Social Media Influencer isn’t just something you happen to be!
There was a time it seemed to be something you aspire to be, and now it has even escalated from there and become a self-employed business.
Social media influencer business is indeed a content-based business that comes with its own merit to acquire if you want to succeed in it.
The internet surely has started with making random people trending in the world for some funny gig.
But influencers born out of the need for different voices and talents out there. And it has created its own ecosystem where the audience is in abundance.
And wherever the people are, consumers are, the advertisers follow, and hence the business that we see today blooming year after year.
If you are all set to lead the world with something you can do and make a living out of it, well here is the basic plan all you need to start with.
What Is An Influencer?
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Well, this is not rocket science! You already know how the influencers are. You follow them on social media.
Remember, how many times have you checked a product just because your influencer on Instagram or Youtube mentioned it, not even suggested?
You see them reviewing products and telling you about what you should buy.
The blogs you read before buying a product from some “expert” talking about why it is good or bad.
All those Instagram models and content creators who you follow, consume their content and often check out the products they suggest, and even buy them.
Image Source: Shane Barker
Everyone on social media with the following is basically influencers.
These are people we aspire to be, impressed with, take advice from and get our decision influenced.
They have the power to impact our lives in different ways.
We sometimes also consider them tastemakers, fashionistas, intellectuals, thought leaders, consultants, and so on.
So, Who Qualifies To Be An Influencer?
There are no eligibility criteria but an influencer has to be someone with a voice to send out to the world.
They are the people with extensive knowledge about specific topics or at least are the content creators, creating content that is informative, entertaining, or both.
An opinionated person with right information and skill of articulation also can be an influencer.
On other hand, a person with a sense of style and fashion can also be an influencer.
Leveraging their talent, they can develop a huge following with clout in their fields. Since they have an audience base, brands pay them to promote their products.
How Does the Social Media Influencer Marketing Ecosystem Work?
Social media influencer marketing or the system works with the interaction between influencers, brands, and social media platforms along with the customers at the end.
Here’s the process on how it looks like :
Marketing Agencies/ Brands Finds A Right Influencer For Them With Relevant Audience
Image Source: NeilPatel
Small businesses, brands, or online sellers look for an ideal influencer with the following things keeping in their mind :
- That social media influencer must have a significant number of followers.
- His/Her audience demographics should be relevant to the brand products.
- He/She should have higher engagement and active followers.
- That social media influencer must be focussed on their niche relevant to their product.
And many other constraints as well depending upon the companies or often further inquiring about specific platform metrics.
For example, brands would like your detailed metrics for a particular platform, say Youtube.
They might simply ask specifically for how many views you get on your videos under a specific time or overall as well.
Brands search various social media influencer profiles and narrow them down according to their preferences and the above factors.
The idea is to identify the suitable and relevant social media influencer that must relate to the brand organically, shortlist them and start connecting them.
Brand/ Business Deciding Specific Product or Service To Promote
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When businesses have their social media influencer shortlisted to communicate and purpose them for the marketing gig or offer, they first identify which product or service they would want to promote.
Brands might have a large line of products or a variety of products, so they specifically will pick a product to promote through the selected influencers.
Most probably, they might be launching a new product, and that would be up for promotion.
Sometimes, these products also have a particular defined audience, with specific demographics, interests, locations, age, and other factors.
That’s why it is critical that the social media influencer they select must align with these product’s potential audience.
Businesses Approaching Influencers And Deciding Terms
This is the process where brands start communicating with the influencers or marketing agencies that connect with them.
It is always about approaching individual influencers, so they decide the terms depending upon the particular influencer.
Image Source: BuzzStream
They usually connect them through emails, or sometimes to their social media profiles, hardly through calls.
Here they discuss their terms regarding how they want the product to be promoted in influencer’s social media profiles, stories, or videos.
Usually, the brands dictate the promotional strategy terms, however, the influencers do get their say on the grounds of blending the promotion organically with their content.
Here’s what those terms are discussed :
- How brand, product, or a particular service will be incorporated in the influencer’s content strategy.
- Whether and what product they are sending to the influencer for reviewing if any.
- They state whether they are demanding dedicated promotional video/content particularly on their product or it should be blended in organically in their usual content.
