Social media influencers are all the rage right now. Brands want to collaborate with them in order to expand their reach and drive conversions. The followers of influencers, on the other hand, look forward to expert advice and recommendation from them.
With the popularity of influencer marketing, it is only natural that people are becoming increasingly curious about how to become an influencer.
However, building and retaining a community of devoted followers isn’t as easy as it appears to be. It requires consistent effort on an influencer’s part. Before we discuss some useful tips on how to become an influencer, let’s take a deeper look at the concept of social media influencers.
Decoding the Enigma of Influencers
In simple terms, influencers are social media personalities with a large number of loyal and engaged followers. Most influencers share a friendly rapport with their fans.
The fans, in turn, often regard these influencers as role models and follow their recommendations. In fact, influencers are often perceived as authority figures or experts in their respective niches.
Owing to the accessibility of social media platforms, influencers are able to establish personal connections with their followers. Unlike traditional celebrities, their lives aren’t shrouded in an air of mystery.
Instead, influencers often reveal a glimpse of their personal lives to their followers. This is precisely what helps them establish friendly bonds with their fan base.
Influencers are the social media celebrities who have a certain amount of leverage with their fan communities.
The most significant factor that distinguishes influencers from high-profile celebrities is that the former add their unique and authentic voices to their content. This helps them earn the trust and loyalty of their followers. In fact, 70% of millennials claim to be more influenced by bloggers than celebrities.
The Perks of Being an Influencer
Digital marketers and brands have realized the importance of collaborating with influencers. The biggest advantage of influencer marketing is that it gives marketers direct access to an influencer’s loyal fan base.
It also saves marketers the trouble of identifying and targeting the right audiences. That painstaking task has already been done by the influencer. That is why 86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2017.
And who doesn’t enjoy being able to impact other people’s lives and influence their decisions? In fact, according to gen.video, the most effective and trusted source of driving conversions are social media influencers. This clearly indicates that influencers have the power to persuade their followers.
The Challenges Faced by Influencers
Today, many people aspire to become influencers. It does seem like a lucrative career option and life choice for many people. However, behind all of the glitz and glamour of an influencer’s social media profile, there lies a truckload of hard work and patience.
Building and retaining a loyal fan following on social media isn’t a cakewalk. This is becoming increasingly difficult as more people are trying to become influencers.
Thus, earning the trust of your followers is a painstaking task. It takes persistent effort on your part to make your content authentic and grab the attention of your audience.
And, as an influencer, you have to be extremely cautious when collaborating with brands. Your followers become loyal due to the personal and honest touch you add to your content. Bombarding them with sponsored content can harm your reputation as an influencer and disengage your followers.
If you are still tempted to live the life of an influencer, read on to learn how to become an influencer.
How to Become an Influencer
The life of an influencer is envied by many. What we often fail to recognize is the persistent effort they have to put in order to live a life of luxury and glamour.
Identify Your Niche
If you want to become an influencer, you can’t expect to be a “jack (or jane) of all trades, master of none.” It is crucial that you pick a niche that aligns with your image.
An easy way to select your niche is to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Choose a niche that allows you to showcase your strengths and hone your skills further.
Deciding on a particular niche will help you streamline your audience and tailor your content to suit their preferences.
Typically, when deciding on how to become an influencer, you can choose one of the following categories:
- Health and Fitness
You don’t have to limit yourself to just one of these categories. You can combine two or more of these niches. Make sure the individual niches align with one another. For instance, you can combine travel and lifestyle or beauty and fashion when you decide on your niche.
It is not mandatory for you to stick to these established and well-known niches. The key to becoming an influencer is adding your unique voice to everything you do. So, don’t hesitate to experiment and carve your own niche that allows you to exhibit your strengths as well as your quirks.
For instance, 24-year-old, Karina Garcia, became an overnight YouTube sensation just by uploading wacky videos of slime. She has more than 8 million subscribers on YouTube who aptly refer to her as the, “Queen of Slime.”
In addition, she has also published two bestselling books and has launched her own crafting brand named Craft City.
Image via YouTube
Pick Your Platform
As an influencer, you need to have a powerful presence on the internet. However, that doesn’t mean that you should use every social media platform and distribution channel out there. Depending on your niche, certain platforms might be better suited for your content than others.
