If you’ve ever wondered how to become an influencer, you aren’t alone. Influencer marketing is on the rise as consumers and social personalities can now get paid to review brands to their audiences, promote glamorous lifestyles, and receive free products and services, including the luxury of complete wardrobes and travel accommodations.
Millennials and GenZ rely on these everyday people to provide valuable information within their realm of expertise. Companies are increasingly setting budgets aside to capitalize on this growing field of marketing. In 2017, over $2.1 billion was spent on influencer marketing on Instagram alone. The demand for social media influencers is anticipated to increase, especially for micro-influencers with less than 100k followers.
Influencers are the credible voice of this generation. Although everyday people, these consumers have positioned themselves as experts in their respective industries, earning the trust and attention of hundreds of thousands of follows, followed by contracts that pay real money.
As an influencer, you can use your voice to share information relevant to your passions or help your peers with purchasing decisions by reviewing products. While it may look like glitz and glamour from the outside, influencers can attest that they are required to be “on” 24/7 to cater to their brands, promotions, and audiences.
Inevitably, more people are looking to explore the world of influencer marketing. Despite the glamour, influencers are free agents who must create content that is both intellectually and aesthetically pleasing. They perfect the process of publishing and promoting content online and learn how to monetize their content. While the role is creative, it is also data-focused. As consumers grow more selective about who they follow, it is impertinent that influencers provide value, remain authentic, and indulge in the continuous task of having a robust and engaged following.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin
So how do you become an influencer in 2020?
First, define your brand, niche, and audience. Your brand should have a unique, consistent voice that reveals to the audience what you want them to know about you. A successful influencer finds a niche, a subject in which they are an expert and are passionate about it. Journalists and thought leaders in a variety of industries have successfully crossed over into influencer marketing by consistently providing valuable information in their niche. Your brand should speak to who you want to appeal to.
Next, choose your social media channel and develop your content strategy. Your voice should reflect the sponsorships you hope to receive, even in the beginning. Consider blogging, guest posts, and curating content from other thought leaders and similar accounts when developing your content strategy.
For influencers hoping to build an audience using career, job, or academic-focused content, LinkedIn would be a great platform. For influencers seeking to post a video or photo-based content such as tutorials, sponsored endorsements, or other content that might relate to a brand or product in a variety of industries, Instagram would be the platform of choice.
Now, you must organize your content so that it is published efficiently. Content scheduling allows you to schedule ahead and prepare in case of unexpected distractions. Your content schedule should have a month’s worth of pre-planned content; a content calendar can ensure your content is consistent and also track your performance and engagement.
“Numbers are hollow. It’s all about community and involvement” – Andrew Steinthal
What’s the best time to post on social media?
Have you ever wondered the best times to post on each social media platform? The answer varies with every social network and the type of audience being engaged. According to an article on the best time to post, “Facebook and Twitter both see high engagement at 9 a.m., whereas one of the best times to post on Instagram is 5 p.m. LinkedIn caters to B2B audiences, with an ideal posting time of 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Pinterest sees high engagement as late as 4 a.m. With many businesses facing a growing global audience, varying time zones have become a growing concern, especially when it comes to the best times to post.
After you’ve created your schedule, it’s time to focus on your followers. Find 50 similar accounts and make them your besties! Get from behind your device and make friends face-to-face. You can host and attend events, or even take a social media class to apply to your new platform. It also helps to learn how to pitch yourself, your metrics, website visitors, and engagements effectively to companies you’d like to pay you for your social media posts.
Speak at conferences, be a guest on a podcast, and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Just keep in mind that it takes time to see success from influencer marketing, as most influencers report months or sometimes even years of hard work before landing contracts. You must be willing to build relationships over time, and not just digitally.
It’s easy to become an influencer as the entry barrier is very low. It’s not so easy to really become an expert in your field. This takes time. Niche down as much as possible, stay consistent and most importantly, have a great vision in place which can change this world for the better.