How To Become An Influencer: A Beginner's Guide
Summary: Influencer marketing is gaining more popularity, so it's only natural that you might be wondering how to become one yourself! In this beginner's guide, we explain all about what an influencer is and how you can promote brands and products relevant to your niche by targeting online communities and targeted audiences.
Top Tips On How To Become An Influencer
Digital influencers are trendsetting how the market works right now. But which steps should one follow to make it to the top? If you're looking for a beginner's guide on how to become an influencer, you've come to the right place.
Numerous brands want to collaborate with internet influencers in different niches and expand their reach to get more conversions. Best of all, the followers of influencers are looking forward to expert advice and recommendation from them!
Why not leverage influencer and thought leadership marketing for your own brand? Or even become an influencer if you've got deep expertise on a specific topic?
I'm sure you'll have like a gazillion questions, but worry not because we'll analyze everything from the start. And who knows, maybe at the end of this article you'll have a clearer idea of how to get started and become an influencer in your niche!
What Is An Influencer?
To put it simply, influencers in our digital era are people who have built a reputation for themselves based on their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic.
Consequently, they leverage their social media channels and following to share their ideas and thought leadership. Most of them make regular posts about their niche topic on their preferred social media channels. By doing so, they manage to generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views.
Look, I don't want to make things sound easier than they are. You should know that building and retaining a devoted community of followers is not as easy as it appears to be.
Meaning, to become a successful influencer that's not forgotten through time, you need to make a consistent effort on your part. Before we start discussing useful tips on how to become an influencer, we must take a deeper look at the concept of internet influencers.
Our own Christopher Pappas is an exemplary influencer when it comes to showcasing thought leadership marketing in eLearning. Christopher is considered one of the leading voices in the eLearning industry. However, to build and retain our ever-expanding community, he is constantly training, testing, researching, reading, blogging, and guest posting to be on top of things.
Similarly, no matter your niche, you have to be devoted to your cause.
Living in the age of influencers is not something new. In fact, it's been more than a decade since this whole sensation took its course.
If you're wondering when the trend of influencers started, 2009 was the year that saw a massive influx of YouTubers and bloggers. The likes of Alfie Deyes, Zoella, Tanya Burr, and PewDiePie took the world by storm and kickstarted the influencer phenomenon.
One thing is certain; with their content, they can surely influence purchase decisions.
Types Of Influencers
Companies all over the globe partner with different types of influencers. Here are some examples:
A celebrity influencer is usually a professional athlete or performer who uses fame and recognition to promote a brand or product. For example, celebrities might appear in TV commercials, magazines, podcasts, and radio shows. Plus, they may even use their own social media presence to promote a company. What they do best is use their voice to vouch for products and brands through their platforms.
The case of industry leaders is a bit different. They are people seen as experts in their field. This happens mainly because of their experience and knowledge. Consequently, their opinions lead to respect. Such industry leaders usually have large online audiences following them. Meaning they can get a product exposed to a larger number of people.
The good thing with industry leaders is that they speak to targeted audiences because they belong to a specific niche. Thus, when a highly respected figure in a particular niche endorses a product, automatically, they have a significant influence on others who look up to that industry leader.
For example, a technology or SaaS company might work with an industry leader who has a strong reputation in the internet marketing niche. Imagine if Neil Patel reviewed your marketing software. It would boost your brand reputation and get you tons of shares.
By publishing content like eBooks and blogs on best practices and strategies, such influencers share valuable info with their large online social following of people seeking advice on the topic.
Say you want to become an influencer, your strategy should be to find products within your niche to promote. Similarly, if a company has created a new SEO tool in the above example, it would be good to team up with a marketing industry leader.
That is very beneficial because the leader's voice is influential with its target audience.
When it comes to content creators, they are popular personalities among online communities. They produce different types of content, so they could be vloggers, bloggers, graphic artists, podcasters, and more. They become influencers by building a large community of online supporters. Plus, many of them have thousands of followers on social media.
