Influencer marketing is one of the top marketing methods used by companies and diverse individuals to grow their brands simply because it works. People trust products recommended by someone whose opinion they value and it’s easier for them to get into business with organizations they endorse.
So, if you are looking for ways to build brand awareness, grow your audience, boost sales, and take your business to the next level, become an influencer.
Not only will you be able to achieve all that, but if you do it right, countless brands will partner up with you and ask you to recommend their products to your followers in exchange for hundreds even thousands of dollars.
This step-by-step guide will help you become an influencer and help you reach your goals.
PICK A NICHE
This is the most important step because it ensures you market to a specific audience and helps you meet your goals faster. You want to be known for specific information. You want people to know you are the go-to person for ABC. This way, you will easily attract the right people and grow your audience. So, pick a niche.
Decide what you want to be known for. Answer three key questions; what are my interests? What do I want to be known for? and what am I good at?
Come up with an exhaustive list of all your passions and interests. Write a separate list of all your top skills. Choose your top 5 passions or interests and compare them to your top 5 skills. Align your passions with your skills. What are you good at? Pick your top 3 skills and align them to your passions.
Pick one skill that you are great at or one you enjoy researching as your niche. Make sure it’s in line with your business or brand.
Next, find out if it’s something people are interested in and do a quick Google search. Type in relevant keywords and find out if it’s something people are searching for. For example, if you are great at marketing, search for online marketing, email marketing, increase traffic to your site, a complete guide to SEO, and so on. You will get topic suggestions related to your keywords. Use them to learn more about common searches.
Use Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, or Semrush to identify the most common keywords within your niche. Include them in your content creation process or your headlines when producing content to boost engagement and grow traffic.
Next, decide whether or not your selected niche is something you are willing to research for years to come. If not, go back to your top 3 skills, pick the next one, and follow the previously mentioned steps. If it is, move on to the next step:
DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE
Have a target audience. Specify who you want to attract or create content for. Don’t try to accommodate everyone because it never works. Cater to a specific audience to increase your chances of success.
Define your target audience. Consider your selected niche as well as the type of content you want to share and find out who will be most interested in engaging with it. You can target people based on their interests, age, gender, location, or profession. Your goal is to attract the right audience and reach people who will be interested in what you are sharing.
For example, if you are great with numbers and choose to offer financial advice, you can target entrepreneurs and freelancers. Share useful resources like bookkeeping tools to help them manage their finances right. Write comparison articles or record videos and recommend the best software, for example.
If you choose entrepreneurship as your niche, target startups, students, or stay-at-home parents and help them meet their financial goals. Share advice on how to get into entrepreneurship and make money online.
Understand your audience. Identify their pain points or challenges and offer solutions. Give them a reason to interact with your content and engage with your brand.
Take the following step to ensure that happens:
CREATE A CONTENT STRATEGY
Come up with an effective content strategy to attract attention and retain your followers. Be consistent and post regularly to establish relations, maintain them, and show how passionate you are about what you do.
Set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. Decide what you want to achieve from your content strategy. For example, you can plan to reach 1000 followers in 30 days, convert 100 followers to customers in 90 days, and so forth. The most important thing is to clearly define your goals and work towards them.
Next, decide on the frequency of your post. How often are you going to share your content? Will you post daily, three times a week, or weekly? To help you decide, consider your audience and the platform you are using. For example, if you are posting on Facebook, identify the best times to post, know when your followers interact the most with your posts and post during those hours.
Share content that grabs attention and keeps users returning to your posts. Use different formats to retain interest and boost engagement. Share how-to guides, listicles, comparison articles, infographics, complete guides, and reference guides.
Use videos and include professional images in your content creation strategy. If you have a blog, for example, add images to your articles to pique interest and retain attention. Don’t write long-form content that has plain text and zero images as it can quickly bore the reader and get them off your site.
Always structure your information right and make it readable. Use headings, subheadings, short paragraphs, and so on to help your readers understand your content easily. If you are using videos, add a catchy headline and description.
Incorporate long and short-form videos in your strategy. Share interesting information such as the latest industry trends, updates, statistics, and so on to increase your watch hours.
Next, decide on the kind of impression you want to give. For example, do you want to sound formal or casual and relaxed? You must find your voice and use the same tone across all social media platforms. Whatever you choose to go with, aim to be relatable and approachable. This will make it easy for users to engage with your content, share their opinion, and connect with you.
Once you come up with an effective content strategy, focus on the next equally important step:
BUILD INDUSTRY AUTHORITY
Become a thought-leader and an expert in your industry. Ensure your audience comes to you for specific advice and content. Give them a reason to visit your site or channel each time they have a question or need information about topics related to your niche.
Give free valuable advice and share free high-quality content around your niche. Join and answer questions on Quora, Stack Exchange, or Reddit to show how passionate you are about your industry, prove your expertise, and attract the right people.
Share accurate and practical advice. Always look for opportunities to learn more about your industry. Read books within your niche, follow relevant reputable blogs, connect with industry experts, and learn from them. Follow their pages, comment on posts, or send direct messages.
Stay one step ahead of the competition. Be the first to post about the latest trends or news in your field. Keep your followers up to date and motivate them to share your content with their friends or networks.
Share high-quality content to command attention and boost interaction. Offer valuable advice and help your audience meet their goals. Offer solutions to problems and share useful resources.
