What does it really take to become an influencer?

My Article What does it really take to become an influencer? was first published at Fresh Business Thinking

Thought leader”, “influencer even “evangelist” are all terms that have sprung up in the last five years, says Charli Day. 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?

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, 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.

#1 Stay Active

Whether you are 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.


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


#2 Build Relationships

You may think that when you are an influencer, you don’t need relationships because you will just 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.


Spotlight on relationship building influencer Ola Agbaimoni and all round nice person who takes the time to interact and engage with new followers.

#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 seminars. 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 Sean Gardner who pumps out high quality content via a number of online channels.


#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.


#5 Be Human

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.

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.