But could this be the only reason you want to be an influencer?
Many choose to be influencers because they have a passion or talent they want to share with people. Others become influencers to share their knowledge on a particular subject.
Most believe making money as a social media influencer is easy and fun. But is it? Not really.
Becoming a successful social media influencer takes a lot of effort and time. So, if you’re wondering how to become a successful influencer, this piece is for you.
We’ll walk you through the perks of becoming a social media influencer and how to get started as an influencer. But first, let’s define what a social media influencer is.
What is a social media influencer?
A social media influencer is an influential personality on a social app.
Such a social media user has a wide reach with many followers and high engagement. Because of their credibility and authority in a specific niche, their followers start trusting them.
Meaning: people act on the recommendations of social media influencers. For this reason, brands partner up with influencers who, in turn, promote their products, encouraging people to purchase from them.
Social media influencers can be found on any network — Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
Perks of becoming a social media influencer
Being a social media influencer comes with lots of benefits. Apart from making money online this way, you also enjoy the perk of getting a lot of free products as brands hope for you to advertise them.
There’s also the added benefit of online fame.
Additionally, you can enjoy flexible work hours — unlike a 9-to-5 job. Plus, by choosing a niche you’re passionate about, you enjoy your work as an influencer.
If you’re only starting out though, you can start with being a part-time influencer. Move to be one full-time only after having tasted the work and commitment this job requires.
Interested in enjoying these perks for yourself? Read on as we share the steps and traits to be a, well, influential influencer.
Key steps to becoming a successful social media influencer
Follow these 15 proven steps for becoming an influencer in 2022.
1. Pick a niche
Your first step to becoming a social media influencer is figuring out your niche.
A niche is a specific market segment that you’re interested in. For instance, your niche could be athleisure fashion or Lebanese cooking.
In other words, your niche as an influencer is a particular field in which you specialize.
Without a niche, your Instagram feed may not look put-together, and you may not be able to target a specific audience. This can lead to poor engagement which prevents you from building a strong influence.
You can always specialize in a broad niche, such as makeup. Or you can get more specific with your niche. Think: goth makeup. To add, you can also become a social media influencer in a couple of related niches.
For instance, Kate Bryan, a makeup, beauty, and hair influencer, does this. In her bio, she clearly mentions the three niches she targets so both new followers and brands who want to work with her can instantly tell what her Instagram account is about.
2. Choose your main platform
Most brands prefer Instagram for influencer marketing. In fact, 79% of marketers chose it for influencer campaigns in 2021.
However, if you’re more of a Facebook person, know that it is the second-most preferred platform, with 50% of marketers choosing it for their influencer partnerships.
TikTok and YouTube closely follow, with 46% and 44% choosing these social channels for influencer marketing, respectively.
One heads up, though: to be a successful influencer, it’s best to choose one central platform for building your audience. This saves you from wearing yourself thin from using various social media platforms. Plus, by dedicating your time to one platform, you can better master content production.
The question now is: how can you choose a platform to kickstart your work as an influencer?
It all depends on what kind of content you want to create and which platform you’re most comfortable with.
If you’re interested in creating or have some experience in making long explanatory videos or vlogs, YouTube can be a good choice. Similarly, if you love taking and posting pictures of your daily outfits, Instagram can be your primary channel as it’s a visual-first platform.
A good example here is YouTuber Ali Abdaal. The ex-doctor and author creates lengthy productivity videos on YouTube, which is his main channel where he has the most followers. You can also find Abdaal on Instagram and Twitter, though.
If you want to take the same route as Ali Abdaal, master one platform at a time. As your engagement and influence starts picking up, you can slowly expand to other social networks.
3. Optimize your social media profiles
Your social media profiles must be optimized if you want to be discoverable. So, the first thing to do is ensure your handle is the same on all the social platforms you use.
Next, add in all your details. This includes your bio explaining your niche, a link to another platform for cross-promotion, and contact info so brands and other influencers can connect with you.
Finally, add the same profile picture on all social media platforms so your followers can easily recognize you on all channels.
Take a look at how Jeremy Moser has optimized his Twitter profile with a clear bio that mentions what he tweets about. He’s also linked to his course and software application, along with providing a quick intro to who he is.
4. Master the right skills
It may appear from the outside that being a social media influencer is simply posting pretty pictures and getting likes in exchange.
In truth, becoming a social media influencer takes a lot more work, time, and commitment. In fact, you even need specific skills to grow and thrive as an influencer.
What type of skills, you ask? These include:
- The art of creating engaging content: This doesn’t include having good photography and videography skills but also mastering the skill of writing captivating captions.
- Content optimization skills: Optimizing social content means using the right hashtags, keywords, and CTAs in the caption.
- Branding and marketing abilities: You should also know how to design graphics, create high-quality videos, and market your services.
- Communication skills: It’s also important to know how to engage with your audience, other influencers, and brands to increase engagement.
