How Influencers Make Money Online

What is an influencer?

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people on social media, rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals who have influence over potential customers and orients marketing activities around these influencers. Being an influencer is one of many ways to make money online. Hiring an influencer may very well be your savviest move yet. They can add some serious credibility to your brand.

How do they do it?

Influencers persuade potential customers to buy a particular product or service by endorsing, promoting or recommending it on social media. In order to do so, they may employ a variety of tactics. Those who would like to make influencing a full-time gig will also attempt to find ways to make money from multiple revenues. Here are seven ways that modern influencers can make money online:

They make money by selling digital products

selling e-productsSelling e-products is an easy and popular way to make money online. A savvy influencer can potentially make a tidy profit by peddling relatively inexpensive wares they can easily market over social networks. A fitting example is Sharny and Julius Kieser, a married couple from Australia who currently have over 150,000 followers, a number which continues to scale rapidly. The duo offers three downloadable fitness programs for parents: FitMum, FitDad and PregFit at a minuscule price. They currently stand as one of the top nine nutrition influencers in the world. You can find more information about them on Instagram.

More products by Sharny and Julius:

  • Fit Healthy, Happy Kids – A guide on food and exercise for children under 12
  • Strong Core & Pelvic Floor (SCPF) programme – A programme aimed at mothers to prevent incontinence after giving birth
  • IronDad – A programme for men who want to gain muscle weight
  • FITmum: How I lost 24 kilos after only eight weeks after the birth of my fourth child – A book written by Sharny Kieser for mothers looking for inspiration on how to lose their baby weight. Available from Book Depository.

They act as brand ambassadors

brand ambassadorsHiring an influencer as your company’s brand ambassador is an effective way of promoting your product. A potential customer may not necessarily believe what they see in ads; 90% of buyers, though, will act on recommendations from others. The main role of a brand ambassador is to embody, as much as possible, all that your brand is about and depict it in a positive light to your target audience, thus increasing sales and awareness. A company will be very careful when it comes to selecting who to represent them; they will choose somebody their buyers will relate to depending on what they want to sell to them.

A great example is how Samsung promotes its products in Romania through the locally popular actress Dana Rogoz. Rogoz regularly attends Samsung events as a representative and uses her media platforms to endorse the company’s products, making it a point to be seen using their devices publicly in her public and private life.

Examples of Samsung products endorsed by Dana Rogoz:

  • Smartwatch Gear Fit 2 Samsung
  • Headphones Gear Icon X
  • Digital camera Gear 360 Samsung with downloadable 360 Samsung app

The Samsung Gear range was launched in 2013 with the smartwatch and has been going strong ever since.

samsung galaxy

They make money by sponsoring social media/blog posts

media blog postsSocial media users who have built up a large following have the advantage of being able to reach a massive audience with little effort. Really big names on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube may often reach close to celebrity status. Having such individuals act as influencers will doubtless result in a much-desired sales boom for any product or service endorsed by that person. Many influencers often create their own blogs which further enhance their status.

Amanda Stanton, for instance, a fashion, beauty and interior design blogger from South California who currently boasts over one million followers, often form symbiotic partnerships with top brands including Fab, Fit, Fun and Third Love. The Instagram star does not currently sell any of her own products but uses other ways to make money.

They make podcasts, vlogs and webinars

podcast vebinarMuch like blogging, influencers may sometimes be paid by companies to reach out to a particular audience in different ways. Videos on YouTube promoting a branded product, for example, could definitely increase brand awareness and hopefully result in a sharp rise in sales. Subaru, for example, has seen massive profits come out of their #MeetAnOwner campaign. The company hired not one, but three influencers to promote their cars through a series of seriously adventurous vlogs, cementing the brand’s reputation for good.

Watch one of the groundbreaking videos, courtesy of stuntman Devin Graham, here. Learn more about Graham’s vlogging escapades by following him on Instagram. Graham has recently launched the Devin Graham Signature Series, a hand-held stabiliser designed for cameras weighing from two to 12 pounds, for adventure and photographer enthusiasts like himself. The product is available to buy from Amazon.

They make money by taking part in affiliate network sales

Affiliate marketing is a hot, new – and effective way – of increasing web traffic towards your site. Influencers who take part in affiliate network sales act much like brand ambassadors, with the small difference that payment is given in the form of a sales percentage, albeit a small one. The role of the influencer is to advertise the said company’s product by posting links on their own creations. If they’ve written a blog, for example, potential buyers will be encouraged to click on the inserted hyperlinks.

Camila Coelho (see left), for instance, is a fashion and beauty blogger hailing from Brazil. In her posts, she often recommends beauty products by inserting hyperlinks in her blog posts and video tutorials. Customers are encouraged to buy, but they are not obliged to. Coelho is so successful that she focuses full-time on her self-titled blog, often partnering with successful brands such as Dior, Neutrogena and Armani Beauty. She does not currently have her own brand but has co-created a hugely popular, limited edition range of 10 lipsticks called L’Absolu Rouge together with Lancome Paris, as well as a range of nail polishes with YNC. Find out more about Camila Coelho’s endeavours and ways of making money by following her Instagram.

They sell links

Selling links is the ultimate way to make money for a well-established influencer. Influencers who have started up their own website or blog will attempt to make it more visible on search engines. Having a strong backlink profile (ie. referring to other domains or pages) will build up the authority of the influencer’s own website. The more backlinks they have, the higher their position will rank on search engines. At this point, an influencer can choose to sell their own links, thus adding another revenue stream. Some influencers may even sell links to casino affiliate websites, though others will choose not to for ethical reasons.


They make money by starting their own brand

Influencers may be best known for enhancing sales rates for third-party brands – but they can grow big enough to take the plunge into starting their own brand – and use their considerable influence to sell it. Marianna Hewitt, for instance, a well-known fashion and beauty blogger on YouTube and Instagram, recently launched her own beauty product, Summer Fridays, which is selling out faster than the proverbial hot cross buns.

Following in her footsteps is the admirable Chiara Ferragni (see left), who was previously the brand ambassador for several prominent companies including BMW and Swarovski. Ferragni is now channelling her influence into promoting her own fashion brand known as the Chiara Ferragni collection.  Follow Marianna Hewitt and Chiara Ferragni on Instagram.


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