Social media influencers are all the rage right now. That’s why everyone’s asking, how to become an influencer.
A lot of people might be mistaken, thinking it’s easy and take no skills. That’s where they're wrong.
Becoming an influencer takes a lot of hard work, whether you want to be a social media influencer, or work in the entertainment industry, becoming an influencer will take time, and comes with a lot of responsibility.
In this article, I’ll guide you through all of the steps to becoming an influencer.
Table of Contents
What is an influencer?
In simple terms, influencers are social media personalities with many 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.
Want to know why they are so influential?
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. This is what gives them sway over their audience.
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 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 adds 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.
It is also important to ensure that your content is grammatically correct and has the right tone. You can achieve that by using the ProWritingAid style editor and grammar checker.
Types of Influencers
Influencers can be put into categories according to their follower count or their content/niche.
Let’s take a look at both.
Influencers According to Their Follower Count
There are between 3 and 37 million influencers according to EarthWeb. With such a large number, it can be expected that some garner much larger followings than others.
That’s why influencers can be categorized according to their follower count, as follows:
- Nano-influencers – 1k to 10k followers
- Micro-influencers – 10k to 100k followers
- Macro-influencers – 100k to 1M followers
- Mega-influencers – 1M+ followers
Nano-influencers with their small community of followers tend to be very engaged and yield high engagement rates.
The reason is that people who tend to follow these nano-influencers are most likely following them because they are interested in their content, rather than following them just because they’re famous or trending.
Nano-influencers are usually also more engaged and specific with their sponsors and what they promote, which helps their followers to fully trust their endorsements.
Nano-influencers are also able to engage more closely with their audiences since a smaller follower count means you can easily answer a larger percentage of your followers’ questions and comments.
Although boasting a larger follower count, micro-influencers still have a relatively decent engagement rate, although a bit lower than nano-influencers.
At this point, most influencers have settled on a subject or niche, becoming somewhat of a “professional” in their field of content or niche.
This makes it easier for brands to be able to pinpoint an influencer's target audience. Marketing campaigns with micro-influencers are often the best option of the 4 types.
Macro-influencers have amassed a large following of over 100k, but haven’t joined the 1M club yet.
These tend to be internet celebrities, which typically include social media influencers, bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters.
At this point, the large number of followers means that some might only be there for certain content, whilst other followers might only engage every so often. This means that the engagement rate on the posts of macro-influencers is much lower than on posts from nano and micro-influencers.
Mega-influencers are full-blown celebrities with millions of adoring fans around the world.
They don’t come cheap and can ask for a lot of money for sponsored content or brand deals. Their engagement rate is the lowest of the 4 types, but their audience reach is obviously the highest.
Influencers According to Their Content/Niche
Now, let’s take a closer look at the different types of influencers based on their content or niches.
Gaming influencers are people who enjoy a certain aspect, or all, of gaming.
They create content geared towards the gaming community, whether it be playing games, reviews, news, or livestreaming.
Markiplier is a mega-influencer coming from YouTube fame as a gaming channel. Currently, he has 33.7 million subscribers.
A lot of gaming influencers post video content on YouTube, as well as livestream gaming sessions on YouTube or Twitch.
Fitness influencers are all about looking and feeling great.
Fitness influencers come in many different forms. Some provide only nutritional advice, with others offering exercise and workout guidance. Some prefer to post a mix of both on their social media accounts.
Jeff Cavaliere, better known for his social media account, Athlean X, has over 13 million subscribers on YouTube and 2.2 million followers on Instagram.
His videos are a mix of exercise programs, exercise advice, and nutritional guidance. He’ll also vlog about his daily routines or heating habits occasionally.
Photography and photographers become internet celebrities through their remarkable skills in taking and editing photos.
Photographers who share their work on social media might be lucky enough to get to endorse a large camera manufacturer like Canon or Sony.
They might also offer classes or tips on taking better pictures.
This is Chris Burkard’s Instagram account. He is a photography influencer with over 3 million followers on Instagram. He specializes in taking photos of nature and scenery.
Beauty and Fashion Influencers
Fashion and beauty influencers spent most of their time designing clothing or giving fashion advice, including makeup and styling advice and tutorials.