- What payment amount they’re willing to offer, or asking the influencers about their rates per brand insertion or dedicated content, their packages and what it will include.
- How long this campaign is going to be for, how many times influencers will have to post, and on which platforms.
- Their specific instructions to follow in order to create custom promotional content for them.
- Any particular hashtags, language priorities, or any other priorities they look for in the post, story, or video.
- How they will track the results of the campaign.
Social Media Influencers Creating The Brand Posts And Publishing Them
When all the terms and details of the deal are decided between the brand or marketing agency with the influencer, the plan is set to motion.
Now, influencers are supposed to follow the instructions and their terms mutually agreed upon on the creation of these promotional posts or content.
Influencers might have already prepared a template on how they usually work with promoted or sponsored posts.
Image Source: IMH
Or they might create some specific additional video to add to their Youtube or Instagram stories.
The content details are already discussed in the emails, however, the communication line is always opened between the influencer and brand.
Influencers start investing, creating content, and finalizing it to publish it on their peak hours of the traffic influx.
Most of the brands demand to see the final product before the influencers publish them.
Sometimes or say mostly they have input to make, any changes they prefer in it before it goes online.
And once all done and confirmed, the sponsored content goes online for the audience to consume.
Audience Interacting With These Promotional Posts/Content
Now, how usually the audience interacts with such sponsored posts or content on their favorite influencer social media profiles.
Well, to begin with, people are quite aware these days about sponsorships and the addition of a proposed product in a youtube video or any recommendations from their influencer.
Image Source: Easy Affiliate
That’s, to say the least. On the other side, since it is highly relevant and helpful for the target audience, they do give consideration.
Especially if there is a great level of credibility mounted to the influencer regarding their very specific recommendation on the products.
On other hand, people take influencers as the tastemakers, reviewers, recommenders, and small media outlets helping them buy stuff that they really need and whether it is good for them, in a way or another.
And that’s how a wide number of people get to know about the brand, product, and services promoted there.
Some Of Them Finally Buys The Product
A particular number of those audiences go further in and buy the product profiting the brands who have invested in this influencer marketing in the first place.
Image Source: Search Engine Watch
This way, this brand, marketing agencies, influencers, social media networks, and the audience plays their part in this influencer ecosystem.
After the process, brands also keep on tracking these influencer marketing campaigns to analyze their return on investment.
It also helps them see which or what type of influencers are the most effective to generate sales for them.
How To Become A Social Media Influencer?
Figure Out Why You Want To Be A Social Media Influencer
Social media influencers might seem all glamorous as it is directly proportional to somewhat we know as celebrity culture.
Fortunately, it is more democratized and real than that.
Influencers, in the true sense, are the creators, leaders, artists, storytellers, entertainers, and entrepreneurs of the world with their own unique voice and a platform.
It is important that you want to be an influencer for all the right reasons, otherwise you wound’t really enjoy this journey and give up before the destinations it will take you to.
Social media influencing pretty much is being good at something and then doing it in front of the people.
So make sure you find the reason why you want to be a social media influencer.
And more importantly, do you have a message worth saying out loud in the world that you put effort into this endeavor.
Identifying Your Niche
If you want to be a social media influencer, and want to escalate a small business of yours, you need to first identify your niche.
You cannot be jack or jane of all trades and master of none.
Influencer marketing works for brands because their influencers gain credibility and authority over a specific set, niche, or type of audience.
Even if you have many followers but a brand cannot figure out how on earth your audience will be buying their product, they are not going to invest in you.
The best way to choose the niche is by playing upon your strengths. On top of that, it works the best if your interest or passion aligns with it too.
If you have different skill sets, many interests, and strengths, it’s alright!
The idea here is to find something that falls under all three categories :
- You should know about it ( strength)
- You must love to do it, even in the future ( passion)
- It should have a potential market ( able to monetize)
Many influencers come from the place of their passion towards a particular skill or topic they have been invested in for a long while.
Don’t worry about being an expert! You don’t have to! All that is important is to create content in that space and grow over time.
Image Source: YouTube
Take what GaryVee says, document, not create what you aspire to be, and share your journey.
You will eventually get there where people start to see you grow and become this personal brand.
Still, to give you some heads up, there are different categories such as :
- Health & Fitness
And then, their sub-categories, even further niches. You need to think of associating yourself to a niche or even a sub-niche, to begin with.
