Tina Meeks first started posting on Instagram about motherhood because she felt lonely as a relatively young mom.
It was 2015 and Meeks and her husband James, a tech entrepreneur, had just moved from Phoenix to Dallas. At 27, Meeks felt like a fish out of water in her new ward, and no one felt sorry for the attempts to raise a five-year-old and a newborn.
“Nobody seemed to understand, not even my husband,” she tells CNBC Make It. “So I turned to the internet to connect. Just let someone tell you that I’m not here on my mind and that I’ve gone crazy. I’ve started sharing the ups and downs of reconciling motherhood and work. “
Meeks, 34, called her Instagram “Your life sparkles” based on her childhood nickname, Sparkle. She made recommendations on clothing, family, relationships, hair care, and parenting. She posted pictures of food and her children in Halloween costumes.
In that first year, Meeks made about $ 1,000 working with brands. For Meeks, doing her full-time job as an insurance specialist was just a sideline, earning a salary of $ 55,000.
But in 2018, Meeks became pregnant with a third child. While the pregnancy was unplanned, it was actually very good for her brand. Her Instagram following quickly rose from 2,000 to 10,000.
A few months later, she recalls, “the floodgates opened and brands – diapers, clothes, soap – began to find a partner in me.” Meeks had created a very shoppable life on social media, with thousands of mothers eagerly awaiting their next product recommendation or photo for a glimpse into their mother’s life.
In the influencer hierarchy, based on interviews with multiple mom influencers on mine “Under the influence” In a podcast, a micro-influencer can have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers.
That may be smaller than some of the top tier influencers (500,000 to 1 million followers), but micro-influencers often have very close relationships with brands and high follower engagement. This can make their brand very lucrative, as it was for Meeks, who currently has an Instagram following of 57,000.
Realizing the potential growth of her business, Meeks decided to take things more seriously. She studied photography and bought a professional camera.
That paid off enormously. When the pandemic broke out, Meeks found a way to use her new digital skills. The companies she worked with, including Children’s Place and Fab Kids, were no longer able to run their own ads due to quarantine restrictions. So she offered all of her services and became a digital marketing studio for a woman.
Meeks’ children became little models. She had one child in every age group – a toddler, toddler, and school age child – and was able to record all kinds of content for brands right in her home.
In 2020 alone, Meeks made more than $ 300,000 working with brands and advising emerging influencers for mothers to grow their business. She was able to quit her job and turn her sideline into a full-time business.
The influencer industry is expected to grow to around $ 13.8 billion this year, according to data a 2021 report from the Influencer Marketing Hub – and experts do not see any slowdown in growth anytime soon.
Based on my interviews with influencers and digital marketing experts, the starting point for how much an influencer pays for a single post is around $ 100 per 10,000 followers.
That means macro influencers with around 500,000 followers can make up to $ 5,000 for a single Instagram post. The recommended sweet spot is posting at a rate of once a day. Even if only half of the posts are sponsored, an influencer can make around $ 910,000 a year.
Meeks’ following is growing exponentially, but she says she doesn’t believe in the standard metrics. She sets her own prices, and when a brand comes to her with what she wants to pay for, she always negotiates because she knows her audience engagement is high and she has a lot of confidence in the black mothers who follow her.
“It’s campaign to campaign. I’m going to calculate 4% to 6% of your next size as the base rate,” says Meeks.
“Nine times out of ten in branding and marketing spaces, there is nobody who knows how to talk to black women in a way that connects them,” she explains. “So, in addition to hiring me to create quality content, you’re also hiring me to speak to my audience about your product in a way that is relevant and valuable to life. That connection point alone is invaluable.”
The Meeks story is just one example of how powerful mom influencers are in the social media marketing industry – one that is often ignored, perhaps because it’s female dominated and made for women.
“Moms are a much more lucrative category than Millennials,” said Joe Gagliese, co-founder and CEO of influencer marketing agency Viral Nation, told CNBC Make It. “They have a lot more purchasing power and are usually very PG-rated on their content. They are very brandable. “
Meek agrees, adding that “people are obsessed. Now that more people are at home during the pandemic, they are just so caught up in our family and history and what we do and what the kids do.”
Meeks is now more explicit about her influencer journey, “because I believe I can help other women with it.” (About 15% of their income comes from coaching other influencers – through through online courses and e-books – how to make money.)
Here’s her best advice:
1. Stay true to who you are and allow yourself to be a beginner.
“Nobody starts at the top level of their workspace,” says Meeks. “You have to try, fail, and try harder to get there. There are thousands of mothers, women, makeup artists and stylists telling their stories, but none of them are you. Being you is what you get from.” the crowd stands out. ”
2. Be ready to make serious efforts.
“Yes, I get paid to hang out with my family and do mundane things like a weekend in a rental house or an Easter egg hunt in coordinated outfits,” admits Meeks.
But she’s also working harder now than ever in her 9-to-5 job.
Not only is she a wife and mother of three, but she also says, “I’m a photographer, copywriter, editor, image consultant, hair and wardrobe stylist, secretary, research and development analyst, technical support, accounts payable, and so many other titles.”
3. Be prepared for your personal life to be reflected in your work.
Meeks loves her job and the ability to support her family in ways she could never have imagined.
But the downside, according to Meeks, is that “if I’m not careful, my balance can be lost”. She now understands that she needs to create clear boundaries to keep her professional and private life separate.
“I can’t always be available to my online community,” she says. “Sometimes I just have to be the mother of my children and my husband’s wife.”
Jo Piazza is a podcast creator and host of the critically acclaimed series “Under the influence” and “Be committed.” She is also the best-selling author of nine books that have been translated into more than 10 languages. Your latest novel, “Charlotte Walsh likes to win” was recently published in paperback. She is also the author of the upcoming book “We’re not like them.” Follow her on Twitter @ JoPiazza.
Do not miss: