How to Become an Influencer in Just 7 Steps
By Rita Cunha
Influencers may have the most interesting jobs out there—or at least that is what many millennials on social media will tell you. YouTubers, Instagrammers, and influential blogging community members have risen to great fame in the past years. But what do influencers really do every day? And how much money can they make? Today, this article answers all the burning questions you have about how to become an influencer.
What Do Influencers Do?
Influencers use their internet presence to promote products and services to their audience. Today, they are an essential piece of the digital marketing world. When a company decides to do influencer marketing, they pay an influencer to talk about and show off its products. Simple.
Is Being an Influencer a Job?
Most influencers will tell you what they do is a job. Sure, it isn’t the kind of job you would find listed on LinkedIn. Yet, that doesn’t mean it takes no time or effort at all—quite the opposite.
When you are an influencer, you have to handle your contracts and brand deals on your own. You also have to keep track of your finances and taxes as a self-employed worker. Moreover, you need to develop a business-savvy mindset and dedicate a lot of brainpower to content marketing. Not to mention you will be in the public eye constantly, which can certainly take a toll.
That isn’t to say being an influencer is hard, either. After all, it’s a job that comes with a highly sought-after lifestyle. But it’s wise to consider the positives and negatives before quitting your day job and jumping headfirst into influencing.
What You Need to Become an Influencer
All influencers are different, but they all have a few traits in common. These are the resources and skills you need to become a successful influencer.
The first thing you need is quite obvious: followers. Your follower base (or subscriber count) is the first of many metrics to show brands when you want to monetize your content. Micro-influencers have between 30,000 and 50,000 followers. In some situations and for some niches, you could start calling yourself a nano-influencer once you amass as little as 5,000 followers.
But you don’t want just ghost followers. Instead, you need an engaged audience who will interact with your posts by liking and commenting on them. The higher your engagement rate, the more valuable you are to brands and sponsors.
You should know and understand what your target audience wants to see. This is key in digital marketing, which is what you are doing, in essence. Soon enough you will find a formula that works and fosters growth.
Fortunately, social media platforms make it easy for you to see who your demographics are. From there, you can better curate your content.
Great Content Strategy
Without quality content, you can never break into the world of influencer marketing. You can force thousands of hashtags into your posts, but if you don’t have a well-curated feed with interesting posts, no brand will choose to work with you.
Invest time in drawing up a content calendar to keep you inspired throughout the month. Brainstorm post ideas and get creative!
Lastly, influencers need to be well-organized if they are to make money. You need to keep track of brand deals and deadlines at all times. Plus, you need to send out invoices once a project has been completed.
Juggling all this (on top of your day-to-day job or studies) can get messy quickly if you don’t implement a system that works for you. Try keeping a physical or digital journal to organize all your influencer-related tasks and responsibilities. You’ll see this will make a huge difference.
How Much Money Do Influencers Make?
There is a lot of money to be made from influencer marketing, and brand marketers know this! Whereas a few years ago brands “only” paid a few hundreds of dollars per post, today it’s not uncommon for a single post to cost thousands. Or even a million (just ask Kim Kardashian).
Even small influencers (also known as nano-influencers) can make anywhere between $30,000 and $60,000 every year, according to an expert in the industry. Micro-influencers can take home more, ranging from $40,000 to $100,000. And the big players in the game, the ones with millions of followers, clear millions annually from posting on their feeds and stories alone.
How to Become an Influencer in 7 Steps
Does all that sound like a dream? If so, you need to get some pen and paper to write down how to get there.
1. Choose Your Niche
The first thing you need to do if you want to become a blogging or social media influencer is to decide what type of content you want to create. What would you like to share with your followers? This will be your particular niche. Choosing one and sticking to it increases your chances of success.
2. Establish Your Branding
Successful influencers and bloggers have something (or “a spark”) that sets them apart. That’s their personal brand. It could be a persona you embody in your posts or an approach to digital marketing. Whatever it is, make sure you’re putting yourself out there as uniquely and authentically as can be.
3. Start Creating Content
Then comes the fun part: actually creating content for your social media channel of choice. No matter if you’re making a podcast, sharing Instagram posts, Instagram stories, Snapchat, WordPress, and so on, you need to create high-quality content for your followers. Stick to your branding and niche and try to outdo yourself with every new post.
For example, if you’re a travel influencer, you could write a blog post with your top hotel recommendations in New York City. Your travel-loving following will surely be interested in that.
4. Work on Attracting an Audience
Once you have posted the best kind of content you can, it’s time to work on getting people to your page. Most of the time, this will happen naturally on a cycle. You invest time in posting content that is interesting, people find your work through hashtags and reshare it, more people come to your social media accounts, you share new, fresh content. Sounds easy, right?
5. Curate a Marketing Strategy
If you are having trouble reaching a lot of people at once, don’t worry. It happens to everyone. As a social media influencer, you want to break your own records and grow your account every day. To do this, you need a marketing strategy.
Consider buying paid ads on your favorite social media platform to promote your page. Most of the time, tailoring an ad to be delivered to your target audience is easy.
If you’re on a budget, you can invest in search engine optimization (SEO) and find the right hashtags for your niche. You could also interact with other creators in the hopes that they will promote your account for free, too!
6. Monetize Your Social Media Work
After you win over your followers, you can start thinking of monetizing your work. If you’re on YouTube, you can join the YouTube Partner Program to get ads on your videos. If you’re on Instagram, you can reach out to brands to ask about sponsorships and collaborations.
It’s at this stage that you will want to set your pricing table. How much will you charge for each Instagram post and story? Or mention in a YouTube video? This is up to you—but remember that you’ll be able to charge brands more if you have a very active following! Engagement is usually a more important metric than the number of followers.
7. Collaborate with Other Creators
Lastly, keep in mind that, at the end of the day, social media platforms are a community. Therefore, it’s important to engage with other creators. Reach out to someone you admire to work on a project together. It could be a video, photoshoot, or even creating a product. This can open the door to interesting (and lucrative!) collaborations, as well as bring in more visitors to your page.
Can I Become an Influencer Overnight?
If there’s one word to describe the internet it’s unpredictable. There is no template for what things will go viral or become successful tomorrow. Thus, there is a chance you could become an influencer overnight—but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to still work hard to be successful. You have to keep up with your work contracts and content strategy to stay relevant and in business.
Final Words: Is Being an Influencer Worth It?
Being a successful influencer can be very rewarding. You could become one of the leaders in your niche—the person everyone thinks of when they think of the topics you write about. As long as you keep all the cons of being an influencer in mind (for instance, public scrutiny and a loss of privacy) and the job still seems interesting to you, go for it! You could get a lot out of it—and we don’t mean just money.
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