3 Ways To Make Money as a New Influencer Without A Product

Photo by zhang kaiyv on Unsplash

Everyone’s an Influencer nowadays. You’ve seen them before on YouTube reviews or tutorials, Instagram promoters, and people entertaining on TikTok. Some are even claiming to be making a living out of doing this.
But what is an Influencer anyway? What do they do? Let’s see how they make money, and see if it’s something you want and can do too.
In this article, we will help you answer exactly those questions:
1. What is an Influencer?
2. How Influencers make money online
3. Easiest way Influencers Make Money: Through Affiliate Marketing
4. Best Practices for a new Influencer starting out
5. How to start earning money as an Influencer

What Is an Influencer?

An Influencer is an individual who has a strong audience connection in a specific niche (specialisation).
It doesn’t matter which social media platform that you’re on (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn), as long as you have followers and can control their attention online, you are an Influencer.
Why is attention important? Brands who need marketing help will most likely engage with relevant Influencers to help promote their product.
Example 1: Suraya from Ringgit oh Ringgit, is a personal finance blogger in Malaysia. She has a loyal following who depends on her content about anything regarding money in Malaysia. Bursa Saham (the Malaysian stock market) collaborated with Suraya, where she promoted Bursa Saham’s trading app to her audience who are interested in trading stocks.
Example 2: Mekanika is a Malaysian YouTube channel that reviews cars and motorbikes. They have a strong audience that loves the channel’s entertaining host and educational content. Honda Malaysia collaborated with Mekanika to make a review for their newly launched car as Mekanika’s audience is interested in the topic of cars.
The name of the game is attention. The more people’s attention you have, the more influential you are. Which brings us to the next point:

How Many Followers Do I Need to Be an Influencer?

Brands who want to work with Influencers will categorize them based on the number of their followers. Here are the loose definitions:

Number of FollowersInfluencer CategoryExample
> 1,000,000Mega-InfluencerCristiano Ronaldo, Ariana Grande, Pewdiepie
100,000 to 1,000,000Macro-InfluencerRosemarie Vega
10K – 100KMicro-InfluencerOmar El-Takrori
< 10KNano-InfluencerDan Flying Solo 

3 Common Ways Influencers Make Money Online

Throughout our experience dealing with Influencers here at Involve, we see 3 common ways Influencers make money from their content and audience:
1. Product sponsorships
2. Brand deals
3. Affiliate Marketing
Let’s start with the first one:
Influencers Making Money Through Product Sponsorships
Product sponsorship is an agreement between a brand and an Influencer where:
The brand will send a specific product to the Influencer. In exchange, the Influencer can either keep the product or get paid to create a review content (video, article, or social media post or story) and promote it to the Influencer’s audience.
Due to the established connection between the Influencer with his or her audience, it would be easier for them to trust the product which generally translates to more sales.
Let’s take a look at Casey Neistat, a famous YouTube vlogger with over 12 million subscribers. Nike paid Casey to create a video promoting Nike’s new Fuel sports band:

Casey Neistat’s video promoting Nike+ FuelBand

Unfortunately, if you don’t have millions of followers, big brands will most likely won’t work with you just yet.
Sponsorship Difficulty Level: Medium
Influencers Making Money Through Brand Deals
Brand Deals are a contract between a brand and an Influencer (often in the Mega Influencer category) to be the ambassador or face of the company.
These are what is often expected from a Brand Ambassador:
  • To represent the brand positively in all situations.
  • Participate in the brand’s marketing plans and events.
Let’s take a look at Vivo, which is a smartphone company from China. When they first entered the Malaysian market, they knew that it would be hard to establish credibility with the Malaysian consumers.
Vivo hired Siti Nurhaliza. A famous singer loved by Malaysians to be Vivo’s brand ambassador. When Malaysians see their favorite singer endorsing the Vivo brand, her audience trusts Vivo.
Vivo’s sales in Malaysia skyrocketed as soon as Siti Nurhaliza became the face for Vivo. Here’s one of her commercials played in cinemas & on YouTube ads:

