional business by just doing something that you love? For instance, let us look at social media… We all use these platforms. But do you have what it takes to stand out and gain a following?
For example, if there is a new trend, are you the person who will know about it when it’s no longer trending, or you will be among the very few talking about it from the onset? The truth is that you have to be exceptional for you to stand out on social media.
Now that you tick all the boxes, and have more followers, what do you do with all this? Think about how you can make money from it. Have you ever thought it as your business or profession?
How do you start? Can you make enough money to pay your bills? Well, according to a Statista survey of 2021, a social media influencer with between 10,000 and 20,000 followers can earn an average of $274 per post!
So, do you know how you can treat social media influencing as a professional business?
What are Social Media Influencers?
If you have many followers on social media platforms and market different products or services on these platforms, you are a social media influencer. As an influencer, you collaborate with brands using your online presence and share content to sell and advertise their goods or services.
Depending on your content, and assuming you have carved a specific niche for yourself, your followers will trust you and will follow your advice on products or services. For example, let us say that you are a model. Your followers are likely going to trust you when it comes to things like fashion.
If, for instance, you endorse a specific dress from store X, your followers will likely order the same dress from the same store. Store X, which is a brand here, will pay you for this. You can, therefore, earn money from it. So, why can’t you treat it as a professional business?
But before that… Do you know about the top influencer skills and what your responsibilities will be as a social media influencer?
Responsibilities of Social Media Influencers
Before you dive in too deep and start wondering how you can make this work, you are supposed to understand your responsibilities as a social media influencer. Remember that you will have no boss, meaning that you will be reporting to yourself.
So, what will be your duties? Of course, you will handle different tasks, but they will all be related to the creation of promotional and personal content on social media for your followers. You will also;
- Create content that engages your followers.
- Take photos and videos that you can share on your social media platforms.
- Find out about different brands and their services or products to ensure that the content you create matches their style.
- Create captions for all the images or videos you share and ensure they align with the preferences of your followers.
- Respond to messages and comments from your followers… and on time.
- Ensure that the content created meets the requirements of your brands, according to the contract you have signed.
Treating Your Social Media Influencing as a Professional Business – What to Do
Now you may want to know how you can improve your social media and make yourself an influencer. Here are the tips:
Plan Your Business
You cannot start any business without a plan. If you want to be successful as a social media influencer, you should start by planning your business. You need to understand the specifics and find out about everything that can affect the performance of your business.
Just like any other business, you need to find out about the startup and operational costs. Fortunately, you will not need a lot of money to start treating your social media influencing as a professional business. You can even borrow most of the influencer equipment to use.
Look at your target market as well. Even though you will try as much as you can to gain a lot of following, you should be able to define your audience. For instance, what answer would you give to a brand that wants to know about the demographics of your followers?
Since you will be running a professional business, you will charge your customers – the brands you work with. Ensure your charges are not very high or very low compared to what other influencers are charging. You should include all these things in the plan for your business.
Register a Legal Entity
You are treating your social media influencing as a business, meaning that you will need to register a legal entity. You can choose from a corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), partnership, or sole proprietorship.
Just like any other business, you might find yourself in a situation where your social media influencing business is sued. A legal entity, such as a corporation or LLC, can be your lifesaver in such a situation – they protect you from personal liability.
If you choose to form an LLC, for instance, you can hire someone to do it for you or even do it yourself. You will only be required to pay a minimal fee depending on the state where you will register your LLC.
Set Up a Separate Bank Account
If you want to protect your assets, you should set up a separate bank account. Of course, you are running a business and need to ensure that your finances are separated from those of your business.
Let us assume that you will be using the same account for yourself and your business. In such a case, you will have your assets, such as cars, homes, and every other valuable, at risk, in case someone sues your social media influencing business.
In addition, it will not be easy for you to build a business credit. Sometimes, you might want credit for your business, but if you get it in your name, you will not get good interest rates. You should, therefore, get it in your business name.
