This post originally appeared on tBL member Joshua Lyon's blog Joshua Lyons Marketing Blog and is republished with permission. Find out how to syndicate your content with theBrokerList.
Anyone can be an influencer these days, but being a successful influencer is a lot harder than it seems. Becoming a social media influencer means devoting your whole life to it—your whole life is on display—that is your job and career. There are tips on how to become an influencer and how to succeed, especially in the tech savvy generation of Gen Z and Millennials.
For starters, a social media influencer is someone who has built a reputation for their knowledge on a specific topic. These people have the power to affect the purchasing decision of others because of their relationship with the audience. Influencers tend to build a relationship with their followers and consider their followers as “family.” This is why the trust a buyer has with the influencer is strong enough to encourage them to try the brand/product for themselves.
Being an influencer isn’t an overnight achievement, it takes time to build your followers and relationship with them. You want to start with following friends who will share your account with others. You also want to follow similar accounts to yours and begin posting and tagging those whom you would like to collaborate with. Many times, brands will reach out to you if they see potential in your account and believe you are a good influencer for the brand.
Identify Your Niche
Choose your inspiration and stick with it. Are you a fashion influencer? Travel? Food? Fitness? Be consistent on what you want to cover on your page, so when people visit it—they know what to expect and will see what they are looking for. Identifying a niche will help grow your audience, with real people, faster. Many times, influencers will also set a theme and aesthetic for their page by using presets for their photos. This draws people in by showing creativity and uniqueness.
Choose a Social Media Platform
Whether you choose Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or something else, you want to make sure you know what type of audience aligns with each platform. Influencers in 2020 are thriving on Instagram and YouTube. With video, a person can share anything along the lines of tutorials of makeup, try-ons of outfits, photoshoot video, travel videos and so much more. These kinds of videos seem more like blogging—which is more personal and can grab a larger audience.
Creating a content calendar for your accounts will keep you prepared and on track. An influencer needs to stay consistent and available. Skipping a week or so of posts will lose the followers attention on your page. There’s a lot of content planning tools that are easy to use and you can set up automatic posts.
Instagram now started algorithms where if you’re not consistent—your post may not show up on the audiences feed right away. The algorithms are based on what that specific follower looks at and engages with the most. Even if you don’t post to your feed—it is important to at least make some sort of appearance daily on your story. Stories pop up by the second someone posts, so it’s very hard to miss a new one. You can also get really creative with stories that can make them interactive with polls, questions, countdowns and you can even add links.
Keep Up With the Trends
The one thing that may be a little hard to keep up with are social media trends—but that is one of the most important things of being an influencer. Trends are changing day by day and the reason it’s so important to know is because that’s what interests the audience. A person isn’t going to be interested in a brand that was popular three years ago—they want to know what brands are popular now. What is trending right now?
An interesting thing to note about the audience is they do what you do. The relationship the influencer builds with their audience is similar to a real friendship. You would trust something your friend is telling you, wouldn’t you? It’s the same concept. An influencer is a well-trusted ambassador for brands and that is their sole job—influence people. Since a new topic and brand is trending every day, it’s easy to notice what everyone is talking about and posting about. Especially in this day and age—people want to be just like what they see on social media (aka Instagram). Instagram is the best platform to find out what is trending, and even easier to find by using the hashtag feature. Use those hashtags and key words to not only find trends, but to become a part of the trend yourself.
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Engage With Your Audience
Successful influencers are always those who engage with their followers. Reply to comments, share their Q&A’s (stories), record an Instagram Live and interact with the followers, respond to direct messages, talk to them like you know them personally, hold contests and announce the winner and follow some of them back. If you want to be an influencer, you should always take some time out of your day to engage with your followers. This shows you think of them as equals and are grateful for their interest in you. If you support them, they will support you.
Evaluate Your Progress
On Instagram there is an option to turn your personal profile into a business profile. This gives you access to data analytics to help you track and evaluate your process. Data of the times your followers are most active on the app, how many followers you’ve gained within the past seven days, analyze progress on posts—how many people viewed it, engaged in it, liked it, commented on it, saved it and shared it. Some days you may progress a lot more or a lot less, but it is good to track the progress, so you don’t keep making the same mistake such as posting at a time your followers aren’t active. With these analytics, an influencer can see what is working for them and what is not, and then change some things up from what they have noticed in the data.
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