Take a look at Zack King’s videos over at TikTok. It’s clear it’s more than just videography that he has adopted as a skill to create unique content:
Note: even if you don’t have many skills, you can still become an influencer by outsourcing some of the tasks like animation, graphic designing, or anything you’re not good at.
5. Create content your audience wants to see
A key to creating engaging content is understanding your audience. So, recognize your audience and research what type of content they want to see.
Here are some ways to learn what type of content will resonate with your target audience:
- Check out other influencers in the same niche as you: Study their posts to see what their audience enjoys so you can create similar content.
- Follow trends in your niche: People like the content on trending topics which is why you need to follow trends and create unique content.
- Test what can work: Think your audience will enjoy a particular piece of content? Test it by posting. If you get good engagement, start creating more such posts.
- Ask your audience: Either question your audience or host polls to learn what type of content they would like to see. Don’t forget to reply to the comments you get.
- Check your analytics: Use in-built analytics on social media apps to your advantage to see which posts outperform others.
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Look at how The Pasta Queen on Facebook always creates niche-specific content that her target audience enjoys.
6. Plan your strategy in a digital content calendar
Once you’ve figured out the type of content pieces you’ll create, it’s time to decide when to post what.
Mark the days and minutes you want to share content on your social media. By penciling in time beforehand, you’ll be more accountable for posting consistently.
A proper strategy will also help you remain on track.
For instance, you may choose to post videos thrice a week, photos daily, and Stories every few hours on some days. With a content calendar, you’ll be able to follow this plan without any last-minute confusion.
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You’ll also be prepared to timely post sponsored content or prepare beforehand for any particular posts for upcoming holidays.
7. Create relevant and engaging content
As an influencer, your posts should be visually appealing and clear. This means: that your graphics should be clean, and your photos/videos should be high-quality.
Pro tip: if you’re an Instagram influencer, make sure your Instagram feed is aesthetic by creating a cohesive theme for your feed. If you want, you can continue to use the same filter on each photo to maintain the theme you choose.
Take a look at how Sam Ushiro does this on Instagram — all her posts have a colorful vibe to them which makes her feed cohesive, therefore, engaging:
Similarly, for YouTube, create aesthetic video thumbnails. These video cover photos should use the same fonts, and your videos should have the same filter for aesthetics. This way, you can create a brand identity for yourself, which helps make you and your content more memorable for your audience.
Finally, make sure you’re following each social media platform’s posting guidelines. This means it’s not okay to post the same picture on Twitter that you’ve posted on Instagram. Why? Because each platform has different photo dimension requirements. In the same way, different social networks support different video lengths and quality e.g., Instagram’s video size guide is different from the video size guide of any other platform. So it’s super-important that you optimize your social content for the platform you plan to post it to.
8. Post regularly
To win as a social media influencer, you need to be consistent. Show up daily. Post new content regularly.
This helps you in several ways. For one, the more you post, the more you’ll hone your content creation and social marketing skills. You’ll also better understand what content resonates with your audience. And two, by posting with a set schedule, you can set your audience’s expectations. This, in turn, helps you grow your community. Not to mention, the more you post, the higher your engagement.
But how regularly should you post? That depends on the social account you’re posting to.
One thing that helps you maintain your posting consistency, though, is a digital content scheduler. In fact, you can use ContentStudio to not just plan your influencer content but also schedule your content.
Simply connect your ContentStudio scheduler to your social accounts. Then start writing your social posts in the draft. Next, set a date and time for the posts in advance, and the app will publish your posts automatically at the scheduled time.
Additionally, you can schedule posts across various networks in one sitting, even for the entire week or so. This reduces work on your plate and helps maintain consistency in posting for when you’re unwell or enjoying your holidays.
The most significant benefit of this? You don’t need to open your social accounts to post again and again. Instead, you can spend the time you save on engaging with your audience.
9. Repurpose and distribute your content
As an influencer, you need to distribute your content intelligently to make sure it’s getting in front of the right audience.
The thing is: sometimes social media algorithms such as Facebook algorithm and Instagram algorithm etc. can be tricky — often stifling your content’s reach. The solution is to make sure you’re redistributing your content to different social channels. To go about doing this, you will have to repurpose your existing content.
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Repurposing content is the process of reformatting and editing your content to suit another distribution channel. For instance, if you already run a blog, you can crop out snippets and share as tweets or create graphics of the same content and post it on Instagram. Doing so helps you create more content from your existing posts — whether those are in video, text, or picture formats.
Resharing the same content on the same platform strategically is another thing that you can do to make sure your content reaches your full audience.
What’s more, you can also distribute your content on niche-specific social platforms. For instance, if you’re an art influencer who mainly uses Instagram, you may choose to also share your artworks on Behance or Demilked.
