Influencing – How To + Where To Start

Where I Started…

I, Taylor Onze, am an influencer, content creator, and blogger. Wow, that feels AMAZING to say! After all these years I’ve never really come to saying that out loud, claiming who I am or what I want to be. But I’ve come to learn that that is the most important part of reaching your goals. If you follow me, you know that I love to travel and post my life + outfits all over the internet. At the same time, I am actively learning how to make this lifestyle my full-time job, so I never have to work for a corporate job ever again. And let me tell you, I WILL NOT give up. I have started all the way at the bottom of the totem pole five years ago, just an average girl with a cell phone and a dream to build my life in the palm of my hands.

Now that social media is the future of our world’s marketing and advertising, things have definitely been kicking up a notch. I have been watching so many TikTok videos and following all these Instagram accounts pertaining to influencing. I, too, am right smack in the middle of figuring it all out, which has led me to this blog post. I would definitely consider myself lucky in a way that I have a lot more flexibility in my life opposed to those who work a 9-5, or are full time moms in the midst of doing all this, so I wanted to put my time to great use in hopes to help others get ahead.

Social media is hard – it’s constantly changing and always keeping influencers, creators, and business owners on their toes. I do have a good amount of experience under my belt when it comes to the media world, as I have worked for big marketing companies in the past and had my fair share in managing a bunch of social media accounts. When It comes to social media I love to research, experiment, and try everything under the sun to be sure I am getting the most out of my time and having successful growth. We will dabble into a little bit of everything here today; from how to become an influencer, how to get paid, mistakes I have made, how to grow, and everything that has led me here to where I am today. So, if you are lost, ready to start, or just need a push in the right direction, grab your favorite glass of wine, a notepad, and let’s jump right in!

What Is It

What Is Influencing?

This photo below will help to give you a better understanding as to what different levels of influencing looks like. It all started when huge celebrity influencers, like Kim Kardashian, had such large followings on their social media platforms’. Brands quickly realized the power this held and began paying them a pretty penny to promote their businesses and products to their millions of followers. If you think about it, back when Instagram and Facebook began, it was mostly us young users on the internet. Kids were spending less time watching TV and more time surfing the internet. See where I’m going here? Reaching a whole separate generation could benefit a business greatly. Not to mention, it began to feel more personalized and less like a television ad. This is where marketing took a great turn and people began to realize the power of influencers!

What has come about and shifted since then, is that people began to realize celebrity audiences are very very large and diverse, full of people with different topics of interest. If you think about it, that makes it super hard for companies to actually reach their target audience. That is where everyday people, like you and I come in; nano and micro influencing. As Ethos Marketing states, “Nano-influencers are your everyday social media users, with anywhere from 100 to 10,000 followers. They aren’t professional “influencers” in any way – and the majority of their posts feature typical content like photos of their family, friends, cat videos, and memes.” YES, you read that right, even people with 100 followers can be an influencer. The next level is a micro influencer, BuiltIn says, “A micro-influencer is someone with a social media following that’s larger than a normal person’s but smaller than a celebrity’s. They use that following to promote products — either for money or just because they like them.” In my opinion, this is where we all want to be. Why? Well like I just mentioned, famous people usually have a very large and diverse audience.

When it comes to everyday people like myself, the people that we know and follow are mostly our friends, people in our local communities, and even people we went to/go to school with. When a brand reaches out to you, they want to reach their target audience; people who share similar interests as you, certain age groups and in specific areas. While mega influencers can get a larger reach, nano and micro are getting a smaller more targeted range. Not to mention it definitely is going to cost them a lot less, and will probably give a larger conversion rate as to who is actually going to see and buy their products. Business big and small are turning to everyday people and their real life experiences to market and advertise their products to YOUR followers.

How To Start…

Find Your Niche and Post Consistently

In a totally oversaturated industry, it’s hard to feel confident that you will be the one that makes it big. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to “make it big” to make this your job. The reality is, this IS the new marketing and advertising world, all you need is passion, determination, and a little bit of confidence. Businesses WANT to work with influencers as it is the biggest form of advertising right now. You don’t need millions of followers but you do want to know where to start.

