How to become a paid Social Media Influencer

How to become a paid Social Media Influencer
The White Thistle
How to be an Influencer | The White Thistle

If you have been on Instagram more than a minute chances are you have seen #AD or #Gifted and either wondered what on earth it meant or if you are in the know about influencers maybe you wondered how on earth became an influencer.

If you have landed on this post you are probably in the second category and are wondering what it is you need to do to be in this position yourself.


The word Influencer is a bug bare of mine since it sounds sleezy and like you have some sort of power over your followers. When in actual fact anyone can have influence.

For example just the other day my friend ‘influenced’ me to purchase some magnetic lashes just by talking about them and showing me how great they where.

Anyone can be an influencer. It is not some magic power reserved for huge accounts anymore. I truly believe that even a traditional business can be an influencer. In fact, I started my account @thewhitethistle as a business selling home decor and handmade products. When I hit 5k I was approached by another brand to collaborate (now granted they didn’t realise I myself sold home decor but we had a chat and because I didn’t sell bedding or curtains which was what they specialised in we decided to go ahead with the collaboration as our ideal client was the same so it was mutually beneficial).

Is is also now more and more popular to see micro influencers which is anyone with 10-50k followers and nano-influencers under 10k collaborating with brands as the use of those type of accounts has been on the rise since it has been proven that their engagement rates tend to be a lot higher than larger accounts.


Now I take this back to when I worked in HR in a bank (but you can do this for any industry), you can be a generalist or a specialist.

Keeping with the professional analogy what you often find is that generalists (HR Business Partners) are often paid less and struggle to climb the ladder as fast because they are competing with a lot of other generalists.

If you can niche down and become a specialist (in my world this would have been someone who specialised in Reward or Diversity) in your industry you get a much higher salary and far more opportunities since you are in higher demand.

Pick something you are passionate about – you need to be able to talk about it day in day out.

What is it you love to talk about, pick a topic and start posting about it. Want some idea’s check out some of my favorite niches

These are just a few – you can literally niche into anything you are passionate about. I have seen dog, stationary and knitting accounts that are viral. The more niche you are the faster you will grow.


Take this with a pinch of salt because I promise it is not all about the number of followers you have. If you have 1000 followers and a super high engagement rate (the number of likes and comments per post vs your follower) then that is very valuable to brands, and it’s possible to get paid with these figures.

Equally if you have 100k followers and a super low engagement rate that isn’t very valuable to brands.

So make sure you grow your following and maintain your engagement rate as you go.

Even though I just said it’s not everything it is still important – brands will not want to collaborate if you have no one to ‘influence’, so focus on growing your audience and serving them the best content so they are super engaged.



A media kit is essentially a creative persons CV. It outlines previous collaborations, stats about your account (like age, gender, location etc) and a bit about the person as well as a mini portfolio.

It is essentially the first impression you share with a brand so it is worth putting some thought into it.


This all comes down to how valuable you think your content is. You need to take into consideration the time and effort you need to put into creating the content. But do not undervalue yourself.

In the beginning, it can be very tempting to accept all the free collaborations but it’s important to remember that free doesn’t pay the bills and if you are hoping to turn this into a profitable business you need to start understanding your worth.

Whilst the ‘Influencer’ industry is a fairly new one it isn’t one that is going to disappear any time soon. We need to collectively start to charge our worth otherwise brands will continue to take advantage. If you are worried that charging £100 heck even £1000 for a brand that has an annual turnover of 24 million (The White Company just for example) then you need to have another think. You are worth the money!!

It costs them less to pay you than it does to hire a photographer, a model, a stylist etc to create content.

Now on Instagram, there is a guideline that says for every 1000 followers you should charge roughly £10 however that is a very generic statement and doesn’t take into account the engagement rate, any additional assets you might create for the brand etc.

There are accounts with 2000 followers that have brand deals where they have charge in excess of £500 for a collaboration. It is all about knowing your unique worth.

If you have a particular niche industry and you have real influence in that industry it might be that you are never able to reach 10k but if you have a following of the perfect ideal client for a brand then that is worth far more than a very generic following of 50k followers.

Figure out what number feels right to you – remember to also consider how much you want to make per month and realistically how many collaborations you can take on. If you want to make £1000 per month but can only create and negotiate paid content 2x a month (this doesn’t sound like a lot but trust me when I say it is far more time consuming than just taking pretty pictures). Then you need to be charging approx. £500 per post.


Once you know roughly how much you feel you should be paid per post/collaboration it is time to start pitching to brands.

You can message the companies directly on Instagram, send a personalised message about why you love the brand and think working with them would be a great fit. Ask them if this is the best platform to discuss or if there is someone else you can contact – this should hopefully lead them to giving you the PR or social media managers email.

Once you have that you can send an email along with your media kit and any ideas you have for the collaboration.

Try and put a unique spin on it so they can see why you selling their brand ro your audience is worth while.

Remember even if you have a small but loyal following this can be extremely valuable to companies.


If you successfully monetise your account it can be a great side hustle or depending on how much effort and time you have to put in, it isn’t too hard to turn it into a full time business.


How to become a paid Social Media Influencer | The White Thistle

Comment (1)

  1. Emma Sharpe 9 months ago

    This is so helpful Abi thank you 🖤

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