People are often bombarded with advertising in their daily lives. That’s part of the reason influencer marketing has become so popular. Influencers on social media aren’t a new concept and have been around since the rise of social platforms. However, being an influencer isn’t just about getting money for Instagram posts. It’s about market research and dedication to your followers and your message.
In this article, we answer the question: What is an influencer, and what do they do? We have also spoken with Alex Lysak, an expert in digital marketing, about how you can easily become one. All you need are your current skills and some dedication.
What Exactly Is an Influencer?
An influencer is someone who has something to say, and people enjoy listening to them. They are popular and have authority in their field. This isn’t an easy job as it requires constant posting and contact with fans and brands to keep your profile relevant. Influencers need to stay on top of social and marketing trends and take advantage of them. Influencers can include people with many followers on a social media platform, celebrities, experts, and journalists or news outlets.
When influencers initially became a concept, they could be found mainly on YouTube and blogs. Now, these people are on all platforms. An influencer has a loyal following. The followers trust and believe this person, and the influencer’s opinion has the power to sway their purchasing decisions. Various brands have noticed this power, which is how influencers became some of the most effective marketing tools for many businesses.
Find Your Influencer Niche
People often associate influencers with fashion and travel. However, many of them work in specific niches. You’ll find influencers who are entrepreneurs, business coaches, writers, and many other professions. They’re in almost every domain you can think of.
An influencer is simply someone who influences the opinions of a group of people. This can include:
- Celebrities and social media influencers with fans
- Journalists and news outlets
- Academics and experts in a niche or obscure field
One of the first steps you should take to become an influencer is to decide where your professional expertise lies and then focus on that. You don’t have to travel or be a fashionista to be influential, especially if you’re a professional and have a successful career. If you can prove and share your expertise with the right people, you can be well on your way to becoming an influencer.
You can also focus on a hobby that you practice often and enjoy. You have to choose a niche that you have expertise in and in which you’re well-versed. People must be able to trust your opinions and expertise.
Choose the Media Platform
You won’t be popular on all platforms. The best strategy is to target one or two of your favorite social media accounts. Optimize your profiles or create new ones, and then focus your efforts solely on these. Optimizing your profile also means that you should switch to a business account on some platforms.
The platform you choose will also depend on the content you want to share and your target audience. The general age and features of a few social media platforms are listed below:
Instagram is used mainly by millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z. Posts on the app include photos or short videos with captions and the “story”. The story only lasts 24 hours but can include links that redirect the user if they swipe up.
The average age of Youtube users is between 18 and 24 years. This platform specializes in long-form videos. Often, channels will add links to the brands they’re promoting or their websites and links.
Blogs are visited mainly by an older demographic between 29 and 49 years old. Blogs provide a more narrative and personal description of a product. The longer format also means that bloggers can give in-depth reviews of products that might allow users to trust them more.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, more platforms and ways to get your message out there. And new ones are being developed every day.
Scanteam spoke to various experts about the newest social media platforms. As Scanteam found in their interviews, Clubhouse redefines social media and creates a new wave of influencers. This Apple app works via invite-only and has audio messages, which is perfect for users who don’t want to watch long videos.
Get to Know Your Audience
Use your research skills to get to know your audience. Find out exactly who your niche audience is and what they’re looking for. You should keep in mind that influencers don’t cater their content to everyone. Do market research almost like you would for a business or product. Find out who your target audience is and what they want. Is there a need that isn’t being filled? Is there something in this industry that hasn’t been done before?
To build a loyal following, you should understand what is missing for the audience you intend to target and provide that content. You need to be honest, vulnerable, and believable.
You can use the analytics that the platform offers to make decisions regarding your content, but it will take more research to dive deep into your target audience. You need to create content relevant to them and not to everyone on the internet.
To do this, you should create a content strategy that will effectively deliver your message to your followers. You should avoid posting about your personal life unless it’s relevant to your message. Use your page solely for your content. You can always have a different profile to post about your personal life. Although some Instagram influencers seem to post a lot about their lives, remember they are paid to promote brands.
Consistency Is Important
You should be consistent with your type of posts, as well as how often you make them. Each platform has different statistics regarding how often you need to publish new content, and you should use your research skills to find the optimal amount. This isn’t just posting photos and earning money from it. Brands and followers want to see that you are active and care about them and the message you have to give.
You also need to research the best days and times that your audience might engage with your posts. The algorithms of all the platforms prioritize profiles that post often at peak times and have regular interaction. Of course, you can only really get accurate information for this if you are active on your profiles.
Once you’ve figured this out, you should stick to it. While you can vary the medium of your content, you should have an identity that makes it easy for your followers to find your posts. They should be searching for a new post or video every day, and you should engage with them as much as possible.
While it’s not easy to become a social media influencer, it’s possible if you use your professional expertise along with your research skills. Once you’ve found your niche and learned more about your target audience, you need to make high-value posts with content that your followers enjoy. Remember that influencing is a highly competitive field, and you are constantly competing with other influencers. To stay ahead of your competitors, it’s essential to keep an eye on modern trends in your industry and engage with your followers regularly.
You have to know the best times to make your posts, and you need to get enough engagement for the algorithms to pick it up. You must post regularly. Remember that influencers aren’t made overnight. It’s going to take some dedication and patience. You will learn a lot more than just these few tips along the way, and there might be times when you feel it isn’t worth it. Building a loyal audience will take time, but in the end, it’s worth the work.
Alex Lysak is the CEO of ScanTeam. I have been working in online marketing since 2011, my main areas of expertise are marketing research, social media marketing, and SEO. During 9 years of experience, I have helped many products and startups to develop marketing strategies and to implement them further.