For example, a travel photographer might create an Instagram account to share their best work with followers. Similarly, a makeup artist might use Instagram to promote recent work. Both of them can post frequently and interact with their followers. The above is crucial to building a community and garnering support. As soon as their social media accounts attract enough followers, they can leverage the influence within their niche to promote relevant products. Plenty of times, such influencers get asked to promote services and products that their followers may be interested in. For example, photography apps, camera equipment, and travel services. Or, in the makeup artist's case, beauty products and services.
There are also some micro-influencers out there that might be a good option for smaller brands; or marketing initiatives with lower budgets. They might have a small following on social media, but it is targeted. Plus, being an expert in a specific niche is not always required. For instance, such an influencer could show off hobbies or passions on social media.
Say someone has created an Instagram account about their cat. So, they will post pictures of their cat with regular updates. In this example, the micro-influencer's followers may be cat owners or simply people who like cats. If a business creates a new cat treat, they can contact this micro-influencer and ask for product promotion in one of their posts.
By doing so, they can get their product in front of the exact audience they want to target, usually at a lower cost.
How Do Influencers Get Started?
Now that you know what an influencer is as well as the different types of influencers, you must be wondering what the first step to becoming one is. And most importantly, if being an influencer is worth the trouble.
1. Becoming An Influencer In A Niche Field
There's no shame in taking baby steps. That could be your first step to greatness. By utilizing a niche, you get more chances to start out as a micro-influencer in this specific niche. With the power you'll gain as a micro-influencer, you'll be able to create powerful word of mouth among small groups. Of course, you can't expect to have the followings of the likes of Neil Patel right away, but you can still get collaboration proposals from famous brands that are looking for budget influencer marketing solutions. Even though you have fewer followers, you've still got enough people to make a difference in product sales.
For example, Christopher Pappas started in the trenches of eLearning before getting into influencer marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, PPC directory listings, eLearning software reviews, and more. He worked hard to get to more than 35K LinkedIn connections and over 53.1K Twitter followers.
Best of all? Now eLearning Industry has 936K+ unique monthly readers!
One day you might get even more, but to become an influencer, you have to start with at least one follower. The first step is to start as an expert among your peers and friends. Then, try to make it towards becoming an expert in your city and state. And, take it to the top from there.
2. Create A Content Strategy
You must know by now that nothing comes out of thin air. You need to have a content strategy if you want to succeed as an influencer. Be it your personal blog, YouTube channel, Instagram profile, TikTok, podcast, etc., you must be organized and prepared. Consistency is also crucial because as you grow, your audience will expect to see things from you, so you have to keep them engaged.
So, once you have a niche, you must focus on publishing cadence, finding your tone and voice, decide on content elements (like texts, graphs, logo, etc.) and start building your content strategy. Unfortunately, I cannot share a secret recipe here since every person and brand has different needs and goals.
For example, when it comes to eLearning Industry's content strategy, we have specific goals each year. One of these can be to create a set amount of social posts on each of your networks. At the same time, I suggest that you maintain blog quality and article publications flowing. Plus, more often than not, you'll find yourself working on side projects as well. In addition, it would be a good idea to make sure that you use the same conversational tone and voice in your content. It will help you establish a better and more trusting connection with your audience.
Once you're warmed up with this information, you can select your channels.
*** If you need content writing tips, please make sure to sign up for our email course! ***
3. Select Social Channels
There's no wrong or right answer when choosing social channels. Did you know that Facebook is the most popular channel, with 93% of marketers using it worldwide as of January 2021? Instagram follows with 78% and LinkedIn with 61%.
If you're wondering about my preference, I don't fancy one more than the other when it comes to engaging with my audiences. Usually, I try to show up everywhere and share the most relevant content where I can.
Christopher Pappas, for example, gets a ton of traffic and has a great conversion rate from Facebook and LinkedIn. Pinterest is another channel we're working on, which we find visually appealing, along with Instagram. In fact, there's plenty of marketing potential regarding Pinterest that plenty of other influencers would like to exploit. At the moment, we're using Instagram to always give more exposure to eLearning Industry's merchandise shop. And last but not least, you can take a look at eLearning Industry's YouTube channel videos.
Always keep in mind that each one of your channels will probably have a different audience. Plus, the audience size might differ. Most importantly, each audience expects different content. So, again content strategy is likely to be more effective if it is tailored for each channel/audience.
