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A Quick Guide on How to Become a Social Media Influencer

become an influencerHere to learn how to become a social media influencer?  

Welcome to the club! There are hundreds of thousands of people who have the same aspirations. 

If that hasn’t scared you off, we’re here to help. 

Just know that any guide can help you only so much. While our tips will definitely help accelerate your growth, you’ll need to put in the work and time to make it as a social media influencer.  

Ready to get started? Let’s go.  

1. Carefully choose your niche(s)

What are you interested in? What are you knowledgeable about? What do you want to regularly create content about? 

You should answer these questions before doing anything else, so you have some idea what you want to do with your channel long term.

While you’re obviously free to create whatever you want, you’ll find that most top social media influencers stick to a few niches. This practice may seem restricting, but it’s about setting and then meeting your followers’ expectations. 

Let’s say you’ve run an Instagram account showcasing classic cars for a year. On a whim, you decide to stop posting about automobiles and use your account just to show off your new dog. No more cars. Some of your followers might stay for the cute canine photos, but most will unfollow/unsubscribe.

In this hypothetical case, you’d be better off creating another social media profile. Or maybe the next big social media hit is your dog riding in classic cars.     

REMEMBERExpect that growing your following will take time and dedication. You’re going to quit early on if you lose interest in your niches. We urge you to carefully consider what subjects speak to you.   

tom scott

Youtuber Tom Scott creates educational content on all kinds of innovative, obscure topics. In fact, a major part of his success (2.3 million subscribers) is that he’s defined his niches well. He can create any kind of educational content (broad niche) as long as it hasn’t been widely covered. This means he hasn’t restricted himself to anyone subject (science, humanities, etc.), which gives him some freedom while still satisfying audience expectations.  

2. Decide on your social media platforms

A key to succeeding as a social media influencer is to choosing the right platform.  

A spray-and-pray approach probably isn’t going to work out well. You’ll gain a few followers here and there, but that’s about it. 

If anything, choose one platform to house your main content, and set up maybe two corresponding accounts on other social media.

What kind of content do you want to create? 

Long-form? Short-form? Both?

Videos? Photos? Text? 

How can you use other platforms to complement your main one? 

tim dessaint youtube

For example, take fashion/lifestyle influencer Tim Dessaint. His main channel is YouTube, where he uploads how-to and list videos on top trends. Like many fashion social media influencers, he utilizes an Instagram account for alternative/extra content that ultimately serves as a funnel to his YouTube channel. 

He has many of the typical ‘outfit of the day’ posts you find on Instagram. Much less involved than his YouTube channel, Dessaint gets to reach and engage with other audiences, while also showcasing his unique style. If you like what you see, you might feel inclined to head over to YouTube and subscribe.  

tim dessaint instagram

Think about what social media platform best suits your content. Those accounts on other platforms can be used to funnel people to your main channel, and/or provide extra content that doesn’t necessarily fit with your niche.   

Who is your target audience? 

People use YouTube and Instagram, for example, expecting and wanting different things (to some extent).

There’s little chance anyone could produce an in-depth explanation on ‘how to become a social media influencer’ in an Instagram post. Even if you spread the content over multiple posts, it wouldn’t be ideal. People don’t go to Instagram looking for how-to content. In fact, they go to YouTube for that.

Put yourself in the position of someone looking for the content you want to make. Where would they expect to find it? If you’ve got an inkling, go to that social media platform and do a little research. Search for content similar to what you’re planning to do, and scout your competition (more on this next).   

NOTEYou may think search intent is self-evident because you’re thinking only from your perspective. Actually take the time to check what’s out there. What you think people are searching for when they type in a phrase maybe, in some cases, completely different than the reality.   

What’s your competition doing?

Other social media influencers in your niche can provide inspiration for your own channel. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You do need to add your own spin. 

Think about how you can improve on what’s already out there. If, for example, you’re reviewing the new iPhone, first spend time with the device and note down your likes and dislikes. Then watch some of your competitors’ reviews. 

