Despite what you may believe, the millennial dream of becoming an online influencer through social media and earning a living creating content is well within your reach. In today’s digital world, there are a multitude of tips and tricks that anyone can learn from the expert influencers who have made a living for themselves through platforms like Instagram and TikTok. No, it’s not easy, and it can’t always be done overnight – especially if you are building your online following from the ground up – but it can be done through passion, persistence, and determination.
In fact, Olyasha Novozhylova (who goes by Olya, for short) is one Instagram influencer who did just that with her account @notbasicblonde_, a fashion and lifestyle blog dedicated to inspiring young women to create extraordinary lifestyles for themselves.
After quitting her job in IT to pursue her dream full-time of blogging online, Olya began building her digital presence. Since that time, she has amassed over 900,000 followers across all of her social media platforms and has gone on to launch a podcast of the same name that has over 1 million downloads. She has also been featured in outlets such as Yahoo! Finance, Thrive Global, and Fashion Week Online, and has even published a children’s book, Cutie the Unicorn: It’s ok to be different.
Despite her success, however, Olya will be the first to tell any aspiring influencers that the pursuit of one’s dream is not always as glamorous as it may seem. Though it can be done, it’s not without its own unique challenges.
We asked Olya what some of the tips and tricks are that she learned early on in pursuit of her career as an influencer to grow her presence and brand online. Here are some of the ones she said has helped her the most:
Consistency is Key
“My journey began kind of suddenly in 2017. My contract finished with my IT job and I started blogging. I started posting content regularly and brands started getting interested in partnerships with me. It just kind of snowballed into more partnerships with more brands – and bigger brands – which led to even more partnerships so I was able to grow my media kit pretty quickly in the first couple of years. Everyone starts off with zero followers, but you have to put the time into it.”
Create a Content Schedule
“I tend to batch my content depending on my partnership schedule, as well as which brands I can align my own with best. Some brands I work with regularly, sometimes as frequently as once or twice a month. Others I may only work with monthly, but when they send me the details of what they are looking for in my content with them, I can plan accordingly. Planning my content in batches helps me to plan my photoshoots in advance and the outfits I want to wear for the shoots. I can even plan what outfits, clothes, or accessories I want to order from other brands to wear for the shoots so it can best match my own brand and personality.”
Build Relationships From Partnerships
“No one gets paid immediately from being an influencer. You might if you’re lucky, though it took me a little over six months to start seeing any money at all coming in from it. Building your brand, your page, and your following takes time, and many people give up on it so quickly because they’re not seeing immediate results. But building a brand involves building relationships, too, especially with the partnerships you make. The best way to create and foster those relationships is just by being yourself; be authentic in your brand, your personality, and what you represent – and be consistent in your messaging. You’ll be able to monetize it one day, but you have to keep doing it until you can.”
Know Your Brand’s Value
“A lot of people ask me when they should monetize their brand, or how much they should charge for shout-outs or things like that. It really depends on the brand itself, the terms of your partnership agreement, and what those terms require of you. For example, some may require you to travel and rent a hotel room for a weekend. You have to be sure to quote all expenses so you can generate an accurate cost of the partnership and set the price accordingly. This used to be based on a multiplier of your total follower count, but now it varies from partnership to partnership.”
Never Underestimate The Value of “Free”
“Everybody loves free things, right? One of the ways I keep my followers and partners engaged is through giveaways. People who don’t like your account may not continue to follow you for giveaways, but the ones that do will continue to stay with you. Many people don’t like giveaways, but they’ve worked well for me and work for tons of others, too. Especially for small influencers who may not be able to monetize their partnerships yet, asking your partners about doing a giveaway on your page is a great way to mutually build the brand, following, and reach for both you and your partnerships.”
Understand the Algorithm of Impressions
“One of my secrets to growing reach and impressions organically is simply turning my photos into videos. Especially with Reels now on Instagram, the algorithm has changed to prefer Reels over pictures because now viewers can scroll through them like they would their normal feed. I usually average around 4 million impressions each week from these photos I have that I’ve turned into pictures through an app called Sparkle Cam. I haven’t heard of or seen many other influencers using this app, either, but it’s what I’ve used to help improve a lot of my content on Instagram. Remember how I mentioned turning some of my photos into videos? This app is what I use to help add visual effects to those photos first. Once it looks the way I want, I can turn it into a quick video, post it, and watch the impressions and reach from that content grow practically on its own.”
Don’t Limit Your Following To Just Social Media
“A lot of influencers think that they can focus solely on their social media following for traction, but if you never give them a call-to-action, you’re losing value. I always remind my followers that if they want to stay as up-to-date as possible on my brand and content to follow my blog. By bringing them from Instagram or social media to my own website, they can see and read all of the content I have there, too. Brands who sell their products or services do the same thing – they funnel their followers to their website or online shop to get as much value from their following as possible – but you need to have something interesting to get your followers excited about it. Giveaways, freebies, courses you teach, or special bonus content are all ways to give your followers something special they don’t normally see on your social media, and the feeling of exclusivity they get from it makes them feel even more special.”