Online influencers have been around for a long time, but they’ve become massively popular in recent years. As more and more people turn to social media and online content instead of traditional media, influencers have gained incredibly powerful voices. The idea of becoming an influencer is more popular than ever, too. You get to create content on topics you’re passionate about while connecting with others who share the same interests. Successful influencers can turn their online presence into a lucrative career as well.
If you consume a lot of online content and have plenty of ideas to share, you might have considered trying to build up an online presence. Being an influencer can be very rewarding, but it’s also competitive. Here are nine tips to successfully start a career as an influencer:
1. Pick a Niche
Because there are already so many influencers with large audiences, being too vague or broad in your content may prevent you from being successful. While some people think that covering multiple topics or genres will expand the size of their potential audience, it may instead lead to you being overlooked in favor of more well-known influencers.
The best way to establish yourself as a content creator is to choose a highly specific and unique niche. For example, you might be interested in becoming a travel influencer. What do you know the most about or feel the most passionate about within this field? You could focus on travel to a specific region or create content about traveling on a budget. Your niche could be food experiences while traveling or exploring nature across the world.
Being as specific as possible will help you establish yourself as an expert. You’ll attract an audience of people who trust your authority on that particular topic. Then, as your online presence starts to expand, you can branch out to other topics within your domain.
2. Create Your Content Strategy
Your content strategy is your specific, actionable plan to create content that appeals to your existing audience and brings in new viewers. This may be the most challenging aspect of being a content creator, requiring so much attention to detail. Every piece of content you publish should be thoughtful, engaging, and valuable to the viewer. Your content strategy will help you achieve this.
First, choose your primary medium for content creation. Do you feel the most confident about producing written content, or would it be better for your brand to focus on visuals? Will your audience prefer short-form or long-form content? You can and should use more than one medium as an influencer, but most influencers have one primary medium and use others as a supplement.
Next, think about the purpose of your content. Do you want to entertain, inform, or inspire? What do you want your audience to gain from viewing your posts? This will help you set the tone and find the specific themes and messages of your content.
Consider your target audience, too. You should know what they’re looking for in social media content, how they interact with the internet, and what their core values are. By understanding your ideal audience, you can create content that appeals specifically to them.
3. Choose Your Channels
While it can be helpful to have a presence on all the leading social channels, you can choose which ones to direct most of your attention toward. Think about which platforms your target audience is most active on, and consider which ones will be the best host for your content. If you use a lot of images, Instagram might be your central platform. If you plan to create video content, you should focus on YouTube or TikTok.
Connecting your social channels is essential as well. If possible, use the same handle on every platform. You could also create content for one platform that encourages viewers to visit your other channels. For example, you could briefly discuss a topic with an Instagram photo and caption and then direct your followers to your YouTube channel for a long-form video on the topic.
Networking is essential in any industry, and it’s especially valuable for aspiring influencers. When you collaborate with another content creator, both parties can promote themselves to the other’s audience. This is also a great chance to build relationships with people who have similar goals. You can exchange tips and come up with new and innovative ideas for content.
You can connect with influencers by sending them direct messages on social media, or you could attend networking events. Not every influencer you meet will be the right person to work with, but making contacts in the industry is never a bad idea.
Try to connect with influencers who are in a similar niche. This increases the chance that their audience will be interested in your content, making the creative process much more manageable. However, the influencers you work with should be different enough from your brand that their audience sees your content as fresh and unique.
5. Offer Value
The true purpose of being an influencer isn’t to gain followers or notoriety. Your goal should be to positively impact people’s lives with your content. By thinking about value first and foremost, you’ll gain an audience who truly benefits from your online presence.
Value comes in a number of different forms. Some influencers add value to people’s lives by making them laugh or taking their minds off life’s stress. Others offer helpful information on health and wellness, travel, tech, or other topics. You could give product reviews, create tutorials, or inspire people to make a change in their lives. However, you decide to structure your content and know exactly how it provides value to your audience.
6. Be Authentic
People follow influencers because they like to feel connected. Your brand is yourself, and staying true to yourself will help you build a loyal and engaged audience. You don’t have to reveal everything about your life or share every aspect of your personality, but let your authentic self shine through in your content.
It might be helpful to write out your core values and what they mean to you. This gives you a tangible representation of who you are and what you want to share with the world. Although it’s normal for your sense of self to change over time, remind yourself of these core values so that you can keep an authentic voice even as your audience grows.
7. Focus on Engagement
Engagement serves a few important purposes for influencers. First, it’s an opportunity to get to know your audience and understand what they value in online content. If you upload your content and then move on, you’ll never know how people receive it. By encouraging your audience to engage with your posts, you create a stronger sense of community around your brand. Not only does this make your viewers feel closer to you, but it helps you understand your audience.
Additionally, engagement can help with your online visibility. Many social platforms use engagement as a determining factor in which posts they promote. When you get a lot of likes, comments, or shares, the platform will show your content to a broader audience, which can dramatically increase your viewership.
8. Create Content Consistently
When first starting out as an aspiring influencer, it can be difficult to establish consistency. Some new influencers don’t see the need to publish content regularly as they’re still finding their footing and don’t have a large audience. However, consistency is at the heart of success for online influencers.
Regularly uploading fresh content can significantly improve your online presence. When you have more existing content, the chances of people finding your work are much greater. Social media platforms are more likely to promote users who consistently publish new and unique content, too.
As you build up your audience, consistency will help you keep your viewers engaged in your brand. They’ll know when to expect new content from you, and they won’t forget about your existence because of a long or unexplained break.
9. Quantify Your Efforts
Fortunately, there’s plenty of data available for social media influencers. Every platform offers analytics that gives you a good idea of how you’re performing on the site. In most cases, engagement is the most valuable metric to use when evaluating your success. You could get thousands of followers or page views, but this data doesn’t mean much if people aren’t engaged enough to interact with your brand.
Over time, you’ll become more familiar with your data and what constitutes a successful post or campaign. Set goals for yourself to assess your long-term growth, but don’t panic if the numbers don’t end up where you want them to be. Social media can be unpredictable, and you can never be entirely sure of what your audience will and won’t respond to.
The internet can be an excellent place to make your voice heard. Because there’s so much existing content, though, you have to work hard to amass a following. By starting small with a unique niche, being specific with your goals and intentions, and dedicating yourself to posting consistently, you can begin to build up your audience. Most importantly, remember why you’ve decided to create content. You love the topics you’re talking about, and you’re excited to share your ideas. If you keep this in the forefront of your mind, your passion will show in your work, and your audience will greatly appreciate what you offer.