For Example :
Suppose you select travel as your category for becoming an influencer.
Now it is pretty much clear you will travel around, create content such as vlogs, photographs, about places, culture, etc.
But there is so much competition around it.
Image Source: WeTravel
Maybe even better if you choose a sub-niche like the “how to travel with less or no money” concept.
You can also focus primarily on the heritage and culture of the cities.
There must be something specific, stylistic, and unique with the category that makes you stand apart from others.
Don’t Have To Always Limit Yourself With Categories
You also have to understand there are no specific rules here. And you can most certainly mix up two or more categories as well.
However, the categories should align with each other organically, and also serve the same audience.
In nutshell, if you are going with two or more categories, the audience interest of these categories shouldn’t be in conflict or contradiction or say poles apart.
For Example :
If you are a travel influencer, you can surely include fashion or lifestyle into it or maybe food into it as well.
Image Source: Shane Barker
People who like to travel will also love to see fashion-related stuff or food-related things. It is safe to assume that these niches are very well aligned.
And if you think of examples, you will find hundreds of successful influencers doing this.
Make sure to combine niches for which you also don’t have to go the extra mile for creating different content for each.
Create Your Unique Voice
Learning about these categories, niches, and other successful influencers, don’t make yourself caught up in these boxes and ideals.
It is not mandatory to follow these categories and find your niche or style in this analytical order.
The whole point of becoming an influencer is bridging your own unique voice to the world.
Image Source: MIA
It is easy to get around thinking about what niches bring the most money, which niches are most popular or what are the trends and all.
But there is no point if you do not enjoy or really bring the part of ‘you out there with this personal brand.
So, don’t be afraid to experiment. Do your own crazy thing with social media. Just be enough formulated to get monetized.
The Internet is full of weird things because people follow their passion, and connect with other people that love to hang out with them.
So embrace that aspect while you are creating a personal brand and getting into being an influencer.
Selecting Your Social Media Platform
Now, this is an essential step in order to become an influencer.
An influencer is about making a powerful online presence on a social media platform.
There is a whole talk about content distribution and being on every social media platform, and even the risk of being only on one.
Well, sometimes aspiring influencers take that too seriously and fail all over the place by trying to be on all social media platforms.
And most of the time, they reach nowhere.
Content distribution and having yourself on multiple platforms as an influencer, especially in terms of personal branding is essential.
But when you’re starting out, especially focussing more on the influencer part, your goal is to gain the audience, at least a base audience to escalate.
Pick One Social Media Platform To Start With
Whether or if you want to expand to other social media channels or take the distribution path, that’s irrelevant to the fact that you need to first choose only one platform.
As an influencer, you need to lay your ground on one platform, so all your focus goes there.
To add more, it actually depends a lot upon the niche you select, and the kind of content you want to make.
For Example :
Niches that include more visual-based content such as fashion, travel, or photography works extremely well with Instagram.
There you shouldn’t be focussing on distributing your content on Twitter and LinkedIn.
On the other hand, if you give advice on a specific subject like you help people improve their personality or communication, Twitter and LinkedIn could be a better choice.
There are no rules again. It is about which platform your niche and content make the most sense.
Also, what is the mentality and audience type behind these social media platforms and whether they are relevant to yours or not?
You would want to pick Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok if you want to target millennials.
However, when it comes to influencers, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube are the most popular platforms to be the pick.
Scaling Up From Influencer To Personal Brand
Well, as we mentioned about the content distribution, it is indeed important as well but once you start getting traction on one preferred platform.
And even then, your priority and focus should be one platform and then redistribute the content to others.
You can consider coming up on other social media channels as an expansion of your influencer status.
However, you can always choose a certain set of social media platforms to consistently just share and be active in once a while as well.
This is still not always about expanding to all the platforms but only which makes sense for you, now or eventually.
For example :
If you are a fashion blogger on Instagram with rapidly increasing followers and great engagement, hitting milestones.
Youtube is not the platform you should ignore. In fact, it is only going to grow your personal brand and audience on Instagram as well.
Selecting Multiple Social Media Channels
Definitely, you can grow simultaneously on Youtube and Instagram. And it is fine to choose a set of social media channels to grow as influencers, even at the beginning.
