How to Become an Influencer: The Ultimate Guide in 7 Steps… That Work

Become an influencer with our ultimate guide. Find your niche, grow your audience, and engage effectively. Start influencing now!

Matt By Matt
21 Min Read

Becoming an influencer can be exciting and rewarding. With millions of people looking to their favourite social media platforms for entertainment, inspiration, and advice, there’s ample opportunity for you to carve out your unique space.

Influencer Marketing Expected to be Worth
$24 Billion by the End of 2024

Influencer Marketing Hub

Success as an influencer is not just about gaining followers but engaging with an audience and providing value that resonates personally with them.

Key Takeaways

  • Identifying your passion will help you choose a clear niche, allowing for more targeted and effective audience engagement.
  • A consistent content strategy ensures a strong online presence and helps to build an authentic relationship with your audience.
  • Growing a dedicated following opens opportunities for monetisation, solidifying influencer marketing as a viable career path.

Understanding how competitive the landscape is is key to kicking off your journey. There are an estimated 200 million content creators around the world.

What is the Difference Between a Content Creator and an Influencer?

AspectContent CreatorInfluencer
Primary FocusProducing and sharing content across various platforms.Building and maintaining a large following, and often promoting brands or products.
Content TypeOften specialises in a particular type of content, such as videos, blogs, art, or photography.Content is more varied and often includes personal life, product endorsements, and engagement-driven posts.
EngagementMay prioritize the quality and originality of content over engagement.Prioritizes engagement with their audience to maintain and grow their influence.
MonetizationMonetization can come directly from the content itself, such as ad revenue, sponsorships for the content, or selling digital products.Monetization is often through brand deals, sponsorships, and partnerships due to their ability to influence purchasing decisions.
Audience RelationshipThe audience is often attracted by the content’s value, entertainment, or educational aspect.The audience is often attracted by the influencer’s personality, lifestyle, opinions, or specific niche authority.
Key differences between a content creator and an influencer

Begin by identifying your passion and expertise—this will become your niche as an influencer.

Grasping the ins and outs of each social media platform is crucial; they all have unique features, algorithms and best practices.

A strategic approach to content creation and a regular posting schedule will help to establish your online presence.

As your follower count grows, so does the potential to monetise your influence, turning your passion into a profession.

1. Identify Your ‘Niche’ and Audience

Selecting your specific niche, and defining your target audience or ideal customer are fundamental steps in carving out a successful and unique place for yourself within the influencer market. Here’s how to strategically establish your niche and tune into your audience demographics.

How to Choose Your Niche

When you choose your niche or target audience, consider what you’re passionate about and connect this to current trends. The overlap between your interests and what’s relevant in the market can become your unique niche.

Start with broad areas before honing in on subtopics. For example, if you love fashion, you could focus on sustainable or high-street trends. Consider using a list to break down the process:

  • Identify your passions and skills.
  • Research current trends within those areas.
  • Find a gap in the market that aligns with your unique perspective.
  • Identify target customers with enough disposable income to purchase what you’ll be promoting.
  • Decide if you want to be a micro or nano influencer in a specific field, or if you aim to become a macro influencer with a broader appeal.

Understand Your Audience Demographics

Knowing your demographic is critical to engaging with your target audience effectively.

You’ll need to understand their age, location, interests, and the types of content they prefer. Here are some steps to get to grips with your audience:

  1. Analyse who is engaging with your current content, or if you’re new, look at similar influencers in your niche and see who is engaging.
  2. Use social media tools to gather data about your followers’ age, location, and interests.
  3. Consider the values and preferences of your demographic and tailor your content accordingly.

2. Create Your Personal Brand

A personal brand is the unique combination of skills, experiences, and personality you want the world to see. It is the distinct image or impression you convey to others about who you are, what you stand for, and what you can offer.

 

Your personal brand reflects your conduct, behaviour, spoken and unspoken words, and attitudes. It’s how you present yourself online and offline to potential clients, customers, employers, and your broader network.

Essentially, it’s your professional reputation crafted and shaped by your actions and communications.

Here are three recommended blog articles that offer valuable insights and tips for creating a personal brand:

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Personal Branding by HubSpot: This comprehensive guide covers all aspects of personal branding, from defining your brand and building your online presence to measuring your impact.
  2. How to Build Your Personal Brand by Blogging by Neil Patel: A well-known figure in digital marketing, Neil Patel provides actionable advice on how blogging can be a powerful tool for establishing your personal brand.
  3. Personal Branding: Where to Start When You Don’t Know How on Forbes by Goldie Chan: This article offers a step-by-step approach for those beginning their personal branding journey, focusing on storytelling and content creation.

3. Prioritise the Right Platform – Top 10 Social Networks by Audience Size

RankSocial NetworkEstimated Audience Size
1Facebook3 billion
2YouTube2.5 billion
3WhatsApp2 billion
4Instagram2 billion
5TikTok1.2 billion
6Snapchat500 million
7Reddit430 million
8Twitter396 million
9Pinterest450 million
10LinkedIn810 million
Top 10 Social Networks by Audience Size *estimated

Please note that these numbers are approximate and the audience size for these platforms can fluctuate over time. The rank is based on the most recent data available as of early 2024.

