In an era where social media reigns supreme, becoming a social media influencer can be a rewarding career or a side hustle. With the power to sway the opinions and buying habits of large audiences, influencers are sought after by brands big and small. However, the road to influence isn’t as straightforward as it seems. It requires strategy, persistence, and a lot of creativity.
Why Should You Consider Social Media Influencer as a Career?
Social media influencers have the power to make a real impact. They can help shape the conversation around specific topics, create brand awareness, and even drive sales. Influencers get to be their own boss and work on their own terms. The influencer marketing industry is growing fast.
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Number of Social Media Users
Social media use is a prevalent online behavior. In 2021, the number of social media users globally was over 4.26 billion, a figure anticipated to rise close to six billion by 2027.
Primary Users of Social Media
The usage of social media networks is a favorite digital pastime around the globe, with its proliferation constantly on the rise in all regions. As of January 2020, about 49 percent of the global population used social media. This statistic is projected to climb as emerging digital markets parallel more developed regions regarding infrastructure growth and access to affordable mobile devices. Indeed, the surge in global social media usage is primarily fueled by the escalating use of mobile devices. Eastern Asia, a mobile-first market, leads the world in mobile social media usage, with established digital heavyweights like the Americas and Northern Europe following closely behind.
Time People Spend on Social Media
Social media is an essential part of everyday internet use. On average, internet users devote 144 minutes daily to social media and messaging apps, reflecting an increase of over thirty minutes since 2015. Internet users in Latin America clocked the highest average daily time spent on social media.
Different Social Media Platforms
Facebook, the market leader, was the pioneer social network to exceed one billion registered accounts. It currently claims approximately 2.7 billion monthly active users, solidifying its position as the most widely used social network globally. As of June 2020, the most downloaded social media apps from the Apple App Store included mobile messaging platforms WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, along with the consistently popular mobile version of Facebook.
9 Easy Steps to Become a Successful Social Media Influencer
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you on your journey on most social media platforms.
1. Choose a Niche
Starting your journey as a social media influencer begins with choosing your niche. This critical step will guide your content and help shape your online persona. Here are some simple steps to find your perfect fit.
Identifying Your Personal Interests
Begin by pinpointing your passions. What interests you? What could you talk about endlessly? Your passions will form the basis of your unique, engaging content. Remember, authenticity is key to connecting with your audience.
Researching Popular Trends
While staying true to your interests, it’s helpful to understand the current trends in the influencer space. By understanding what’s popular, you can frame your content in a way that resonates with a larger audience.
Assessing the Competition
Research other influencers in your potential niche. Don’t aim to copy them, but rather identify opportunities to offer something different or fill in gaps with your unique content.
Evaluating Profit Potential
If you plan to monetize your influence, consider the profit potential of your niche. Are brands investing in this space? Are there opportunities for affiliate marketing or product creation?
Finalizing Your Niche
Finalize your niche after weighing your interests, trends, competition, and profit potential. It should be a balanced mix of your passion and market potential, allowing you to offer something unique. Remember, this is an iterative process, and your niche can evolve as you learn more about your audience and yourself.
2. Choose Your Main Platform
Different social media accounts cater to different types of content and demographics. Choosing the right platform for your content is crucial. After picking your niche, the next significant decision is to select your primary social media platform. This choice will influence your content strategy and the audience you’ll connect with. Here’s how to choose wisely.
Understanding Various Social Media Platforms
Each social media platform offers unique features and caters to specific content types. Instagram, for example, is image-centric, while YouTube is ideal for long-form video content. Twitter thrives on real-time conversation, and LinkedIn is more professional. Understand the dynamics of each platform and consider which best suits your content style.
Assessing Platform Demographics
Different platforms attract different demographic groups. Some platforms might skew towards a younger audience, while others have a more diverse age range. Analyze the demographics of each platform to ensure it aligns with your target audience.