Did they fail to mention something important? Maybe there’s something about your lifestyle that allowed you to test the phone in unique conditions. Do you genuinely have a differing opinion? 

Ultimately, you’re trying to carve out your niche within a niche. 

Potential for growth? 

While you’re scouting your competition, you should get a sense of how big your niche is. You may think the bigger the better, but that’s not necessarily the case. Micro-influencers (1K-10K followers) get brand deals because of their loyal fanbase and low cost. We went into this in greater detail in our article What is an Influencer? Defining the Spokespeople of Tomorrow.’

If the niches you’re interested in don’t attract many people, you should check the engagement numbers. Does the influencer’s small follower count comment and like each and every post? To brands, a deeper relationship between the social media influencer and their following is valuable because sales conversions rate tends to be high. 

3. Stay consistent 

Consistency is king. 

As we mentioned earlier, it’s all about setting expectations for yourself. Expectations you and your followers will hold you to. 

Check your schedule. How much time can you free up? What are you willing to sacrifice to get content finished?  

You need to establish the deadlines you’ll follow each week. If you publicly disclose that you post on Wednesdays, you have to follow through to keep your fans coming back. They might even make consuming your content a part of their routine that day. 

Like clockwork, they’ll keep returning. 

NOTEDon’t think posting daily will accelerate your growth. This could actually exhaust you and lessen your audience’s interest. Keep it to once or twice a week (unless you’re tweeting), and your posts will feel like treats. 

Sprout Social conducted a study on the best times of the week to post content. The peak engagement periods differ from one social media platform to the next, so look for the optimal upload time for your channel of choice. The results are quite detailed if you want to match your post time to the hour. 

Across most platforms, though, Wednesday seems to be the ideal day to post your content. 

4. Engage with your audience

You’re not a robot or computer program, right? 

 A major selling point of social media influencers is that they’re real people building a relationship with their followers. 

Surprisingly it’s not too hard to do. 

Answer a few of your audience’s questions. Like some of their comments. It’s not that hard to show that you acknowledge and appreciate their viewership. You’re also, in effect, creating a sense of community, encouraging others to chime in and interact. 

Especially when your following is smaller, audience engagement is a key metric that can win brands over. The Amazon Influencer Program, for example, accepts micro-influencers whose content receives a consistent response.      

It may feel like a bother at times, but consider how much time you spent creating your content. You want it to be seen. You want your social media presence to grow. Ignoring your followers is a surefire way of losing their support. There’s no future in being a social media influencer without the followers. 

This is not to say to answer every single comment, pander to your audience, or give up your own ideas to only provide the content they want to see. You’ve got a life of your own to live, and most of your followers will understand that.      

kayla itsines engagement

Fitness Instagrammer Kayla Itsines has found a powerful way to advertise her workout program while engaging with her audience. She regularly posts her followers’ progress photos, along with quotes from them. Not only will you lose weight by joining the program, you could also get a shoutout from Itsines herself.   

5. Check your metrics

If you’re just starting off, you probably won’t have many statistics to get a good sense of the demographics you’re attracting and what they specifically come to your channel looking for. Even so, you’re probably checking your analytics obsessively, hoping to get one more view, like, or comment. 

For you social media influencers who are a bit more established, you should dig into the analytics provided by your platform. What kind of content does your audience respond well to? What videos are bringing in new faces? If you can find some trends or patterns, you can use that information to guide your approach going forward. 

Again, you shouldn’t really make any wholesale changes early on. You don’t have enough data to properly assess your approach. If you follow the previous steps, you will eventually build enough of an audience for the metrics to hold weight.

Final thoughts

Steel yourself for the journey. It’s going to be a long and difficult one. You’ll work days on a post, and only a handful of people will find it. Chances are, your content’s great. You just need to keep working at. 

For those of you looking to speed up the process, we’re here to help. 

While you’re obviously building your audience through social media, you are actually leaving a considerable number of views on the table. Content Portals builds you a homepage maximized for SEO, so you can house all your content in one main hub. This ensures all your traffic goes directly to you. 

Trust us. We’ll make sure your content gets seen.