Kulfi x Parachute: 10 Tips on getting started as a micro-influencer
By Jordan Murray, Guest Contributor
Now that social media is flooded with people who want to be influencers, it can take a lot of work to climb the ladder, but you’ve gotta start somewhere! While micro-influencers may have less followers, their engagement rate can be much higher than those with hundreds of thousands of followers, thus opening the door to working with brands and creating content for them. To help you get started, we asked micro-influencer and Parachute Media's Director of Influencer and Brand Partnerships Niharika Chandrasekar for tips on how to grow your platform and join the ranks of the micro-influencer community.
1. Know and plan the type of content that you want to create
Something that's really helpful is knowing what you're going to try to post before you post, because it's kind of a huge investment in the sense that if you want to display a certain type of style, or go along with certain trends, you're gonna have to put money towards actually knowing the niche you want to post about, whether it's beauty, fashion, or certain type of clothing or thrifting.
2. Join community pages, especially if you are a college student
When I first started out, I would use a lot of different hashtags and even tag different community pages. When you're a college student, even in high school, there's a lot of pages that cater to college micro influencers and stuff like that. I usually tag Her Campus, like multiple Her Campus pages that deal with more Northeast colleges because I attend New York University. You don't really need to post with a brand. If they like your content, they'll repost you. That’s how I've gotten a lot of audience and follower growth over the years through a lot of reposts.
I think those community brands are a great way to start and connect with other people.
3. If you get discouraged, remember the reason why you started
Especially because of the algorithm, on one day, something will do so well, and on the other day, it won't do well at all. I think people do get really discouraged.
You need to remember why you're doing it.
I do it to share my creativity. I like going on my feet to look at other people being creative and cool things.
photo credit: Niharika Chandrasekar
4. Engage with your posts and followers
I definitely create engagement just by sharing a lot of stuff on my story. I don’t just do beauty stuff, I’ve got posts on memes every once in a while, like I love talking to people just through people liking the same things. I think that's how I built a lot of the engagement that trickles down through my posts. Besides that, it's really important, especially for growth too, that you are interacting with people in the comments. I've always noticed that my traffic does that. There’s a little boost in impressions when I'm responding to every comment and making it personal and trying to connect with people.
5. Always be confident in what you are posting
If I'm not super confident in what I'm wearing, or my makeup look, it shows in the images. Make sure you're confident and you know what you're wearing, what you're doing, your idea, your vision. Don't doubt yourself because it can show through the photo. There have been times where I don't even post stuff because I know I don't feel comfortable in how I look because I know I wasn't the most confident.
6. Try to post frequently, but space it out well
There are people that post every day, and that really does help them grow. When I started out, I was in college, so I was doing a million other things besides this. I think trying to aim for doing some type of post whether it be something super simple or even complicated, like every other day or every couple days. I alternate between makeup looks and outfits because outfits are more easy to throw on and take some pictures outside than sitting down for a two-hour makeup look and then taking pictures. I try to space that content out too, so it's just easier to put out frequent content. It’s working with and understanding what's easy to produce, what's harder to produce and balancing the two just so you're always putting stuff out.
7. Try editing apps
I use mainly VSCO, and then if there are any issues with the photo itself beyond just light editing, I use Photoshop and Light Shop to just fix the lighting or if anything's kind of funky with the tone of the photo just to even it out and then go to VSCO from there. For videos, I use an app called filmr. It is really great to edit Instagram videos in the sense that Instagram degrades a lot of the quality, so it's kind of nice to go on an app that can take all the videos and give you a really high quality file at the end of the day to post on Instagram. And, they do story sizes and post sizes, so it's really useful.
photo credit: Niharika Chandrasekar
8. Know what you want to get out of brands you might work with
My biggest thing is to know what you want to get out of it. If you're on a smaller scale, brands will usually just gift, so if you're okay with just gifting, reach out. Talk to them about how much you love the brand and would love to do a partnership. You don't really need to say gifting, just put out there that you want to work with them.
My advice is if you’re looking to do paid partnerships and reach out to brands, definitely have a rate in mind. Don't tell them the rate that you have in mind, but when you're reaching out be like, “Oh, I want to work with you and show off your products.” Even give them an idea because it is a paid opportunity. Pitch some ideas with what you want to do, and then ask them their budget. Unfortunately, for Women of Color, we don't get paid as much for brand partnerships than other influencers do. There's a big tip in the industry to ask them what their budget is and then work from there, because sometimes if you do something and they're okay with that, they will be willing to give you even hundreds more. You never know.
9. Stick to who you are when developing your image
I think it's really sticking to who you are. For me, I love makeup, and I love fashion, but I like so many different things.
Just stick to what you love and show all of it.
I don't think you necessarily need to be this, like, hardcore fashion influencer. Show who you are and what you love.
10. Numbers are important, but they don’t define you
Remember, at the end of the day, no matter how well the post does, or if it's not exactly what you pictured it when you first started the idea, it’s a process. No one grows in a day. I know it sucks to say that numbers matter, but they do. Sometimes with featuring partnerships or big business things, they do matter, but they don't define you. I think that's a good thing to remember.
About — Jordan is a student at New York University. She is a Journalism major. She runs a fashion instagram account called @thejordannicole and she also has a website called www.thejordannicole.com. She loves fashion, beauty, pop culture, film/tv, and discussing social justice issues and activism. You can find her on Instagram @thejordannicole, on LinkedIn, and at her website thejordannicole.com
About the Kulfi x Parachute Series — This article was written in partnership with Kulfi Beauty and Parachute Media. We are here to uplift narratives in the media that consider our lived experiences and allow us to feel seen in our complexities. For the month of April 2021, you will read articles and interviews on Kulfi Bites and Parachute that highlight BIPOC & South Asian perspectives on topics we’re curious about within beauty, identity, career, and media.
Cover photo credit: Niharika Chandrasekar, @indiepeacock