Macro and mega-influencers tend to get sponsored deals with large fashion design or cosmetic companies.
Lauren Conrad is a famous fashion and cosmetics influencer with 5.9M followers on Instagram. Recently, she launched her own fragrance brand.
Food influencers spend a lot of time creating food content related to cooking, food blogging/vlogging, and reviewing the latest food trends and restaurants.
A popular “foodie” is David Chang. With 1.7M followers on Instagram, David Chang has to spend his time wisely between his family, food vlogging, and running his chain of restaurants called Momofuku.
How Do You Become an Influencer?
The life of a social media 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.
The truth is that there is no easy answer to the question of how to become an influencer. However, there are certain steps that you can take in order to steer your efforts in the right direction.
1. 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 a social media 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.
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 all the social media platforms and distribution channels 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.
Want to know more criteria for selecting a platform?
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.
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.
2. 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.
You can also run joint giveaways or contests on social media channels with the brands that you collaborate with. You can use a tool like VYPER to create engaging contests and giveaways that attract tons of participants.
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.
Wondering how to do that? Let’s understand with the help of an example.
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.
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.
To ensure that your content tone and style remain consistent, use a style editor like ProWritingAid.
3. 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 into 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 polls on social media channels and ask your followers to tell you all about their preferences and pain points.
4. 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 use them in your posts to get your content seen by an entirely new audience that may have been unaware of your existence.
For this, you can use HashtagsForLikes to identify the top-performing content and hashtags in your niche. This tool can help you find hashtags that you can use to amplify your reach on social media channels. It makes the process of hashtag targeting a lot easier and quicker.
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.
Wondering what else you can do? 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.
5. Maintain Consistency
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 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.
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.
6. 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 social media influencer in order to tempt them to collaborate with you. If the bigger influencers seem out of reach, you can even partner with micro-influencers who have small yet highly engaged fan bases.
7. Create a Media Kit
A media kit serves as a digital portfolio for an influencer. Think of it as a way to show brands what you can help them achieve.
Whether a brand approaches you for collaboration or you want to pitch a brand that you’d like to work with, having a media kit will help you stand out as an influencer.
Your media kit should include details like:
- Introduction about yourself and your expertise
- Number of social media followers
- Audience demographics
- Engagement rate
- Previous brand partnerships and testimonials
- Collaboration options
You can easily create an impressive media kit online with real-time data and analytics using a platform like MediaKits.
It offers multiple customization options to ensure that your media kit reflects your personal brand perfectly.
Here’s what my media kit looks like:
You can use it as a reference.
Additionally, you can also build a website to add credibility to your image and help you win the trust of your target audience. It is easy to build one using website builders like WordPress.
8. 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.
You can use customizable templates from VYPER for your giveaway. This will save you time and effort in creating and running your giveaway.
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 host giveaways and contests to keep your audience engaged.
VYPER can help you with both contests and giveaways starting from the designing aspect to the kind of incentives to provide. Use this tool to take your social media contests and giveaways to the next level.
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.
9. 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.
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.
How Do I Become a Social Media Influencer?
Influencers come from all corners of the earth, and from different industries. Mega celebrities like movie stars, musicians, and sports stars all use social media, but their initial fame doesn’t come from being on social media.
Social media influencers come solely from marketing their social media, with it being their main source of exposure.
The question is, with the rising number of social media influencers, how does one become a social media influencer?
Most of the advice given for becoming an influencer stays the same, with a few extra things to consider.
1. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
Becoming a social media influencer doesn’t just mean picking a social media platform and posting content.
Your best bet is to try to focus on one or two social media platforms, at least at the beginning. Spreading yourself too thin will make it harder to create high-quality content and market it.
To make sure your social media profiles are perfect for growing your audience, you need to:
- Get a business or creator account.
- Create an eye-catching bio and profile.
- Get a professional profile photo taken.
- Use pinned posts and highlight functions.
Hikari Murakami is a micro-influencer who mostly posts about fashion, cosmetics, and food.
Her Instagram profile is an excellent example of a well-optimized profile.
She has a nicely lit, professional headshot for her profile picture. Her bio gives you an overview of her personality, what she likes, and an Instagram link to her shop’s Instagram account.
