A big shout out to aspiring influencers out there! Here’s a tidbit that will leave you flabbergasted.

Making over 1.2 million dollars per sponsored post, Kylie Jenner is one of the highest-paid social media personalities with over 200 million followers. Dwayne Johnson, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kim Kardashian, and Ariana Grande are among the top – spinning big-time deals. Minting money by wielding power over their community, they are iconized like no one else.

Do you want to join this incredible list ? Then you must read this article.

We’ll take you through all you’ll need to know on ‘how to become an influencer’ on social media networks such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Who is a real influencer?

Are you overwhelmed by the celebrity list in your journey towards becoming an influencer? Well, don’t be.

A real influencer is anyone who holds power to persuade purchasing decisions. This ability can be attributed to his/her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with the audience. By engaging actively with the distinctive niche audience on visual, print, and social media, they influence the follower’s life choices to a great extent.

It could be anyone, from anywhere. They could be a movie star, musician, sportsperson, gamer, blogger, industry expert, academic, or even the opinionated boy or girl next door with a vast Instagram followership.

Types of Influencers

Not sure what kind you want to become? Relax, we will help you with that.

Influencers can be broadly classified into mega, macro, micro, and nano types.

Mega

Seated right on top of the power ladder are mega influencers. They are usually top Hollywood stars, singers, models, and soccer players, who endorse luxury brands. Their marketing power stems from their fame and branding persona rather than actual influence or trust. Though businesses prefer a mega social media influencer for more significant brand equity, the cost factor and risk involved are too high. They usually have more than one million followers on social media channels.

Macro

The next level of power rests with celebrities in their own right, with macro influencing authority over nearly 500K to one million followers on social media. Their social networking is great, and the products they endorse get a fantastic reach. Their strength comes from celebrity status, yet people trust their subject matter expertise and identify with them as the person next door.

Micro

Ruling social media platforms such as Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter are micro influencers, one of the most preferred powerhouses. With just less than a million followers, they have higher engagement rates on social media. Perceived to be honest, trusted sources for reviews and opinions, they garner positive responses from audiences most of the time. Hence most brands collaborate with them to enjoy a notable sales impact.

Nano

With just 1K to 10K followers on social media, a nano social media influencer has a tremendous impact on the buying decisions of his/her audience. Resonating as a friend next door, they hold one-on-one, trusted communication with their followers. Their relationships are much stronger than the other types.

According to the  HypeAuditor report on State of Influencer Marketing 2019, the nano influencer engagement rate is twice as high as that of the others. Since they foster higher brand reachability, the cost per impression and engagement is completely lowered. They are careful about choosing a product or service endorsement because they don’t want to risk disappointing or losing the trust of their audience.

Brands prefer partnering with nano powers, as they cost less than others in the business. They prefer payment in kind or service, to monetary compensation.

Since you are just starting, you can join the nano influencing bandwagon.

Difference between Influencer Marketing and Celebrity Endorsements

Over 92% of consumers trust influencer recommendations more than high-profile celebrity endorsements. Unlike inaccessible, big-shot celebrities, social media content creators are easily accessible, and they engage with their followers on a personal level.

The social community values their opinions more, as they are considered subject matter experts in the domain or category. For example, fashionistas rely on Fenty Beauty reviews from thought leaders such as James Charles and Jovita George, rather than Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty launch talk.

Similarly, when an aspiring fitness freak looks to buy an Adidas sneaker, his purchase decision will depend on honest reviews from local fitness gurus, rather than David Beckam’s Adidas advertisement.

That’s why brands prefer partnering at the micro and nano level to lay hands on the right target niche audience and drive sales.

Ready to get started on your influencer journey?

Make sure you focus on your passion, find your niche, and play to your strengths, keeping your audience in mind. Be your authentic self, yet open to collaborations. This is how you become a successful influencer.

Still not sure how to dip your feet in the ocean of influencer marketing?

Don’t worry. We will handhold you through everything you’ll need to know .

Spread the digital word of mouth

No one can deny the power of a good word of mouth. It is the most cost-effective, time-tested technique that can achieve any marketing objective.

Influencer marketing is the digital word of mouth.

They help spread the good word on brands to their loyal and dedicated followers on social media. As the followers perceive them as niche experts, they highly value their recommendations and make lifestyle choices accordingly.

When Queen Bey stirs a lemonade, the bey hives swarm, buzz, pollinate and procreate. The fandom goes crazy and relents to causes, issues, products, and brands the influencer stands for on social media. Once Beyonce Knowles posted literally less than a sentence on the amazing weekend at Airbnb. The very next Airbnb bookings shot up!

Channels that will help you grow as an influencer

As a social media influencer, you need to choose the right networking channel to engage with your audience. Influencing on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is the best way to monetize brand collaborations and make the most of your audience.

Instagram

With over 1 billion monthly visitors, Instagram is preferred by nearly 90% of brands for marketing initiatives. Instagram influencers are the most sought after breed of content creators. Engaging with Gen X and Gen Z crowd through stories, photos, and videos, the Instagram influencers deliver compelling content with discount codes and call to action (CTA) that enables traffic and sales.

YouTube

Though YouTube garners 2 billion monthly visitors, only 70% of global brands choose to engage via this website that is watched 1 billion hours per day. Frequented by a wide demographic range, YouTube can deliver long-format sponsored videos to drive traffic and conversions.

Facebook

Next in line is Facebook, with over 2.7 billion monthly active users. Providing the most expansive reach, Facebook amplifies marketing campaigns through sponsored and targeted shares. Most brands prefer Facebook as their second channel to execute and amplify content and reach.

Blogs

Posting long format blogs are perfect to showcase narratives that build trust. Reaching a slightly older demographic requires patient storytelling about product attributes, functions, reviews, and benefits. Platforms such as medium, LinkedIn, Wix, WordPress are the best resources for influencers to post their blogs. It is essential to deliver timely and insightful sponsored blog posts to gain credibility and search traffic.

To win the influencer game, you’ll need to be omnipresent to your target audience. So all these social media platforms should be part of your marketing mix. Ensure you don’t leave out other emerging channels such as TikTok, quora, twitch from your marketing strategy.

Understand why social media influencers are in demand

Businesses leverage the incredible potential of influential content creators to raise brand awareness and direct actions such as clicks, sales, conversions, leads, downloads, and subscriptions. They accomplish the following goals by sponsoring the influencer’s online content endorsing brands, products, and services.

Increase brand awareness- By posting compelling content, running referral campaigns, and contests with prizes, they spread the good word about the effectiveness or cost efficiency of a brand, product, or service.  

Reach more audience- They usually have a large follower base on social media channels. When brands use their voice, the message is splashed across the right target viewers. The content reach is amplified further when the audiences engage via comments, retweets, and shares.

Build brand advocacy- When an influencer mentions that he or she is using a particular product, the brand garners much more credibility than any other company-led advertising. So brands leverage the social network of influential personalities to build brand advocates who can spread a positive word of mouth.

Generate leads – Over 50% of consumers trust influencer recommendations on social media and blogs when they make purchase decisions. Right influencers who have the right audience can drive website traffic and generate leads, irrespective of the size of the follower base.

Drive sales and ROI- Collaborating with the right person to create authentic videos, reviews, contests, and giveaways are the best ways to increase sales and ROI.

Ways in which influencers make money on social media

Ever wondered how they make money? Or rather how you can monetize your online power?

A customized social media content strategy that can deeply engage with the audience is a sure-shot way to get the engagement rates and actions that brands desire. Joining the right network can help budding powerhouses like yourself find brands to work with and monetize your influential power.

Here’s how you can generate revenue:

  • Posting sponsored content and display ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Becoming a brand ambassador
  • Posting affiliate marketing content
  • Sharing your Patreon account
  • Co-creating your line of products
  • Selling your merchandise

How do brands find influencers?

A google search is what it takes for brands to find local bloggers and influencers. But the results will be quite generic and not specific to the brand’s niche requirements.

Achieving marketing and sales goals will become impossible if the selection is not made effectively. The influencers should complement brand values and match campaign needs, with the right quality and size of the target audience. It’s important to look out for the right relevance, reach, and resonance before narrowing down the perfect one.

The best way to find the right influencers on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and LinkedIn is by using effective tools. Helping discover the to amplify content and increase brand reach is Social Animal, one of the most powerful influencer search tools available in the market. Top global brands deploy Social Animal to enjoy the following benefits.

  • Sophisticated algorithms that find the most relevant, real influencers and article authors
  • Proactively find influential content based on article and keywords
  • Optimize the efforts brands put into outreach initiatives
  • Deliver the best matches
  • Eliminate fake ones from the brand’s purview
  • Promote content to those who are most likely to share
  • Get instant profile previews, who shares similar brand content
  • Save time by avoiding irrelevant audiences
  • Unlock warm leads
  • Track competitors and keywords

Collaborating with the right person holds the key to increased brand awareness, sales, and new audience reach. Remember to always set clear KPIs and tracking tools before going ahead with the influencer marketing.

Reasons why you must become an influencer

An influencer has the power to make or break a brand. Even if you have the smallest community, you can still wield your power.

