How to Become a Successful Social Media Influencer (In 9 Easy Steps)
Influencer marketing works. That's the reason why it seems everyone wants to become a social media influencer these days.
This type of marketing continues to grow as a real and effective way of advertising and keeping your audience engaged in order to make a profit.
Today, there are over 3.7 billion social media users and the influencer marketing industry is worth an impressive $5 billion!
Keep in mind that anyone can become a social media influencer (if they have the right strategy), but you have to be in this for an extended period of time for it to work. It’s listed as one of the best online jobs for college students for a reason, but realize that it’s not easy.
If you are interested in learning how to become a social media influencer, read on to discover the step-by-step process for achieving that goal.
9 steps to become a social media influencer
Becoming a social influencer takes patience and determination, and you will have to put in at least a year’s worth of hard work before you start to see real results.
With that out of the way, let's get right to the nine steps to become a social media influencer.
1. Choose a niche
Your first step is to choose a specific niche. This step is a must, and without it, you will have a hard time building an audience of engaged people who are interested in your message.
Without a defined niche, it won't matter what other advantages you have because you’ll have to compete with everyone for your audience’s attention. Also, you will be speaking and marketing to everyone, which will ultimately result in you actually reaching no one.
To choose your niche, ask yourself:
- What do you love?
- What are you good at?
- What are you passionate about?
- What are your interests?
- What weird quirks do you have?
- What do you enjoy?
For instance, if you have always been into fitness and working out, then it makes sense for you to become a social media influencer who empowers and motivates others about their fitness goals.
Any of these things can become valuable assets in helping you naturally attract an audience of like-minded people.
Make sure your choice reflects your personality because that's the only way people are going to relate to and trust you and your words.
People recognize energy, and if you don't believe in what you're doing, they will be able to pick up on that and you will lose your audience.
But, when people recognize your true passion for the work you do, it makes it a lot easier for you to attract an audience and maintain engagement.
Regardless of the niche you choose, make sure that your topic is something that you truly enjoy. This is important to your eventual success because it will inspire you to keep going when things are hard —even if only for the fact that you enjoy what you do.
2. Choose your main platform
As a social media influencer, there are tons of different channels that you can use, including:
- Tik-Tok, and more
Before you begin your campaign to become a social media influencer, you need to get your presence on the profiles you choose. You can use a variety of social networks, but you must choose one main platform where you are going to focus most of your content. You can still be active and engage on other networks, but most of your efforts will go into this one social media channel.
There are many factors to consider when selecting the right social media networks for you. First, look at other influencers in your niche and identify which are their main social media platforms.
Similarly, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and all the other major social media networks can be suited for different influencers depending on specific factors such as:
- The audience you want to target
- The channels that other influencers in your niche mainly use
- The kind of content you will create
- How comfortable you are in front of the camera
- How good you are at creating engaging written content
Generally speaking, YouTube is a good place to start for most influencers as it’s been around for some time, can be very lucrative, and has a very established foothold on the internet. If you’re worried about spending a lot of money to launch your channel, like many first-time YouTubers, consider a YouTube Intro maker to get started.
Consider each of these factors to help you determine which social media platform is best for you to use as the central channel to broadcast your message.
3. Define your audience
Along with choosing the right niche, your success as a social media influencer also depends on finding the right audience or community to support you.
Without followers, fans, or subscribers, your brand will be worthless on social media. So, before you start posting on your chosen social media platform, you need to define your target audience.
You want to focus on those people and communities who will be the fuel that powers your brand on social media.
Your ideal audience will depend on the type of market you are in. For instance, if you are a business influencer and your goal is to educate others with course licensing programs, your audience is likely to be on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. If there are business-related videos, you may find them on YouTube, as well.
For lifestyle influencers, you will probably find your audience on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
Here are the steps to take to define your audience:
To find your ideal audience’s demographics, ask questions such as:
- What is my target audience’s age and gender?
- Where do they live?
- How internet savvy are they?
To figure out your target audience’s challenges, ask and answer the following questions:
- Do they know about your product or brand?
- If so, why wouldn't they use your product?
- Or why aren't they using it as much as you'd like them to?
Think of all the barriers that may be leading to this.
To discover your intended audience's motivators, come up with answers to the following questions:
- What about your product or brand would encourage your target audience to engage with you?
- What about your product would make them want to use it?
#4: Pain Points
Is there anything about your product or brand that might frustrate your audience? Make a list of any and all such potential pain points.
#5: WIIFM (What's in It for me?)
This question is all about why your customers should consider using (or continue to use) your products or services. You should be able to make it clear what's in it for them.
By considering all the factors above, you will be able to hone in on your target audience on social media where they are already hanging out.
4. Develop a content calendar
As a social media influencer, you have to consistently create valuable content that your audience (and search engines/social media algorithms) will love.
People value commitment and consistency in social influencers. You need to show up every single day with a consistent message and produce useful content that is relevant to your audience.
Once you know what type of content you need, you must develop a content calendar to help you consistently create content.
Some of the work for developing a content calendar will be done already in the previous step.
By answering the questions above, you will not only be able to identify your target audience and where they’re likely to be convening on social media, but you will also be able to determine the best type of content that will help you create an effective influencer campaign to market your brand successfully.
Below are a few tips to help you develop an effective content calendar for your social media influencer marketing strategy:
- Create and give away high-quality content that’s packed full of value
- Plan your content marketing strategy for social media by mapping out your goals and the type of content that works best to help you achieve them.
- Decide on a posting frequency on each social media platform
- Choose the best times to post your content where you are likely to get the most engagement from your audience.
- Choose the right social media management tools to develop your calendar. Or you can create your own Excel-based calendar.
