How to Become a Social Media Influencer: 6 Easy Steps to Followby: Dustin Hawley | Thursday January 3, 2019
Social media is ingrained in today's society and culture. In order to become a social media influencer, you must first come to grips with the idea that it's a marathon and not a sprint. Just a decade ago, no one could have expected the level of impact social media would have on the very fabric 0f our daily lives. Very few could have predicted it's deep influence, or that it would become a medium that would change society as we know it.
Social networks may come and go but people’s inherent need to be social will always remain.
In many ways, traditional media is on its last legs, whereas social media usage continues to grow as more and more people get their news and entertainment from their networks. So it only seems fitting that people would be more and more inclined to want to explore a career as a social media influencer. Although there are tools that can accelerate the process, there are no 'get rich quick' schemes or instant shortcuts to social fame. But for those looking to take the plunge and pursue a career as an influencer, here are 6 easy steps to achieve your dreams of being a social celebrity.
1. Don't Just Find Your Niche, Create It!
As we move forward into 2019 and beyond, one thing is clear in social media. To become a social media influencer, the first and most important thing you need to do is find a niche. This needs to be something that suits your personality and that you’re extremely passionate about. It should also be something you possess a good deal of knowledge and interest in. Those are the starting points, but by no means is the end of the process. Also, keep in mind that just because someone else is doing something you are knowledgeable and passionate about as well, and is successful, doesn’t mean you should too. Offering something different than what's already out there on social media provides you with an invaluable starting point in generating viewership and potential long term fans.
Here's an example. Let’s say you’ve seen that people who post about video games on Instagram have more followers. Should you consider doing the same and emulating their approach? Even if you don’t have the slightest interest or expertise in it? The answer is an emphatic no. Contrary to the old saying, you can't just 'fake it 'till you make it' in this forum. When it comes to social media, you can’t make it if you fake it.
We suggest you pick a niche that you’re genuinely passionate about and already have some sense of a working knowledge around from the start. Maybe you’re great at rebuilding electronics? Or maybe you love food, and have a great deal of interest in different types of cuisines? Perhaps you’re a self-proclaimed fashionista that is always aware of the latest styles and trends? Your social content should clearly reflect whatever your true interests are. We advise against just doing random stuff on camera, or attempting to simply replicate another niche that's already achieved popularity.
Who knows, maybe your niche is best fit to actually be a combination of different things. The point is, it is not to be random. A well thought out idea, accompanied by a plan for implementation and execution, is far more likely to generate momentum than one without. Social media is all about attention, and getting viewers to invest their attention
2. Embody A Unique Personality
Once you have decided on your niche, you need to start fine-tuning your Instagram account. The very first thing that you need to focus on is creating a bio that immediately catches people’s attention. It should talk about your story in a way that engages people.
Remember, it’s one of the first things that a brand or potential followers see on your account. So if you want to become an Instagram influencer, make it noteworthy.
Influencer and travel blogger Helene Sula is an example of both creating a unique personality and an aesthetically pleasing social profile. In particular, she has a compelling and attractive Instagram bio. In the name field, she has tactfully included “travel blogger,” so that her profile shows up in those keyword searches. And in her bio, she tells her story of how she moved to Germany to explore Europe leaving everything behind. Everything except for her dogs and her husband that is. It's details like these that take your profile from 'good' to 'great'.
3. Share Your Story
Let's start this part off with a bit of a reality check. Fact is, if you think you can become an Instagram influencer just by sharing photos, you are in for a rude awakening. To be successful on social in 2019 and moving forward, you need to tell a story with your content. Additionally, the captions that go along with those photos are equally as important as the images themselves. Use them to tell your stories and connect with your audience on an emotional level. You need to give your audience a reason to trust you, follow you, and most importantly, engage with you.
Keep in mind, being genuine is the key element in producing authentic engagement. Because that will be easily seen through by your viewers if, in fact, your content feels disingenuous. You should instead share your personal stories in a way that your audience finds interesting yet authentic. This will endear you to your viewers and in turn, hopefully, lead to follower growth.
4. Create Appealing Content
This element is a pre-requisite of sorts to becoming an Instagram influencer. Without appealing content, you are just another occupant on the platform. Each and every one of your photos need to be visually-appealing but also align with your theme or niche. What this translates to is that all of your photos in the feed should look good next to one another, and fit a similar aesthetic.
A large number of social media influencers follow a particular style or template when it comes to editing their photos, in order to achieve uniformity in color or composition. There are tools like VSCO and Lightroom for you to edit your photos, or you can simply use the built-in filters in Instagram if it fits your look. But ensure that your photos are taken in high-resolution and plenty of light to make them have a professional appearance and presentation.
5. Post Your Content Consistently
Content is king, as we often say in this business. And if content is king, consistency is queen. Posting your content consistently is another crucial element to becoming a social media influencer. For example, most influencers on Instagram post daily. This is a common content cadence for many of the most popular influencers. However, some of them post a few times a day, or sometimes only a few times a week. Your content cadence should be dictated by both your vertical and the production value of your content.
Studies show that an increase in your content posting frequency can boost engagement rates. However, once you have established your content cadence, make sure you do so wisely. It needs to be something you can stick to and follow through with consistently. If you set an unrealistic goal to which you cannot adhere to, you will inhibit the value that comes with content cadence.
If you are the type who has difficulties sticking to a schedule (or your lifestyle makes that all but impossible), you can schedule your posts out with tools like Buffer, Planoly, Preview, or Ripl. These platform tools allow you to create your content in advance, then set the exact dates and times you would like the content to post. That way, you don’t need to find time to do it yourself throughout your busy schedule. Your content gets posted automatically.
6. Target The Right Audience
Every vertical and niche has its own target audience, and you want to find it for your own. Hashtags are important because they enable your content to be found by other users on the platform, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. For example, Instagram allows you to use a maximum of 30 hashtags on a photo. In many situations, we recommend using them all. But research your niche and use comparative analysis to determine if that approach best fits your long term goals. Some influencers shy away from hashtags, as it can come across in a way that conflicts with their brand or personality. But utilizing hashtags, particularly when first starting out and trying to build an audience, can produce solid results in the form of increased visibility and follower growth. But what kind of hashtags should you choose?
Remember that hashtags having high search volumes aren’t necessarily good for you. Because high search volumes imply high competition too. So the chances of your post being discovered using those hashtags are bleak.
Instead, choose hashtags that have decent search volumes that maximizes your chances of appearing in the top posts. Ideally, use a combination of hashtags varying in search volumes from above 10,000 to 1 million. But definitely, not more than a million.
For example, here's a post by an influencer who used the hashtag #adventurecouple. This at the time was the top post for this hashtag, having search volumes of more than 44,000.
When it comes down to it, social media is all about people, how you can connect with them, and how you engage with them. Engagement is absolutely essential to help you become a social media influencer. When someone comments on your content, make sure that you reply to them, and reply genuinely. Also, return the favor by liking and commenting on their content. People connect with those who reciprocate engagement on social media, and this is the first and most simple social hack to achieve follower growth.
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