We heard you want to be a social media influencer, so we’ve put together a little article which we think will help you on your journey.
But before you read on, tell us this:
Why do you want to be a social media influencer? What’s your rationale for putting in the person-hours?
We don’t mean to be patronising, but we think you ought to know the answers before you move on to the next para…
Ah, too late!
OK, let’s keep going. We’ll tell you a little bit about what a social media influencer is (as if you didn’t already know), and then we’ll give you five pointers to turning your dream into reality.
In a nutshell:
A social media influencer is someone who has a big following on one or (usually) more social media platforms. In other words they have a big captive audience hanging on their every word due to their celebrity status or notoriety.
But there’s one element to their presence that makes them a proper social media influence. Namely: credibility. Whatever this person says is worth listening to and acting upon. Apparently.
And for companies that are trying to widen their audiences, a good social media influencer represents a gold mine of potential custom.
Some have argued that social media influencers only tap into a millennial audience: you know the ones who are BIG on ideas but SHORT on patience.
“An effective social media influencer can influence anyone.”
Singer Tom Jones = 595,000 followers on Twitter.
You think millennials even know who Tom Jones is?
Broadcaster Jeremy Vine = 694,000 followers.
Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson = 124.4m followers on Instagram.
You get the message.
Influencers are there to guide all of our purchasing habits, whether 21st Century or 20th Century millennials.
Disclaimer: you will NOT get 595,000 followers just by reading this article. But we do hope you will gain some proper traditionally-informed guidance.
If you really do want to be a social media influencer, read on.
And try to keep up.
1. Find your niche
Discover your niche. Find out what slice of existence rocks your boat and fills your head with thoughts first thing in the morning.
What’s your passion? What makes you tick? Is there something you feel so strongly about that you could spend your life talking to others about it?
Your niche doesn’t need to be ‘original’.
Besides, there are very few original ideas left to discover… we’ve been around long enough now to have come up with just about every angle on every aspect of life.
Nevertheless, there is still a new angle to be had on pre-existing cultural elements.
The niche is you. You have to believe in it. If you don’t (and if it sometimes bore you to talk about it) then you won’t succeed. Sorry to have to put it that way but in order to be an effective social media influencer you are going to have to eat, sleep and breathe your passion.
Find something that you’re genuinely interested in that has a following of its own and dive into it. It can be a passion from childhood, a hobby or a skill.
The important factor is to be passionate it.
Your passion and energy will filter through in your posts (more on this in a moment).
And you may or may not have noticed that human passion for anything is infectious. If you see a crowd of people in the street looking at something and cheering are you more inclined to walk past it without a second glance? We think not.
Once you know what you’re going to talk about, consume everything about the subject you possibly can. Stay on top by following related news, blogs and other people’s social media posts.
2. Pick social media platforms
The next stage is to select some social media platforms to work from.
The general rule is the more the merrier but have in the back of your mind the thought that one of these platforms will be your soapbox.
In order to choose which one(s) it will be you must first decide what you are going to enjoy more or have a particularly aptitude for: Instagram is mostly pictures and videos, Twitter is for photos and pithy remarks, Facebook is a free for all.
Are you especially skilled at imagery? If so, choose Instagram as your go-to. Do you like making videos? Choose YouTube. Do you like writing? Then go with Facebook for unlimited scripting AND the chance to spice things up with some pictures.
Then decide which social media platforms fit with what you intend to do…
The trade to which you market yourself will undoubtedly have some form of social media presence. Follow this and set up shop.
Secure your handle and then begin to slowly generate audiences within each platform. Make sure your presence is felt in every corner of the net. And use social media links to combine all of your platforms together in one big *you* web.
It should feel like you are all over the place.
3. Have a plan
Next you have to have a plan of action. And part of this is asking yourself what is it about you that will urge people to follow you?
Tip: you should know this already!
Be entrenched in your chosen niche but make sure now that you begin to generate interest from outsiders, otherwise you will just be another person on the internet. And your dream of being a social media influencer will be just that: a dream.
Your plan of action should include thinking about what you will write, what you will take pictures of, what you will agree or disagree with, and what message you wish to send to your followers about your credibility.
Credibility is everything in this game. If you portray yourself as a beatnik or choose a particularly controversial stance you won’t get very far. You have to appeal.
And besides, if you get too controversial you could end up in prison!
- Produce content – lots of it, informative, coherent, well-written, well-meaning and… up to date
- Stay fresh and relevant in your posts. You are a person of the time as well as one of integrity (aren’t you?)
- Keep up with trends but better still, see trends before everyone else does… If you know your niche then this shouldn’t pose a problem
- Pay attention to your hashtags – make them relevant, universal and findable
Use each platform to the max.
Maximise the potential and you will maximise your presence. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have numerous additional extras which you can delve into to try to make your presence known.
Most have a ‘live’ option which you can utilise to your advantage. To go live means to live stream something you are working on in real time. It’s a useful and effective way to motivate your followers and to entice more to follow you.
You can use the live function to show people something that isn’t usually seen on your profile. For instance, a behind the scenes look or a sneak peek at something you’re working on.
Not only will this pique the interest of your followers but it engenders a sense of trust, that you are not afraid to show the bare bones of your operation.
And more trust, of course, leads to credibility. (There’s that buzzword again.)
You may choose to not use live streaming as a way to promote yourself. And that’s OK. That may not be your forte. However, you should ideally be able to use live streaming in the same way as you are able to use any other social media tool.
You need to be an expert at every aspect of social media influencing even if you don’t use every aspect. If you know social media through and through then you can manipulate it to your benefit.
Look out for new developments on the various social media platforms too. Check for tech news about upcoming updates, new functions, better ways to use platforms and so on. Every little helps.
5. Communicate and promote
Finally, we come to the crux of the operation:
If you don’t enjoy communicating with people then look away now.
No seriously, look away. There is no chance of you succeeding as a social media influencer if you hate interacting with people. And that includes interacting with idiots as well as normal people.
You have to take the rough with the smooth in order to succeed on the internet.
Make sure you generate and KEEP IN CONTACT WITH people who work within the industry that you are involved with. Exchange notions of products, real life situations, politics, favourite colours, past times, whatever.
Anything that gets you and others talking is good, but you must be prepared to do this as often as possible.
If you are consistent you will build a community. This in turn will generate interest in what you’re doing and more people will follow. Pretty soon, you will have a good number of followers and you will be on your way to becoming a social media influencer.
But there is still a long way to go. You will have to create and share your content like there is no tomorrow. And in doing so, be seen to be credible, consistent and constant.
I’m not going anywhere should be the message you give out.
After all, if you do go somewhere then many of your followers won’t follow, and you will have taken a few backward steps.
In the end, people will start to listen to you and follow you. The more people that are with you, the stronger your position will get.
One of the biggest take-away messages is this:
No matter what you do and how hard you work you cannot control your effectiveness as a social media influencer.
You can do everything in your power to grow your reputation and presence online but ultimately it is OTHER users who will consider your worth. And in turn industries will follow suit.
So, why put yourself through all that work?
We’re going to leave you with five advantages arising from your status as a social media influencer:
- Make money: and lots of it, if you get enough followers.
- Launch your own products and services: if you become a successful influencer, why not?
- Become a professional: become a go-to authority on a subject.
- Share a message: people love messages.
- Get free products and experiences: brands that choose you as an influencer will send you a tonne of stuff.
We all like to feel as though we are influential. But to do that takes time and effort. If we’re not already celebrities in our own right, it’s going to take some serious work on your part to gather followers and become a credible influencer.
It’s difficult but not impossible.