- Ashley Jones has nearly 45,000 followers on her Instagram account and has over 25,000 subscribers on on her YouTube channel.
- She said she treats her social-media pages as a side hustle.
- Like many influencers, Jones earns the majority of her money online through brand sponsorships and she pitches brands and negotiates all of the deals herself, she said.
- She shared her asking rates for a sponsorship on Instagram, including a post and Story slide, and for a YouTube video mention and dedicated video.
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Even though college student Ashley Jones doesn't have millions of followers like some social-media influencers, she's still able to earn money from posting content on Instagram and YouTube.
Jones has nearly 45,000 followers on her Instagram account and just over 25,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel.
She originally started her YouTube channel when she was 12 years old, and growing up, she loved watching makeup and beauty videos.
"I felt like there wasn't an outlet for creators like me, brown skin, curly hair, just someone different," Jones, now 20, told Business Insider. "I felt like I was a different face that could add to the world of content creating."
Recently, she decided to take her channel more seriously and make social-media her side hustle.
"The shift definitely happened about a year ago," Jones said. "When I really started to become serious about fashion and partnerships. That's when I really took it seriously and started to create content more consistently as well and I started to reach out to brands about partnerships."
Like many influencers, Jones earns the majority of her money online through brand sponsorships. But unlike some influencers who have talent managers or agents, she pitches brands and negotiates all of the deals herself, she said.
"I watched a lot of videos on how to price your content when working with brands," she said. "I decided to create a flat rate for all of my content."
Jones said she developed her rates by negotiating with brands and seeing what they would offer her.
"I would always offer higher and if they would agree to it then great, but if they would try to offer something lower then I would come to a conclusion and try to average in-between to try to figure how much brands are willing to pay," she said.
Her set rates for a sponsorship include:
- Instagram Story post: $100
- Instagram in-feed post: $300
- Two-minute YouTube video mention: $300 to $400
- Full YouTube video: $850
"I feel like a lot of people go wrong by emailing a brands customer service email or just a random email on their Instagram page," she added. "I really try to ask for their PR representative or I'll try to reach out on my own."
Her strategy for pitching a brand on Instagram
Jones is in college currently, and she schedules her YouTube channel around her classes. On the days she's not in class, she'll film videos and take pictures.
"A lot of my friends would ask how I do my hair, what products I use, so that was really the first couple of videos that I posted on my channel, and still to this day those are the videos that I get the most recognition, the most views on," she said.
Her major in college is business marketing and when she does work with a brand she researches who the PR team is and what kind of aesthetic they look for, which she's learned from her marketing classes, she said.
She'll also tag the brand and use specific hashtags that they use to grab their attention and possibly be reposted on their page.
"That's how I really started to develop my technique when I'm reaching out to brands," she said. "For example, a lot of brands will have a certain color scheme on their page, so I will try to follow that color scheme in order to get reposted and some brands have a hashtag in their bios that they like creators to use. When they want to repost someone, they'll go to that hashtag."
Getting an Instagram reposted by a brand can be a first step in trying to negotiate a brand deal, she said.
Jones will also sometimes direct message a brand on Instagram as a way to grab its attention, which is a common technique for many influencers.
"The one thing I have learned from in the past is that brands will most likely respond when they see that you have a genuine love and use for their products," Jones said. "I'll start off by trying out the products and tag them in a couple posts, letting them know that I use their products and I'm not just a random person just trying to get free stuff. After that, I'll reach out through DM and let them know that I'd love to collaborate through Instagram or YouTube and ask for a PR contact."
Working with micro influencers has proven to be effective for many marketers
Micro influencers like Jones prove that you don't need to be Kylie Jenner famous — with 190 million followers — to earn money from a sponsored post on Instagram. (A micro influencer is generally considered to be someone with fewer than 100,000 followers.) And hiring part-time influencers rather than those who consider it a full-time profession is becoming increasingly popular among brands.
Many brands have gravitated toward micro influencers because those with smaller follower counts can often have a loyal following and high engagement rate, making it easy for them to convert or drive purchases for a brand.
Recently, a report from the social-media marketing company Socialbakers suggested that "micro" or "nano" influencers — specifically those with 50,000 followers or fewer — make up the majority of brand collaborations on Instagram.
For more on the influencer industry, check out these Business Insider posts:
VIDEO: Two YouTube creators took us inside their businesses, from how they negotiate brand deals to how much they earn
An Instagram influencer with 176,000 followers explains how much money she makes for a sponsored post and for a story slide
Many brands have stopped caring about Instagram follower counts when hiring influencers. They're looking at metrics like saves, comment sentiment, and DMs instead.
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