Influencers are marketers, PR reps, and media personalities rolled into one. Their followers consider them trusted experts in their field, which is why many have lucrative deals with major brands and agencies. Although becoming an influencer seems easy, that’s only because they make it look effortless; it takes a lot of time, work, and business acumen. The following steps are only the beginning.
Become an Expert (or at Least an Authority)
Choose a topic upon which to focus. It should be specific and not too broad, but don’t limit yourself. Select something you are not only good at or know well but enjoy learning more about. Then, learn as much as you can about that subject. Take online courses, attend webinars, and read everything you can find relating to your field.
Choose a Platform(s)
Choose the media that best fits your niche, then choose the best platform for that type of content. Different social media platforms focus on different types of content: Instagram is for photos; while Twitter is good for brief commentary, particularly on news and politics; and YouTube is strictly for videos, although it allows viewers to comment.
While you can choose more than one platform, you’ll need a solid time management strategy for posting, engaging, and overall maintenance of your accounts. A weekly newsletter, in addition to writing a blog and maintaining three social media accounts, is likely to overwhelm even the most industrious of influencers.
Finally, learn everything you can about the platform(s) you choose so that you can get the most out of it, improve your reach, and attract followers. Bungled posts, outdated or useless information, and dead links will damage your reputation.
Read and Research (Voraciously)
Subscribe to relevant blogs and newsletters, and follow other influencers. In addition to being an authority in your niche, you should also stay up to date on the industry. Start each day by reading news about social media, influencers, Internet trends, and articles on your subject matter.
Aside from improving your standing as an expert and social influencer, it helps you strategize and plan your content. When Facebook changed its algorithm several years ago, many outlets that relied on it as their distribution point were driven out of business. Although Facebook had announced that it was making changes, it did not specify what those would be, so many were unprepared for the dramatic loss of reach, while others had made back-up plans.
Becoming a social media influencer takes a lot of time and effort. Pick a niche you enjoy so that you are less likely to run out of steam or lose interest. Know your topic inside and out, and stay informed about changes in media, platforms, and the Internet.
You are a public relations representative for your field in more ways than one, so be consistent, be friendly, and be engaging. Most importantly, you must also be knowledgeable and trustworthy — otherwise, you will have little or no influence at all.