Siti Nurhaliza, Vivo’s Brand Ambassador, promoting the latest Vivo Mobile Phones to her fans

Brand Deals Difficulty Level: Hard
Although getting paid to review someone’s product or being their ambassador is an exciting experience, unless you are in the Mega Influencer category with millions of followers, this is often unrealistic for a new Influencer.
If you’re starting your Influencer career, the easiest way you can make money is through Affiliate Marketing, which we’ll cover next:
Influencers Making Money Through Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is where an Influencer like you promote other people’s products or services to your online audience. If any of your audience ends up buying the product through your marketing help, you’ll get a commission.
Here’s an example of Affiliate Marketing in action from Port Barang Murah. They promote wholesale items to their audience through their Telegram Channel.

Port Barang Murah Telegram post

We have established that Affiliate Marketing is the best and easiest way to earn money as a new Influencer, let’s take a deeper look on 3 ways you can get paid through Affiliate Marketing:

2 Ways Influencers Get Paid Through Affiliate Marketing

When you promote other people’s products or services, there are 2 ways you can get paid:
1. Pay-Per-Sale (PPS)
2. Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
Before getting started, you’ll need to sign up as a Publisher and enlist your Property. You can easily Be A Publisher get an account set up with Involve Asia. You can do that here.
Once you’ve already made an account, carry on reading.
Pay-Per-Sale (PPS)
This is the classic Affiliate Marketing commission model, where you promote a specific product or service to your audience, if any of your audience clicks on your Affiliate link and ends up buying the promoted product, you’ll earn a commission. Pay-Per-Sale (PPS) is sometimes also called Cost-Per-Sale (CPS).
Oh Rumah Idaman is a Facebook Page that promotes home decorations to their audience. If any of their audience clicks on their Affiliate link, and purchases the product, Oh Rumah Idaman will earn a commission. This is an example:

Oh Rumah Idaman encouraging their audience to click on their Affiliate link

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
PPC is where you as the Influencer create content about the product and encourage your audience enough to click on the link and go to the Advertiser’s website.
Regardless of your audience ending up buying the product or not, you’ll still get paid for each click. Hence the name, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), or sometimes called Cost Per Click (CPC).
The commission percentage is subjective to each Advertiser.
Balkoni Hijau is a Malaysian personal finance blog. Here’s an example of a PPC ad that is placed on the sidebar of their blog. If any of their readers click on the ad, Balkoni Hijau will receive a PPC payout.

Example of a PPC ad on Balkoni Hijau

Now that you have a bird’s eye view on making money as an Influencer, register as a Publisher on Involve to find brands to promote on your social media profiles.
If you need some tips based on Influencer interviews on how to be successful as an Influencer, read on below:

Best Practices for a New Influencer Starting Out

Throughout the years of us working and building relationships with influencers and content creators, they share with us their tips to success for someone starting out like you:
Pro Tip #1: Do Not “Buy” Your Followers
Buying followers is an easy and fast way to exponentially build followers. But unfortunately, it has a more negative impact on your brand than you think.
These paid profiles are nothing but bots. They are not human, and oftentimes, people can see right through you, that can tarnish your reputation.
Instead of wasting time buying followers, you should focus on building a real human audience, with purchasing power. Which brings us to the next point:
Pro Tip #2: Create Quality, Engaging Content
The best way to build a genuine audience is to either create:
  • Entertaining content, or
  • Helpful content
Always find ways to keep your content fresh, original, and engaging – change things up from your norm by thinking out of the box. See what your competitors are doing, and come up with an even better content to out-do them.
Pro Tip #3: Show Up & Be Consistent
Be consistent with your posting. Plan out your content ahead to make sure that you post regularly and on time. Having a content calendar will help you plan things out and keep your postings on time.

Start Monetising Your Audience

Now that you know the exact steps on how to make it as an Influencer, the next order of business is to register as a Publisher with Involve. Once you have an account with us, you can start promoting brands and earning Affiliate income.
Click below to register as a Publisher:
Become A Publisher
Follow our Step-by-Step Guide on How To Register As An Involve Publisher, click here.
With that, you’re on the right track to success!