In this article, we will discuss what an influencer is, how to become an influencer, the things needed to be an influencer, and how influencers find brands to collaborate with.
WHAT IS AN INFLUENCER?
A very basic definition for an influencer according to Merriam-Webster is, “a person who is able to generate interest in something (such as a consumer product) by posting about it on social media”.
More specifically, an influencer is an individual who has a niche audience on one or several social media platforms and actively engages with followers. The influencer has the ability to affect the audience’s purchasing behaviors because of their knowledge, authority, and expertise on a topic.
An influencer has built a reputation with their followers and engages with them genuinely to earn their trust and promote products based on their interests.
The term social media influencer can be separated into different types and in multiple ways. Influencers can be grouped by the number of followers, types of content, and by their level of influence. Here are a list of different types based on these categories:
Number of Followers
- Mega Influencer– More than 1M followers
- Macro Influencer– Range between 40K and 1M followers
- Micro Influencer– Range between 1K and 40K followers
- Nano Influencer– Fewer than 1K followers
Type of Content
- Social Media Posts (Instagram, TikTok, Twitter)
Level of Influence
- Celebrity-many fans and large social media following
- Key Opinion Leaders-industry experts (journalists, professional advisors, academics)
- People with Above Average Influence– built reputation online as an expert
Now that you know what an influencer is and the various categories, let’s take a look at how to become an influencer.
HOW TO BECOME AN INFLUENCER
Influencers are a recent phenomenon that has taken social media by storm and has quickly become a lucrative way to earn an income for some. If you have your sights set on becoming an influencer, read on to discover what strategies will help you become a social media influencer. Here are the strategies needed to start your journey:
- Select a Niche
The first thing you will select in becoming a social media influencer is your niche. Your niche should be something you are interested in and can consistently create content about. You should also have some level of expertise and knowledge in this area to establish your reputation in the field.
Choose something that you are passionate about and will remain interested in researching and posting content for. You want to select 1-2 categories that fit with the image you want to portray to your audience. There are several categories to choose from and that combine nicely with each other for target niches.
Here are a few niche categories to choose from:
- Health and Wellness
Anna Edit has positioned herself as an influencer in the fashion and beauty categories. Anna is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare.She shares all her secrets on YouTube, a website, and Instagram. She has 479K followers on Instagram and 495K subscribers on YouTube.
- Choose a Platform
Depending on your niche, choose a social platform that will optimize your presence online. Some channels will be a better fit for your content and target audience than others. Focus your efforts on 1-2 social platforms and then perfect your profile. A few tips for optimizing your profile are: switch to a business account, create an engaging bio, and use a quality profile picture.
As a food influencer, you want to deliver high-quality engaging visual content to your audience. Instagram would be a great platform to share photos, reels and stories about food and restaurants. A platform such as LinkedIn would not provide the same benefits to followers that Instagram can achieve.
- Create a Content Strategy
Once you have established a niche category and the platforms you will focus on, it’s time to develop the content strategy. What is the purpose of your posts (awareness, informational, etc.)? What tone and voice will you use in your posts? What elements do you plan to include? How will you set yourself apart from other influencers in your niche?
The content is crucial to your success as an influencer. It should have meaning and be of value to the audience. It is important to publish high-quality content that is authentic and relevant to your target audience to keep them engaged.
For instance, Esther Inman has developed a content strategy that targets moms, military spouses, and women who want to work remotely as a virtual assistant. Her voice and tone are down-to-earth and sometimes sarcastic, but relatable to everyone in her fan base. Esther has 47.2K Instagram followers and has helped 5000+ learn remote skills to work online.
- Be Consistent
Consistent posting is key in becoming an influencer. The content strategy should include a schedule with posting frequency. Social media algorithms prefer accounts that post regularly, especially Instagram. So whether you choose to post daily or weekly, stay consistent. In addition, choose days and times that posts will be most visible by viewers. Each social platform has specific days and times of the week that accounts receive maximum engagement. In turn, boosting your reach and number of followers.
Fashion influencers recently participated in a one-week outfit challenge. The challenge consisted of the influencer posting daily about their outfit choice for each day of the week. Instagram users anticipated a daily post and began following influencers that matched their style.
- Engage with Your Community
To establish yourself as an influencer, you must engage with your community. Respond to comments or DMs, ask for feedback, or pose questions to your audience to entice responses. Your audience wants to interact with you and the best way to do that is to engage them in conversations.
You can also post in other communities that are similar and tag other influencers to grow your audience. You can even start a Facebook group specific to your niche to capture more followers.
HOW INFLUENCERS FIND BRANDS TO WORK WITH
There are several ways that an influencer can find a brand to collaborate with. Here are just a few to think about on your journey to becoming a social media influencer.
- Contact Brands Directly
This could be local businesses or large scale conglomerations. Either way, to build a relationship with a brand it is best to reach out personally to them and let them know that you are looking to collaborate with their brand and why you would be a good fit for them. You may need to do a Google or LinkedIn search to find a public email for collaborators or influencers. Make sure you have a pitch and MediaKit ready to go!
- Influencer Apps/Platforms
There are a variety of platforms or apps that are available to influencers to assist with matching them to brands. Most of these are two-way, meaning that a brand can also search for you, the influencer, to collaborate with. Check out a few of the options to get started!
- The Cirqle
- Google Search
A good old-fashioned Google search for a brand can help you identify brands in your niche that work with influencers.
Here’s what I recommend searching by:
- “Opinions are my own” + Niche
- “Sponsored by” + Niche
Change the word “Niche” to whatever category you would like to research. Google will pull a list of sponsored content from brands that have recently worked with influencers.
- Tag a Brand in Posts
Another way you can work at becoming an influencer for a brand is by tagging them in posts that you are using their product or service. If they take note, and like your content, they may just reach out with a collaboration package.
What does an influencer do?
An influencer can provide different opportunities for different brands. An influencer can be the face of a brand, educate consumers on products or services, impact consumer purchasing decisions, create brand awareness, and share knowledge or expertise in a specific field.
Who are the most popular influencers?
The most popular influencers are going to depend on the niche you are looking at and the platform. Here are a few current influencers who are making waves on Instagram!
Brazilian comedian with 57.9M followers.
Makeup artist with 50.1M followers.
Venezuelan-American actress, singer, and model with 47.7M followers.
How do influencers make money?
Influencers are continuously branching out in ways to make money. Here are a few of the top ways that they can earn a living: brand ambassadorship, sponsored content, affiliate marketing, digital products, and developing product lines.
Becoming an influencer on social media is a process that takes time and effort. It doesn’t happen overnight. However, implementing a few strategies and finding the right niche allows anyone to have the opportunity to become an influencer and start making money online.
In this article we discussed what an influencer is, how to become an influencer, and the ways an influencer can find brands to work with. Share your comments and suggestions in the section below.