First, it’s important to figure out your audience and where you fit in in your little corner of Instagram. Whether it’s fashion, fitness, business, travel, parenting, music; whatever it may be… WHO is your content generated towards? I’ve touched on the Instagram Basics in a previous post but it’s a key factor to making sure you are gaining the proper audience for more engagement. The three types of content that create the most value are empowerment, education, and entertainment. What is going to make people want to keep coming back for more and keep referring to your posts? What can you teach people? What can they learn from you? Can you make them laugh? These are the questions you should be asking to get a better idea as to what you are going to talk about. People always want to learn, be entertained or inspired. On top of that, what your page is all about should be the first thing your audience sees. This should always be right in your name/header/bio.

Secondly, post CONSISTENTLY! The quote “consistency is key” is really going to come in handy in regards to showing up and growing on social media. Put yourself in the opposing situation, what pages are you constantly seeing or searching for? Consistency IS THE KEY. And I don’t mean you have to post every SINGLE day. Just post a few times a week at the same time and begin to build that routine with your audience. Be sure you are posting original and authentic content in order to build trust with your audience. Another tip I can give is to plan your content. Take a day to shoot a bunch of content and plan it out. This will help keep you on track and also makes it hard to run out of things to post. Planners also help to keep you on track, there are a ton on Canva you can download for free (my personal favorite).

Do Your Research

I know right… research? I haven’t done research since I was in college when I was FORCED to do boring research I didn’t care about. If you couldn’t already tell by now, I am not a fan of school or work well… until now. It really took me the longest time to realize being forced to do all of those tedious tasks really helped me in the long run. Working all the jobs I had before DID help me get to where I am today. Writing all of those long ass papers that I thoroughly never enjoyed helped me have a ton of confidence in my writing (clearly now that I blog). So if you’re reading this, and feeling lost, you’re probably exactly where you need to be in this moment. But if you are trying to make that change and have had enough that’s why I am writing this.

Research anything you question and want to know. Research the topics you are talking about. You can figure out so many unanswered questions just by Googling ONE single question… which usually leads me to another and another. Try it. Google ONE question you have about content creating, influencing, media OR ANYTHING in general and take it away from there. If you need an extra hint try “what is the instagram algorithm” or “how do hashtags work” and congratulations, I have just brought you into the black hole of Googling 100 questions about how Instagram works.

Especially with social media, where things are constantly changing, research can and will help you get a head. You can also find many books and info about topics that have already been researched when it comes to doing what you love. Check out my Amazon Storefront Page for some of my current influencer favorites! There is no such thing as too much knowledge, and when you are passionate about something it no longer feels like “work”.

Pitch Yourself

In a world full of millions of people who fancy themselves as influencers, it can be hard for brands to find you. Especially if you are starting out small. Find some brands or businesses that you already use, love, and enjoy, and start pitching yourself to them. Once you start making your connections, other brands may start to see your work, recognize you, and want to work with you. The right brands are out there searching for their perfect influencers as well. You just need to start putting yourself out there. It is also important to be clear as to what you are asking for as an influencer and what you will charge for certain types of content. I’ve found that a lot of the time a company will ask what my parameters are, right off the bat, and if not, they will be upfront with their budget and what they can offer. If you are unsure as to how to start pitching yourself, here is an idea as to what you can say:

“Hello, (list brand or if directly in contact with media manager write their name)

My name is (name). I am reaching out to inquire about a collaboration for your influencer program; I believe we would make a perfect match! As a (fashion, travel, and lifestyle blogger) and a lover of ALL your products, especially (list one), it would be a dream come true if I could create quality content on Instagram and/or TikTok/YouTube on a monthly basis for you. With my high Instagram engagement rate of (list percentage) and (number of followers) followers (and growing everyday), I am positive my audience would resonate with this amazing brand. Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you about this amazing opportunity! Have a great day.


Sign your name

Include your socials, contact info, and blog if you have one. You will also want to attach your Media Kit.

What Is A Media Kit?

