Followers and likes on Instagram might be a fun part of the social media experience, but for some Ole Miss students, it also pays the bills.
There are many ways to make money using social media, and popular users, called influencers, make money by advertising products to their audiences.
Lindy Goodson, an influencer and Youtube personality with over 9,000 followers on Instagram, makes around $400 per campaign, which includes individual posts and stories. Goodson has partnered with brands like Neutrogena and Plato’s Closet, which have paid her to promote their company on her Instagram account.
Goodson’s feed features illustrative posts about fashion and makeup, and she decorates her photos with drawings and bright filters. In her sponsored Neutrogena post, she removes Halloween makeup, surrounded by floating makeup wipes.
Goodson said she sometimes uses marketing platforms that provide ways for brands to contact influencers and for influencers to market themselves.
“Usually, I will get emails from brands, and they’ll let me know what the campaign entails, and I’ll let them know if I can do it, and then we’ll discuss budget,” Goodson said. “There are influencer marketing platforms you can join that make it easy for brands to reach out to you and for you to pitch to brands.”
These marketing platforms are third-party websites where influencers can create a profile, marketing themselves to potential partners. They can include their ideal post topics, engagement rates and follower demographics.
Laine Mansour, an integrated marketing communications student with almost 48,000 followers, uses her popular Instagram account to advertise clothing companies and photographers.
“I really love it because it gives me more creative freedom to post what I want,” Mansour said. “I do ad posts every once in a while, but I make sure not to do too many collaborations because I feel it comes across ingenuine to my audience to constantly be pushing products.”
Mansour said that companies usually reach out to her to collaborate, then they offer a flat rate for a photo post or story. That rate depends on her previous engagement rates that she provides to the company.
Instagram engagement includes interactions on a specific post in relation to your number of followers. This can include post likes, comments, profile clicks and follows. The more interaction a post gets per account follower, the better the engagement rate for a post is.
Influencers often utilize the “business account” setting on Instagram, which provides them with analytics on how their posts perform — tracking profile clicks and follower increases from each post.
Sara Caroline Bridgers, an integrated marketing communications student and an online business owner with 17,000 followers, is frequently contacted by brands who want to collaborate with her.
“Typically I get emails about collaborations, and there has always been a set fee that doesn’t depend on likes or engagements, but for a majority of them, I’ve been asked to submit my engagements from the posts or stories back for them after the campaign has ended,” Bridgers said.
Bridgers’ feed includes photos of her and her sorority sisters with matching filters. Bridgers has advertised brands like Steve Madden and Diff Eyewear on her Instagram.
Kayla White, a member of the Ole Miss Rebelettes dance team and a campus ambassador for popular online dating app TinderU who has 5,500 followers, receives a consistent paycheck of $500 in exchange for posting five photos and five Instagram stories dedicated to Tinder.
“With Tinder, I have a set paycheck as long as I meet the appropriate post deadlines,” White said. “Tinder asks for screenshots of the insights to see how their campaign is going.”
Goodson said she only works with brands she supports in order to be honest with her followers.
“It’s really important to me to make sure it’s worth it for me to take the time and creative energy to create good content,” Goodson said. “(I’m) also trying to be sure I only work with brands that I truly believe in because without the trust of my audience, I’ll have nothing.”