But then you also have to see where you are growing the most, what is working for you, and leverage that to grow faster.
It is simple if you are big on any one social media platform, it becomes easy to expand to others and bring that audience on other platforms as well.
You need to focus on your efforts being compensated and set your priorities accordingly.
Prioritizing Your Content Over Anything
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When you are starting out, it is really easy to get hooked on all the hunky-dory and glittery aspects of becoming an influencer.
Don’t get distracted from any negative or even a positive comment.
There are actually hundreds of things at the beginning and further down the influencer journey that will ask for your attention, only a few will be necessary.
Image Source: B2C
But the utmost priority an influencer should be thinking about is – Content!
It is extremely important for you to publish high-quality, unique, and authentic content consistently without a miss.
Content is what makes the audience hooked to you and really appreciate your skill or talent.
With content, there are different aspects you need to take care of –
- Quality of your content
- Uniqueness of content
- Content distribution
- Scheduling the content
- Variety of the content
Now, this is like peeling an onion. Every aspect has further important concerns and work you need to do.
Approach Brands In Your Niche
Once you start gaining followers and engagement on your social media profile rapidly, put more effort in order to approach brands.
What you need to know as a content creator even with 10k followers on Instagram, you can consider yourself a micro-influencer.
Image Source: Amino apps
Start looking for brands in your niche with whom you can work with.
Approach local brands first or people in your circle and tell how you have a highly engaging community even with 10k followers.
Make your pitch about how you can help their business sell more or help them spread the word.
The early you start, the better you learn to handle clients over time. A lot of brands are keen to invest in many micro-influencer rather than going for social media celebs.
Image source: Mention
Look out for local businesses which you are promoting that are related to your niche. You can also promote other online sellers that have just started.
You can charge for putting stories on your profile about their events or shoutouts in exchange for some remuneration.
Most people assume you have to have a large following to begin approaching a brand but that’s not true at all.
All you need to have is an active, engaging, well-targeted audience influx on your profile.
Always Listen To Your Audience
The most effective way to find your way into this influencer journey is by listening to your audience.
In fact, they are going to guide you intentionally or unintentionally through this about what works and what doesn’t.
All you have to do is listen to your audience. By listening here is understanding how your audience is reacting to a particular content you’re publishing.
Image Source: Later
Are they liking it or not? If they do, why are they liking it?
And if they don’t! Why are they not liking it?
However, it is more subtle than that. People who genuinely consume your content will share their criticism or two cents with you.
Even the harshest comments or messages can be encrypted with some direction or step you should think about or at least consider.
See what kind of content they prefer?
- Engage with them in comments
- Observe and analyze the post
- Find the patterns of what kind of posts are working, and why?
- Understand what kind of content your audience truly values
- Ask questions in QnA through stories/videos etc
- Talk to your hard-core fans in messages to get their views.
The Downside Of Listening To Your Audience
It is true that you should always listen to your audience, but only take away the part that is necessary and insightful.
There will be some unnecessary comments or remarks that can get to your emotions or rattle you.
So you need to develop a seamless filter while engaging with your audience, and their opinions.
Especially, find a way to deal with trolls and abusers. And don’t let them into your head. You always have more people to love and care for.
With this being extreme, the simple issue with going with whatever audience demands is :
- Lack of your voice
- No experimenting
- No content that you want to make
- Latching onto the trends
And so much more.
However, there is always a balance you can maintain between your creative endeavors and pursuits, and what’s in the demand.
So, even with the simplest things, you also need to know when NOT to listen to your audience.
Nailing Your Hashtag Game
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One of the most important aspects of an influencer’s life especially if you are building an online presence on Instagram or Twitter is hashtags.
It is critical to use the right hashtags in your social media posts.
Hashtags are what categorize your particular content and make it reachable to relevant users who are interested in it or similar content.
To make your content reach the right audience, you need to optimize your posts with a relevant, effective, and limited number of hashtags.
It is not about the more the merrier with hashtags as most of the beginners make the mistake.
There is a whole lot of strategy behind using the hashtags in the right way.
First of all, never use more than 25 hashtags on Instagram as you might be marked as spam, if especially not relevant.
Image Source: Mediatrix
Use the trending hashtags to come top of the searches on social media platforms.
Nowadays, there are plenty of tools that help you find out top-performing hashtags.
