TEXAS, USA — Have you seen the posts on Instagram that say, "#ad" or "#sponsored?" Well, many times the people who post those are, "Influencers" who get paid for their content. But can you really make a living off social media?
6 News Anchor Leslie Draffin spent the day with two Central Texas moms and social media influencers to see what it really takes to get paid to post.
Randalyn Bailey and Juli, aka Tangled with Taste, are busy moms and social media influencers. The pair spend their days juggling their kids, other jobs, and posting on social media.
While it might seem like they'd be in competition, that's not the case at all.
"We work together a lot. Before I was either using a timer or my kids were taking all the photos,” Juli explained.
Juli got into the social media game first and started her blog in 2016.
"What I like to do is for every ad, I want at least three or four personal posts as well,” Juli said.
Juli’s Instagram is filled with food, lifestyle and vulnerability posts where she shares the ups and downs of her life.
"I don't make any money off those, but that's what has people on my page (are) those posts and it's real. It's raw emotions," Juli said.
Bailey met Juli because of one of those posts. When Juli needed help moving a new grill at her home, Bailey gave her a hand. Then, Bailey got inspired to become an influencer too.
"She just had so much fun doing it. She was getting paid to do it I'm like, 'This would be fun,'" Bailey said.
Juli was happy to help her learn the ropes.
"I was like, well, I got help when I was doing this like when I first started and without that help I would not be where I am," Juli said.
So what does an average day-in-the-life of an influencer look like? It’s busy. The duo started their day at a local restaurant, La Luncheonette in Belton.
Juli said, "I like to work with the community because I feel like community is super important. You don't make money off working with the community, but you are creating your own tribe."
Next stop, a beautiful Brandon Whatley Home that was empty and for sale.
There, the pair worked like clockwork. They set up a shoot for a national campaign Bailey was working on. Then, they changed clothes and shot a sponsored post for a self-tanner.
"We can, like, shoot for like six campaigns in one day, one afternoon," Bailey said.
Juli added, “We're like, 'Okay. We've got this many hours, let's go without as many campaigns as we can.' We’re bringing ten outfits, then we're changing real quick and fixing each other's hair and it works out really well. I think that's what every influencer needs. The best friend that's also one. You can help each other."
According to Juli, there are two main ways to get paid to post. One, subscribe to a mother platform where companies post jobs.
"You apply, you give them a pitch of what they're going to get from you, and then hopefully you get chosen. Then, you get a contract, you fulfill the contract and then you put it on your page. That's how I make money is through that," Juli said.
The other way is to pitch yourself directly to a company, but that isn’t so easy.
Juli said, "Usually you'll get paid more because you're not having the middleman. But it's also a little bit harder to go that way. You have to find the contact for the PR person, and sometimes that can be hard to find, and then build a relationship.”
But before you start thinking this is as easy as scrolling "The gram," think again.
Juli, who uses posting as her primary income, puts in between 80 and 100 hours a week. A lot of the time, you don’t ever see that work.
“You look at these online influencers and it looks like they're like living this life of, you know, 'Today I'm at this party, today I'm at this restaurant' and we are doing that! But what we're not putting on there is tonight, it's 1 a.m. and I'm up coding this blog post so that it can actually be seen on Google. And last night I was up till 3 a.m. just going through liking people's stuff on Instagram so that Instagram will turn around and show my stuff to them. And so, you don't see this behind the scenes part of it," Juli said.
Bailey struggles with depression but said posting allows her to get out of the house, have fun and be social. It also helps her supplement her family’s income.
"It's kind of therapy for me. I'm kind of selfish I guess when it comes to it because I get to spend time with my best friend," Bailey said. "I get to review products that I would have never probably purchased and it’s helped financially for my family. So it’s been really good for my health."
Now their hard work is paying off and they're doing it together.
Bailey said, "You can't do this alone. It'll be miserable. It'll be so hard. You'll find so much more joy if you have someone."
So what’s their advice for others looking to get paid to post?
Juli said, “First, make sure it's something you want to do. Like if you think it's going to be an easy way to make money you're wrong. It's not easy. It's a lot of work, and most people don't take it seriously."
Second, find someone to help you, as they did.
"Have a really good give and take relationship with someone. I wouldn't be able to do this with Juli if she was always keeping tally like, 'Oh I did this, this and this for you. So you got to do this for me.' I think that's another reason why we work so well is that we do not keep tall. We don't keep score," Bailey said.
Juli added, "Do what makes you happy because I feel like we're all given this, like, little push inside of us that if we listen to it, we're going to find something we're amazing at. And this isn't it for everybody."