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Here’s what it’s like to be an Instagram influencer in Toronto

These days, social media-savvy brands are working with “influencers”—Twitter or Instagram stars with big personalities and an even bigger follower count—to help them expand their reach (and improve their bottom line). We connected with a few Toronto based Instagram influencers to find out what goes into being a paid social-media pro—and how much they get out of it.

Lee Vosburgh

Who she is: Vosburgh is a fashion designer and graduate of OCADU who started her style blog, Style Bee, in 2013. What’s her reach: 28,000 followers on Instagram How it works: For the most part, brands reach out to Vosburgh directly. From there, she’ll photograph the product, write a post for both Instagram and her blog, and share these with the brand to ensure all parties approve. What she gets: Compensation might be a flat rate, five-to-30 per cent commission on the sale of a product she is promoting, or sometimes it’s product only. Compensation is negotiated on a case-by-case basis. The most Vosburgh has been paid for a single campaign is $2,000.

Krystin Lee

Who she is: Lee, who used to work in PR at Masco Canada, noticed her clients were generating more business with the use of Instagram, and decided to experiment with it herself. She started her blog, Suburban Faux Pas, in 2012. Lee works a full-time social media strategist at Midfield Interactive, a brand experience agency in Toronto. What’s her reach: 180,000 followers on Instagram How it works: Brands will reach out to Lee with interest in being featured on her blog or Instagram, or both. Lee likes to run conference calls or meetings with the brand to discuss how she’s going to promote their product, then get to work on photoshoots for blog and Instagram posts. Lee says the length of time these kinds of collaborations can take range between one to six months from initial discussions to project completion. What she gets: Lee is not willing to disclose her exact financial compensation, but admits that she asks for financial compensation on top of plane tickets, products and free hotel stays.

Alyssa Garrison

Who she is: Garrison began her blog, Random Acts of Pastel, to re-ignite her creative spark after journalism school left her feeling drained. She also takes on the occasional freelance writing gig. What’s her reach: 64,000 followers on Instagram How it works: At first, Garrison managed brand collaborations through her blog and Instagram alone, but recently signed with Shine Influencers, a talent agency that works specifically with social media influencers. Brand inquiries are forwarded to her agent, who negotiates budget and contract terms. What she gets: At first, Garrison charged $25-$50 for promotional blog posts, Now, her average fee is $1,500 per (though she’ll still promote local, indie brands that she loves for free).

Jenny Jovanovic

Who she is: Jovanovic started her blog, Crazy Style Love, in 2012. She also works full time as a digital marketing manager for Benefit Cosmetics. What’s her reach: 49,000 followers on Instagram How it works: Brands reach out to Jovanovic directly, and she negotiates her own rates. What she gets: While Jovanovic does get paid for her blogs and Instagram posts (though she’s unwilling to disclose how much), she also considers products to be payment. Her work as a social media influencer allows her to enjoy other perks, like VIP access at product launch parties.

Filipa Jackson

Who she is: Jackson began her blog, Playing with Apparel, in 2015 to promote her services as a fashion stylist. She also works as a freelance stylist and web designer under her own name. What’s her reach: 36,000 followers on Instagram How it works: At first, Jackson introduced herself to as many contacts as she could get her hands on, from PR companies to fashion and beauty brands, in mass emails. Now, brands reach out to her, either directly or through Shine Influencers, who manages her contract negotiations. What she gets: Instagram posts range between $200 to $1,000 per post.

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