How to Become an Influencer: A Beginner-Friendly Guide

Step-by-step guide for active social media users who want to become professional content creators and monetize their efforts
Do You Want to Become a Social Media Influencer?
Make content, build a following, and start getting brand deals — sounds like a good plan? But shifting your social media profile from an ordinary user to influencer status isn't that easy. There's a lot of confusion about the term "influencer" in the media world, and it's disliked by many, well, influencers.

So let's get to the bottom of what exactly it means to be an influencer, the perks and downsides of the profession, and key recommendations on how to become an influencer — as well as steps to making it your full-time job.

Contents

What Does It Mean to Be an Influencer?

An influencer is someone who has earned a reputation in a particular topic and has a corresponding audience on one or several social networks. From a marketing standpoint, it's someone who can influence potential buyers by creating content with the intent of promoting a product or service.

An influencer doesn't necessarily need to have a huge audience. As long as you are a professional, have a level of expertise in a field, or simply enjoy a topic — and you have an audience that's bigger than your tight circle of friends and family — you can be an influencer.

How Many Followers Do You Need to Become an Influencer?

Influencers may be divided into four main groups by the number of followers they have on social media:

  • Celebrities with more than 1 million followers
  • Middle- and macro-influencers with 100,000 to 1 million followers
  • Micro-influencers with 1,000 to 100,000 followers
How to Become an Influencer - a beginner-friendly guide

Micro-Influencer: Perk or Flop?

Being a macro-influencer seems like an all-you-can-eat buffet — bigger audience, more brand deals, better compensation from the same effort. But that's not quite the reality.

Micro-influencer marketing is increasingly popular due to the cost of brands. Even big-name brands involve influencers in their campaigns. The reason is simple.

Even though you have a smaller audience, your engagement is higher than on macro-influencer and celebrity accounts. This means that your posts are more likely to ignite an exchange of values.

On the money front, the pay per post will also be smaller than a macro- or celebrity influencer would get. However, you are likely to get more brand deals for the same reason.

Here's an illustration of this principle. And that's why a good micro-influencer may be more in demand than people with bigger profiles.
Micro and macro influencer cost
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Perks of Being an Influencer

Brand deals are exciting, but they are what constitutes an influencer, not a perk. So what benefits do you get by achieving the influencer status?

  • Spend more time doing what you love. Writing posts, editing photos, filming videos and what not — it all takes time. But you also need to work and make time for the rest of your activities. Being a full-time influencer, on the other hand, allows you to spend more time creating content because it generates income.

  • Monetize your content. You spent your time and effort creating a piece of entertainment for your audience, so why not get paid for it? There are many ways to monetize your content, and being an influencer is one of them.

  • Discover new products and services. As an influencer, you'll get to try out new products and services, oftentimes before they are released to the rest of the consumers. More than that, you'll get to have experiences like no regular consumer, like traveling to an island just to witness the launch of a product.

The Influencer Challenges You Might Face

The influencer life might sound like glitz and glamor, but it's not as lavish as a social media feed might present it. If you want to be a full-time influencer, be prepared to treat it as a career path. It's a profession that requires hard work, a lot of research, and self-development.

It takes time to get your influencer social media profile to a place where you can provide for yourself just from creating content, especially if you're starting out with a small audience. On the other hand, once your following grows, you might feel a lack of privacy, especially if your area of social media is lifestyle blogging.

However, if you aspire to be an influencer with the full understanding of what this job involves, you can build a successful career. Ready to start?

How to Become an Influencer: A Guide to Upping Your Social Media Game

Here are some steps you can take and recommendations on how to become an influencer and build a successful profile.

1. Determine the Niche You Want to Work in

What are you really good at? This may be your professional area (e.g., design, marketing, or medicine) or an area of your personal interest (e.g., beauty, traveling, or healthy lifestyle), but it should certainly be something you are passionate about. If you're bored, your audience will be bored as well.

A niche could be an area of your expertise, something you can share information about right off the bat. But it doesn't have to be. Many people around you are doing their first steps in the same area, and you can do it together. You can demonstrate how you learn a topic, show your first results, and share your progress in becoming an expert.
Determine your niche of social media influencing

2. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles

Think of what platforms you use already and decide if they all should be a part of your social media profile or if you're lacking some of the right platforms. It's worth nothing right away that one or two accounts will suffice at first. No need to rush into registering for every single platform where influencers hang around.

It's better to start with only a couple social networks because even one profile will require lots of effort for promotion — lots of reading, researching, creating, scraping, creating once again, and analyzing what you did right and what wasn't the best judgment. Now imagine if you had five — would you be able to master using all five platforms and be fully present on each of them? There are only twenty-four hours in a day.

So, aim for quality. Start with a platform you know and use most. It will be technically easier to develop your profile if you understand how a particular social network works.

3. Listen to Your Audience and Get to Know Them

If you want to make social media influencing your work, you need to know your audience. Learn what they like and dislike, predict their reactions, and create posts that will have lots of engagement (likes, comments, reposts). This can be achieved through reading comments and starting and engaging in conversations under your posts — as many as you physically can.

Audience is the key to a successful marketing campaign. So, when a brand approaches you with an offer for collaboration, you'll know if your followers would be interested in what a brand has to offer. Why create content that no one would enjoy?

