Social media influencers are all the rage right now. Brands want to collaborate with them in order to expand their reach and drive conversions. The followers of influencers, on the other hand, look forward to expert advice and recommendation from them. Are you wondering how to become one yourself? With the popularity of influencer marketing, it is only natural that people are becoming increasingly curious about how to become an influencer.
Here are 16 tips to be followed in order to make an influence and/or become a thought leader:
The first tip to become an influencer is to choose a niche – a niche where you feel like you are an expert in that particular area, and you want to share your expertise with the specific people i.e. your target audience.
A friend of mine from Lebanon decided to be a tour guide in Dubai, because she knew a lot about Dubai and was passionate about helping and guiding tourists. As the tourism industry in Dubai is very competitive, she chose a niche – to target only the people who are coming to Dubai from Brazil and the ones especially who spoke Portuguese only. So, she became an influencer for that specific audience.
Stop long-term planning making lame excuses to yourself. Start recording – and start publishing now! Don’t be cautious, about what people will think and don’t keep delaying stuff. Perfection will come gradually; just keep doing it on a consistent basis!
Most of the influencers are just focusing on Instagram as it is the number one platform for influencers. YouTube is the second most important channel and lately that is also becoming too competitive. There are already many influencers that are dominating in those particular channels.
If you feel like okay, I have something unique, something special, something to stand out, then you can go ahead and try to compete with those influencers in that particular niche and prove yourself. Another thing that you may consider is trying to find some opportunities on some overlooked, less-competitive platforms like LinkedIn. You can actually become an influencer on LinkedIn – because you face less competition there.
Think about the content strategy and how you will be distributing the content. Don’t just plan for a week or for a month; plan for at least three months or six months or for the entire year in advance. An example for that could be:
Every Thursday morning I must publish a video (or post an Instagram story), and then always be consistent.
A major concern for people is what to post. Think about the audience – always try to add value. Explore a website called answerthepublic.com, type one of your main keywords over there and it will visually show you what kind of questions around that topic people are searching about. I think that will be the best way to come up with the questions that your target audience is already asking. Plan which questions are relevant, and you can answer them in a much better way.
So, start planning and start creating content now. Then, start scheduling it so you will not have a lack of content or content ideas because everything is in queue.
Don’t just fully rely on one specific social media network. What I mean to say is if you are just trying to be an influencer on Instagram on Facebook. Remember MySpace, Friendster or Orkut? They’re no more! Something might happen to Facebook after 3 – 4 years – but, you want to be influencers for your entire life. Right? So, it is recommended that you maintain your own website or blog along with that social media network. Keep sharing your content on both, social media channel and your own website or blog. So, if something goes wrong with your account or it gets suspended or just gets banned for any reason, you’re not going to lose the progress that you have made on that particular platform.
Talk to your followers! It’s not just a one-way broadcasting channel. Don’t just focus on broadcasting your content. Also, try to engage with those people and anybody who engages with your content. Acknowledge them, reply to their comments and thank them. If somebody is having more questions, reply to their comments. Sometimes as an influencer you face negative comments as well, don’t ignore them. You also need to talk to those people and try to convince them as much as you can.
Another thing that I have in mind is your YouTube intro video must be good enough. In order to explain people like what they’re going to get if they follow you. Even, if you have an Instagram account. It should be attractive enough. Tell people why they must follow you. Try to come up with some nice pictures, nice videos, great information, analysis or entertainment that actually attracts people. This should be considered while you’re recording videos, taking pictures, editing images or while adding captions.
Storytelling is a great way to connect with your audience on an emotional level and give them a reason to trust you, follow you and to engage with you.
Hashtags play an important role so choose your hashtag wisely by keeping your target audience in mind. Don’t use too many hashtags; concentrate more on relevant, and trending hashtags. Use www.hashtagify.me for relevant hashtags ideas and use www.trends24.in to finding trending hashtags in Dubai or other countries. Always use hashtag wisely.
Don’t try to buy fake followers; because people know when you’re buying followers. It’s cheating, it’s immoral – never buy followers. Post great content – so people will follow you and share your content.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, they all know when you buy fake followers. Your account is at risk when you use fake followers and your account can be suspended temporarily or be banned for life.
You can use paid advertising like YouTube advertising or Google, Facebook or Instagram advertising to attract the relevant audience so as to never buy fake followers.
Frankly speaking, people have no interest in an influencer or in his/her business. People are concerned about their own problems, their own challenges, their own questions and their own interests. So, if you actually solve their issues, help them to achieve their goals, make them happy, give them inspiration, entertain them, provide them with analysis and entertainment – they feel more attached with you and they start following you.
You may consider partnering with some existing influencers in your relevant industry. You can co-brand yourself with such people. For example, Eric Sue (who was quite famous already) became more popular because of Neil Patel. They launched a project together called www.marketingschool.io
Be Transparent, Be You and Build the trust – don’t pretend to be someone else – don’t just copy someone!
Try to concentrate on some analytics, if you’re using Facebook, use Facebook Insights, If you’re using Twitter, use Twitter analytics. If you are using your website or blog, use Google Analytics, if you’re using Buffer there is Buffer Analytics. What I’m trying to tell you is that whatever you have done in the past, analyze it, check what kind of posts are actually working in your favor, what kind of content brings more engagement, more likes, more shares, more comments – keep producing that kind of content more often so you can have a better impact and keep your audience engaged based on your audiences’ interests.
Use Google Trends www.google.com/trends/ to know what questions your target audience is currently searching for. Just enter a topic and you will be able to know which countries your topic is being searched more in, what kind of queries are trending during different periods of time. If you can answer those queries there are more chances that your content can go viral and you can get much more influence in that industry.
Whenever you’re sharing someone’s content – it is advisable to tag that influencer using @mention or while you’re sharing someone’s tips. In this way, you acknowledge it and give someone credit they deserve. So, what happens sometimes when you keep tagging people in a meaningful way [Don’t spam!], those influencers may start following you as well. And sometimes when they share some of your posts, your content can go viral and you can get lots of new followers in a short span of time.
What do you think? Did I miss something? Kindly share your thoughts in the comments section.
Najam Ahmed | Digital Marketing Strategist