Sabir Peele is a North Philly native and the founder of Men’s Style Pro, a fashion influencer with a major following. With almost 43,000 followers on Instagram and over 75,000 pageviews per month on his website, he’s killing it in the style blogging game. Sabir takes his keen eye beyond #OOTD posts, partnering with major brands like GQ, Esquire, Timex and Bic for sponsored content, national campaigns and event hosting on the regular.
Contrary to what it may seem, the life of a successful social media influencer isn’t always Fashion Week after parties and unboxing free brand swag — it’s a business, and you have to treat it as such if you ever want to make money from it. We caught up with Sabir to hear his tried-and-true method on how to become a successful social media influencer.
- Pick your platform. Got video skills and a great face for camera? Are you more of a filter-tweaking genius? Go with it! “The most important aspect of your online influence is honing in on what your specific platform is,” says Sabir. No matter which one you choose, make sure that platform is the most detail-oriented piece of what you do, and use other social media outlets to reference back to your main account, whether that’s your blog or your Instagram. “Claim what your main platform is so that when people share it, others will say ‘I need to go back to the main source.’ ”
- Know what the hell you’re talking about. “You need to become an expert in one facet of your arena,” he says. If you want to blog about lifestyle topics ranging from food to entertaining to home interiors, first make a name for yourself as an authority in, say, vegan Mexican cooking, and then broaden your coverage to kitchen interiors or party hosting once your loyal following trusts you as an authority. Sabir’s goal is to make people say, “I’m coming to Men’s Style Pro because you’re a pundit on style. I’m coming to you to find out something I don’t already know.”
- Stay true to your own voice. Once you get to the point of working with brands, having your own voice is the hardest thing influencers have to learn. Sure, the brand is paying you for access to your followers, but don’t lose sight of why people follow you in the first place: You have a take on things, you have a voice that people relate to and enjoy, and you have a discerning eye. Remember that you’re not writing advertorial content; you’re blogging or posting photos as your own brand. “I don’t feature anything I don’t actually like,” says Sabir. “If it’s not authentic, people can tell.”
- Get your numbers straight. Remember that part about treating your social media presence as a business if you want to make it big time? The most important thing is having your analytics on lock. Sabir tells us: “When brands start reaching out to pitch campaigns, their first question is ‘can you send me your deck?’ ” Analytics across all social media platforms are the most important part of your deck (also called a media kit), but your deck should also contain a sampling of your collaborations with other brands so they can gauge how you present content to your followers.
- Don’t wait for brands to come to you. Good things come to those who hustle, and reaching out to brands with a written, detailed proposal on how you’d like to work with them will always impress — and no, asking for a free jacket doesn’t count! Sabir says, “Email [a brand’s] internal PR or marketing with a dedicated PDF proposal of why and how you should be working together. It shows the brand that you really want to work with them, but also how you can bring value to them by working with them.”
Take Sabir’s advice, and your blog/social channels will acquire loyal, devoted followings. As long as you have a clear, confident vision for your brand and go after the companies you want to work with, you’ll be golden. Before you know it, they’ll be lining up to work with you, and you’ll think back fondly on the early days when this headline made you click.
Looking for ways to discover influencers who have an authentic voice? Check out Curalate Explore, which can help you find influencers to work with, form relationships with micro-influencers and find high-quality content piece-by-piece.