She also has a smart bio link to all of her other social media profiles and online shop.
2. Post on Your Social Media Account Regularly
Millions of people post content on social media every day, which makes it harder for a social media influencer to stand out among the crowd.
As we’ve mentioned before, posting high-quality content is one way of standing out. But for social media influencers, it’s also important to be posting regularly, at specific times. Knowing what times to post on Instagram is important.
Once you’ve found the best time to post for your target audience, posting regularly at the same time is the best way to keep your engagement rate up. It also tells Instagram’s AI that your content is high quality. Which means it may rank your content higher in its search engine rankings.
For more info on when the best time is to post on Instagram, click here.
3. Boost Your Posts for More Exposure
Most social media platforms allow you to boost a post for a selected period of time, with a target audience in mind, for a price.
Boosting a post is a great way to get your social media profile some exposure to an audience that might be interested in your content.
When trying to grow your social media account, you’ll need to be focused on specifically gaining followers, which means you’ll need to boost a post that’s been created with the sole purpose to get new users to click and follow your social media account.
This includes using relevant hashtags, following a trend, or creating a giveaway or contest that gets people to follow you, like the post, and share it.
If you want to know more about how to grow your Instagram account, check out 8 of the best ways to get more Instagram followers.
4. Create or Follow Trends
Lastly, social media influencers are experts at following and creating trends that peak their followers' interests.
To be a successful social media influencer, you’ll need to be quick when a new trend emerges. The faster you create content regarding the trend, the more engagement you’ll get, as well as be able to get some new followers possibly.
Once people’s social media feeds are flooded with a specific trend, they won’t be as willing to engage with the posts anymore.
Just think back to any trend and how quickly it faded.
That being said, creating a viral trend is even better than simply following one, but will only really be possible once you have a large enough following.
What are the Perks of Becoming an Influencer?
Want to know the benefits of being an influencer? Well, that’s what we will discuss in this section.
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.
What are 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 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 platforms 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 a social media 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.
Q1. How can I become an influencer?
A. Interested in becoming an influencer? You must first choose a niche in which you are interested and have expertise. Then, you need to make a name for yourself in your niche by posting great content and building a significant following. Once you have a decent number of loyal followers, you can then reach out to brands with your pitch to land brand collaborations.
Q2. How can I become an Instagram influencer?
A. Apart from the steps mentioned above, there are a few more things that you should do to become an Instagram influencer. First, you should have a creator account on Instagram. Second, you should introduce yourself in your bio and let brands know that you are available for collaborations. You should also provide your contact details to make it easier for brands to contact you for collaborations.
Q3. How can I become an Amazon Influencer?
A. Before becoming an influencer on Amazon, you must first have an Amazon account, along with an account on any of these: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. To sign up for the social media influencer program, you will need to link your social media account to your Amazon account.
After that, you can create your Amazon page where the products that you recommend will be shown. You can promote your Amazon page by sharing the link with your followers on social media and other platforms.
Q4. How long does it take to become an Instagram influencer?
A. There is no guaranteed timeframe within which you can become an Instagram influencer. For some, it may take years to build a loyal follower base, while others may achieve it in a much shorter span of time. The key is to have a specific niche and a significant and loyal following to become an Instagram influencer.
Q5. How can I become an influencer marketer?
A. You can reach out to influencers and collaborate with them for influencer marketing campaigns to become an influencer marketer.
Q6. Is it worth being an influencer?
A. Yes, becoming a social media influencer can become a sustainable and well-paying career option for you, just as it is for so many others. If you succeed at making a living being an influencer, it is definitely worth the time and effort that you put into it.
Q7. How does an influencer get paid?
A. Influencers work with brands to promote their products in exchange for some compensation. This could either be monetary compensation or free products/services. Influencers can negotiate their payment terms directly with the brands that they work with.
Q8. How do I become a social media influencer?
A. Becoming a social media influencer takes a lot of work and insights into social media.
Here’s how to become a social media influencer:
– Pick a niche.
– Choose a social media platform.
– Create a great looking profile picture and bio.
– Create high quality content.
– Post regularly at specific times.
– Work with collaborators.
– Boost your posts.
Ready to Become an Influencer?
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.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to become an influencer? Share your views in the comments section below.