Kerby Rosanes is an art influencer on Facebook, Instagram, and other social channels. Look at how he also has a Behance account for his work:
10. Engage with your followers
Engaging with your audience involves more than just dropping a question at the end of your video or in your caption. In fact, you need to get chatty in your comments’ section, and sometimes even in other peoples’ comments’ section.
Instead of leaving one word or emoji comments, try to respond meaningfully though. This helps to drive genuine conversations.
Other than comment replies, you can also engage with your audience by going live. Several social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram enable you to go live.
You can also use platform-specific techniques for driving engagement. Here are some examples:
- Use Stories and stickers to engage your audience on Instagram.
- You can create a group to build a close-knit community on Facebook.
- Make duets to engage with your followers, brands, and other influencers on TikTok
Check out how Cara, @takingcarababies, is engaging with her audience by posting a story of herself encouraging them to send her a DM and share their story:
11. Strategically generate traffic
Another essential step to becoming a successful social media influencer is creating a well-thought-out strategy to attract traffic.
In this regard, here are some tips you can follow:
- Post when your audience is active: You can find out the best time to post for your niche by checking out your analytics. Keep in mind though: your audience is going to be active on different social platforms at different times.
- Post helpful content: When your content solves a problem for your audience, it is likely to get more shares, which, in turn, can increase your followers.
- Share your account in the right places: You can join influencer communities or niche-specific groups and pages on Facebook, for instance, to share your account.
- Boost your posts: A/B test your posts and boost the ones that are doing well to attract more eyeballs.
- Cross-promote your social media accounts: You can also share your Instagram handle in your Twitter bio or vice versa, for example.
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Peek at how Thoren Bradley has shared his Instagram handle in his TikTok bio:
12. Run a blog alongside your social media
For social media influencers, a blog may not be necessary, but it can definitely up their game.
As an influencer, a blog gives you a place to write in-depth posts for your target audience. This way, people start seeing you as an authority in your niche.
Look at how Lise Desmet, a fashion influencer on Instagram, does this. She shares in-depth blogs in which she talks about all things fashion and lifestyle.
Gaining credibility isn’t the only perk, as blogging also helps generate a separate traffic stream. And, if you do your SEO right, you can drive a good chunk of traffic from your blog to your social media.
This isn’t all, though. Blog posts have a longer life, too, as compared to social posts.
Social posts are typically only consumed when posted, and then they get lost in the trenches of your feed. On the flip side, blog posts have evergreen content, and a post optimized for the search engine can stay on the top of SERPs for a relatively long time.
Brands also see social media influencers with successful blogs as more advantageous. Put another way, running a blog as a social influencer gives you an edge over your competitors.
13. Collaborate with other influencers
When two influencers partner up, both benefit from each other’s communities.
To find influencers within your niche, you can look through hashtags, scrolling through your social media feed, or in engagement groups on Facebook and Instagram.
Rather than being too straightforward, starting with befriending folks you want to collaborate with is best. To do so, engage with influencers in your niche in the comments.
But wait, how do influencer collaborations work? Simple. You create content (videos/pictures) with both partners in it, and both influencers get to share the posts along with tagging one another.
Here’s how TikToker Khaby Lame collaborated with singer Jason Derulo who is also active on the same app:
14. Work with brands
Once you’ve gathered a good following, you can target brands as well to get them to collaborate with you.
Just be sure you lay out your terms before collaborating with brands to avoid miscommunication.
For brand collabs, it’s a good idea to have your media kit ready. Research ideas and come up with a unique one that is relevant to the brand you want to work with. Share your ideas along with mentioning how the brand can benefit from the partnership. In short, give the business good reasons to work with you.
Take a look at healthy lifestyle and beauty influencer, Golda Rose’s collaboration with Sugar Bear Hair:
15. Stay updated with industry developments
The final tip: stay up-to-date with industry trends and developments.
Keep an eye out for how influencer marketing evolves or how influencers in your niche work. Also, track algorithm changes and new features added to the social media channels you are active on.
Ready to become a social media influencer?
Remember to start with finding your niche. Then go on to develop a strategy for posting engaging content and increasing your reach.
The key, however, is to be active on your social accounts. To this end, use ContentStudio to plan and schedule your posts and stay on top of your strategy for becoming a successful social media influencer.
What does a social media influencer do?
A social media influencer creates posts in their niche to engage their audience. They influence the decisions of their followers because of their expertise or knowledge in a specific field.
How much money does a social media influencer make?
Social media influencer salary depends on the reach of the influencer. On average, an influencer makes $2,970 per month, as per a HypeAuditor study.
How many followers do you need to be a social media influencer?
You need a few thousand followers to be considered a social media influencer. Nano-influencers have around 1,000 to 5,000 followers, whereas micro-influencers have up to 100,000 influencers.
Alafiya Memon is a freelance content writer and an ardent lover of fries. She creates value-packed, conversational blog posts. When she's not working, you'll find her doodling or reading.