The term “influencer” is one of the top buzzwords we hear these days.
Unfortunately, many people don’t know what this term really means.
Who is an influencer?
How do they become popular?
Above all, why do they become popular?
Those are just some of the questions you need to answer before embarking on a career of an influencer.
Simply put, an influencer is a person who has a great influence in a specific niche. They poured their hearts into building a solid personal brand and showcasing their industry authority.
Sure, you don’t need to be Kim Kardashian or Ariana Grande to become an influencer.
There are many micro-influencers that target specific audiences and build their reputation in a specific niche. Their word is as good as gold. Once people recognize their credibility, they will keep coming back to them again and again.
In this article, you will learn what critical steps to take to become an influencer in your industry.
1) Identify your Niche
An influencer is not the jack of all trades. It is immensely important that you choose a niche that aligns with your interests, experience, and knowledge. For starters, assess your strengths and weaknesses. Pick a niche within the industry that lets you validate your strengths and authority.
Darren Rowse, the founder of ProBlogger, is a perfect example of what I am talking about. While there are many aspects of digital marketing he could write about, he focused on a single area – blogging. By creating high-quality content and targeting people wanting to make money blogging, he has quickly become synonymous with this industry.
By identifying your niche right from the start, you will be able to target the right audience, create content that resonates with them and, above all, start building a credible personal brand in your industry.
There are many categories to choose, from travel, lifestyle, and fashion to sports, health, entertainment, and tech. Sure, you don’t need to limit yourself to a single category. You can combine several niches that go hand in hand. For example, when writing about fitness, why not provide useful health tips? Or, travel and lifestyle usually go well together, as well as beauty and fashion.
2) Share your Knowledge with the Public
To make a name for yourself out there, you first need to start creating high-quality content that focuses on your niche and target audiences. By creating relevant, fresh, creative, and valuable content, you get an amazing opportunity to prove your knowledge and industry experiences. Above all, you will build trust with your target audiences and inspire them to keep coming back to you for more tips.
Now, there are many types of content to create.
For starters, create engaging and targeted blog posts. When wanting to become an influencer, you shouldn’t rely on spammy, keyword-rich posts. Instead, create valuable, data-backed, and engaging content that will inspire your readers, help them solve real-life problems, and turn them into your loyal fanbase.
Apart from traditional posts, you should create diverse content types, including:
- Comprehensive guides
- Gifs and memes
- High-quality photos
You shouldn’t forget about guest blogging – creating high-quality content for leading sites in your industry.
Sure, the type of content you will create depends on your industry and audiences. By diversifying your content creation and promotion strategy, you will appeal to wider audiences and gain better results.
Let’s take the example of Rad Basta, CEO at Four Dots and the author of The Good Book of SEO. He has built a solid personal brand in the SEO industry by blogging and publishing content on many reputable sites, such as Forbes and SEMrush. Publishing a comprehensive book on SEO has helped him showcase his industry experience and build trust in many industry professionals.
Just think about it. If someone landed on your website and saw you published a legitimate book or posted content on high-authority sites, wouldn’t they take your work even more seriously? They surely would.
3) Choose your Channels
Based on your niche and audiences, choose the right social channels. Pick ones your audiences use to engage with similar brands. This also eases the brands’ influencer discovery process.
You can combine different channels to connect with different audiences and send the right message. The example of Gary Vaynerchuk shows how posing the right stuff on the right channels can strengthen your personal brand online. On Instagram, he publishes motivational, educative, on-brand posts that empower his target audiences and build strong relationships with them. Twitter is the right channel for him to share news and inspire conversations with his followers, while on Facebook, he builds an engaged community. A diversified social media marketing strategy has helped him grow a recognizable personal brand. Vaynerchuk even has a growing fanbase, called Vayner Nation.
4) Understand your Target Audiences
To choose the right channels and create powerful content, you first need to know who your audiences are. There are many ways to collect audience’s feedback, including:
- Social media polls
- Email/chatbot/website/social media surveys
- Social media/website chatbots
- Social media listening
- Market research
- Website and social media analytics
- Competitor analysis
The idea is to collect two kinds of data. The first is demographic data, such as your audiences’ age, geolocation, education, profession, family status, gender, and so forth. The second is psychographic data, such as your audiences’ hobbies, interests, problems, needs, expectations, and fears.
Based on this data, you need to create detailed buyer personas that will guide you when choosing your online channels and creating content. For example, if you are targeting Millennials, then Instagram is your safest bet hence, for most Instagram influencers, their target audience is Millennials. On the other hand, if you want to position yourself as an industry professional and connect with business executives, then LinkedIn is the right option for you.
5) Network Continuously
To become an influencer, you first need to connect with other authoritative people in your industry and interact with them continuously. If you are just starting out, you will need to be the one that puts in the legwork. For starters, connect with industry influences via social media channels. Like and reshare their content and start commenting on their posts. This way, you will put yourself in front of them, get them to remember your name, and, above all, reach their audiences.
Sure, this strategy takes time. Writing “Wow, this is an amazing article” will not get you noticed among a bunch of spammy comments. Instead, provide insightful comments that will sparkle future conversations and grab an influencer’s attention.
If you are still not sure who to connect with, use tools like Buzzsumo. It lets you see the trending posts in your niche and who published them.
Next, you could try to connect with industry influencers in person. For example, find public speaking opportunities, attend industry tradeshows, go to relevant conferences, and visit any relevant industry events. Public speaking is particularly important to building an influencer career, as it puts you in front of many influencers in your niche.
Over to You
No matter if you are in the fashion or tech industry, becoming an influencer is not going to happen overnight. It requires lots of hard work, strategizing, and persistence. You will need to continuously work on building a consistent and recognizable personal brand and maintaining it.
Fortunately, influencer marketing often has a snowball effect. In other words, if you do everything right, your popularity will keep growing over time. With the rise in influencer marketing platforms, the demand for credible influencers has been on a steady rise.