The term ‘influencer’ has seen exponential growth over the last decade. Social media provided a new platform to influence from, compared to the blogs that were the primary method of ‘influencing’ before.
An influencer on social media is someone who has a significant audience following them. Size doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to the number of followers the individual has, but the engagement rates they receive matter. High engagement rates, partnered with a valuable demographic as an audience, can make an influencer job very lucrative. You could make money from it because brands want to leverage the audience you’ve built to get their products and services in front of a new crowd of relevant people.
So how do you get started on a journey to become an influencer? This article will look at the following steps to get started:
- Decide your niche
- Start creating content
- Make connections
- Approaching brands
- Making influencing your business
Decide your niche
First, you have to narrow down on what your area of expertise will be. If you are educated/experienced in a particular area, such as technology or marketing, then start with that. The approach you’ll take to find your niche may depend on what industry you want to influence.
On Instagram, you’ll usually see influencers who focus specifically on one topic such as fashion, makeup, travel, fitness, interior design – the list goes on. It could be a good option to focus on one area, and then once you have gained a following, you can start to branch into other areas that you think your followers will also be interested in. Focusing on one topic like this highlights to potential followers what they can expect from your content and builds trust as you are an authority in that area.
However, there is no right way to go about this goal to become an influencer. Many influencers may have started building their audience by creating content on multiple areas, seeing which topics get the best engagement and then running with those. If you have the time to dedicate to making various forms of content, then try this method instead.
Start creating content
You can’t become an influencer as soon as your begin your social media channels. First, you have to put the groundwork in and start creating content.
Choose the platforms that most apply to your niche; for example, LinkedIn and Twitter are more suited to B2B or professional services because the culture of these platforms is centred around information sharing. On the other hand, Instagram and Youtube are more centred on visuals, which is why they suit lifestyle topics more.
You then have to prove you know your stuff. Create content that shows you are an expert and experienced in your area to start getting likes, follows, and reach. You want your content to reach as many people as possible, which can’t usually be achieved overnight. Take your time to create valuable and engaging content, consistently, in all different forms, such as:
- Blogs or written content
- Videos (both short and long-form, such as YouTube vlogs or reels on Instagram)
- Surveys or research (so you can provide something useful or surprising to your followers)
- Interactive stories on specific platforms
Once you create content, be sure to engage with your audience and other influencers in the space. Responding to followers and starting a conversation will establish you as someone who appreciates the engagement you’re receiving, which builds trust. And ‘influencing’ is all about being trusted by your audience.
Use LinkedIn to connect with other professionals and Instagram to meet other creators in your space. Building a network of relationships positions you as someone who is well established in the industry. In addition, connections give you a support system if you ever need help or advice in the area and provide opportunities for content if you collaborate with others.
Once you have established a strong following, then it might be time to approach brands. Of course, brands can approach influencers, but it’s better to be proactive about contacting the people you’d like to work with.
Micro-influencers are accounts that have under 50,000 followers. Macro-influencers have over 500,000 to 1 million followers. Of course, brands might think they want to work with influencers that get their products or services in front of as many people as possible. Still, you can show them that micro-influencers could be more powerful for them, as the percentage of your followers who like, comment or make a purchase based on your content will be higher.
Prepare a ‘media kit’ to show brands you want to approach. The document should be less than two pages and should cover what you have expertise in, detailed information on your demographic, and your important engagement statistics. The media kit is where you showcase how much ‘influence’ you have over the people who follow you, and the brand can see how you can be helpful to them.
Make influencing your business
Once you start to get brand deals, you’ll be making a business of being an influencer. Many brands may pay cash, but you might get a percentage of sales made from your audience’s purchases or a different form of payment.
Whichever way you start earning from influencing, you should create a business for it. Follow the following steps to get your business started:
- Decide if you’ll operate as a sole trader or a limited company.
- Register your tax status with HMRC (as you’ll be managing the tax for your earnings)
- Open a business current account to be paid into. A separate account will make managing your tax and expenses easier. You’ll be able to invoice clients efficiently, and it will allow you to see your influencer earnings without having them confused with your personal transactions.