If you haven’t heard the term “influencer” by now, it’s time to get out from under that rock. Influencer marketing is all the rage right now and believe me, it works! With the rise of social media, those who have a loyal fan base have just as much an impact (sometimes, even more) than tv/movie celebs. In fact, many aspire to hold influence in the digital world, but just like most things, there is a lot to do before you can reach influencer heaven!
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is when a brand acquires leads and customers through an individual as opposed to a target market. For example, a makeup brand reaches out to a beauty guru on YouTube to promote or talk about their product/brand. The influencer usually gets a discount, a pay out, or a percentage of sales that come from their influence.
Why do brands focus more on influencer marketing rather than target marketing?
Simple, because it works. People are more inclined to purchase a product if someone they trust likes it. Brands will find individuals with typically large followings to promote to an audience with similar likes. While there is still some form of target marketing involved, it’s the whole “I trust this person, so I trust the value of what they are promoting” aspect. One thing all influencers have in common is a loyal following/fan base. These are individuals who trust and enjoy their content. With that being said, when it comes straight from the influencer, they are more inclined to make a purchase.
So, how can I become an influencer?
And, here is the big question! Becoming an influencer takes a lot of time. Most people you see today who have large followings and do a plethora of brand deals have been on social media for years. Influencers are essentially celebs on the internet; building an influence is like going to multiple auditions until you land a role and run with it.
Influencers come from all categories; from music to makeup, to fashion, to business and everything in between. They do, however, have one thing in common, a loyal fan base. So how do you acquire a loyal fan base and become a social media influencer?
Find your niche
Whether you have amazing talents in beauty or you are a top-tier marketer, find what you are good at and use it to your advantage. It’s better to focus on one thing you are extremely passionate about rather than attempting to do too much. Focusing on your passion allows you to exude your knowledge to your audience, thus, building trust.
Post regularly on social platforms
This kind of speaks for itself. If you want to become a social media influencer, then you have to dedicate a lot of time to, well you guessed it, social media! Not everyone is on every single social platform, so ensure you are active on as many platforms as you can be. This will increase your reach and really get your name out there. When it comes to the amount of posting, find a middle ground between underwhelming and overwhelming. Posting too little on social media shows a lack of effort in terms of providing for your audience. On the other hand, posting too often can become spammy and quite frankly, kind of annoying! Find that middle ground!
Provide value to your followers
A lot of time we get caught up in what we want to post on social media that we tend to not think about what our audience wants to see. While posting something that is important to you holds good merit, ensure your audience can get something out of it. If you are unsure about a post, review this checklist from Buffer. If you answer yes to all of them in terms of a post, go ahead and post that bad boy!
Don’t be afraid to reach out
A big part of becoming an influencer is reaching out to other influencers or aspiring influencers for advice and guidance. Whether it is asking people on Twitter to check out your new blog post or asking a brand if they are seeking collaborations, you have to be confident. When you are starting out, you will hear no a lot of times. You may reach out to 100 people and only 4 are interested. Don’t be discouraged by the 96 who said no, instead, build yourself up from the 4 people who said yes. That 4 will turn into 40, then 400, etc. Think about it this way, if you never step out of your comfort zone and reach out to people, that 4 out of 100 turns into 0 out of 100 and 0x0 will always be 0.
Don’t sell out
Let’s not beat around the bush, influencers have the ability to make some serious cash! They get one brand deal, another brand notices the success, they reach out, and so on. While it is certainly one of the best perks, it can be detrimental to influencers simultaneously. By law, any post/video that contains an ad or sponsorship needs to disclose said information. With that being said, it will more than often be apparent when an influencer is making some cha-ching off of a post/video. These need to be tasteful and relative to the influencer in order to maintain the influencer to follower trust. If a sports-related influencer does a sponsored post on Lancome’s new mascara, the audience may begin to doubt the authenticity of their opinions which in turn, will break that trust. As an influencer, it is okay, in fact necessary, to turn down opportunities that do not provide value to your audience or your skill set.
Remember, becoming an influencer doesn’t happen overnight (unless you’re Alex From Target or that chicken nuggets kid…talk about luck!). There is a lot of work and dedication that needs to be put in in order to build your influence. I worked on a video and an article on LSM Insurance on how to build centres of influence that will also help you out!
Want to become an influencer? Get ready to put in work and don’t be afraid to get your name out there!