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An influencer can make a significant impact on their industry peers by sharing their expertise and recommendations regarding industry happenings. By becoming an influencer, you may see professional benefits for your career, network and brand, but achieving influencer status requires you to put in the work of establishing yourself as a known authority or expert within your field.
I have been an influencer in various niches for over a decade. From professional photography to e-commerce branding to high risk products. My categories were ALL OVER the place for not just myself but for my various clients. I’m have Italian Generals as clients, contractors from the US Government, China e-commerce brands to school districts. I learned how to wear the hat that my client needed me to wear, but I couldn’t just wear it. I had to OWN it like a Vogue runway model. In deed, I did and here I will share with you my 10 BEST steps I took (that you’ll need to take) if you too want to become an influencer.
What is an influencer?
An influencer is an individual who has a high level of popularity or authority within their industry. They usually gain their following because they have significant experience, success or expertise in the field.
As a result, others in the industry may look to them for their opinions, knowledge and even advice. Companies may partner with influencers as part of their marketing strategy in the hopes that their audience will be influenced to purchase the companies’ products.
It is important to note that an influencer does not need to be known on a large scale, such as a major celebrity. “Micro-influencers,” for example, can be very successful and generally represent influencers who have less than 50,000 followers on their social media platforms.
Different types of influencers
- Nano-influencers: 1,000-10,000 followers
- Micro-influencers: 10,000-50,000 followers
- Mid-tier influencers: 50,000-500,000 followers
- Macro-influencers: 500,000-1,000,000 followers
- Mega influencers (often celebrities): Over 1,000,000 followers
How to become an influencer in your industry
Here are 10 steps you can take to establish yourself as an influencer within your particular industry:
1. Find your niche
You first need to determine what specialized area within your industry you want to focus on, as this helps you find your place as an influencer within your field. To do this, you should take your passions and strengths into consideration because choosing a niche that aligns with those areas allows you to show off and further hone your skills.
Choosing a niche is beneficial because it puts your entire focus on just one area of the industry, which makes it easier to establish your authority and thus attract an audience. This also helps you target a more specific audience, allowing you to tailor your content to their needs and interests.
Examples of niches that might interest you include:
- Skin care
- Movies and TV
- Career coaching
- Financial advice
2. Choose your social media platforms
To grow your following, it is crucial to choose the social media platforms that best fit your niche and targeted audience. Determine who your target audience is, research what platforms they engage with most and then use those platforms. You will also want to look at which platforms other influencers in your industry use most often because this can also point you into the right direction for building a relevant audience.
Popular social media platforms for influencers include:
When choosing social media platforms, you also need to consider what type of content you plan to publish and which platforms will work best for those needs. For example, if you work in the creative industry as an artist, you may want to have a social media profile on a site that is primarily focused on sharing images or videos of your work.
3. Develop your content strategy
To establish a presence as an influencer, you need to provide high-quality, relevant content to your targeted audience that showcases that you are an expert and valuable resource. You must decide what formats your content will take and how you will share this content across your social media platforms.
You might use one platform to strictly share visual content such as videos or images, another platform for your written content such as articles or blog posts and another platform to share a combination of the two.
As for topic ideas, you can gather inspiration from follower feedback and comments or the type of content being provided by other industry influencers. You will also want to determine what voice your content will take—whether it’s strictly informative, more personal or a mixture of the two, depending on the topics you cover.
Finally, you want to make sure people are actually seeing and engaging with you, and there are plenty of online resources that can help you determine the best times of day to publish your content.
4. Build and maintain a website
As you gain attention, it is likely that people will search for you online. Having your own website can serve as a central location that provides your audience with everything they need to know about you as well as a resource for other content.
For example, your website can serve as the channel through which people sign up for your newsletter, if you have one, or get a book or e-book you have written.
It’s also a good idea to have a blog on your site that you continually create content for, as this can help further improve traffic to your site. Make sure that your website is functional and well-designed, as this ensures that you are seen as a credible, professional and trustworthy source.
5. Be consistent
Aside from publishing high-quality content, make sure you are providing it on a consistent basis to retain your following. Your audience should be able to count on you for regular updates and posts—if you are inactive, they might decide to unfollow you or forget about you altogether.
If you have trouble remembering to manually publish content or want to follow a strict schedule, there are many resources available that can set up times to automatically post your content across platforms.
It takes time to establish yourself as an influencer, so maintaining consistency with your social media processes also ensures that you are putting in the time and effort to reach your goals. Audiences appreciate consistent posts and are more likely to engage with them, which will also help you build stronger relationships with your followers.
6. Have an opinion
To set yourself apart from the thousands of other articles, posts and other types of content out there, you need to make sure you are sharing your own thoughts, even if they differ from what everyone else in your industry is sharing. People may be more attracted and loyal to unique, authentic voices rather than those that just repeat the popular talking points.
7. Engage with your audience
When growing your audience, it’s important that you interact with them directly because this will make them feel valued and therefore more likely to continue supporting you. You can do this by responding to or acknowledging comments, replying to direct messages and taking the time to share content from or highlight specific members of your audience, if possible.
Monitoring your audience’s feedback and comments can also help you come up with new content ideas or ways to improve the content you are already providing. You can also reach out directly by polling your followers for insights on what type of content they are looking for from you.
8. Grow your network
As you establish yourself as an influencer, forming relationships with fellow influencers in your industry can help grow your audience. To connect with influencers online, you can interact with their content through regular commenting and sharing to build a rapport with them. Eventually, they may share your content, thus directing their audience to your profiles and encouraging them to follow you.
You can also reach out to other influencers privately to collaborate, but this requires that you be already somewhat established because you will likely need to have something attractive you can offer them in exchange for the partnership.
Offline, you can network by meeting fellow industry experts at in-person events such as trade shows, conferences or public speaking engagements.
9. Evaluate and track your progress
Most social media platforms provide insights and analytics on your performance such as the demographics of your audience, the reach of your content and your engagement rates. You will want to monitor this information as you begin your influencer journey because it shows you the speed at which you are building an audience.
This data will also let you know where you are succeeding as well as the areas you may need to improve. For example, you may notice that certain types of content you have posted don’t do as well as others, which will impact your content strategy.
It is also beneficial to have this information when networking or pursuing opportunities within your industry because you can use your data to prove you have established authority and a following. The more impressive your data is, the more attractive you can be to potential collaborations or marketing partnerships, if that is something you are interested in developing.
10. Stay up to date on trends
As an influencer, your audience has expectations that you will provide them with the latest news, trends and other important information about your industry. You can do this by following industry news sources, thought leaders and other experts and sharing them with your audience, along with your perspective.
This can also help you grow your audience because you can post content based on what people are searching for at the moment and use social media hashtags to spread your content to people who don’t already follow you.
It’s also important to be aware of any changes to your social media platforms, such as new features, to ensure you are using them to their full potential and adapting your content as needed. If you are involved in influencer marketing, you also need to stay updated on Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines to ensure you are not violating any rules.
Well, now you know everything I had to know in order to be a successful influencer for my clients as well as my own brand. YOU GOT THIS!