Influencer marketing is on the rise and seems to have skyrocketed in the recent past. Literally, there’s no escaping the influencer marketing as most brands nowadays are tapping into influencers’ influence and expertise in reaching out and converting new customers, as well as retaining the old ones. The purchasing decisions have changed over the years as most consumers seek product and service recommendations from people who not only have influence but also who are credible and knowledgeable. An influencer is an ordinary person who has gained substantial loyal following because of their expertise and transparency, in the process achieving fame as a result of the valuable information they share with their followers.
Here are the ways to become an influencer.
1. Find your niche
As you embark on your journey of becoming an influencer, the first and most important thing to do is to establish your niche. This is something you are passionate about and which you want to be known about. Ideally, you can’t be everything to everyone. Select one area, be it; fashion, travel, cooking, blogging, technology, etc. And, work to establish authority in that particular area, to a point that people will be able to link your name to that particular niche and be interested in what you have to say.
To do this you will need to determine your target audience, who are they. Then you will develop a unique persona, a semi-fictional representation of your follower, in essence you will need to identify the individual wants, needs, challenges and goals of your ideal followers, and how at your capacity as their influence will help solve and address.
2. Select your channel
As an influencer, you need to establish an online presence, and what better way to do so other than employing the use of social media. The internet presents a great way to connect with millions of people, all at once. You will need to find channels that fit within your niche and target audience. Though this does not discourage you from signing up to all networks. But you need to identify one or two, which resonates well which your niche and target audience.
For instance, Instagran and Pinterest is for millennials, Linkedin is for business executives. Also, look at the type of content you want to post; for videos go with YouTube, for pictures with Instagram, for short text with Twitter. It’s important that the social media channel you select, best suits your content strategy. In addition to this you need to find out what channels other influencers in your industry are using, and establish your presence there.
3. Create a content strategy
The quality and format of your content will determine the chances of becoming an influencer. Content is king, and how your curate, will surely determine if it will sell or not. The format you use should deliver balanced relatable valuable information, express your personality and voice, thus adding uniqueness to the content you produce. You can employ the 5-3-2 principle; out of 10 posts you share, 5 should be valuable information written by others, 3 should be educational and informative written by you and 2 should be posts about yourself.
Sharing information written by others may earn you their attention and end up collaborating with you, also increase your relatability to your target audience. One important channel you can use to flex your muscles and showcase knowledge on a topic and, eventually, your niche, is Quora, by answering questions asked on your area. You need also to plan when you will be publishing your content so as your audience to see it. Look out for the best time of the day, when most of your followers are online.
Focus on one specific sleek and cohesive theme that you will use across all your channels to give your followers a more holistic picture of who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. When sharing the same content across multiple channels, try to customize the message, to make the posts more personalized and not look too spammy on your followers’ feeds and timelines. Remain authentic and transparent, and above all, use the tone that resonates with your target audience.
4. Grow your network
The internet is a perfect tool to grow your fanbase and subsequently your network. As you are in the process establishing your credibility and expertise, you need to be active on your channels. One effective channel on the internet, you need to have is a website/blog. Even though social media platforms seem to be more effective and utilized in delivering and deriving information, you don’t own them. We have seen social media networks suspending and terminating accounts, causing you to lose all of your content and followers.
Blogging can help you get discovered and create a name for you, in addition you can link your blog with your social media accounts, allowing your blog visitors to follow your accounts and share your posts to their social media channels. Blogging can also help you connect with influencers in your niche. Another way to grow your network is to write guest blogs for reputable sites within your niche to help you further establish your credibility and authority.
While at the same, it will help you capture the attention of prominent influencers in your niche, and open collaboration opportunities. Engage with your followers as much as possible, reply and answer their questions. Make your followers feel valued, and strive to develop a relationship with them. Learn to keep everything cool and professional, even in light of negative comments and criticisms.
People tend to follow someone who’s real, accessible and approachable, and avoid those who act all high and mighty and don’t engage with them. Social media channels will give you insights and analytics to monitor your progress in terms of demographics, reach, and engagement rate. It will help you gauge the growth rate of your channels, and shed light on which content formats get the highest engagement rates.
5. Be consistent
One thing that surpasses quality content, it’s consistency. Your followers will follow you as long as you deliver quality content on consistent basis. Having a social media plan and scheduling posts, can help you remain consistent. Instead of manually publishing content to your all your social media channels, scheduling posts can be a great life saver in situation you are busy or faced with a problem that prevents from going online and curating content. When it comes to blogging and social media, being consistent and active, is very important.
Ensure that you update your channels regularly, and don’t opt for random posts. Create a plan or content calendar to give an overview of what you will post, when to post and on which channel to post it. This though does not bar you from going out of the plan to post something when a topical issue arises. The plan only aims to guide you to avoid being dry or not knowing what to post, to a point you end up copy pasting someone’s work thinking no one will find out.
We have seen careers of influencers ending, because they were discovered not to be original. You need to treat your reputation like gold, to avoid your brand building being taken several steps back. Remember being an influencer is not about the number of followers you have on your social media accounts, but it’s how you connect with masses to derive engagement and deliver results. Find a platform that has quality audience to leverage on, and once you find it invest in it and remained consistent.