The truth is that you will find many institutions that you can bank with. However, do your research and bank with one that values the interests of your business. For instance, if you bank with SoFi, you will get up to 4.20% APY and no account fees. Look for such opportunities and ensure you are banking with a reputable institution.
Register For Taxes
Just like any other business, you should ensure that you are paying all the required federal and state taxes. You can start by applying for an EIN. The process is free and straightforward.
The taxes that you will be paying will be dictated by the business entity that you chose above. For instance, some states will tax an LLC as though it was an S Corp. You might even have some tax reliefs in some states.
However, make sure that you understand all the taxes that you will need to pay when running your business. Also, differentiate between state and federal taxes and always file your returns on time.
Get Licenses and Permits
If you do not want to deal with hefty fines or have your business closed, you should make sure that you have obtained all the required licenses and permits. This might be challenging, especially if you do not know the licenses and permits that you need. In such a case, you can consult a professional.
Start by looking at the state licenses and permits that you might need when running a social media influencing business. You can also visit your county, city, or town clerk to find out about any local licenses that you might need.
In addition, create a service agreement that you can use when working with clients. This agreement is supposed to stipulate all expectations from both the client and your business. You will find it very useful, especially when you run into legal disputes with your clients.
Curate Your Brand
Your social media influencing business is supposed to stand for your brand. This is how other people perceive your business. You should make sure that you have curated a strong brand that stands out from your competitors.
Do you have a business logo? Can someone tell what your business does by looking at the business logo? Digitize this logo by getting QR codes and using them to generate your business cards.
Since you interact with your audience through social media posts or the content you share, you should ensure that this content shows a picture of your brand. In addition, create unique content that stands out.
A random follower should be able to identify your content even when a snippet is read for them with their eyes closed. You cannot achieve this without curating a unique brand.
Get Insurance for Your Business
Chances are that you have some sort of insurance in your life. It could be life insurance, auto insurance, or even health insurance. Similarly, you should also get insurance for your business.
This is important in ensuring that your social media influencing business is protected in case of a loss or a calamity. You will find different types of policies to choose from. They all cover different types of risks.
This means that you might find it challenging to choose the right insurance policy for your business. In such a case, you can start with general liability insurance. It is ideal for small businesses and might be the only policy that you need to get started. If you plan on having employees, you might also think about getting Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
Design a Business Website
Now that you have done everything discussed above, you need to find a way of showing people what you do. One way you can do that is by designing a business website. You can either do this on your own or hire a web designer.
You might be asking yourself why you should design a business website when you have a huge following on social media. Well, every legitimate and professional business has a business website. Why shouldn’t your social media influencing business have one?
In addition, a client might want to get a picture of what you do from the same place. Even though you can have this on your social media profiles, the space is limited and you cannot show everything you might want to show.
If you do not know how to create a website and do not have enough money to hire a web designer, do not worry. Technology has given birth to many tools that you can use to build your website by dragging and dropping the website components.
Start Advertising and Looking for Clients
If you have got this far, you are on your way to running a successful social media influencing business. You are now ready to start advertising your business and looking for clients to work with.
Of course, you already have a social media following – a large one for that matter. You should also make sure that you are following some, if not all the brands that you want to work with. You can also follow the influencers who inspire you.
There are many channels you can use to advertise your business model, including social media itself. Start with paid adverts on social media and other platforms such as Google. Also, reach out to brands and tell them what you do and how you can help them. Ensure that everything is set before you start reaching out to clients. You do not want them to think that you are not ready or professional.
How Much Can You Make?
Maybe you are wondering whether the amount of money you will make will be enough to pay your bills or not. Well, according to Indeed, social media influencers earn over $66,000 on average every year.
Now, since you will be treating yours as a business, chances are that you can even earn more than this. Some brands find it easy to work with businesses, meaning that they will trust you more and pay more than they do when working with individual influencers.
You will, therefore, make enough money to sustain yourself and your business, as long as you do everything right.
So, what are you waiting for? You have grown a huge following on social media and have managed to keep your followers engaged with your content. This is a business opportunity, and if you follow the guidelines discussed in this article, you will run a successful social media influencing business.