Whether its Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, we know we aren’t the only ones who spend a fair share of our time on social media apps. But, did you ever wonder how everyone is turning their posts into cash?
At this year’s Curlfest, we got to immerse ourselves in the beauty that is our natural kinks and coils while also gaining some insights from some Black girl bosses! ‘Love & Hip Hop: New York’ star and entrepreneur Yandy Smith was joined by content creator and influencer Tiffany M. Battle, beauty and fashion expert Danielle Gray, and influencer Beverly Coleman on a panel entitled, ‘Truth Unfiltered - So you want to be an influencer’? During this panel moderated by style and beauty journalist Jame’ Jackson, we learned all about what it truly means to be an influencer. They also delved into the positive and negative impacts of social media, as well as a look into the behind-the-scenes work of being an influencer.
Yandy explained her reasoning behind creating a brand and using social media as a tool and said, “When I got in front of the camera I realized it was an opportunity for me to have a brand, promote that brand, and make some money off of that brand. So, ever since I got in front of the camera, that has been a mission of mine to make sure I put out a brand that represents me, then also a brand that has a legacy that can leave something behind for my children.”
We all watch influencers from a far but, were you wondering how to actually start doing what they do and really make money as an influencer? According to Yandy and the rest of the panelists, affiliate marketing, brand sponsorship deals, and speaking engagements will help generate money in the bank and boost your social media presence.
“People hit me up to be an ambassador. I’ll bring them on, but, then, I’ll look at the engagements,” Yandy explained. “I look at their follows, and numbers. What I love is someone that says, ‘This is what I have posted for you,” if they do a report and send it back to me. And then [they] ask, ‘Can you give me a code so I can show you how much my promoting can help your business’? I’ll give them a code.”
Basically, be proactive and show brands what you’re bringing to the table! Your social media is your resume, so it’s important to have fresh content that brands can see what you’re actually doing to promote yourself and develop organic and creative material to set yourself apart.
#Hashtags matter, too! Yandy explained that when she is looking for ambassadors she also checks out who is riding for her brand. “If there is a brand you really want to be apart of, hashtag, then tag it in the post! We look at the posts to see who is tagging our brands, where the movement is. And, if you are constantly popping up on a person’s feed, they are going to say, ‘Oh, they really ride for me.’ That’s a way to get your foot in as an ambassador.”
Yandy also talked about her own brand, YELLE Skincare, which is an organic. skincare line made with Black women’s skin in mind! Due to the scarcity of beauty products that actually target Black women and their skin issues, Yandy created the brand with hopes to create an outlet for Black women to nourish and cherish their skin.
To promote her product, Yandy uses social media in a variety of ways including promotional flyers, IGTV videos of family and friends using the YELLE Skincare line, and even posts from events which she attended on behalf of her brand like Curlfest!
What’s the secret to being a propeller within the influencer market? Yandy believes we should think about the ultimate goal of our brand and its purpose.
“Building my social media was first to connect with the fans, but then also to use my voice for a greater good. I think that now that I have been given this platform, it’s for me to use it for bigger issues that affects on a global scale. Whether it’s activism in prison reform, activism in my community for healthy eating, clean water; it’s being able to use that influence to influence the greater good.”
Social media is a tool but, according to our girl Yandy Smith, it’s also important to be authentic no matter what your goal is when using it! Not only did we learn how important social media is in branding ourselves, but now we’re on our way to becoming an influencer or making sure our brand is the next big thing.