- Fill up your calendar with a variety of content formats, topics, types of posts, etc. Include information on the sites where you'll post the content, along with times and dates.
- Finally, you can schedule your posts. This is different from creating a content calendar because this process involves actually setting up the queue for your content to get posted on social media at preset times using automated tools like Buffer.
5. Strategically generate traffic
The more traffic you can generate on social media, the bigger an influencer you will become. As your following grows, other people will follow you, too, and you will be able to leverage the power of social proof to reach an even bigger audience of fans and followers.
However, in the beginning, you need to find ways to strategically generate traffic so you can get the momentum going.
Here are a few easy, yet effective ways to generate more social media traffic:
- Make it easy to share your content so your audience can share it with their networks
- Tag others and use the right hashtags to increase your visibility
- Install proactive customer service tools like a chatbot on your social media profiles
- Post your content during times when your audience is most active
- Consistently interact with your audience and provide tons of value
- Invest in social media advertising to expand your reach
- Write creative and compelling calls to action
- Engage with other industry influencers to boost your authority and credibility
- Establish good media relations that will elevate media publicity and promotion
- Mention social media accounts in emails: newsletters, welcome messages, outreach templates, etc.
- Add plenty of eye-catching visuals, including images, videos, infographics, etc. to make your content stand out and increase engagement and shares
- Consider engaging your brand in other places like hosting webinars, audio podcasts, video interviews, and more.
6. Collaborate with other influencers
Collaborating with other influencers in your niche allows you to gain fans from their communities.
Influencers on social media have a huge reach that often extends to the millions, and working with them can help expose your content to a massive brand-new audience and drive even more traffic to your profiles.
There are many different ways you can work with influencers in your niche.
One way is to pay them to promote your content or products. But, this can be hard when you are just starting out.
Engaging organically might be the best and most effective way to help you build your own audience. To do this, simply ask them to share your post anytime you publish something that's share-worthy.
To boost your chances of success when using this strategy, you can feature influencers in your content by covering their stories, doing interviews, or creating expert roundup articles. Then, tag them when you share the post and the influencers are likely to want to share it with their own networks.
So, for instance, on Twitter, you might gather different tweets from expert marketers, and then create a post on “expert marketing tips”. Once you tag the influencers, it's likely that they will retweet the post to showcase it to their own audiences.
This type of strategy is not something you do once and you're done, but rather you need to do it often so you can continue to gain fans from other influencers' communities.
7. Engage your audience
This is a big one because if you don't consistently engage with your audience on social media, they’re likely to lose interest in your business and brand.
Your content is an important part of your influencer marketing strategy, but without engagement, it won't matter how good or insightful the content is.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube want to see people engaging with your content. It sends them a strong signal that you are posting things that your audience actually wants to see, which gives your content and your activities on social media (such as promotion and advertising) the necessary social proof.
In turn, the algorithm on each social site will surface your content to more people who are interested in the same subject.
It becomes like a snowball effect where the more engagement you get from your content the more people get to see your content, which helps you generate even more engagement, and so on.
Also, brands looking for influencers to help them carry out their social influencer marketing campaigns want people who can push their followers to make purchases (or follow the brand, too), instead of just silently observing the promoted content.
To have this type of impact as an influencer, your audience needs to feel like they know you. You need to let them know that you appreciate them and always thank your fans for their support.
8. Make it easy for brands to contact you
Another important tip to help you grow as a social media influencer is to make it super easy for brands to find and contact you.
As you can see from the chart below, there’s money to be made, in every industry and on every social media channel - but only if the brands can find you.
Different brands find influencers on social media using different methods.
To find influencers on YouTube, brands might conduct Google searches for relevant influencers in the niche. For instance, they might google "top YouTube accounts for [niche]", or something like that.
To find influencers on Instagram, brands might use a tool like Iconosquare, an analytics tracker that helps them see how relevant and engaged a particular influencer’s audience is.
Alternatively, they could search for relevant hashtags on the platform to see which accounts pop up that have the best engagement rates.
To find influencers on LinkedIn, they might search for relevant keywords, posts, and locations.
On Twitter, they might use the advanced search tool, and on Facebook, they could search for the admins of groups with high engagement rates.
No matter where brands find you, make it as easy as possible for them to contact you by making sure your contact information is clear and visible.
Write a compelling bio that announces to brands that you are an influencer and that you are open to collaborations.
If potential clients have to search for ways to contact you, it's likely that they will give up and go with a different influencer.
9. Over-deliver on brand partnerships
When working with brands, always go above and beyond expectations in order to encourage more bookings from that brand.
Brands love to work with social media influencers who deliver immense value, and anytime you over-deliver on your brand partnerships, you make it more likely that they will want to work with you again.
This is a powerful tactic that also puts the powerful law of reciprocation in your favor. When you provide value for a brand, they are compelled to want to do something for you in return.
This tactic also works great when dealing with your audience.
Although sometimes, you may come across skeptical people who may think you are only giving out valuable content because you expect something in return, when you're consistent and genuine in your intentions, over time, your audience will start to trust and appreciate that you really are just thinking of them.
And when the time comes where you do ask for something (such as their email address), they will be compelled to give it to you.
Become a social media influencer in 9 steps [recap]
Becoming a social media influencer takes time and effort. However, by following the steps outlined in this article, you'll be well on your way to building a massive audience of engaged fans and followers for life:
- Choose a niche
- Choose your main platform
- Define your audience
- Develop a content calendar
- Strategically generate traffic
- Collaborate with other influencers
- Engage your audience
- Make it easy for brands to contact you
- Over-deliver on brand partnerships
What other tips for becoming a social media influencer can you add to this guide? Share your thoughts in the comments below!