Your Media Kit should show brands and businesses what you do. What kind of content do you create? What can they expect from you? What is your engagement rate? I also like to include brands I have worked with in the past. Below is one of my most recent Media Kits. This is your “brag page”, tell the brand about yourself. This is your time to shine and show brands why they should choose you. These are super easy to make and I created mine right on Canva. Canva has a ton of different templates you can choose from and they store the content so you can go in and edit and add at any time. This is not even sponsored, I just truly love this app so much. As you grow, you always want to keep your Media Kit updated.

Taylor Onze – Media Kit

How Does An Influencer Get Paid?

Influencers make money on Instagram through sponsored posts, commissions on affiliate links, selling merchandise, monetization, and even by selling their own products. I know there can be a lot of negativity that gets put on influencers for setting unrealistic standards, or living some sort of “fake life”. But that’s not always the case, and it is possible to post organically and still make money. I still post all my normal content, but I will always include links to the outfits I’m wearing (per my fashion part of my blog) and am able to make a small commission off of that. As the influencer, you have all the power. You get to decide what you post and you get to decide who you work with. Make sure you are making it count and make sure it feels right.

Learn and KNOW Your Worth

Like most influencers, I started out with gifting collaborations and am now slowly transitioning into paid collabs only. The word “gifted” is often used to let the audience know that a product has been sent to them by a brand’s PR team. This means that the influencer did not receive any money and that they were “paid” with the products they received. Creating content is NO JOKE it can be challenging and a lot of work and if you are already influencing then you know all the details that can go into creating one single post. Never sell yourself short. Brands WILL sometimes try to low ball you and get the best bang for their buck, after all, they don’t have to spend all this money on celeb influencers anymore… WRONG. Treat yourself like a celeb. You have the perfect target audience and damn right they will pay you for it! There are influencers out there who are just fine with a gifting collab (usually those who are just starting out or don’t know they can be getting paid) but we must encourage everyone to learn their worth! Negotiate for a paid collab. Free gifts can be fun and great but the ultimate goal here is to make this a LIVING. I know this can be scary and challenging for some people but that’s why I am here to help! Know your worth and that the time and effort you put into your creations is valuable. I will LITERALLY spell it out for you if you are struggling on how to get paid collabs:

Hi (brand name or person who contacted you)!! 

Thank you so much for reaching out!! I am definitely interested in working with you, however, at this time I’m only able to move forward with paid collaborations. If you are still interested, could you please provide the budget for this campaign? I’m looking forward to discussing this collaboration further with you!


(Sign your name)

They will either reply with a budget, say they are doing gifting only, OR they may ask what your parameters are. If this is the case, you’ll want to create and send over your prices. This is what you’ll charge per post/story/video. (You can also include this in your pitch email if you are reaching out to a brand first.) Personally, I do not have an answer as to how much you want to charge, it’s all preference. I have read that people will charge based on their following and engagement rate. If you have 1,000 followers, $100 per instagram post, 5,000 followers, $500 per post, and so on. Similar to my media kit, I have written up little “packages” with my prices and made it look cute and match my media kit.

**Side Note – It could also be a good idea to have a contract written up for when it comes to paid collaborations – you always want to be sure you are going to be paid and so there is no miscommunication. Most of the time brands will provide a contract but always be sure to read through!

What To Avoid + Learn From My Mistakes

Red Flags When Collaborating

Another little piece of info I want to throw in here is red flags to look out for when a brand reaches out. I have a whole YouTube video on this, but to touch on this quickly, you want to be sure the brand is legit before signing away your media content. Sadly, there are scammers out there, so you should always be careful and take the time to look into a page and do some research if you are not familiar with the brand.