For instance, if you are a fashion blogger, Instagram would work better for your visual content than other platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. In fact, 93% of social media influencers prefer Instagram as it delivers the best results. However, that doesn’t mean that you should focus all of your effort on Instagram if your niche doesn’t align with the platform.
Image via MarketingProfs
You should also consider the platform that your audience is most likely to use. For instance, if your target audience includes millennials, you should focus your effort on Snapchat and Instagram. If you choose to utilize multiple social media platforms, make sure that you tailor your content for each channel.
For instance, digital marketing guru, Neil Patel, actively uses Twitter to promote his blog posts and other content. This is obvious considering most of his target audience (entrepreneurs, digital marketers, content creators, etc.) is likely to frequent this platform for meaningful content.
Image via Twitter
While it is recommended that you select the platform that is most suited for your content and target audience, you shouldn’t ignore other distribution channels. Instead, you should strive to acquire a basic working knowledge of other channels so that you can utilize them in the future if the need arises.
Prioritize Your Content
High-quality content is perhaps the most potent answer to the question of how to become an influencer. It is extremely important to publish unique and authentic content that resonates with your audience.
In fact, this is the only way to keep your audience hooked to your content. Regardless of the type of content you create, it should be meaningful and valuable.
Depending on your niche and distribution channels, you can choose different types of content such as blog posts, photos, videos, podcasts, etc.
It is crucial to add your signature voice to every piece of content you create. That is what will distinguish you from other people who are also trying to figure out how to be an influencer.
For instance, photographer and lifestyle influencer, Katie Stauffer, received mass acclaim by uploading videos of her 2-year old daughter, Mila, on Instagram.
What distinguished her content from other similar Instagram pages was Mila’s dialogue delivery and mature acting skills. Today, Stauffer is followed by 4 million devoted Instagram users who look forward to the next video featuring Mila.
Image via Instagram
It is extremely important that you find the unique quirk or trait that distinguishes you from other influencers in your niche. Once you have identified this unique selling proposition (USP), incorporate it into your content as much as possible.
In addition to helping your content stand out, this will also establish your image as an influencer. It is advisable that you integrate this USP into your sponsored content as well.
Listen to Your Audience
An effective way to ensure that your content garners traction is to create content that your audience wants.
In order to get relevant content ideas, you can run a quick Google search for your niche. Scroll down to the bottom of search results to find the long-tail keywords that are being used by your target audience. You can also search platforms such as Quora and Reddit to get an idea of what your target audience is talking about.
If you want your content to strike a chord with your audience, you must have a deep understanding of your follower community.
Most social media platforms have an analytics section that can give you meaningful insights about your target audience. You get access to audience demographics data such as gender, geographic location, occupation, online behavior, etc.
In addition, you should pay close attention to the comments section of your social media and blog posts. It can be a goldmine of fresh content ideas that your audience wants to read/watch. You can also conduct social media polls and ask your followers to tell you all about their preferences and pain points.
Up Your Hashtag Game
If you are wondering how to become an influencer and excel at it, the answer is to make judicious use of the right hashtags. Your content only becomes valuable and meaningful when it reaches the right audience.
An effective way of giving increased visibility to your content is by adding appropriate hashtags to your social media posts. This is especially useful for people who are just starting out as influencers and need to grow their audience.
Identify the most relevant and trending hashtags in your niche. Then them in your posts to get your content seen by an entirely new audience that may have been unaware of your existence.
When using hashtags, you should be careful not to flood your posts with unnecessary ones. Only use hashtags that align with your image as an influencer.
Take a look at the screenshot below to understand how Brian Kelly, aka The Points Guy, makes effective use of hashtags in his Instagram posts.
Image via Instagram
In addition to using popular hashtags, you can also create your own unique hashtag to widen your reach even further. Encourage your followers to upload content on their own profiles using your branded hashtags. This popularizes your hashtag and builds awareness about you in your followers’ social networks.
Publishing high-quality content on a regular basis is one of the most effective ways to retain your audience’s attention. When you deliver good content on a regular basis, it creates a sense of anticipation among your audience.
That, in turn, boosts audience engagement and increases your reach. It is advisable that you create a timeline for all of the content you plan on publishing in the next few months. You can also create a weekly or monthly series to keep your audience hooked.
For instance, Nusair Yassin, aka Nas Daily, made a promise of uploading one 1-minute video on Facebook every day, for a thousand days. People started keeping track of his Facebook page to find out if he was keeping his promise.
