What Does It Really Take To Become An Influencer?

“Thought leader”, influencer” even “evangelist” are all terms that have sprung up in the last ten years. That’s because influencer marketing has become one of the most effective channels to reach consumers, build a brand and get your voice heard. We all know that interacting with top influencers is good for business but what about if you want to become an influencer yourself. What does it really take to become an influencer? I’m stealing some tips from my favourite social media influencers.

Influencer Marketing in 2020

Influencer marketing has been around for centuries with people looking up to their idols and copying styles and trends. But the growth of social media popularity throughout the decade has led to a surge in influencer marketing. Here are the stats you need to know.

  • 93% marketers use influencer marketing
  • Brands are set to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022
  • Twitter users spend 24% more time with ads posted by ‘creators’
  • 40% of Twitter users have made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer.
  • 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers relate to influencers more than celebrities.
  • Every social platform attracts influencers to some degree, but Instagram is the gold standard for the group.
  • Nearly four in five (79%) brands predominantly tap Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared with Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%), and LinkedIn (12%), per Influencer Marketing Hub.
  • Four in five surveyed U.S. consumers(81%) have made a purchase through clicking a link or image an influencer shared

That said; consumers are becoming tired of false advertising and are looking for a genuine link become influencer and brand. Just a few years ago, celebrities could promote products without mentioning that their post was an add. But this has changed due to recent laws introduced by bodies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority.

The shift towards micro-influencers

An international survey carried out by Cohn & Wolfe found that 87% of global consumers felt that it was important for brands to “act with integrity at all times,” ranking authenticity above innovation (72%). Micro-influencers can help brands build credibility as they tend to have a genuine interest in the services/products they endorse and therefore interact in a much more natural way than celebrities who often promote for money.

Micro-influencers can create both trust and credibility for your brand. 92% of consumers perceive micro-influencers as more believable and credible. This makes for receptive audiences. 94% of consumers consider micro-influencers to be more knowledgeable than macro-influencers/celebrities and this translates to audiences that are genuinely interested in what the micro-influencers have to say.

Fun Fact: micro-influencers get 60% more engagement than that of influencers with bigger followings.

What Are The Defining Qualities Of An Influencer?

Are influencers just the digital equivalent of the popular beautiful kids at school? The ones you aspired to be like, copy and even speak to? Actually, influencers have some pretty clear defining characteristics and these have nothing to do with beauty!

  • Influencers are givers and collaborators
  • Influencers communicate regularly via video, insta live, tweets or blogs
  • Influencers stick to specific niches – eg content marketing/ environment or tech
  • Influencers are curious about the next big thing
  • Influencers leave their egos at the door (usually)

But how do you get there? Well, it’s not something you can achieve in one day and it’s usually not something you will set out to do. Here are 5 tips on building your profile as an influencer.

Did You Know: Authenticity, trust and credibility combined with higher levels of engagement naturally leads to improved conversion rates in many cases. Micro-influencers drive most of their traffic into conversions, getting 6.7 times more followers to make purchases compared to macro-influencers. People listen better to micro-influencers and you can collaborate with them to boost your marketing.

#1 Stay Active

Whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, you need to stay active. Adding one tweet per week will never make you an influencer because influencers give their fans something to follow. By sticking to your area of knowledge such as content marketing, social media or SEO, you will acquire followers who are waiting for your updates. Becoming an influencer takes time and effort on your part.

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Spotlight on active influencer Ed Leake who consistently tweets about SEO, digital and marketing and has acquired a cult following.

Similarly, social media legend Matt Navarra. Matt is always the first with breaking social media news, updates and industry gossip.

#2 Build Relationships

You may think when you’re an influencer, you don’t need relationships because you will have followers. Think again. Building relationships, giving credit for the work of others, meeting your fans, answering questions and participating in round table debates are all part of it. If you don’t enjoy being sociable, interacting and participating in discussions then you won’t enjoy being an influencer. Simple.

Check out the banter between myself and my friends at AgoraPulse. Who said you can’t have an entire conversation using gifs. No really.

 

#3 Produce Great Content

To be a great influencer you have to produce great content. This doesn’t mean that you can’t retweet other people’s ideas or curate popular discussions, but you still have to have your own content and promote it to your followers. This means regular blogging, guest posts, videos, social posts, podcasts or webinars. Great influencers often collaborate with one another to produce the ultimate article or ebook. This is awesome, as you are still clearly identifying your brand, your niche and your thoughts but will probably reach a greater audience.

Spotlight on great content producer Mari Smith. Mari is a thought leader in the social media space focusing specifically on Facebook. She maintains regular articles, interviews, social media updates and in person events. She’s also super friendly and collaborates with other content producers. I like to tag other influencers in my work and give credit for thoughts and ideas. This makes articles far more balanced and informative.

Fun Fact: On average, over 90% of micro-influencers charge less than $500 per Instagram or Facebook post and branded tweets go for less than $200. In stark contrast, macro-influencers tend to charge at least $100 for every 10,000 followers.

#4 Build Your Own Brand

Influencers are very clear about who they are and what they do and standing out is important. That means not trying to be an expert on everything. Instead you will be going into detail on the topics you do know about, managing your website and social media channels consistently and being unique. Influencers are not afraid to voice their opinions on key topics and because of this they are thought leaders and not followers. Knowing how to build “brand you” is key.

Spotlight on brand building influencer Amanda Webb who knows her market, knows her brand and maximises it online. Amanda is clear about her offering and showcases it in a relevant and fun way.

Another well branded fave of mine is Samantha Kelly AKA the Tweeting Goddess! 

A champion of small business, women in business and Twitter as a leading form of social media, Sam is queen of her space. She’s also an all round nice lady and regularly helps and supports other Twitter users.

#5 Be Human & Lead By Example

Being an influencer doesn’t mean you have achieved deity like status and if you begin to behave this way then your follower count will drop fast. Being human means sharing human photos, allowing your followers to gain personal insights into your life or experiences and replying to others as a human. We expect our influencers to be approachable because we need to ask questions, share information and join conversations. A solid combination of knowledge and personality are the qualities that keep us coming back for more from today’s top influencers.

Spotlight on all round nice lady Pearl from Aureate who really makes new fans feel valued and welcome. As a life coaching consultant and communications pro, Pearl is leading by example with her social media etiquette.  If you want followers to understand what you do, there is no better way than to show it through your online interactions. Right?

Influencer marketing is projected to grow into a $10 billion industry by the end of 2020 and over the past three years, searches for influencer marketing have jumped up by 1,500%. Becoming an influencer takes time, effort and personality and it’s not a guaranteed thing. Be patient and focus on interacting with others, creating great content and being a good community member. Who are your favourite influencers? Tweet me @Charli_Says and let me know. For winning social media management, get in contact.