  1. Weird Emails – The first thing I like to look out for in an email asking for a collab is name personalization and email addresses. Ones that have no name personalization or are coming from strange looking addresses is a red flag. Emails that have improper english or a ton of spelling errors is also a huge red flag, meaning, it’s most likely a scam. Legit brands will address you personally, have a legit company email address, and usually have their logo somewhere in the email with links to their websites and social media pages.
  2. Paying For Shipping – When a brand asks you to pay for shipping, that’s a RED FLAG. You should never have to do this. Brands who are paying you to create content for them will always send you their products with included shipping. If they are asking to send a free product but you pay for the shipping, it’s a scam. They will most likely give you the product but you’ll end up paying a ridiculous amount for shipping. (Been there once before – not good).
  3. Amazon Reviews – Emails for paid Amazon reviews. Although I have seen some people do legit ones, I personally do not think it’s ideal. Some of them are scammers and if not, you will probably get a free product, BUT you will most likely have to buy it yourself and then the company will PayPal you back in return for a review. I haven’t found this to be very valuable of my time, but people do do this. To me, it’s not that authentic.
  4. Fake Businesses – I’ve seen this happen a lot. Fake pages with thousands of followers. If you do not recognize the brand (or even if you do), and you want to be sure it’s them, look at their Instagram, click on the website and search around. Make sure it looks legit. I always like to look at their likes and their tagged pictures. That can almost immediately give it away as to if they are legit or not. I have even gone as far as DMing other people who have worked with the company to see if they are legit. I once had almost worked with a brand that ended up being a scam!

The more you get experience with brands, the easier it will be to tell if something is fake or not. When you really begin to get up there, you will find more and more people trying to reach out. Be aware, be careful, and always do your research.

Too Many #Ads

As I mentioned earlier, one way influencers can make their money is through ads. As an influencer, you are supposed to say if something is a paid collab or not. Whether it’s PAID OR GIFTED you are still getting something in return for your work. When a posts says something along the lines of #ad #sponsored or #ambassador, you know it’s a paid post. It’s exciting to start getting paid for your work, however, in my opinion, it’s important to be sure you are not spamming your entire feed with ads. Why? Because you want to be sure your audience knows you are being authentic and not everything you are pushing on them is about you getting paid. It’s never a bad idea to spread out your paid collabs in-between your usual organic posts. People want to see the real you, so be sure you are being yourself and only taking on collabs that you truly want to advocate for!

There I was at a point where I was going #ad girl crazy (and not even for a respectable price). I was taking on so many collabs that I couldn’t keep up with and post after post of so many different products brands had sent me. I will not lie, it IS exciting when you begin to see those collab emails roll in. I have to admit this was probably so annoying to see BUT, to learn from my mistakes, I now like to only take on one to two big collabs at a time – that I love. That way I can put in my best effort, know that I am loving the products I am creating with, and taking the right amount of time to produce quality content. I like to make my paid collabs relate it into my daily life and be sure to post my usual content in-between!

My goal is to always be honest, tell the truth, and be authentic. Yes, it is OKAY to say NO to brands. I personally have turned down brands that I don’t like, believe in, or would never use. I always want to be my true authentic self and I encourage other influencers to do the same because that’s how you will gain the truest and most authentic followers, and that’s how you will grow!


Now I’m talking about those “follow everyone I’m following” giveaways. Yes, they are legit, and this is one way influencers have been able to “grow” so quickly. How they usually go is, a giveaway page with a big following, will host a giveaway and you, the influencer, will pay a small amount into it. That page will follow all those people who are participating (usually around 30 people per giveaway). To enter, giveaway entries have to follow all 30 accounts who are hosting the giveaway, along with a few other steps. By the end, depending on how big the giveaway page is, your following will increase dramatically. HOWEVER, and I know this from my own experimenting, this will absolutely CRUSH your engagement rate. And quite frankly, that’s the exact opposite of what we are going for here.

Those pages with 60,000 followers and about 200 likes per post… I know you know what I am talking about… that is how they do it. In way, I would consider this “buying followers”. To each their own, I am just sharing what I have learned, but it is very noticeable and can often turn a brand away from wanting to work with you. The brands and businesses that are reaching out to nano and micro influencers want to get that true authentic reach to their niche of followers. With these giveaways, in a sense, you are basically bringing yourself to that “celebrity level” where your followers are now anyone and everyone who wanted to enter that giveaway, all with different interests. Now you no longer have a specified audience. It’s not always about how many followers you have. These new followers also will most likely mute you just to stay entered and boom… you now have a shady engagement rate. Not only does it turn away a brand, but it gives off some skepticism to your new coming followers as well. I am telling you this because I have learned this the hard way. It’s NOT worth it. Real authentic followers who love and engage with your content is where we all want to be. This will help you to grow more authentically and keep your engagement rate nice and steady!