Nas did, in fact, keep his promise, as a result of which, he garnered 12 million followers and impacted many lives around the world.
Image via Facebook
However, you should ensure that the quality of your content is never compromised in an attempt to maintain regularity. If a situation arises where you can’t deliver content on the proposed date, publish a post to communicate that. Assure your audience that you are working on the content and it will be available soon.
When you are running out of good quality content, you can use of the Stories feature on Instagram and Facebook. You can upload simple pictures to give your audience a sneak peek into your workspace or living room.
This can help keep your audience engaged and help you stay connected with them without spending hours perfecting a video.
Collaborate with Other Influencers
When you are starting out, and still wondering how to become an influencer, partnering with someone famous in your niche can be of great help. It gives you access to their fan base and allows you to attract them to your social media profiles.
You must be able to offer something of use to the other influencer in order to tempt them to collaborate with you. If the bigger influencers seems out of reach, you can even partner with micro-influencers who have small yet highly engaged fan bases.
Build a Website
If you ask someone how to become an influencer, they are likely to give you a lot of advice on content strategies and social media platforms.
Very few people will tell you the impact a website can have on your reputation as an influencer. However, anyone who is remotely familiar with marketing and branding knows how important a website can be.
As your fan base grows, many people will be tempted to run a quick Google search for your name. Having a well-designed and fully functional website adds credibility to your image and helps you win the trust of your target audience.
Additionally, having a well-designed blog section on your website further establishes your authority in your niche. It also improves organic search traffic to your website, thereby expanding your reach even further.
Host AMAs, Contests, and Giveaways
If you are wondering how to become an influencer with a devoted follower community, the answer is to keep them engaged.
One of the most effective ways to boost audience engagement is to host an AMA (ask me anything) session on the platform of your choice. In addition to keeping your audience engaged, it will also help establish your expertise in certain subjects in your niche.
Another clever way to improve engagement is to announce a giveaway. Typically, you offer your followers a reward in exchange for likes, comments, and shares on your posts. You can also ask them to tag their friends on the giveaway announcement.
A contest is similar to a giveaway, except that the participants are required to upload specific content or use your branded hashtag in order to be eligible to win.
Contests and giveaways also help you reach out to a wide audience and grow your followers. You can collaborate with other influencers or brands in your niche in order to make them more effective. Make sure you clearly specify the rules, deadline, rewards, etc. and announce the winner at the promised time. One of the best answers to the question of how to become an influencer is to hosts giveaways and contests to keep your audience engaged.
The simplest answer to the question of how to become an influencer is to maintain a personal connection with your audience.
Most platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube allow users to go live and share real-time updates with their followers. You can use this to your advantage and give your audience a glimpse of behind-the-scenes action at an event or a party. It makes your followers feel closer to you and reinforces their loyalty.
You can also host a live AMA session to communicate with your followers in real-time. This is an extremely effective strategy to boost engagement. At the same time, it also allows you to get a fair idea of what your audience likes/dislikes and expects from you. Make sure you notify your followers about the session in advance.
Respond to Your Fans
As your audience grows and more people start appreciating your content, they are likely to leave their feedback in DMs and comments.
Responding to each and every comment might be a herculean task. However, it is advisable that you reply to as many as possible. A response from your side validates the trust that your fans put in you and makes them feel more connected to you.
Savi and Vid, the traveling duo of Bruised Passports, make it a point to respond to the comments on their Instagram posts. This has helped them attract an army of 287,000 loyal and devoted followers on Instagram.
Image via Instagram
In addition, you can also do a shout-out for any exceptionally positive feedback you receive. It makes the sender feel rewarded and strengthens their faith in you. If you want to know how to become an influencer, the key is to value your audience members as much as they value you.
The answer to the question of how to become an influencer is not a simple one. It may take you months of hard work and patience before the results start to show.
The key is to find your unique voice and use it to create a unique image for yourself as an influencer. Identify a specific niche and distribution channel that is best suited for you.
In addition, anyone who has the slightest idea of how to become an influencer will tell you the importance of creating genuine content that appeals to your audience.
You also need to strive to maintain a personal connection with your followers. Only then you will be able to build a loyal and engaged fan base that won’t bat an eyelid before trusting your recommendations.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.