It's also a reason for the previous point about choosing a platform — audiences will differ across different platforms, so you'll spend more time studying people from different channels.
Improve your social media influence by studying your audience

4. Create Quality Content and Do It Consistently

People crave visually pleasing content, and that includes style and grammar. Aim for good grammar and a uniform style for your social media profile, as well as high quality in the content you produce.

Influencers have an impact on a brand's image. This means a brand will choose the ones who correspond.

That's why your posts have to be of high quality.

  • All of your posts should be meaningful (even the ones you write just for fun).
  • Texts should be grammatically correct.
  • Photos and videos should have good lightning and resolution, etc.

It's cool if you get likes by posting a selfie. But if you want to become a real influencer and work with brands, you should create content that meets at least one of the points below:

  • It's useful or gives value.
  • It inspires people to action.
  • It reminds them that life is short.
  • It reminds them that dreams may come true.
  • It makes you smile or laugh (or even cry).
  • It reminds you about the things that really matter.
  • It gives a fresh point of view on common ideas.

5. Build a Community

You can grow an audience by consistently posting high-quality content and using hashtags for better searchability. But you can also give people a sense of belonging and increase loyalty by building a community out of your audience.

The best way to do that is by keeping your followers engaged with your profile and among each other. Here are a few ideas:

  • Read and respond to comments as much as you can.
  • Prompt followers to share their experiences and talk to each other.
  • Go live.
  • Make Q&A sessions.
  • Host contests and giveaways.
Keep improving to become a paid influencer

6. Become Approachable for Brands

By this point, you're creating amazing content that followers love, you're posting consistently, and you have developed a uniform style. But how do you get brands to collaborate with you?

  • Use hashtags. They make searches easier, so if you use hashtags related to your topic, it's more likely that brand representatives will discover you.

  • Add a bio. If a brand representative visits your profile, they should have a clear idea of who and what you are.

  • Reach out. Your social media profile is your portfolio, and you can use it as a resume. So, brush up your skills in business email writing and start sending offers of collaboration to brands.

Register on an influencer marketing platform. These influencer apps allow you to showcase your portfolio to brands, as well as discover and apply to campaigns.

How to Make Social Media Influencing Your Full-Time Job

How to become a paid influencer
A sponsored post here and there is nice, but it won't make you a living. For that to happen, you need to post on a schedule using relevant hashtags to make sure you are always present in the feed, actively seek out campaigns, and network with brands or possibly outsource that task to a manager.

Here are the steps you need to take to become a paid influencer:

1. Define Your Value

First, visualize the $$ number you need at the end of the month to cover your expenses — or, if you're just starting out as an influencer, what earnings would justify contributing more effort than a regular social media account requires.

Next, you need to define the value of your posts. This number primarily depends on your follower count and the platform you use. For example, a 10K account on Instagram would earn $100 per post, while a Facebook account with the same following can get $250 per post.

After you've identified your price bracket, calculate how many posts you would need a month to cover your expenses. If the number of posts seems unreasonable, consider adding another account to your social media profile. For example, if you have an Instagram and a Facebook page, your earnings can amount to $1,400 if you can create one post a week per platform.

2. Hire a Manager

This usually means signing a contract with an influencer marketing agency and paying a commission fee. In return, you get a personal manager who will oversee your deals with brands.

There are a few upsides and downsides to this step. On the one hand, an agent will do the search for campaigns for you. They are skilled at communicating and might even negotiate a better deal for you than the average market price.

Here comes the obvious downside — a percentage of the deal goes to your manager or agent. While being an agent is a job that requires skills, you need to be picky about who you hire. It should be a person you can connect with, and also someone trustworthy who wouldn't overcharge or deceive you.

3. Register on an Influencer Marketing Platform

Practically the easiest way to find and be found is registering on an influencer marketing platform, such as PublicFast. It's basically LinkedIn for influencers, where you add your social media profile, connect to different platforms you use, carry out campaign requests, and view your metrics.

Once you register and add all the details about yourself as an influencer, you start appearing in the database, where you can be discovered by brands. But you can also search for campaigns yourself and talk to brands within the safety of the platform.

Wrap Up

People can become celebrities overnight, but not without consistency, effort, and persistence. If you're ready to get through the challenges to get to the perks, start by identifying a niche or topic that interests you the most. Produce high-quality content and do it regularly to stay present in the feed. Listen to your audience to learn what kind of products or services they would be interested in you promoting.

And if you want to make this your full-time job, register with an influencer marketing platform to get a better inflow of collaborations. It's one of the best recommendations you'll get on how to become an influencer and earn a living.

FAQ
How do I become a social media influencer?
To become a social media influencer, you need to find a niche you're interested in and post consistent content relating to the field. This ensures that you are seen in users' feeds and they are more likely to engage with your content. This also makes you more likely to be discovered by new users, including brands.
How do you become an influencer in 2020?
The best way to become an influencer in 2020 is by registering on an influencer marketing platform. Influencer applications like PublicFast make it easier to explore available campaigns, talk to brands, and watch your metrics. It's also a sure way to be discovered.
What qualifies you as an influencer?
An influencer isn't just a social media user with a big following. It is someone who promotes products and services in exchange for the very products and services or for a sum of money.
Are You Ready? Join the Community of Social Media Influencers
Vitalii Malets
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