What do 30K followers get you on Instagram?

– [Janae Brown] I just have my camera, my food, my magazines. I stay busy in bed. Not the kind of busy people
think you're supposed to be in your twenties, but it's work. (laughs) I'm sweating! – Home interiors and
lifestyle micro-influencer, Janae Brown, has about 30,000 followers. And although we often think
of influencers as celebrities with millions of followers
and crazy lavish lifestyles, it's becoming possible to
succeed as a smaller creator. (upbeat music) For micro-influencers,
it's less about their scale and it's more about the
close connections they have with a smaller group of people.

And it's exactly this type
of tight-knit community that advertisers of 2019
are trying to get a part of, which is why someone with 30,000 followers could possibly quit their day job and go full time on Instagram. So let's head to Brooklyn,
see what that life is like. (easygoing hip-hop music) – Okay, so this grid
post has been up now… Let me refresh. It's been up for 14 minutes
and it has 483 likes, which for me, was unheard of
literally three months ago. (laughs) I actually first started
Instagram like most people, just posting silly pictures for friends. I was really just having fun. I saw that other women
were posting fun pictures and cute outfits, and I was
like, "Well, I don't see "that many curvy, black women doing that, "so I'm gonna try that." When I started taking Instagram seriously in January of 2018, my whole mission or point of my page was to be relatable and, essentially, to let
more women know that, hey, whatever you're going
through, you're not alone, whether you're going through a break-up, whether you're dealing
with body image issues, girl, I've been there, let's chat.

– [Becca] It's this approach that has jump-started Janae's success. And, yes, she actually reads
just about every comment. – She used an orange heart,
I'm gonna use an orange heart. It never gets old, every
time I see this room, I just heart eye emojis. The main part of my page is
actually the conversations that we're having. – Anyone can be an
influencer if the people who are following them really care about what they're saying. – [Becca] That's Joe Gagliese,
he's one of the co-founders of Viral Nation, a full
service marketing company that specializes in influencer marketing.

– Influencer marketing is nothing more than word of mouth on steroids. So I know influencers,
even friends of mine, who have a thousand followers,
but that's a cult following. And when he talks about some
really new, cool restaurant he went to in Toronto or
New York, people go to it. – Oh, yeah, this side is pretty. So I'm very open and
honest with my audience about #ScamForTheGram, which
the aesthetic we create on Instagram all the
times that is not factual. I don't drink coffee,
so I just have this one that I keep in the fridge
and I just use for photos. So, these are photos that
I use that are pretty and may catch someone's attention, in the hopes that they'll read the caption and be able to relate.

I know the amount of work
I'm putting into my posts. It's not just like taking
cute selfie picture. I'm moving furniture,
I'm setting things up, and then coming up with
a relatable caption, responding to these comments,
answering questions. And in order to do that,
there's gonna be a need for some sponsored posts,
which will probably, for me, is only 5% of what I share. – [Becca] Although Janae's
media kit is constantly changing based on her subscriber
and engagement counts, when we visited her in late March of 2019, it looked a little like this.

Now, Instagram is not
Janae's full time job, but this money is
helping her build a brand that could someday turn
into a full career. – As brands start to realize
that it's harder and harder to reach certain people, that influencers are gonna
be that kind of golden egg that allows that kind of
scale, big, big audience, while also coming across in a way that people are gonna consume it. – [Becca] So Janae is in a unique position where she has this strong
connection with her audience, but can she retain that as she grows and attempts to make this
more than just a side hustle? – Yeah, it's gotten to a place
where I'm not able to know as many other people's stories.

It's hard for me 'cause I feel
like I'm being very selfish and it's more of like
a take, take, take now and I'm not giving back by
engaging with other people. But… hopefully that's not the case and I'm hoping as I learn more, how to do each job more efficiently, I'll be able to open up that time again to engage with other people again 'cause that is really important to me. I'm just just slightly
overwhelmed at the moment. (laughs) I just realized that I did not
respond to someone's comment. I actually just commented
on my own picture five minutes ago saying, "OMG, you are seriously the sweetest." But it is not in response to anyone, so we're gonna delete that
'cause that is not cute..

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