Over 50% of customers trust peer reviews to brand ambassador advertising. Over 71% of brand marketers feel that the quality of customers and traffic gained from influencer marketing is much better than other sources. It generates eight times more ROI than other marketing techniques.

Influencer marketing is a strong multi-billion industry and is one of the most effective social media marketing tools. With more consumers staying at home due to the Covid crisis, they take to social media seeking guidance from influencers on lifestyle and purchases.

So, now is the best time for you to embark on your influencer journey.

What do brands expect from social media influencers?

We understand how much you want to become an influencer. Do you know what brands expect from you?

To pull off effective marketing campaigns, businesses must work with the right content creator with the right traits.

If you want brands to find and collaborate with you, make sure you have the characteristics delved upon below. Here are the traits brands look forward to while choosing to join hands with influencers.

Authenticity

It is an open secret that influencers make good money over brand promotions. So the least the audience expect is honesty and integrity in reviews and opinions. Unauthentic behavior shatters trust and ruins the reputation of the influencer. Once branded a fake or a fraud, it is impossible to gain the trust of the target audience.

Engaging content creation

Creating a content strategy that resonates with the audience’s emotion is a trait that every social media influencer requires. Content creators must make sure that they do not plagiarize or copy blogs, descriptions, demos, reviews, how-to videos, live streams, or narratives from contemporaries. Brand storytelling must be deftly handled with integrity using audiovisuals to drive engagement and conversions.

Content marketing to niche demographics

One size fits all strategy doesn’t exist anywhere. People have different aspirations, needs, likes, and budget. To get engagement, traffic, and conversion, brands need to be specific about the targeted demographic. The more you narrow down your specification, the more effective your campaign results will be. Choosing the right niche, i.e., specialized segments of the market for a particular product or service, is critical to achieving marketing and sales objectives. Niche influencers usually fall under micro or nano categories, who create personalized, authentic content for targeted marketing and amplification.

Community management

The greatest asset is his/her beloved community. Nurturing new relationships and positively sustain existing ones is crucial, for, without a sizeable, quality follower base, no brand would want to work with you. Regular meet and greet events, online interactions, and feedback sessions are essential to maintain a healthy relationship with the community. Some even go the extra mile to talk to members who leave the community for various reasons. They make reparations and earn the goodwill of the followers, gaining even more followers and reach.

Trust and transparency

Building trust is one of the most significant aspects of marketing. Transparency is an element that helps build the trust factor. When Liza Koshy posts authentic content such as a Vlog, where she showcases parts of her personal life, like her family, home, travel, etc., she builds a trustworthy bond with her followers. Only then the followers will value and respect her opinions, and it will create a tangible business impact.

Passion

Passion cannot be faked. When content is passionate, it inspires and drives engagement. Hence, you must be passionate about the industry, technology, product, and community. Passion drives the hunger to learn, develop expertise, and keep up with the latest trend in the industry.

Visibility

If you seek to become an influencer, you must know how to draw more eyes on you. You must post engaging content that captures the attention of the target audience and amplifies your visibility.

Brand persona fit

Businesses lookout for influential personalities who fit the brand persona. When the target audiences see that the product/service brand values resonate with their trusted source, they make an immediate connection that blossoms into the trust. This belief will provide enough confidence for the follower base to purchase the promoted product and become loyal customers.

Long term relationships

Brands prefer working with content creators on a long term basis, as it gives them the creative bandwidth and freedom to bond with the product and delivers genuine content. Long term commitments deepen relationships and help influencers deliver more authenticity.

Content tracking and analysis

It’s crucial to measure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to analyze user-generated posts, reach, brand awareness, audience growth, web traffic, lead generation, revenue, and sales. You should leverage metrics such as engagement rate, click-through rate, cost per click, and cost per acquisition to determine the effectiveness of campaigns.

How to become an influencer in any category, any industry?

Doesn’t matter which industry you are passionate about. To become an influencer, make sure you follow all the steps listed below.

Find your niche

Identifying your niche is the fundamental step in your quest.

Don’t know what niche is? Let us brief it for you.

A niche refers to a position or activity that plays to your strength, talent, and personality. Ask yourself the following questions to find the right niche for you.

  1. Who am I?
  2. What am I passionate about?
  3. What’s that one unique trait that sets me apart from everyone else on social media?
  4. What do I care about?
  5. Who can I help with my talent?
  6. Who is the audience I want to reach?

Once you have the answers to all these questions, finding your niche becomes quite simple. Don’t worry if your passion looks common such as cooking, fashion, or parenting. Focus on what makes you unique in the category.