Also, learn from the trending posts and the best influencers on how they are optimizing their posts.
Do not use unnecessary hashtags and never flood your post with just too many of them.
Create your own unique hashtags to brand your content and make it popular over time.
It makes it easy to track your content and get recognition. Even with a broader reach, your followers and other creators will also use your hashtags
Consistency Is The Key To Influencer Success
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Showing up always and consistently gives familiarity to the targetted audience. Familiarity turns to relate and a sense of engagement as well.
Considering your quality of content is really good, consistency is the only thing you need more to become a successful influencer.
Any strategy, investment, or content won’t work if you are not consistent with publishing.
Maintaining Consistency With Your Content
If your audience cannot expect you anytime, and they are not looking forward to you, that means you haven’t built a connection with them.
Consistency is so important that even you can leave the strife to bring the “perfect” content to the audience for it.
Image Source: IMH
So instead of focusing too much on the perfection of content or numbers, just beat the odds of failure with unmountable consistency.
It can literally make things work even if something seems not upto the mark for you or haven’t figured it out.
The key to being consistent is – setting up publish goals for yourself and even put out there for your audience, so they can anticipate your posts.
Then, create a schedule and stick to it. Don’t be ambitious at the beginning. Rather focus on consistency.
Image source: Fanbooster
If you cannot post thrice a week for eternity, don’t even go there. Just post one but make sure that it is consistent with the sunrise.
If you maintain consistency, the algorithm is also going to push your profile and content further and more often.
It will not just increase your reachability and exposure but also engagement rates with your audience.
Using Accountability For Maintaining Consistency
You can use a strategy to make things consistent for you anyway. Like for many people, documenting their life daily is something they promise to their users and fulfill it.
Image Source: Later
You can announce how often you are going to publish content as a challenge to yourself and let the world know.
And now you have to uphold the challenge in the public eye as you have the accountability towards the people.
When To Choose Quality Over Consistency?
Having said that, and all about the importance of consistency, you still need to ensure that the quality of your content never gets compromised.
This is also because you cannot go down from which you already presented your audience.
Image source: MC
So there is only so much you can push to publish on the promised date.
And in this scenario when you cannot offer the quality that your users are used to at the promised date of release, do not publish.
It’s okay to sometimes cannot deliver the content on time and it is going to make you more human.
Provided, you do communicate that with your audience on why you couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to publish it, and when it will be released.
What To do When You Don’t Have Good Quality Content Ready?
If you don’t have any good quality content at your hand, you can always use the story feature on Instagram to engage with people.
Upload some old pictures or throwbacks, put some quotes that you really mean, or share your workspace pictures and even what you’re currently working on.
You can also speak your mind about what’s going on or even why you are not posting now.
Image Source: Regres E
The idea is to engage with your audience in one way or another. You are still maintaining consistency and showing up for your audience.
Also, not everything you put out there could be or should be about picture-perfect videos or posts.
Collaborating With Other Influencers
This can be really helpful for you, especially when you are starting out as an influencer or content creator.
Try to partner up with another influencer in your proximity level of following or accessibility.
Make sure the collaboration means something to you and the other influencers. The best part should be bringing out great value for the audience on both sides.
Collaborating with other influencers will give you access to their audience base.
It is one of the best ways to increase your exposure towards the relevant targetted audience.
The bigger influencer you can collaborate with, the more reach and followers you are most likely to gain.
Image Source: Wondershare Filmora
Surely, in the beginning, bigger influencers are going to be out of reach and hard to collaborate with.
You can always collaborate with other micro-influencers like you even at a small or smaller following.
It is still very fruitful and results from highly engaging content out of it where people are more interested to see.
Build Your Own Website/ Blogging
To push the envelope more, you can always gain some leverage from other growing influencers by increasing your online presence.
Having a website adds up a whole lot of reputation to your influencer status and also shows how serious you are with this.
Having a website from the perspective of marketing and branding is crucial since you are building your own personal brand.
Image Source: Later
As your following grows, more and more people will be searching for you.
If you have an impressive and functional website and people find you within one click, it adds so much credibility and value to your brand.
This is even great for the brands that approach you for sponsorship or promotion.
You can feature all of your works, essential links to different social media platforms, images and other niche-related content as well.