Are Challenger Social Networks Right for You?

Smaller, innovative platforms that are less saturated and where it’s easier to stand out

Social NetworkUnique Selling Point
VEROAd-free experience and a chronological feed promising more genuine connections.
ClubhouseAudio-only social networking where users can join virtual rooms for live discussions.
CaffeineA broadcasting platform with a focus on live streaming entertainment and gaming content.
MastodonA decentralised and open-source network that offers an alternative to traditional social platforms.
BeRealEncourages users to share one unedited photo per day randomly to promote authenticity.
FireworkA short-form video platform that emphasizes quality and creativity for professional creators.
MeWePrivacy-centric network with no ads, no targeting, and a strong stance on user data protection.

These platforms are known for challenging the status quo of social networking, each with a distinct approach to user experience and community building.

4. Develop Your Content Strategy

To become a successful influencer, it’s essential to put a strong content strategy in place. This helps you consistently deliver content that resonates with your followers and grows your audience.

Creating Quality Content

To start, focus on creating quality content. This means producing material that is not only engaging but also holds value for your audience.

If you were your target audience – what would you think is valuable?

Remember, quality trumps quantity. It’s better to post excellent content less frequently than to bombard your followers with posts that don’t meet a high standard.

Utilising Various Content Formats

Next, explore different content formats.

Video – both long and short form – is a highly engaging format that can capture your audience’s attention quickly. On the other hand, a blog allows for in-depth exploration of topics and can help establish your authority.

Mix and match formats – videos, blogs, infographics – to keep your audience engaged and to cater to different content consumption preferences.

Building a Content Calendar

Finally, use a content calendar to plan and organise your posts.

 

A content calendar assists in maintaining a consistent posting schedule, which is key to keeping your audience engaged.

It also gives you a bird’s-eye view of your content strategy, helping you to ensure diversity in your content and to prepare for key dates or events relevant to your niche.

5. Optimise Your Online Presence

Before diving into the influencing world, sharpening your online profile is crucial. From your social media platforms to your website, every digital footprint should represent you clearly and professionally.

Optimising Social Media Profiles

Your social media profiles need to shine to make a solid impact as an influencer. They need to stand out.

On platforms like Instagram and Twitter, choose a memorable, trustworthy profile picture and consistent username across all networks.

Your bio should state your area of expertise and your value, including strategic keywords relevant to your niche. If you’re on YouTube or Twitch, ensure your headers and icons reflect your brand.

Website Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for Influencers

To get noticed, understanding SEO for your brand website is essential.

It’s important to optimise your website’s content with long tail keywords to rank higher on search engines like Google and Bing.

Top 10 recommendations for improving your website

SEO GuidelineDifficulty to ImplementMore Information
Keyword ResearchModerateSEMrush SEO Tips
Quality Content CreationModerate to HighJeff Bullas SEO Best Practices
On-Page OptimizationModerateGuide: Maximizing SEO Strategies
Mobile OptimizationModerate10 Essential SEO Best Practices
Page Load SpeedModerate to HighNeil Patel Personal Branding SEO
Internal LinkingLow to ModerateSEO Tips to Boost Organic Rankings
High-Quality BacklinksHighCreating an Impactful SEO Content Strategy
Social Media IntegrationLowThe Ultimate Personal Brand Website Checklist
Regular Content UpdatesModerateTop 10 SEO Strategies Small Businesses Should Follow
Analytics and AdjustmentsModerate10 Steps of Creating an SEO Content Strategy
Recommend SEO improvements

6. Grow Your Community and Engagement to Become an Influencer

Building a community is more than just gathering followers; it must generate meaningful engagement to be successful.

Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages. Create content that matters to your followers on Facebook and LinkedIn, and encourage them to join the conversation.

  • Host live sessions on Instagram or Twitch to interact directly with your audience.
  • Use analytics to monitor engagement rates and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Social NetworkMost Effective Uses as an Influencer
Facebook– Engage with your audience through live videos and personal stories.
– Utilize Facebook Groups to build a community around your niche.
YouTube– Create high-quality, engaging video content that adds value.
– Optimize video titles, descriptions, and tags for SEO to increase visibility.
WhatsApp– Use WhatsApp Business for direct communication and personalized engagement with followers.
– Create broadcast lists to share exclusive updates and content.
Instagram– Leverage Instagram Stories and Reels for dynamic, behind-the-scenes content.
– Collaborate with brands and other influencers through sponsored posts and shoutouts.
TikTok– Tap into trends and challenges to create viral content.
– Engage with users through duets, stitches, and interactive TikTok LIVE sessions.
Snapchat– Share real-time, ephemeral content to give followers a glimpse into your daily life.
– Use Snapchat’s AR lenses and filters to create unique, branded content.
Reddit– Participate in relevant subreddits to establish thought leadership.
– Host AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions to interact with your audience.
Twitter– Share timely updates, engage in trending topics, and use hashtags effectively.
– Utilize Twitter threads to tell stories and share insights on your niche.
Pinterest– Create visually appealing pins that link back to your content or affiliate products.
– Use Pinterest boards to curate themed content and drive traffic to your site.
LinkedIn– Share professional insights, articles, and industry-related content to establish authority.
– Network with other professionals and brands to expand your reach and influence.
Effective ways of using social media platforms as an influencer

