Influencer marketing is a hot marketing phenomenon that everyone is talking about. It has become a mainstream marketing tactic and is no longer limited to a select few brands or agencies.
Almost every major industry has seen a rise in influencers. And brands are leveraging them now more than ever. Being an influencer has become so lucrative that it’s no wonder that everyone wants to be one in their respective domains.
Steps to Becoming a Social Media Influencer:
Select Your Niche
Before you start on your path to becoming an influencer, you need to first select your niche. You need to choose a niche that you are interested in and can consistently create content about. You should also have some level of expertise in the field to be able to establish yourself as an influencer. As an influencer, you will have to research and post content in your chosen interest area. So, it is important to choose something you’re passionate about and will enjoy spending your time on. Whether you love cooking and trying new recipes or are interested in DIY crafts, you need to find your calling. You could also select a combination of 2-3 interests, but don’t make it too broad.
Optimise Your Social Media Profiles
Once you have chosen your niche, the next step is to select your preferred social media platforms and create/optimise your profiles. Most influencers are popular on only one or two social media platforms. So, it is best to focus your efforts on only 1-2 channels. Once you have selected your channels, you need to either create new profiles or optimise your existing ones.
Things you can do to optimise your profiles:
Switch to a Business Account
If you intend to become an influencer, you need to switch to a business account as that opens up a lot more options. Most platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have the option to create a business account in the profile settings.
Create an Engaging Bio
Your bio is the first thing someone sees when they visit your profile and is therefore an important part of making a great first impression. Your bio should be able to tell your story in an engaging manner. It should also provide all pertinent information about you like your full name, location, contact details, and areas of expertise.
Add a Profile Pic and Cover Photo
You also need to add a profile pic and a cover photo for your profile as they are also important components of your personal brand identity. People often recognise a social media profile by the profile picture, so you need to carefully select a picture. Also, make sure that your face is clearly visible and the picture quality is good.
Understand Your Audience
Before you start creating content and posting on social media, you need to understand your target audience. Influencers have sway over their audiences and strong connections with them. That’s due to the fact that they don’t cater to everyone, but only those with similar interests in the same niche.
To become an influencer, it is important that you know who you’re targeting and then do it well to build a loyal follower base. To understand your audience, you can first start by analysing your current follower base to get insights into their demographics and interests. Most social media platforms have a built-in analytics tool that provides such insights about your current audience. Twitter Analytics, for example, provides insights into your current followers’ interests, genders, locations, among others. Once you know what your audience likes, you’ll be ready to deliver it to them.
Create and Post Relevant Content
The next step in becoming an influencer is to post useful and relevant content for your followers. The more you are able to engage with your audience, the more people will be influenced by your opinions and recommendations. That’s the most important requirement for being an influencer, the fact that your followers actually listen to you. You need to formulate a content strategy and use a mix of content types, preferably the ones that your audience will most like. Some influencers keep their feeds all about their chosen field of interest like food, travel, fashion, beauty, etc. Such influencers don’t mix posts about their personal lives in with their niche posts and keep their content focused only on their niche. Which means that a food influencer might post recipes, photos of restaurant visits, reviews, and even brand promotions. Take food influencer, Audrey’s Instagram feed, for example. All of her content revolves around food and restaurants. She reviews restaurants and food brands, and posts sponsored content and pictures of dishes that she likes. She maintains variety in terms of the types of content, but never deviates from her core area of expertise.
Some influencers prefer to mix in a bit of content from their personal lives, to connect with their audiences better. Adding posts about their day-to-day lives helps influencers seem more authentic and relatable. This strengthens their connections with their audiences. No matter what content strategy you choose, make sure that you make it broad enough to accommodate future brand collaborations. Your sponsored posts should be able to fit naturally along with the rest of the content you post. You can add reviews as a regular feature in your feed, to make way for paid review opportunities that you may get later. Overall, keep your content strategy focused on your niche, but not too narrow. Think from a long-term perspective and start preparing to be an influencer right from the start.
Be Regular and Consistent
After you have decided what types of content you will post, you need to finalise a posting frequency and schedule. Most social media platforms’ algorithms give preference to accounts that post regularly. This is especially true for Instagram, which requires a regular posting frequency for increased visibility.
You can choose to post daily, weekly, or at any frequency that you’re comfortable with. You should also consider the platform before deciding on that. Some platforms, like Twitter, are more dynamic in nature and require a higher posting frequency if you want to become an influencer on that platform. On other social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, you can get away with posting once or twice a week. However, select the days and times that you will post and be consistent.
This study by Sprout Social revealed that there are certain days and times of the week when you can get maximum engagement on your posts. For most platforms, the highest engagement rates can be seen during the late morning and afternoon hours midweek. Wednesday is the best day to post for most platforms. You should check out the best times to post for your chosen platform and build your posting schedule accordingly.
Engage With Your Audience
Once you start posting content on social media, you will often get likes and comments on your posts. For an influencer, it is important to connect with their followers, therefore, you cannot ignore these comments. It is a good practice to reply to comments and answer any questions that your followers ask you. You can also just “like” their comments to show your appreciation.
Another way to engage with your audience is to ask them a question and start a conversation about a topic of mutual interest. Interactions like these help build personal connections with your audience and solidify your position as an influencer.
Let Brands Know You’re Open to Collaborations
The final step towards your quest to becoming an influencer is to announce it to the world. You need to come out and declare yourself as an influencer who is interested in brand collaborations. You can do this by writing in your bio that you’re an influencer and are interested in collaborations. You can also provide contact details for potential clients, giving them an easy way to connect with you.
Another way to do this is by doing your own outreach and messaging relevant brands with a pitch on what you can offer. It is best to design an outreach template that you can use to reach out to different brands, as that can save you a lot of time. There are several influencer platforms where brands and influencers can find each other. You can also use those to find brands in your niche who are looking for collaborations.
These are some of the more direct ways to look for brand collaborations. An indirect way is to tag brands and mention them when you talk about their products in your posts. It’s important to build a name for yourself and network with brands in your niche. This might not yield immediate results, but will help you form long-term brand associations that might lead to future collaborations.