Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t easy to become a social media influencer. The life of an influencer may look easy, but the fact is that there’s a lot of hard work involved in getting to that point. Before you embark on a career as an influencer, it’s important to think carefully about whether it’s for you. It’s a serious commitment, and if you can’t devote the necessary resources to it, then you may be better off elsewhere.
However, there’s a good chance you do have what it takes to become an influencer. If this is something you’ve always dreamed of doing, then we have some good news: it’s possible for anyone who works hard enough and has the requisite characteristics. Here are some of the things you need if you want to become a successful social media influencer.
Unfortunately, being an influencer doesn’t always pan out. The first thing you need to do when you set out on your social media journey is to devise a backup plan. When you’re first starting out, you can rely on £500 loans and other small incomes to keep you going, but there may come a time when your brand just isn’t as powerful as it once was. When that happens, your backup plan should kick in. It could be a solid career that you know you’ll be able to enter, or a person you can turn to for help like a family member or a friend. Whatever it is, be sure to have a concrete “plan B” in place.
It should go without saying, but one of the most important skills to have as a social media influencer is knowledge of the way social media works. You should understand how to use Instagram hashtags, how the TikTok algorithm works, and how to maximise your engagement on Twitter. It also helps to know how to keep an eye out for potentially emergent platforms. Every year, the dominant social media platform has a chance to change, with another platform emerging victorious. Keeping on top of those trends will stand you in good stead as an influencer.
Good influencers always know how to create great content. They can usually do so across a variety of platforms, too. It won’t necessarily benefit you to create great TikTok videos if your Twitter page is lacking, for instance (although you may be forgiven for this if you’re more of a TikTok specialist). Brush up your content creation skills by watching those who have been successful on your platform of choice. Observe what they do and how they structure their content, then incorporate those tips into your own process (without ripping it off, of course!).
Every influencer’s niche is different. Some influencers will appeal more to the Gen Z crowd, for example, while others may be better served targeting their content at millennial users or even older folks. Finding your niche is one of the most critical aspects of being an influencer, though; if you don’t know your niche, you’ll pitch your content to the wrong audience and you could end up losing followers and likes instead of gaining them. The best way to learn what your niche is? Simply create some content and see who comments on it. Watch for trends and patterns in the users who frequently engage with what you’re doing. That’s your niche!
Your goals are, of course, going to look different to other influencers’ goals. They’ll be influenced (no pun intended) by the scope of your content, what you want to achieve with it, and where you want to end up in a few years’ time. You don’t necessarily need financial goals as an influencer; setting yourself goals for how much you want to earn could result in unrealistic expectations. Instead, ask yourself what you want to achieve with your content. What message do you want to impart? What lesson do you want your followers to learn? These are better, more attainable goals, and they’ll likely lead to financial gain if you manage to achieve success with them as well.
You might think that being an influencer is simply posting and forgetting about it, but this just isn’t true. There’s more to being an influencer, and part of that is creating a solid schedule to set your posts by. You’ll need to regularly create and upload content; that’s one of the many differences between a casual social media user and an influencer. You can use tools to help you schedule your posts; apps like Hootsuite can be a godsend in this area, because you can “set it and forget it”, scheduling posts throughout the day and moving onto the next important thing in your calendar.
Being an influencer is all about engagement. Talking to your fans and followers, finding out what makes them tick, and asking them what they want from you are all critical for your success. That’s why you need to lay out a clear engagement strategy. You should be replying to as many comments on your social media pages as you possibly can. Once you reach a certain level of prominence, nobody will expect you to get to every comment, but the more replies you send, the more you’ll project an image of caring engagement, which will in turn help you to amass even more followers.