7. Monetising Your Influence

Understanding how to generate income through your online presence is crucial to making your mark as an influencer. Let’s walk through the particulars of securing brand collaborations and delving into affiliate marketing and sponsored content.

Securing Brand Collaborations

Your media kit is your calling card when aiming to collaborate with brands.

It should showcase your unique value, audience demographics, engagement rates, and past successful partnerships.

What Should Be in Your Influencer Media Kit?

An influencer media kit should include the following top elements to attract brand collaborations:

  1. Bio and Introduction: A brief overview of who you are, your background, and what you represent. This sets the stage for potential collaborations (Neal Schaffer).
  2. Contact Information: Clear and accessible contact details so brands can easily reach out to you.
  3. Audience Demographics: Information about your audience, including age range, gender, location, interests, and engagement rates, to show brands the potential reach and relevance (The Shelf).
  4. Content Overview: A description of the type of content you create, platforms you are active on, and your content style and tone.
  5. Metrics and Analytics: Key performance indicators such as follower count, average engagement rate, website traffic, and any other relevant metrics that demonstrate your influence.
  6. Past Collaborations and Partnerships: Showcase previous successful brand partnerships with case studies, testimonials, or examples of content created for other brands.
  7. Services Offered: A clear list of the services you provide, such as sponsored posts, product reviews, brand ambassadorships, event appearances, etc.
  8. Rates and Packages: If you’re comfortable sharing, include your rates for different types of collaborations or packages you offer to give brands an idea of potential costs.

These elements will help brands quickly understand the value you can bring to a collaboration and whether your audience aligns with their target market.

To initiate a brand partnership, actively reach out to companies aligned with your niche and offer them clear insights into how collaboration with you can benefit their brand.

Present yourself confidently and professionally, showing brands that you understand influencer marketing and can be a valuable asset to their marketing efforts.

Remember that compensation may vary; some brands offer monetary payment, while others might provide free products or services.

Explore Affiliate Marketing and Sponsored Content

Affiliate marketing can be a steady source of income.

By sharing affiliate links that lead to a brand’s product, you earn a commission for every sale made through your link.

Choose products that resonate with your audience to maintain authenticity and trust.

As for sponsored content, it’s about crafting posts that feature a brand’s product in a seamless and engaging way.

Be straightforward with your followers by disclosing sponsored content. This transparency builds trust and adherence to advertising standards.

Compensation for sponsored posts can be negotiated based on your reach and engagement levels, ranging from a flat fee to a performance-based rate.

Remember:

  • Select affiliate products that fit your niche.
  • Be transparent with your audience about sponsored posts.

Find inspiration

And finally, follow the stories of other influencers to find your inspiration. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, you’ll find answers to key queries about launching your career as a social media influencer.

What essential steps should I take to become a successful social media influencer?

To kickstart your influencer career, prioritise identifying your niche and understanding your profitable audience. Build your knowledge on mastering social media features and focus on creating high-quality, engaging content consistently.

Can you make a substantial income from influencer marketing, and how?

A substantial income is achievable through various avenues like sponsored content, affiliate marketing, merchandise, and brand collaborations.
The key is to grow your follower base and maintain high engagement rates.

What strategies do successful influencers use to engage their audience?

Successful influencers connect with their audience by creating relatable and authentic content. They often interact with their followers through comments and live streams. They also tailor their content according to the audience’s preferences.

In what ways can ‘overnight success’ as an influencer impact long-term credibility?

Quick success might attract initial interest, but long-term credibility requires consistency, audience transparency, and sharing genuine experiences. Authenticity builds trust and establishes you as a reliable influencer in your field.

What services do companies offer to help individuals become influencers?

Many companies offer services to help aspiring influencers build their online presence. These service areas include personal branding advice, social media strategy development, media training, copywriting and content creation guidance.

What approaches do teenage influencers use to earn income through social media platforms?

Teenage influencers often monetise their platforms by partnering with brands for endorsements. They also sell merchandise targeted to their demographic and leverage their presence on multiple platforms to maximise income opportunities.

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By Matt
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I'm the Creative Director at Bona Parle. I'm also a freelance portrait and headshot photographer, award-winning filmmaker, film Colourist and a multi-award winning LGBTQ+ human rights campaigner. For part of my week I lead a successful UK-based charity that brings families closer to together.