Look at this image for a moment. An outfit like that must have cost me a fortune right? Wrong, in fact it was all free. To take it a step further, in the last year alone I would estimate around a $15,000-20,000 wardrobe update all at no monetary cost to me. Italian shoes, Swiss-Made watches, beautiful suits, and even the use of an Aston-Martin, and multiple Ferraris all a result of a new wave of marketing I tapped into.
A few years ago the marketing industry started expanding into a new market which today has become the massive movement of "brand influencers". Brands figured out that the most relevant way of reaching their younger audience (ages 12-35, and ever-expanding) was through social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Think of Social Media Influencers as the celebrities, and artists of the internet. The process of gifting products to influencers or bloggers works very similarly to how celebrities are dressed for the red carpet. Why are brands pouring millions of dollars into these latte-photo-taking kids? The best illustration I can give you is this: Fenway Park (home of the Boston Red Socks) holds just under 38,000 people. Now imagine filing that park to capacity, large audience right? Now imagine that entire park follows you on Instagram, and cares what you like, do, and wear. For either the cost of a product or a few hundred dollars a brand can have their product displayed in front of Fenway Park...do you see where this is going? For a company that is an absolute win to have their product displayed in front of that audience.
Do you have to have 38,000 followers? Absolutely not, I started with around 1,000. The key is generating good/interesting original content on a daily basis and using hashtags (mainly only on Instagram). It helps to figure out your audience early on so you can create a brand for yourself that companies can see, and hopefully invest money/products into. Since I started almost 2 years ago I've worked with roughly 40 brands, and it even led me to a paid PR/Marketing internship in NYC(shout out to the Battalion PR team). Originally I would send out emails to around 10-15 brands every week and would hear back from usually from only a couple. Blogging is a fun hobby/side-job and if you have an interest now is definitely a great time to jump in!