The Ins and Outs of Being a College Influencer

Disclaimer: I am definitely not the biggest or most successful college influencer. I am just beginning, but I have learned a lot through my experiences as a content creator. I am also not getting paid or receiving any free products for this. I genuinely love all the brands that I have worked with so far.

I’ve always been a big follower of influencers. I love hearing personal reviews on products that real people love. Influencer marketing introduces new audiences to brands through the voice of everyday social media users. Lately, I have had the opportunity to do what they do. Within the past six months, I have become the content creator for brands such as Zipcar and Bubbl’r (among others), and have marketed myself in a similar fashion to the influencers who have influenced me. However, from first-hand experiences, I know it can be daunting to start. I have found that three things have helped me be successful in a short amount of time: contacting, applying and having passion. It requires a lot of effort and time but it really does not require 10k followers! 

I began influencing by applying to be an Amazon Prime Ambassador. One day in June, I applied without even thinking about it. Then, two months later in August, I got an email asking if I would like to be apart of a Zipcar campaign. I went through an interviewing process along with submitting practice content. As a result, I was hired as the University of Wisconsin-Madison Content Creator for the Zipcar “Welcome to the Neighborhood” campaign. This is what really fueled my future ambition to become an influencer. Soon I was reaching out to other brands such as Bubbl’r, Neostrata and Desden Bags. It has not always been an easy road for me, and I faced obstacles every day. Now I want to share some of what I have learned to other aspiring content creators.

My biggest advice to give people is contact. As someone just starting out, the biggest brands may not reach out to you. But everyone needs to start somewhere. Make a list of your top 10 favorite brands that you use every day and email every one of them. Tell them how you use their product and why you love them. Most of the time, you will get a response. It might not be about having a brand collaboration, but just a general thanks or if you’re lucky, free products. Its okay if they don’t want to collaborate at first. But I found that eventually you’ll find a brand. As I mentioned, I applied to be an Amazon Prime Ambassador. I didn’t get the position; however, I was referred to Zipcar, a company I have been collaborating with for almost a month. Brands will not know you are out there until you let them know you are. Open the door for yourself.

My second piece of advice is to apply. Besides Bubbl’r, I have applied to every single collaborative position I hold. Search “college brand ambassador” or variations of that and you will find thousands of results. I search job websites, influencer based pages and pretty much anywhere else I can think of. If you have less than 10,000 followers, brands really don’t reach out to you. Make your voice heard. College influencers are valuable marketing tools. Take advantage of your valuable student status. It’s much easier to relate with one of your peers rather than a random person in an ad. Applying for these positions will allow you to showcase your assets to brands.

My last piece of advice is to have passion. All of the brands that I work with are ones I previously purchased from or do now. I use these products every day, given to me or paid for. My friends use all these products too now that I speak so highly of them. Brands can tell if you like their product or not. Show them that you love their products. It takes a bold personality to be out there and share brands that you love. I have gotten some negative attention for it, but if you believe in the things that you promote, it won’t be difficult to shake it off. Go above and beyond for the brands you love.

Being an influencer truly is the best side gig for college. I get to share with my audience my favorite brands and get some great perks for it. I know that by doing this, I am also getting great hands-on internet marketing experience. I communicate with account managers at marketing firms daily and learn about the business through real-world experience. It wasn’t something that happened overnight and I pursue my influencing on a daily basis. It’s something that I love doing and hope you will too. 

Check out my instagram and more of my brands that I’ve worked with at @emily.ravet!