09 September, 2020
You made that Instagram page. You are super pumped and every day you are thinking of what to post. You started pushing tons of content day in and day out. You did it for months, shed tears, sweat, and all your energy into it. Now you are starting to question “Is all of this worth it?”. You have entered the vicious cycle, where you feel like that guinea pig running around the wheel over and over again. You are exhausted but you cannot stop because you are clinging to the feeble thread of hope that someday you are going to be successful, renowned, and earn a living out of being a social media influencer. If this is your story, then you have landed in the right place. Not only I will be telling you the reasons why you are not making money as a social media influencer but I will also be telling you how to fix it. Keep reading, my love!
You are not serious
I am going to be brutally honest with you. If you are not taking this blogging business seriously, you are wasting your time reading this article. And you are wasting your audience’s time as well. Your audience is expecting you to put out content that they can resonate with and if you are not serious about taking your blogging game to the next level of making it a profitable business, what’s the point of attracting the audience. I have seen various people who are into other services but spending more time creating content rather than honing their skills. Their ultimate goal is not blogging or to be an influencer, it is so much bigger than that. But they would still try to get a foothold in this industry. The point is if your ultimate goal is to be in any other service then I suggest you not waste your precious time hoping to get that slight taste of fame and riches. The same goes for people who believe blogging is a hobby that they can pursue anytime they want and put it to an end when it’s not dreamy enough for them. But if you are passionate enough to visualize being a blogger/social media influencer as a full-time job, then you should continue reading this article till the end.
You haven’t niched down
As social media influencers, we are often advised to niche down. What does niche mean? It means that you belong to a particular category of bloggers. If I have to niche down, then I serve 2 basic categories - Fashion & Travel (used to). Fashion and beauty go hand in hand, so you might see a few makeup tutorials on my feed. But I am still serving my niche. Whenever a person or a brand visits my profile, they will immediately identify that I am a fashion blogger. This helps the brands to reach out to me for campaigns related to my niche. They will know the kind of work that I do and they will trust me with their products and brand image. On the other hand, if you are doing everything while claiming to have niched down, you are losing your authority. You will never find me promoting health supplements or talking about automobiles or for that matter any high tech gadgets because I am not an expert in those fields. Never talk about or promote things where your authenticity can be questioned. This industry dwells upon reputation, one bad incident can be the end of it.
You have not planned it
The next reason, why you are not making money, is because you have not planned your posts in and out. Whenever brands reach out, it is important that you share your content calendar with them and let them know of the dates that you are booked for already. We often take up multiple projects and then find it hard to saddle up. In turn, we get exhausted, deliver low-quality content, and lose the brand’s trust.
You do not know your potential
This is the reason that has probably harmed me way more than the others. You MUST know your full potential and value yourself and your work. For a very long time, I charged lower than the amount that I should have charged because I over-criticized my work. I thought that I cannot deliver high-quality work like others (I was comparing my work with top influencers like Komal Pandey, Kritika Khurana, etc.) and sometimes, I thought that if I charge more, then I might not get enough collaborations. After 3 years, I have realized that 2 well-paid collaborations are better than 10 under-paid jobs. In both the scenarios, you might be broke, but with 2 collaborations, you are not exhausted and you have enough time to build quality content and engage with your audience. And that is going to help you in the future. Focus on building your brand and authenticity, the rest will come subsequently.
You are giving away your efforts and space for free
We all plead guilty here. I have no shame in admitting this. Recently, I made the same mistake and it has been an eye-opener honestly. Whenever a brand reaches out to you or vice versa, you must lock your deliverables and payout first. NEVER divert yourself from that. Everything comes at a price. I have seen so many brands and PRs to keep asking for more, once the campaign starts. First, they will start by asking for a few stories, then they will ask you to do a giveaway, then for free photos, then for a UTM link in your bio, reshoots, minor edits and the list goes on and on. In a puny hope to please the brand for long-term collaboration, we often resist ourselves from saying NO. No wonder you are not earning enough because you are focused on pleasing the brand with freebies rather than your work. If you are putting a story, you are putting your efforts into creating one, for a UTM link in your bio, you are lending that space to your brand for a few days. The brand is going to generate revenue from that link in your bio, no matter how small it is. The free photos you are giving away will be used on websites and numerous ads. Think BIG. Look at the BIGGER picture. Shouldn't you be compensated for all these? Ask yourself or just answer this - Has a brand ever gifted you something and asked you nothing in return because your content is exceptionally good? I think not.
You are not investigating the affiliate programs
Affiliate programs are the worst marketing gimmicks ever. Whenever I hear affiliate or commission-based, I run in the opposite direction. I have been approached by a gazillion brands asking me to buy their product, create content around it, promote it everywhere and then pray to the Almighty that someone buys it so that I can get some measly cents as a commission. Well, no thanks. First of all, I am a content creator and I charge for creating content not for generating sales. There is a huge difference between a creator and a marketer, for heaven’s sake. The second thing that I find fishy about these affiliate programs is the fact that they never provide you a console to track the sales being generated using your coupon code. For a brand, I tested myself, if the brand is righteous and gives me the promised commission on a sale generated using my code and they said that no sale went through my coupon code. Investigate, test, and ask for access to the sales console (limited access, ofc) if you think of getting yourself into such programs.
You are not visionary
Another reason why you are not making enough money is because of the fact that you are a replicator and not a visionary. Nobody is interested in the copies, we all want to see things that inspire us. So, if you are copying another individual’s work blatantly, then you are not cut out for this job. If you are not bringing anything new to the table, then maybe you should stop calling yourself a CREATOR. You will never be able to attract brands or audiences with a piece of content that has been consumed by the masses already. Also, it means that every time you get a job, you will be dependent on another creator to give you a layout that you can follow. Sad but true.
You are doing it all alone
You shy away from asking for help. You are doing it all alone. Your family and friends are not on the same page as you are, or they are not on board with this idea. Blogging is not a conventional 9-5 job with a fixed payout. Almost every job needs a team to deliver. I understand if you are flying solo in the beginning, but at the very least ask your family and friends to help you out initially. This way you will not end up being overwhelmed or find yourself in a content rut. You need time to work upon those ideas so that they see the light of the day. So consider taking help or outsourcing some of your work.
You are associating with the wrong people/brands
Last but not the least, pinkie promise. If you are associating with the wrong brands or people, then you are doing more harm than good. For example, you are promoting weight loss pills, or skin whitening products, or some experimental treatment, or CHINESE products, or anything that you have not tried before and you are not sure if they are gonna work or not. Trust me, even if the brand pays you a hefty amount, IT’S NOT WORTH IT. I have read about an Instagram model losing her eyesight because of an experimental treatment to change the color of her eyes. Horrific, isn’t it?
Now you know, why you are not making money as a social media influencer and what you can do to fix it. If you have some queries or questions, then you can DM me on my Instagram and I will be happy to answer. I also give free editing tutorials on my Instagram that will help you in your content creation journey, so make sure to follow me there.
Until next time,
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