The advertising industry has long used celebrity endorsements to promote products or services. With the rise of digital marketing, this strategy has expanded to include not just celebrities but also bloggers, Instagrammers, and YouTubers with a large enough social following to impact and even dictate purchasing decisions.
Influencer marketing is skyrocketing, with marketers polled by Tomoson rating it as their fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, surpassing email marketing and organic search. Consumer data confirm this trend. As per a report from Mergein, 70% of Millennials claim to be more influenced by bloggers than celebrities. Furthermore, the influencer marketing industry is estimated to be worth $10 billion by 2020.
With such statistics, it is natural that more and more people get interested in becoming an influencer. If you also have such aspirations but are unsure how to proceed, read on.
What follows is not a comprehensive guide as the topic is wide and complex. However, these basic tips will help you lay the foundation of your influencer career. Build on that knowledge, keep up with the industry trends, be consistent and patient, and you will be able to successfully monetize your social media network and accounts.
Pick your niche
Your first port of call on the journey to becoming an influencer is to find your niche. This will help you streamline your target audience and tailor your content to suit its preferences.
Make sure you choose a niche that allows you to showcase your strengths. Just because someone else is doing something with success doesn’t mean you could, too. The key to becoming an influencer is finding an area in which you have a good deal of knowledge and interest, something you are passionate about. Are you an avid traveler, a fashionista, a gamer, a talented make-up artist, or a tech enthusiast? Whatever it is, establish authority in this particular area.
Another important consideration is the current state of the market. You should avoid niches that are too crowded or insufficiently popular. Keep your mind open for opportunities outside the main categories. For instance, 25-year-old Karina Garcia became a YouTube star by uploading DIY videos about slime. She has accumulated more than 1.5 billion views since starting out and has over 9 million subscribers. This is estimated to generate revenue of around $2,200 per day ($800,000 a year) from advertisements running on the videos.
So, find your own corner of influence, add your unique approach to it, and, most importantly, stick to it!
Choose your platform
Once you have identified your niche, you should pick the most suitable distribution channel for your content. If gaming is your thing, and you plan to do play-throughs, video streaming platforms like YouTube or Twitch should be your natural choice. If you are a fashion blogger, however, Instagram would work best for your visual content.
You also need to consider the platform your target audience is most likely to use. Millennials tend to use Instagram, while Generation Z seems a little more into Snapchat and Instagram. Entrepreneurs and business professionals, on the other hand, often follow links of interest shared on social media. Aware of this behavior, digital marketing guru Neil Patel actively uses Twitter to promote his blog posts and other content.
Also, you don’t need to focus all of your effort on one platform and ignore other distribution channels. In fact, you should strive to acquire a basic working knowledge of other channels so you can utilize them when needed. If you choose to use multiple social media platforms, however, make sure you tailor your content for each channel.
Develop your content strategy
Creating high-quality content is perhaps the most important part of an influencer’s job. Depending on your niche and distribution channels, you can choose different types of content, such as photos, videos, blog posts, or podcasts. Regardless of the type you create, it should resonate with your audience and be valuable for them.
Try to work on a unique approach, a trait that distinguishes you from competitors. Advertising and marketing professionals call this a unique selling proposition (USP). To promote your influencer brand, you should find your USP and incorporate it into your content as much as possible.
Part of developing an effective strategy is giving your audience the right balance of informative and personal content. One way to do this is through the 5-3-2 principle. With regard to social sharing, this rule means that out of every 10 posts you publish, five should be valuable content from other sources relevant to your audience, three should be educational and informative content created by you, and two should be posts about yourself.
Posting content consistently is another crucial prerequisite for becoming an influencer, growing your network, and boosting your engagement rates. Decide what your posting frequency needs to be and make sure you stick to it.
If you find it difficult to adhere to the schedule, you should get assistance from some social media automation tools like Buffer, Planoly, Preview, or Ripl. They allow you to create your content in advance and schedule the dates and times for posting, freeing you from this obligation.
Engage with your followers
Social media is all about people, and engagement is one of the most important factors for becoming an influencer.
When your followers post a question or a comment, take the time to acknowledge it and respond. Address even negative or critical ones. Other ways to improve engagement is to ask questions in your photo captions, seek feedback, post polls, host giveaways, organize contests, and run Q&A sessions. Also, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and many other platforms allow users to go live and share real-time updates with their subscribers. You should follow similar accounts and engage with their content.
These actions can help strengthen the relationship with your followers, create a stronger sense of community around your brand, and turn casual swipers into devoted fans.
Research and stay up-to-date
All of the tips shared above require adequate research, up-to-date information, and an ability to adapt to changes.
For instance, to choose the right niche, you will need to research who the main influencers in the target area are, which brands are working with influencers in this industry, and where the gaps are. You then need to identify the sort of content driving engagement within this industry.
It is also important to understand each social media platform before you begin to strategize. Research which hashtags stimulate interaction and how often it is best to post on each platform. When are they most populated? What constitutes optimum length for blog posts and photo captions? In what size will your images and videos look best?
Make sure you have all these questions answered when establishing your social presence. Stay updated on the new trends and spend some time looking at influencer marketing case studies, and you may become an influencer sooner than you think.