Social media has been a buzzword for many years now. What started as a way to chat with friends and family ended up being one of the most powerful marketing mediums of our time. Even more fascinating in its evolution is the birth of a new type of career: social media influencing.
Back in the early days of Instagram, influencers were like trendsetting gurus with followers who cared about their opinions and hung on to their every word. These followers, numbering in the tens and hundreds of thousands, took their cues on fashion, shopping, dieting, and even life choices. Basically, their faves wielded a lot of influence.
Fast forward to 2013, paid advertisements started to roll in. Brands looked at these influencers and thought, “Hey, let’s have them talk about our products! In return, they would get hefty paychecks.” This was a win-win for both parties. Today, with other platforms like YouTube and TikTok in tow, many people now make a living out of this.
But what does it really take to not just be a social media influencer but a successful one? Let’s find out.
What is an Influencer?
Being an influencer is beyond the idea of becoming famous on social media. It’s about how you conduct yourself. It means that you need to not only look the part but also act the part. When asked what it means to be an influencer, it can be summed up in three words: authenticity, impact, and engagement.
These three qualities serve as the building blocks for every successful influencer. Before anything else, you have to be authentic. You must be real, genuine, and true to yourself. You must also be yourself when you interact with your audience, not an idea of who they think you should be.
Next, you need to be impactful. Influential people impact the lives of other people. They can shape their opinions and views on a subject. They’re those whose every move makes the world stop and listen to them.
And lastly, you have to be engaging. The purpose of having followers is so they can interact with you through your curated content. If you can’t get them to do that, then what’s the point of having them?
How Large is the Social Media Influencing Industry?
According to Statista, the global influencer marketing industry is currently valued at $21.1 billion. That’s over twice its size in 2019. This comes as no surprise as the total spend on social media advertising is in hundreds of billions of dollars. More companies and brands are willing to invest more in marketing, especially on social media where the reach of a successful campaign can go viral.
What does this translate to for you? Being in the digital marketing space means that you’ll always get a steady stream of projects and campaigns coming your way—as long as you stay authentic, impactful, and engaging.
How Can You Succeed in This Industry?
The three highlighted qualities flow out to a certain set of guidelines required to help you succeed in this line of work. These guidelines include:
Finding Your Niche
The key to successful social media marketing is to get specific. If you want to get paid to influence, start by influencing about something that resonates with you. After all, this would be your content. This might be a no-brainer if you’re an expert in a particular field, like gaming, baking, sports, or photography.
Your knowledge and passion in any of these areas can be of immense value to your audience and attract brand partners who share the same interests.
Choosing the Ideal Platform
It’s not uncommon to find influencers cross-promoting brands on multiple social media platforms. However, it’s also not a rule. You can have one dominant platform on which you focus your energy to deliver consistent value to your audience. Down the line, you can then decide to include other channels in your outreach, especially if you become a well-known figure.
As long as you find your voice and have enough active followers to partner with brands, you’re golden.
Implementing a Good Content Strategy
You’ve probably heard this a zillion times, but it’s worth repeating: “Content is king.” It’s a true-and-true statement. As an influencer, you have an edge over traditional advertisers, thanks to your life being a blueprint for content creation. The challenge, however, is making sure that your content is good enough to attract and retain an audience, which is why you need a good strategy.
Look at the big shots like Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi, Khaby Lame, Zach King, Lele Pons, and the Kardashians. What do they have in common? Killer content that oozes personality and tells a story. It’s a secret tool that has helped them amass millions of followers and tons of sponsorship deals. That’s your game plan too.
Are you a gaming wizard? Time-lapse your epic gaming sessions and upload them on YouTube. Fitness fanatic? Vlog your workouts with Insta-worthy tips. Crazy about cats? TikTok is your new playground for adorable cat videos and memes. The possibilities are endless.
If scripting isn’t your forte, hire the pros who can whip up magic for you. A good place to start is to check out Leadar for a list of vetted scriptwriters who are a click away from bringing your stories to life.
Engage with Your Followers and Listen to Your Critics
Social media engagement is a two-way street, and it all starts with being accessible. When online, respond to comments, tweets, Instagram messages, and everything in between. If you receive criticisms, let them be your motivation. Of course, you can’t always read or reply to everyone’s response.
But make it a point to keep an open line of communication with your followers. It lets them know that you’re on their side and care about what they have to say.
Consistency is another surefire way to maintain the interest of your audience and keep them coming back for more. It also gives a positive image to any brands that are scouting for the next content creators for their campaigns. What’s more, brands love seeing your content in their feeds because it means more impressions, likes, shares, and ultimately, more sales.
It also means that you have to maintain a steady schedule. For example, if you upload content once every week, maintain that schedule. When doing vlogs, make sure that their frequency never drops to zero. At the same time, don’t overwhelm your audience. Posts that seem one-sided will only bore them and eventually drive them away.
These tips on how to become a social media influencer may not look like it’s all that simple. But it is the ideal setup for success. As you put them into action, you not only build more followers but also increase your capacity to engage in high-value projects with brands, both of which contribute significantly to boosting your brand value.