Unless you’re from another planet, you know that influencers have absolutely colonized social media, and brands have taken notice. The industry was charting at $8 billion in 2019 and is expected to break the $15 billion mark this year. This leaves many talented people wondering how to become an influencer.
Influencers have, in many cases, replaced traditional celebrities in advertising. What to wear, eat, drink and do is the name of the influencer game. Because of their tried-and-true engagement, influencers are commanding big bucks from brands to promote their products and services. So if you’re wondering how to be an influencer, read on for our 10-step guide.
The 4 Types of Influencers
How can you become a social media influencer? First of all, what is an influencer? An influencer is anyone who has a following and is able to influence the behavior and buying habits of their fans.
There are 4 types of influencers: nano, micro, macro, and mega.
They are similar to the average social media user and have under 10,000 followers. They showcase their real lives rather than branded content, for the most part, posting family, friends, memes, and even pet videos!
They have a social media following larger than a nano influencer but smaller than a celebrity, typically under 100,000. They promote products for trade or because they genuinely like them. Micro-influencers, however, are increasingly hired by brands to be ambassadors because their content is so authentic.
These guys have more than 100,000 followers and up to 1 million. These are professional content creators who work full-time on their brands.
Often celebrities, such as actors and athletes, but self-made influencers are increasingly rising to the top to become nearly as popular.
Read on to learn how to get started as an influencer.
10 steps for becoming an influencer
1. Choose a niche
First of all, consider your strengths and areas of expertise. You don’t have to be a social media guru to start with. Zero in on a subject or niche you love or have knowledge in. Niche influencers and vloggers share content on everything from food to fitness. So just what does an influencer do?
Here are some categories to jumpstart your choice of subject:
- Interior Design
So now that you know about the types of content creators, how can you stand out as unique? Do you have a particular angle on fashion, for example? Perhaps you’re a thrift store maven who can turn a $5 find into something that looks like it came out of the pages of Vogue. Or, if you are a travel filmmaker, how can you share tips and tricks to make money in your trade and enjoy traveling the world?
Take the time to analyze the content and strategies of successful influencers in your niche but then find your style as a content creator. Use a voice that is authentically you or even develop a character. It can take some time posting content to see what your followers enjoy most.
2. Invest in your brand
Yes, you will need to spend some money, but this varies depending on your timeline. You will at the very least need a quality camera, whether it be a smartphone or a DSLR. Lighting and video sound are also important, so set aside a budget for a ring light. Microphone and a royalty-free music subscription (preferably to Artlist).
3. Make an editorial calendar
The thought of creating content can be overwhelming. And you will not learn how to become a social media influencer overnight. This is where an editorial calendar is helpful. A calendar with a schedule of posts for the day, week, month and year not only helps you get organized but is a way to capitalize on holidays, events and hashtag challenges. Your editorial calendar can be simple at first. Just list the content you want to publish and give yourself a reasonable amount of time to produce it.
Your calendar of postings should contain all the content needed: photos/video, caption, mentions, and hashtags.
4. Choose your platform
Are you a TikTok wiz, or do you prefer to tweet? While it’s helpful to create profiles on multiple platforms, you will likely shine on just 1 or 2, and this is where you should spend most of your time and attention. Learning how to become an Instagram influencer will be quite different from being successful on YouTube, for example.
5. Learn social media analytics
Analytics tell you how your content is performing – what your followers like, share and comment on most; and when. So, rather than being in the dark, browse Artlist’s in-depth guides to Instagram analytics and TikTok metrics. Once you start publishing content, take the time to compare performance across media (photos, videos, etc.) and platforms (Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, etc.).
6. Collaborate with other influencers
You’ll need help growing a following. Consider partnering with an existing influencer to cross-promote. Before you can start attracting brands, you’ll need a following. Find an influencer in your niche and agree to share the other’s content, do a giveaway together, or even create content together. Fellow influencers can often share valuable tips on how to be an influencer.
7. Engage with your audience
Followers want to interact with influencers, so you must set aside time to answer questions, respond to comments and even perhaps DMs. Listening to your audience will give you cues on what content to develop next. This is especially important if you plan to make money, like with Facebook monetization. So if you want to learn how to become an influencer for a brand, start with engagement.
Most social media platforms now allow live streams, so take advantage! Going live, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with your followers in real-time. Nervous? Your live stream can be as spontaneous or as scripted as you like. Best to strike a balance in the middle and have talking points and a main subject, but not to the degree that you sound canned. Above all else, be yourself and remember to interact with your audience!
9. Create a website
Even if you are blowing up on TikTok, you’ll want to have a place for brands to find out more about you and contact you. This is where a hosted website comes in handy. Your website should contain a more extended bio than in your profile, highlighting your career experience, professional milestones, awards, and brand campaigns you’ve worked on. Create a well-designed media kit that shows your following across all platforms, examples of your work, and a bio. Your website can also contain a newsletter sign-up form which is an additional way to reach fans.
10. Be consistent
Being a content creator is time-consuming, and you may feel like slacking some days. It’s vital to be consistent, though. Allocate time for each of the previous 9 steps and do a little bit every day if you can. Social media platforms reward regularity for posting, so take some time to study their best practices posted on their websites as guides. Learning these tips is vital to becoming an influencer and making money.
Get all you need to create the perfect video
Common mistakes to avoid as an influencer
Don’t torpedo your page by making these all-too-common mistakes as an influencer. Repeated offenses lead to loss of followers and even deletion by social media platforms. Here are the mistakes to avoid:
- Stealing content
- Failing to disclose sponsored content
- Using bots to gain followers
- Being inconsistent in your posting schedule or branding
- Violating rules on allowed content
- Failing to credit other creators
How to Become an Influencer
Influencer content is here to stay, and brands are taking notice. For each $1 spent on influencer marketing, brands get $5.78 in return. This is the reason 91 percent of marketers trust that influencer marketing is an effective form of advertising.
However, before you can monetize your brand, you’ll need to craft high-quality content, learn analytics and master your social media game, and you can do it with our 10 steps.