Becoming an online influencer is a goal for many bloggers and social media users because it comes with some nice perks–you are known in a specific community as an expert in your field, you get to work with brands related to your expertise, and the publicity positively affects your SEO.
However, there is no clear cut way on how to become an online influencer. If you spoke to 10 different influencers, they would all have different suggestions on how to succeed based on their unique experiences.
The universal first step to becoming an online influencer is to ask yourself why you want to become one. What do you want to influence people to do? Whatever it is, you have to be passionate about what you want to share or communicate as an online influencer because you will be spending a lot of time on the subject.
Perhaps most importantly, if your goal is to become famous or popular, your audience will quickly start to notice your inauthenticity and become uninterested.
Below, Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan gives her tips on how to become a successful and honest online influencer in whatever you’re passionate about.
People can tell when someone is trying to be something they’re not or looking for attention. Many people are tired of fake, performative social media accounts and appreciate authenticity. People ultimately want to connect with others and so being authentic in your posts helps develop a channel of trust and relatability between you and your audience. Do yourself and your audience a favor and just be you.
As important as authenticity is, you also need to be producing quality content. No matter how much your audience may appreciate your relatability, they will quickly become bored or disenchanted if your content doesn’t provide something valuable for them. Consider what you are offering people or trying to influence your audience in (fashion? recipes? humor?) and become better at that. Whatever your topic, you need to show your audience that you are worth listening to.
Delegate & Monetize
Once you’ve become more popular, you will need to figure out how to bring others onto your team and delegate tasks. Managing a blog and multiple social media platforms will become increasingly overwhelming the closer you get to being a notable online influencer, and so understanding how to delegate tasks is key to the quality of your content and your own sanity.
Additionally, most online influencers do not become one because they just wanted a new hobby. If you’re going to put that much time into becoming an influencer, it is important to know how to monetize. Consider how you can work with brands across your different platforms and how you can begin to monetize as your audience grows.
Like any field of business, online influencers have to stay up-to-date on market shifts within the online social world. Flexibility and market knowledge are vital to staying relevant in this sphere, especially because it can change so quickly. Make sure you know what social media algorithm changes are coming up and what social media platforms are performing best, and then optimize your content to follow the trend. If people are turning from blogs to Facebook, you need to follow where your audience is going.
You also need to focus on the platform that makes the most sense for your topic and who your most popular audience demographic is. For example, if your audience is mostly composed of people over 40 years old, you will likely be spending more time on Facebook. If your audience is Millennials, then you should focus on Instagram. If you’re a DIY or home decor influencer, Pinterest would be the most advantageous platform to develop.
Additionally, it is important to network with other bloggers. When you are able to work with colleagues and establish friendships with other influencers, you can learn from each other and help each other succeed.
Lastly, you may need to prepare to offer your expertise for free in ways that can increase your platform’s reach and influence. This can include speaking at conferences or sharing your own content on a more successful online influencer’s platform (hence the need to network!). If you would like to eventually charge for your services, you may initially need to provide free services to get your name out there and build your reputation.