Diversify your content. Use different content formats. Share what your audience favors. Ask for and listen to feedback. For example, say “Please let me know what you think about this video or tutorial?” after every YouTube video you upload. Ask your viewers to leave comments and subscribe to your channel.
Consider the feedback you receive and use constructive criticism to improve your strategy. Mention an upcoming video to keep your viewers looking forward to what you are going to say next.
Share your experiences and connect with people at a personal level. Talk about your journey, your area of expertise, achievements, and challenges faced along the way.
Know what you want to achieve and set goals.
As a thought-leader, your goal is to reach more people and ensure they trust your content and find value in what you are sharing. So, create an effective content marketing strategy. Stick to your niche, identify problems that your content solves, and come up with topic ideas for effective content.
You can use BuzzSumo, UberSuggest, or Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator to generate content ideas.
Decide on your marketing channels to grow your audience and meet your goals.
CREATE AN ONLINE PRESENCE
Create an online presence and ensure people find you on searches. Build a website or blog and optimize it for SEO. Choose a relevant domain name. Use your name, business name, or any other relevant name you prefer. Buy and register your domain name and hosting with Namecheap or Siteground.
Hire a web designer or use a CMS like WordPress.
Go to Fiverr, Guru, or Upwork to search for web designers. Visit designer profiles, consider skill level, and listed skills. Pay attention to reviews and ratings from clients to ensure you work with someone who will help you meet your goals.
Your website is key to marketing your content and establishing your online reputation. So, use the right structure and incorporate images to communicate your message effectively. Focus more on the landing page and include all the important details. For example, mention your services and talk about your free content plus the information your cover.
Mention what users will benefit from your content and ask them to follow your social media pages and subscribe to your channel or newsletter if you have one.
After you design your website or blog, optimize it for SEO and mobile. Make sure your content appears on search engine results pages. Identify and use relevant keywords on your headlines and throughout your content. Include meta titles and meta descriptions on every page and article.
Speed up your website to give visitors the best experience and keep them on your pages longer.
Use PageSpeed Insights or webpagetest to check for responsiveness and site speed. You will be able to detect site performance and get recommendations on how to improve load time.
After designing and launching your website move on to the next step:
USE SOCIAL MEDIA
Use social media to connect with your audience. Create a Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram profile, and YouTube channel. Connect with users at a personal level and understand their needs.
Each platform has a different audience so share relevant content that your followers are interested in and present it right. For example, your Instagram followers may prefer more images and stories while your YouTube subscribers favor videos. So, give them what they want to boost interaction and ensure they prefer your content over the competition.
Be active on all platforms but pick your main platform where most of your efforts will go. Use it to build your influence and grow your audience.
Share your website URL across all social media channels to increase traffic to your site and reach a bigger audience.
Add your social media links on your website for social proof and to encourage people to engage with your content.
BUILD A COMMUNITY
Engage with your followers and form meaningful relations. Don’t just focus on sharing your content and getting people to interact with your posts. Focus on building a community instead. Show that you care about your audience and help them reach their goals.
Ask for comments and respond to every one of them. Follow other people’s profiles or pages and interact with their content as well. Leave a comment on posts and hit ‘Like’ when you see something interesting.
Follow people with similar interests or ones that may be interested in your content. Identify relevant groups and become an active part of the community. Share your opinion, post about your work, share your experiences, and give helpful advice.
Participate in relevant discussions across all social media platforms to command attention. Offer practical answers to solutions to pique interest and encourage users to visit your profiles and website.
Provide value in every conversation you join. Share useful resources such as links to reputable and relevant sites.
Talk about the great service you recently received from a certain organization and recommend it to your followers.
Recommend products that your audience may be interested in and ones that can help them in some way. Highlight the benefits tied to it and mention how you benefited from using that particular product. The goal is to bring value to your audience’s lives and keep them looking forward to your posts.
PARTNER UP WITH OTHER INFLUENCERS
Once you have a decent number of followers and an effective content strategy, partner up with influencers. Identify the top 3 or so influencers around your niche and reach out to them.
Feature them on your channel or blog. Set up an online interview and ask them to share success tips with your audience.
Boost interaction and keep the interview lively and interesting. Host live interviews and encourage subscribers or viewers to join the conversation. They can post questions and comments or share their opinion.
If you fail to get an interview, keep trying, you’ll eventually get there.
Another option is to ask for referrals or backlinks. Identify top blogs or bloggers in your industry and connect with them. Follow them on social media and subscribe to their newsletters. Focus on building relations first and then ask for backlinks.
Ask them to mention your content to their followers and share links to your blog, website, or YouTube channel.
You can also guest blog on reputable sites and share your knowledge. This will help you reach a bigger audience and increase traffic to your site.
All you need is one article so give the influencer a reason to recommend your content or accept your pitch. Once you get featured on one blog, you will easily grow your audience.
Create valuable worthwhile content so that when the influencer visits your profiles or blog, they will easily say YES to working with you.
Once you convince them to feature your content, put in your best efforts. Write high-quality and valuable content. Add links to your blog or site within your content.
Share your experience with your followers and ask them to read your article. Tweet about it and post about it on Instagram.
Leverage Instagram and use it to your advantage. Use popular hashtags and Instagram Stories. Add visually compelling images and videos. Optimize your bio, create great captions, and add CTAs as well as links to external pages. Go live and mention upcoming promotions, discounts, and giveaways to build brand awareness.
Becoming an influencer takes time. It requires work, dedication, time, and energy but it is well worth it. So, put in your best efforts and expect results in a year or so.