If you’re thinking of getting into influencer marketing – the prospect may seem attractive – after all, you can just upload slick photographs on Instagram, start getting likes and comments, and you’re on your way to stardom, right? Not exactly.
Becoming an influencer is becoming more challenging by the day – Instagram has blown up, and there are too many people trying to get a slice of this cake. Today, if you really want to stand out as an influencer, you need to define a niche, bring something very unique to the table, and have the ability to connect with your audience.
Looking good in photographs, shooting at locations around the world and sharing your meals doesn’t cut it anymore – Influencers now go all the way to get attention, from selling bath water to using their tongue in creative ways – and it is only getting harder from here onward.
In all this noise, how do you know you have what it takes to become a successful influencer?
#1. You know exactly what you offer, and to whom
This is critical in order to become a successful influencer – you need to know your strength – whether it is cooking, styling, fitness or decor – and you need to know exactly where you excel. If it is cooking, you should have a specialty and a unique edge – the same goes for any other niche you pick. Similarly, you need to know exactly what kind of people are interested in your content. This means knowing their age range, gender, geographic location and so on.
#2. Your content is unique and well put together
Instagram and nearly all other platforms are visual in nature, and filters are overdone. So now, instead of just focusing on aesthetics, you need to try and deliver unique value – be it humor or reliable information – you need to have an edge in terms of your content’s appeal.
The presentation comes next, and this means you need to make your content stand out visually. Invest in a good camera if you haven’t already, and pick up some video editing skills as you go along.
#3. You have time for engagement and interactions
You can’t just post content and expect people to start following you. As a new influencer, engagement and interaction will make or break your community standing. You need to talk to people who do follow you, respond to their queries or critique and generally remain positive in your interactions. The more active you are on your social platforms, the faster you will be able to build a community around your brand.
#4. You don’t need to earn money quickly from your social media activity
Successful influencers are those who focus on doing what they love, making great content and engaging with their audiences. Money comes later – and if you’re looking for quick money (or need it) – you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Don’t expect monetary gains from the start and continue your day job or whatever it is you do to make a living.
#5. You are flexible and open to change
Often influencers who start with one type of content end up changing things to meet their audiences’ expectations. If you’re cooking and posting about one type of cuisine, and your audience is interested in more, you have the opportunity to branch out and not only appeal to your existing followers but get new ones along the way.
Similarly, a lot of entertainment influencers today started off streaming video games, and as their following grew, they moved towards general entertainment-centric content to attract a broader audience.
#6. You keep things real
Recently there has been a lot of focus on Instagram vs reality as influencers get criticized for overly glamorizing their life on social media. From fake clouds in photos to skewed beauty standards – social media is becoming detached from the real world and audiences seek authenticity. As long as you can keep things real, you are likely to do well as an influencer of the future.
#7. You can use tools and resources effectively
Finally, since becoming an influencer today requires a level of tech-savvy, you need to educate yourself to use available influencer marketing tools and resources effectively. Whether it is social media scheduling, photo/video editing, social monitoring or multiple-account management – there are software solutions available for all of these tasks, and choosing the right ones can help you succeed.
Before you start on your journey to becoming an influencer, it is important to consider the factors discussed above. Unlike the early days, influencers today need to work harder, longer and more consistently in order to attract and retain an audience. However, the rewards today are greater too, as brands actively seek out influencers for targetted campaigns.
If you’d like more tips on influencer marketing, head over to our Free Influencer Marketing Course section which has useful guides, tips, and resources.