Aligning Your Niche with The Platform
Your chosen niche should be compatible with the platform. For instance, a fashion-centric niche might flourish on visually-driven Instagram, while a tech-focused niche might excel on YouTube with in-depth product review videos.
Focusing on One, Mastering Many
While picking a primary platform to focus on is essential, don’t completely neglect other platforms. Spreading your presence can expand your reach and provide a safety net should the algorithm of your main platform change.
3. Define Your Audience
After selecting your niche and primary platform, the next step is to define your audience. Knowing your audience is critical to creating content that resonates and builds strong connections. Here’s how to get a clear understanding of your audience.
Creating Audience Personas
Audience personas are fictional representations of your ideal followers, encompassing their demographics, interests, and behaviors. Creating these personas can clearly show who you’re targeting, guiding your content creation and engagement strategies.
Identifying Audience Needs and Interests
You need to identify your audience’s needs and interests to generate engaging content. You can leverage platform analytics, surveys, or simply observe the content they engage with. Catering to their interests can help increase your content’s relevance and engagement.
Mapping Audience Demographics
Understand the demographic makeup of your audience — age, location, gender, profession, and more. This data, often available in platform analytics, can further refine your audience persona and aid in tailoring your content.
Understanding Audience Behaviors
Explore your audience’s online behavior. When are they most active? What type of content do they share? What prompts them to engage? Understanding these behaviors can optimize your content’s reach and impact.
4. Develop a Content Calendar
Content is the lifeblood of your influence, and a well-planned content calendar is your roadmap to success. It keeps you organized, consistent and focused on your goals. Here’s how to create a powerful content calendar.
Planning Your Content Themes
Start by identifying themes that align with your niche and resonate with your audience. Themes provide a consistent narrative to your content and make planning easier. For example, a fitness influencer might have weekly themes like “Meal Prep Mondays” or “Fitness Challenge Fridays.”
Scheduling Regular Posts
Decide on a posting frequency that you can consistently maintain. Regular posts keep you in your audience’s feed and mind. Many social media platforms provide insights on when your audience is most active, helping you to optimize your post timings.
Seasonal and Event-Based Content Planning
Incorporate seasonal content or content related to significant events or holidays into your calendar. This can make your content timely, relevant, and more engaging. A beauty influencer, for instance, might plan a ‘Summer Skin Care’ series in the warm months.
5. Strategically Generate Traffic
Once you’ve established your niche, chosen your platform, defined your audience, and developed a content calendar, it’s time to focus on generating traffic. Here’s how your social media marketing strategy will attract more followers and increase engagement.
Utilizing SEO and Hashtags
SEO and hashtags are powerful tools for increasing your visibility. You can appear in more search results by using relevant keywords in your bio, captions, and posts. Similarly, well-chosen hashtags can put your content in front of people interested in your niche but haven’t discovered you yet.
Leveraging Platform-Specific Features
Each social media platform offers unique features to engage your audience and increase visibility. Instagram has Stories and Reels, LinkedIn offers articles and networking opportunities, and Twitter excels at sparking conversations. Using these features can help your content stand out and attract more engagement.
Cross-promoting your content can help you reach a wider audience if you have a presence on multiple platforms. For example, sharing a snippet of your YouTube video on Instagram with a link to the full video can drive your Instagram followers to your YouTube channel.
Paid Advertising and Boosting Posts
For influencers looking to invest, paid advertising and post boosting can effectively expand your reach. These paid options can put your content in front of a targeted audience, potentially attracting new followers and increasing engagement.
6. Collaborate with Other Influencers
Collaboration with other influencers can be a highly effective strategy for audience growth. It can expose you to new audiences, increase your credibility, and provide fresh content ideas. Here’s how to successfully navigate influencer collaborations.
Identifying Potential Collaboration Partners
Look for influencers who share a similar audience but offer different content. This way, you can provide complementary value to each other’s followers. Also, consider their engagement rates and reputation to ensure a beneficial collaboration.
Navigating Collaboration Proposals
Once you’ve identified potential partners, approach them with a clear and appealing collaboration proposal. Outline the mutual benefits and specify what the collaboration might look like. Always be professional and respectful in your communication.
Building Mutually Beneficial Relationships
Successful collaborations are based on mutual benefits and respect. Ensure that both parties are gaining value from the partnership. This could be audience exposure, content ideas, or learning new strategies and techniques.
Measuring Collaboration Success
After the collaboration, evaluate its success. Did you gain new followers? Did your engagement rates increase? Did your audience enjoy the collaboration content? This analysis can guide your future collaboration strategies.
7. Engage Your Audience
Engagement is at the heart of social media influence. You can build strong relationships, foster loyalty, and enhance your influence by actively engaging with your audience. Here’s how to effectively engage your audience.
Responding to Comments and Messages
Active interaction with your audience is crucial. Make an effort to respond to comments and direct messages. This shows your audience that you value their input and helps build a community around your platform.
Encouraging User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) can be a powerful engagement tool. Encourage your followers to share their own content related to your niche, such as product reviews or personal experiences. This generates more content and makes your audience feel involved and valued.
Hosting Contests and Giveaways
Contests and giveaways can significantly boost engagement. They’re exciting, interactive, and offer a tangible reward. Ensure any contest or giveaway is easy to enter, fair, and aligns with your niche and brand.
Regularly Analyzing Engagement Metrics
Regular analysis of engagement metrics can give you insights into what’s working and what’s not. Monitor likes, shares, comments, and other metrics to understand the content your audience appreciates the most. Use these insights to tailor your future content and engagement strategies.
8. Make It Easy for Brands to Contact You
As you grow your influence, brands may notice and want to collaborate with you. Making it easy for them to contact you can open up opportunities for sponsorships, partnerships, and more. Here’s how you can facilitate brand contact.
Optimizing Your Bio and Contact Information
Ensure your bio clearly describes who you are, what you do, and your audience. Most importantly, provide your contact information or a way for brands to reach you. This could be an email address, a link to your website, or a ‘contact me’ button on your profile.
Showcasing Your Unique Value Proposition
Make it clear what makes you stand out. This could be your unique perspective, highly engaged audience, or expertise in a specific niche. Highlighting these strengths can attract brands that align with your value proposition.
Creating a Professional Media Kit
A media kit can give brands a quick and comprehensive view of your influence. It should include your audience demographics, engagement rates, past collaborations, and what you can offer in a partnership. Keep it professional and up to date.
Building Your Own Website or Landing Page
Having your own website or landing page adds an extra layer of professionalism. It provides a dedicated space to showcase your work, share your media kit, and include a clear contact form. It can also help with SEO and give you more control over your online presence.
9. Over-Deliver on Brand Partnerships
Brand partnerships can be a key revenue source for influencers and offer exciting growth opportunities. Aim to over-deliver on your commitments to ensure these partnerships are successful and lasting. Here’s how.
Understanding the Brand’s Expectations
Begin by fully understanding what the brand expects from the partnership. Clear communication is essential here. Know the campaign objectives, the key messages to convey, and the metrics they will use to evaluate success.
Creating High-Quality Sponsored Content
Your sponsored content should be the same high quality as your regular posts. Creatively integrate the brand’s message into content that resonates with your audience. Always disclose sponsored content to maintain trust with your followers.
Promoting Authentic Partnerships
Only partner with brands that align with your values and your audience. Authentic partnerships come across as genuine and are more likely to engage your followers and satisfy the brand. Never promote a product or service you wouldn’t personally use or recommend.
Following up and Evaluating Partnership Success
After the campaign, follow up with the brand. Share your metrics, ask for feedback, and evaluate the partnership’s success. This shows your professionalism and can help you build lasting relationships with brands.
Final Words on How to Become a Social Media Influencer
Building influence on social media takes time, patience, and consistency. With a thoughtful plan and dedication to your craft, you can grow your influence, engage your audience, and open up opportunities for collaboration. Above all else, stay true to yourself and have fun!