Kristina Kuzmic is a fantastic influencer in parenting and personal growth niche. Her content is refreshing and unique with a humorous sarcastic take on practical, unpredictable, chaotic, and imperfect parenting scenarios.

Showcase your niche

Once you’ve identified your niche, call out your niche in social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Implement a content strategy with a mixture of blogs, videos, photographs, and vlogs, that resonate with your niche audience. Tag other influencers with relevant hashtags that are optimally placed.

Last but not least, you’re going to draw confusion unless you highlight your niche in your bio.

Choose your platform

Gone are the days where brands used to find influencers the old fashioned way – a Google search. It was an uphill task that would take months to materialize. Ironically it would not yield the anticipated result, as the brand compatibility match would not be ideal.

Now times have changed and things have become more accelerated. The best way top brands find the right one is through search platforms such as Social Animal and Tweeple Search.

For Social Animal and Tweeple to choose you as an influencer, you must choose the social network where most of your audiences hang out. It could be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn. Select the social platform that suits your marketing purpose. Focus on building the maximum number of followers and posting authentic content and bio information, with category-specific keywords, and engaging with followers regularly.

Prioritize content creation and curation

Content dictates your influential power. To win the heart of your audience, you must offer honest reviews, demos, and tips, instead of just pushing them to buy a particular product. The moment you begin talking about product features, followers become wary about your selling. That’s when you know you’re going in the wrong direction.

The best way to trigger buying decisions is by establishing subject matter expertise and boosting trust and engagement. Hosting Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions, going live, running contests, and offering giveaways are great ways to engage with your audience in a trustworthy manner. Posting resonating content that discusses pain points, easy ways to sort issues, and personal experiences help build confidence.

Content amplification and curation tools such as Social Animal helps brands and influencers to deliver original and curated content with the right keywords and headlines. This high-quality content will build an incredible following, reach, and engagement.

Listen and respond to your audience

Whenever you post a piece of content, the CTA should invite audience opinion or feedback on your story or campaign. The comment section below your social media posts is the right place to listen to your audience’s point of view. It will give you tons of ideas for your next post or campaign. You can also receive feedback that will help you improve or augment any missing element in your posts.

Responding to every Direct Message (DM) and comment validates the trust that your followers have in you. It makes them feel valued and more connected.

Spending considerable time in the analytics section will give you meaningful insights into your follower’s activities, online behavior, and demographics. Brands usually invest in social listening and social monitoring tools to analyze conversations, sentiments, and mentions around brand elements and products. You can use this data to modify their influencer marketing campaigns ad messaging.

Use optimal hashtags

You can either love them or hate hashtags. But you’re going nowhere if you ignore hashtags.

Research shows that Instagram posts that used more than ten hashtags garnered 442% more engagement than posts that used none.  While hashtag overload will open spamming floodgates, optimal use of relevant and trending hashtags will broaden brand reach. Using the right keywords in hashtags also help search tools like Social Animal find you and offer brand collaboration opportunities.

Post consistently

Capturing and retaining audience attention is possible only if you post consistent, high-quality material. So, first you must create content. Big-time influencers like Lilly Singh keep their audiences hooked by declaring that she would post on Mondays and Wednesdays every week, depending on her schedule. This creates a sense of anticipation, where audiences look forward to what she has to say or offer. Creating a quarterly editorial calendar and content schedule can help you ease out consistency woes.

Collaborate with other influencers

Since you are just figuring out how to become an influencer, taking the help of other influencers in your niche could be highly beneficial to you. It will open up doors to their followers and increase your reach and views. Amplify your content reach by finding key ones in your niche, using content amplification and influencer search tools such as the Social Animal.

Create your website

The website is the face of any influencer or business today. When new audiences hear about you or look at your content, they are most definitely going to run you through a google search. When you do not have your website, it plunges your credibility to a great extent.

Build a search engine optimized website with your niche-specific theme, create content, and display merchandise to increase your trust factor as an influencer.

Final Word

Even the greatest social media influencer did not wake up one morning to find a billion followers! They all started from the nano level and worked their way to billion-dollar deals.

Now that you know everything under the sun, on ‘how to become an influencer,’ go ahead and begin your journey.

Remember, it’s never too late to become an influencer.

Need inspiration? Check out Baddie Winkle on Instagram, who’s been stealing men since 1928!

Author

Christy Bharath is a writer, with 13+ years of content marketing and branding experience. He helps clients tell their stories across industries like Banking, Retail, Healthcare, IT Services, etc. He also trains writers to help them generate authentic and creative content. Christy is a birdwatcher, and he tweets @contentbirder.

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