How to start a money-making YouTube and Instagram influencer career using your smartphone

  • You don't need fancy equipment or industry connections to start a YouTube or Instagram influencer career.
  • In fact, some successful influencers use just a smartphone and a few popular apps.
  • Influencers make money by promoting products on social media, earning directly from platforms like YouTube, and through other avenues like merchandise.
  • We spoke to top influencers and industry execs on their tips and tricks to getting started with little more than a smartphone. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

You might think the millions of followers that popular social-media influencers have come from expensive equipment and years of experience.

But some of the internet's top creators say one of the best tools to use, especially starting out, is simply your smartphone. 

Although many smartphones today, like some of the latest Apple iPhones at an upwards of $1,000, can cost as much as a fancy DSLR camera, 81% percent of Americans already own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center. And it's likely the smartphone you already own is good enough to start with. 

We spoke to top influencers ranging from Benji Travis, who has been creating content online for over a decade, to recent internet stars like Jennelle Eliana Long, who rose to fame in just under a month, on what tools they used to get started.

They debunked the misconception that you need tons of money to begin and shared their personal experiences building a business empire online.

From using the camera on your phone and a $30 video editing app to get started on YouTube, to utilizing popular apps like Instagram to get in touch with your favorite brands and build a potential sponsorship, here's how to start an influencer career from your smartphone. 

To read the full posts, subscribe to Business Insider Prime.

How to start without spending tons of money

  • Entrepreneur Benji Travis shares tips on how to grow an audience online on the YouTube channel Video Influencers, which he runs with Sean Cannell, a fellow creator. 
  • Travis said a creator doesn't need fancy equipment to be successful, and said his wife Judy Travis, who is popular in the beauty-vlogger community, filmed her first few YouTube videos with a camera that cost less than $50 propped on a stack of shoe boxes. 

Read the full post here: How to start a YouTube career without spending tons of money, according to a creator with millions of subscribers

Benji Travis
Benji says skip the fancy equipment and use your smartphone.

Benji Travis

Getting your first 1,000 subscribers on YouTube

  • Travis also shared tips on how to get your first 1,000 subscribers. 
  • He said he supports himself by running four YouTube channels with a combined 3.8 million subscribers, and that gaining those first 1,000 subscribers on YouTube allows creators to apply for YouTube's Partner Program and start earning ad revenue.
  • But he said it isn't easy and shared tricks on how to build a career online fast. 

Read the full post here: 4 tips to getting your first 1,000 YouTube subscribers, according to a creator with millions of them

How to edit Instagram photos like a professional influencer, using your phone

  • The Instagram influencer Tessa "Tezza" Barton and her husband, Cole, developed a photo-filter app inspired by Tezza's popular Instagram page, which has 776,000 followers.
  • The app was launched a year ago and has 2 million downloads, Tezza said. 
  • She shared her tips on how to edit Instagram pictures on your phone so they will stand out. 

Read the full post here: How to edit Instagram photos like a professional influencer, according to the creator of a photo app with over 2 million downloads

Jennelle Eliana
Jennelle Eliana films her videos on her iPhone X.

Jennelle Eliana/YouTube

How to edit a YouTube video using your phone

  • YouTube phenomenon Jennelle Eliana Long, who gained 1.6 million subscribers on YouTube within a month of posting her first video, uses only her iPhone X to film and edit them, she told Business Insider. 
  • Long is a perfect example of why you don't need fancy equipment to be successful on YouTube. She had no prior editing or filming experience and spent little money to start. 

Read the full post here: A rising YouTube star with 1.6 million subscribers uses her iPhone and a $30 app to make her videos

Alisha Marie
Alisha Marie has 8 million subscribers on YouTube.

Alisha Marie

How to use Instagram direct messaging to land brand deals

  • The YouTube star Alisha Marie, who has 8 million subscribers, said she's landed brand-sponsorship deals by reaching out to the brand using the direct-message feature on Instagram. 
  • She shared what messages she's sent to brands and land deals, and other industry insiders, like Ian Borthwick, SeatGeek's director of influencer marketing, agreed that messaging brands on Instagram was a good way to express your interest in a company. 

Read the full post here: YouTube star Alisha Marie uses Instagram direct messages to land brand deals. Here are the DMs she sends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *