Who wouldn’t want to become an influencer? Famous for their personal passions, loved by brands and fans alike, and making a career out of it as well…what’s not to love? But how easy is it to become a successful influencer in your chosen field?
We give you 10 steps to success that will see you nailing the socials by championing what you love most.
Step 1 – Know your passion…and exploit it!
Knowing your passion is sometimes easier said than done. Most of us have an interest, but to become a credible and successful influencer you need to drill down and define exactly what it is that you will never tire of posting about. Keep it specific.
So you’re into music…which genre? Folk? Rock? Jazz? Hip hop? Get right down to the details, and let your authenticity shine through.
Step 2 – Be channel-selective
Now you’ve found your niche, it’s time to be focused about your channel, so do some research and work out which best suits your interest.
For instance, fashion and beauty does well on Instagram thanks to its high octane visual appeal. If you’re into sport, fitness and wellness, you might choose YouTube to showcase videos of your passion in action. While you focus on the channel that suits your vibe best, you can still keep active on others.
Step 3 – Write your strategy
Success doesn’t happen by chance. The most successful influencers have a strategy that plots out their posts months in advance. Use it to let your narrative unfold seamlessly, to promote consistency and to have your audience expecting and wanting more.
Include in your strategy not just what and when you want to post, but who you want to reach and why. Your ultimate goal is, of course, to be a successful influencer, so calculate how many followers you want to achieve month-on-month so that ultimately you can grab the attention of those social media giants.
Step 4 – Stand out from the crowd
Standing out from the crowd may be your ultimate challenge. With so many accounts out there, you need to find a way to present your passion in a unique way. So you want to be a beauty influencer. Wait a minute…how many beauty accounts are out there? You need to specialise.
Maybe you have distinguishing features like corkscrew curls, or are from a particular ethnicity. Exploit these special attributes and create a beauty blog dedicated to others like you who may struggle to recognise themselves on social media channels. Pick a distinctive colour palette for your photography, a memorable user name, and you’re good to go.
Step 5 – Quality content is key
While social media is known for its quickfire posts and high-speed narrative, quality is still key. Your posts need to provide your audience with something useful and unique.
Professional-level photography always looks good on Instagram, for example, and this can be achievable with today’s high-end mobile phones, although a decent camera would be a good investment . And don’t forget the copy. It’s important to get grammar, presentation and style right if you want to be taken seriously.
Step 6 – Be both predictable and unpredictable
This may sound counter-intuitive, but both predictability and unpredictability have their advantages. While the strategy you worked out in Step 3 will provide a predictable programme of posts, keep your audience hooked by going off-piste every now and then and throwing in an unexpected angle.
This could be something quirky and exciting, or could even be about a mistake you have made. Sharing it with your audience will show you are relatable and human, just like them.
Step 7 – Partner-up with someone bigger
Look for a leg up with someone who’s a bigger influencer than you. Seek out those inspirational influencers in your field, follow them, take a genuine interest in what they’re saying, and engage with them.
There’s no guarantee, but by appreciating their posts and tagging and sharing, you may well get a mention, and therefore exposure to a wider audience than you ever dreamt possible. And if you can get yourself a guest blog post for instance on their site, you will have increased your reach ever more.
Step 8 – Engage, engage, engage
The whole point of social media is to bring people together who would not crossed paths otherwise…it’s all about the engagement. This is so important, and responding to comments, follows and shares certainly shouldn’t be an onerous task in the early days when you don’t have many followers.
While there are tools — such as auto-replies to new followers — to help you, don’t forget to keep it real and make personalised comments back whenever you can. Your followers will appreciate the personal touch, and, you never know, they may even be behind a big brand that wants to collaborate with you.
Step 9 – Study your stats
There is science behind the socials. Fix a regular time to look at your analytics and work out where your likes and comments are coming from geographically and demographically. Tailor your content to your existing audience and don’t forget to consider the audience you would like to reach.
You can also ask your followers what they would like to see you posting on. This direct form of market research is the most effective, and will see you to growing your audience, your brand and your influence.
Step 10 – Don’t give up!
Being a successful influencer may look easy, but now you’ve reached the end of this article, you can see that there is a lot of behind the scenes work that makes a winning account. Think of growing your influence as a task to be achieved, set and review your goals regularly and, most importantly, don’t forget the passion that inspired you in the first place!
Remember – anyone can start a social media account, but it takes planning, creativity, perseverance and the ability to adapt to make it as a big time influencer. But simply by following our step-by-step guide, you’ve gained the knowledge and the know-how to give you the best head start.
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.