Becoming an Influencer 101

The world is full of influencers. At least it may seem this way when you scroll through Instagram or browse YouTube videos. It may look like all influencers just appeared in recent years, but don't be fooled with current trends. The word influencer has been used in English since the 16th century. Back then it wasn’t a job, of course. But in recent years it has become a kind of career track and career option for many, mostly young, people.

Definition of Influencer

Definition

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word Influencer indicates a person who inspires or guides the actions of others. Often, specifically a person who is able to generate interest in something (such as a consumer product) by posting about it on social media

This kind of person has a significant impact on the specific community – or follower base. This base grows mostly because of the content an influencer is providing. We can say that today's influencer is a content creator.

Being an influencer

What does it mean “to be an influencer”? Very often, I hear from young people that they want to be an influencer. And I understand that, when you are scrolling on Instagram or watching YouTube vlogs, it all looks wonderful- lots of traveling, fancy clothes, expensive cars. But the thing is, that there is a lot of work hidden behind those catchy pictures.

What Does It Mean To Be an Influencer

Being an influencer is not about the number of followers. It's more about being able to influence the opinions or behaviors of consumers, or followers if you wish to do so. You do this by...

  • Building a strong community
  • Providing value
  • Taking responsibility
  • Creating valuable content
  • Opening a conversation
  • Engaging an audience
  • Collaborating with businesses

What Is Not Necessary In Order To Be an Influencer

  • Traveling the world for free
  • Getting paid for a post without context
  • Doing nothing, just posting on Instagram
  • Wearing expensive clothes

It is appropriate to say that being an influencer is a real job. There are a lot of activities and efforts hidden behind Instagram profiles or YouTube channels.

How Many Followers Do You Need to Become an Influencer

Being an influencer isn't actually about followers. There is no minimum number of them. Even with only 1,000 followers, you could be considered to be an influencer. The key thing is your true influence on those people. This is what counts and what brands are actually looking for.

There are 5 basic tiers of influencers. Although they differ by the amount of followers, the key purpose of this categorization is to know what brands can and should expect from influencers.

The point is, that companies won't hire you to do a mainstream brand campaign with “just” 2,000 followers. On the other hand 2,000 followers in a specific niche can be very attractive for highly specialized companies.

NANO Influencers

  • 1,000 to 10,000 followers
  • Highly specialized niche

If a user has between 1,000 to approx. 10,000 followers, he or she can be considered to be a Nano-Influencer, but only if they are experts in an obscure or highly specialized field.

Unfortunately, many brands don't consider this tier relevant, because they usually want to reach a broader audience. But for highly specialized companies it is the way to adopt influencer marketing strategies.

MICRO Influencers

  • 10,000 to 50,000 followers
  • Ordinary everyday people
  • Specific niche

Social media users with followings between 10,000-50,000 are Micro-Influencers. They are becoming more common and more famous. Brands are usually looking for a specific audience to promote their products or services.

MID-TIER Influencers

  • 50,000 to 500,000 followers
  • Broader audience

This includes social media users with 50,000-500,000 followers who have climbed the ranks in order to influence a large audience. 

MACRO Influencers

  • 500,000 to 1,000,000 followers

This title includes social media superstars with followings between 500,000-1,000,000 who have earned premiere status as social media noisemakers.

MEGA Influencers

  • 1,000,000 or more followers
  • More like celebrities

Mega Influencers are online celebrities. Brands usually expect both online and offline influence from this kind of person.

Influencer Triangle

Being an influencer also means that you are a key element of the Influencer Triangle. We developed this framework so you can better understand how these relationships between Influencer – Community – Brand works.

Influencer Triangle

Influencers put effort into building a community. It is usually done by providing value through content published on social media. It doesn't matter if it is entertaining or educational content. The community, or followers, “pay” for this, usually with their time and attention. It means that they spent some time consuming a message that the influencer is spreading. And this is what Brands need. They have products or services they want to sell. So they are looking for a channel, where they can spread their message. 

Logically, this community can be a good way to reach potential customers. So brands go to an Influencer and buy a part of the Influencers' relationship with the community in order to spread a message.

In order to make this triangle work, all three points have to be connected. Influencers provide value in order to get attention. Brands pay influencers to utilize their power.

How Do You Become an Influencer

Becoming an influencer is quite easy. The principle is built on 5 basic steps. However it takes some time and effort. Following these steps might move you forward much quicker than just trying to wing it by yourself. 

1. Find your niche

You have to find a way to stand out. Today it is no longer about being a blogger. It is not enough. You need to pick a specific niche that will attract an audience with whom you can influence. The more specific it is, the better.

How Do You Find a Niche

Start with things you are already doing and things that you like. It is nonsense to jump into another industry (that you know nothing about), because if you don't have a relationship with it, it won't work in harder times.

Start with a general topic and then find a way to narrow it down. For example, cooking. You don't want to fall into a huge crowd of people creating generic content about cooking, because it will be very tough to stand out. Try to go deeper and focus on a specific area… perhaps easy recipes for girls in college? This is clear enough so that brands can understand you better, as well as followers.

2. Build a profile

Building a strong online profile is a key task. Try not to think about just an Instagram profile, but rather your online presence as a whole unit. The main purpose of this is to make the decision stage for your potential followers and brands easier. The better and clearer your profile is, the more likely you are to earn more relevant followers and gain more collaborations with brands.

What Should Your Online Profiles Contain

Follow this basic formula to build a good profile.

  • The one-liner – how would you describe it in a single sentence? Try to be relevant, clear and catchy
  • Your niche hashtags – so people can easily understand what they can expect from you

Your location – it helps brands decide if you can be plugged into their local campaigns

3. Create High-Quality Content

“Content is king.” This was said by Bill Gates and boy, was he right. If you want people to stop by and check out your profile, you have to offer something that's worth a follow. Be sure that your content is of the highest possible quality. It's not just about visuals, but about value for people. People are usually looking for content that is funny, inspiring or educational.

4. Engage

Engagement is the most important thing for brands and social media platforms’ algorithms. It is a metric that tells you how active your audience is. The higher the amount of engagement you have, the better for you. Be sure your content contains a  CTA (call to action) so that your followers take action after viewing your post. 

If you buy fake followers to “grow” your profile, it usually ends with very low engagement.

📖 Check your Engagement rate here and keep in mind that brands do this, as well.

5. Network and Grow

Growing your profile is a long term process on the way to success. Keep in mind that consistency matters the most, so be sure you are posting regularly and that your communication is aligned with your niche.

There are many strategies you can use to grow your profiles. Some of the best include strategic partnerships, paid campaigns or networking within your category.

The uniqueness of this strategy is that these steps are complex, it's like a circle, you cannot do one without another. Mingle them together, find the continuity to make it all a consistent piece.

Key Takeaways

  • Being an influencer is not about the number of followers, real influence is what counts.
  • You can be an influencer with only 1k of followers, but in a specific niche.
  • Brands and companies have different expectations for different influencer tiers.
  • The key thing is to find a specific niche.
  • Always think about the value of the content you are producing.
  • Remember that Engagement is what matters most.
  • Never ever buy fake followers.

In the next chapter, we will go through the basics of platforms. You will understand how each platform works, their specific components and you will learn about the importance of the multichannel approach. 🤓

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