Of course, let's not forget your blogging and guest blogging efforts which should also come into play. Look, being active on all the above channels is not mandatory. You can simply pick one or two to start building your influence in your niche. Always have in mind that each social channel is a different platform that you can use to reach your customers and the public in general.
It's your platform, your pedestal.
4. Keep Networking Within Your Industry
On the path to becoming a successful influencer, you must make real connections. Many people want to connect with influencers via social media and get very excited when receiving a message, comment, or a "like."
Being very active with your followers is vital. However, you can't possibly engage individually with all thousands of them in a meaningful way. For this reason, many influencers, depending on their niche, participate in trade shows. If it's a tech influencer, you can bet they'll be at a CES, the Webby Awards, the Streamys, and other tech events. The best way to start networking with them is to follow their social accounts and see which events they attend to show up yourself.
Event marketing has been trending (especially before COVID). Hence, being able to boast influencer attendance is a huge thing. Now that some in-person events have been postponed, you can also sign up for huge virtual events in your niche. That's an excellent alternative to make a good impression and start getting more followers and fans.
Marketing yourself should be your priority if you want to see your following increase. Get out of your comfort zone and make sure to show up at significant events related to your niche. Even better, attend online events. They are becoming prevalent in the post-COVID world.
If you want to start searching for events and tradeshows in eLearning, you can explore eLearning Events for listings of the best eLearning conferences, events, workshops, and webinars. For other industry niches around the world, make sure to check the Trade Show News Network.
5. Engage With The Community, Respond To Comments, Leverage Off-Site Forums
If you've ever visited an influencer's blog or social media, you must know that the most successful ones actively respond to comments.
It's great to see followers asking questions and commenting on things. For example, we've noticed this happening on Christopher Pappas's social media channels, and he loves to respond as soon as possible!
That means you can also build a social community by being there actively. It will make everyone want to participate and engage with your content. When sharing your responses, make sure to stay friendly and consistent.
But to become an influencer, simply responding is not enough.
Starting engaging conversations will make you stand out. If you can master engaging with the community outside of your feed, you'll see your influence spreading.
Make an effort to go beyond just responding to comments on your Facebook page. For example, you can start posting in groups or on friends' pages. Along the way, maybe consider tagging other influencers to engage the community even more. Starting a Facebook or LinkedIn group in your niche can be a great idea. After all, they can help you draw in more followers.
Also, don't forget about off-site forums. That's where the magic happens. If you manage to become popular on at least one social network, you can gain a lot. For example, some of the most popular YouTubers are known to earn millions of dollars from advertisements and sponsorships.
Of course, not all of us can be that lucky, but we can certainly venture outside social media and participate in online discussions, forums, and comment wells to boost our following.
And remember, every discussion you take part in can potentially enhance your online reputation, influence, as well as your connections.
By tackling diverse topics like strategies, social media, pop culture, and nuances on your preferred platform, you can maintain a constant audience. But you should avoid letting yourself get caught up in influencer fame and becoming distant and disconnected. Meaning the more approachable you are, the more the audience will love you!
Regarding our B2B marketing blog, you must have noticed that I've been publishing at least one blog every week on this site for a long time now. Behind this is a content-driven online marketing strategy that is used to fuel our marketing blog. Plus, we make sure that we share our blog posts on our Facebook page content and our LinkedIn content.
By focusing on our marketing blog, we've got plenty of content that we can share across all our other channels. The same happens with our B2C blog, which has tons of interesting eLearning articles. Blogging is at the center of our long-term digital marketing strategy. Why? Well, we believe in community engagement as well as the impact of SEO performance regarding our website's online presence.
In fact, eLearning Industry's blog is the foundation of how we got to be one of the most trusted sources for eLearning news, tips, and strategies today!
Lastly, don't be afraid of listening to other people's opinions. If you want to become a successful influencer, your goal should be to create a sense of community, a place where ideas can be shared. And constructive criticism is essential to accomplish the above.
Do you have any more ideas on which steps one should follow to become an influencer? I'd love to read your thoughts! Just leave a comment to get the conversion started.
If you feel you have more to share with the eLearning audience your can always submit your article!
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