**Side Note – Not all giveaways are bad. Some can be beneficial – if you are just giving out something small yourself or with a very select group of other bloggers similar to your niche. If you are willing to experiment, then give this a go and see if it works for you!

How To Grow Authentically

If you want to grow authentically I have a few more tips. I have learned that what people are really looking for is the trust, transparency, and authentic connection to the people that they follow. Always make sure your content is yours and is original. Avoid the “follow giveaways” at any cost. Engage with the people who engage with you, as well as people who engage on their posts. Respond to comments, questions, and DMs and always use proper hashtags on your posts. This is how you will drive more exposure to yourself and build a great bond with your followers! And, if you don’t know by now what I’m about to say, I’ll give you a few more reminders… post consistently! Be yourself, post engaging content, and share your knowledge and passion with the world.

Keep An Open Mind

The followers will come. It’s important not to focus on the numbers but the quality of content and being authentic – the rest will follow along with it. While it took me a while to realize this, it will be very beneficial to you. Yes the numbers are there, and I talked a lot about engagement rates and followers, but it’s important not to get wrapped up in them. That’s just a small portion of the big picture. You are MORE than just those numbers. Learning how to post engaging and authentic content is crucial to becoming an influencer and content creator. Remember that everyone starts somewhere and if you are like me and starting from point blank, it is more beneficial to learn how to spend time on focusing on creating quality content so when you do pop off, that part will come easy for you. TRUST THE PROCESS.

Grow Your Network

Connect with other influencers like yourself, get inspired, and do some meetup collabs with other influencers. Engagement groups and facebook groups will also help you a ton! Follow people who help and inspire you. Most importantly stay positive and do not give up. Most people do NOT blow up in a day. Put in the work and you will get the results! I am still growing myself and I am determined to only go up from here! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it maybe one last time…or not… STAY CONSISTENT.

Utilize your apps and cross share your posts on different social media sites. Pinterest is GREAT for this. Pinterest has been recently trying to up their user engagement so use this to your advantage and start posting all of your content on there. I love Pinterest because you can link anything and everything in one place! Use TikTok to promote your Instagram and Instagram to promote your TikTok. Share all your posts to Facebook so your friends and family can see as well.

I also wanted to share some influencers that I have been LOVING lately. These accounts are great if you need a little inspiration and motivation. I found them all on Instagram/TikTok and they have truly helped me learn the most over the past year or so. I have them to thank for growing my confidence and guiding me in the right direction as well as leading me to share all of this information with you! Elizabeth Jude, Vanessa Ferraiolo, It’sKasie, Ali Grievee, and Brittany. Check them out and give them a follow for even more tips and tricks regarding social media and influencing.

Maintaining Your Platforms

It’s important to be sure you are maintaining your platforms, just like you would to anything else you are trying to grow. Instagram is always adding new features, use these to your advantage. Here are six things you can do right now and even on a monthly basis to improve and maintain your Instagram:

  1. Remove Ghost Followers That Are Hurting Your Engagement
  2. Keep Your Bio/Information Updated
  3. Make Sure Your Links Are Working
  4. Have Your Email Or Another Form Of Contact On Your Page
  5. Refresh Your Story Highlights And Hashtags
  6. Follow People Who You Love And Inspire You (and unfollow those who don’t)

To Wrap It All Up…

I feel like I can go on for days talking about this stuff, but to wrap it all up, JUST START. Start posting more, start sharing your favorite products, start tagging brands, start reaching out. Put in the work, have faith and it’ll all come to you. Not everyone will believe in you and I’m telling you right now, it will happen, and honestly that’s fine… it really doesn’t matter. The only person that you need to believe in you is YOURSELF. I believe in you. You got this! Questions? Feel free to send me an email or DM! I am always open to sharing information and helping those in need.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram for new blog post alerts, daily updates, outfits, travel posts, food spots, Instagram tips, and MORE!

With Love,

Taylor Onze

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