If you have an interest in making life online, have accounts on Social Media like Facebook and Instagram, and believe that you could get paid for things you post; then this guide is for you. Yes, anyone with a page on these social sites can make money. We are not saying that it is super easy and that success will come overnight; not at all! But if you have the passion, the knowhow, good content, and knowledge in a certain niche, then there is no reason why success won’t follow. So let us study the key steps that will help you in your journey to becoming a paid influencer!
1. Know what defines an influencer
A social media influencer is someone who has gained an engaged social media following through inspirational content on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and/or YouTube. They are also called Vloggers or Key Opinion Leaders. While Instagram is the favorite social media platform for most influencers, people can also become successful on other platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Most people who are influencers on one usually also have accounts on the other platforms. Needless to say; many of them are successful on all these platforms simultaneously.
2. Know the different kinds of influencers
There are different terms used for different types of influencers based on the number of followers they have:
- Micro and power middle influencers – These are influencers with a relatively small following on social media.
- Macro and celebrity influencers – These have a larger following.
There are no fixed numbers to decide whether one is a micro/macro/celebrity influencer. But, in general, micro-influencers have between 3K and 100 K followers whereas celebrity influencers have over 1 million followers.
3. Understand how an influencer makes money
Brands and companies connect with influencers or people who have an engaged social media following. They get these influencers to promote their products or services and build their brand recognition. When they do this through an influencer, they have a better chance of gaining credibility since people following these influencers have come to like and trust them. In return, influencers can either get paid or might receive the product/service for free. It all depends on one’s agreement with the brand or company in question.
While one would think that the higher one’s following, the higher the influencer would get paid. This is no longer true since companies and brands are looking to partner with multiple micro-influencers having more-engaged followership. This is good news for people who are just starting out.
4. Finding the motivation to become an influencer
There are myriad reasons why people want to become an influencer on social media. Some love the digital lifestyle; many wish to travel and earn money in the process. Some even want to eat, take food photos, and earn a livelihood with that. Most simply want to leave their mundane 9-5 jobs and freelance. It is important that you know your key objectives behind trying to become an influencer. This will help you define your personal brand and come up with your personal photography style and niche.
5. Selecting a niche
The first and most important thing to do in order to become an influencer is to select a niche. What are you good at? Perhaps you love fashion, makeup, and style. Maybe you cook well and already have a food blog or YouTube channel. If you love nature photography, then you might already have images of your travels on your accounts. Maybe you have the budget to travel to places that are off the grid and are already wowing people with those gorgeous photos.
Whatever your niche: assign a page to that niche on each of your social media accounts and start posting. You must remain motivated and post regularly. Share your page with friends and family. Ask them to share it as well. Use hashtags that are relevant to that niche. Tag the right pages and people to get them to notice you. Do all of this, day after day, tirelessly. Believe us: when you keep at it, you will grow. Be unique and people will love you.
6. Find ways to keep your audience engaged
In order to keep your audiences interested in the content you post, use a tone of voice that is loved and accepted by all. Be kind. Reply to people’s comments. Be nice. Inspire and help people. Solve their problems and answer their queries. Be consistent with your posting and give your readers a sneak-peek into what goes behind the scenes. This will give a ‘human’ touch to your stories and posts.
Build a community and ask questions in your captions. You can even engage with followers on a one-on-one basis. Send them personal messages and talk to them. Use stories on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as podcasts as these greatly help engage followers.
7. Do not try to cheat the system
Success will not come overnight on social media. So do not be in a haste to become a star. Likes and follows are important but not so much that you use crooked ways to get them. Instagram and other social media platforms can even ban your account if you use techniques like bots to gain likes and followers. So be natural. Post genuine and interesting content once or twice a day. If you are good, Instagram itself might follow you and might like and recommend your account. This can help fast-track your page to success. But it is very important that you do everything naturally and organically.
8. Aim for an engagement rent of 3% and above
The formula for calculating the engagement rate is as follows:
[(No. of likes and comments) ÷ (No. of followers)] x 100
So if you have 5000 followers and about 500 likes and 50 comments, your engagement rate is 11%. This is a good number to have. Someone with ‘fake’ followers is more like to have a poor engagement rate. Brands and companies use apps and tools to know which influencer has a genuine following through their engagement rate. So strive for genuine engagement.
9. Keep an eye on competitors
To ensure staying up-to-date with the latest trends in social media, you may want to follow other influencer pages. What are they posting? You need not copy them, but you can get inputs. You can also use analytics to find out which content your followers are engaging most with. This can help you come up with your own content plan and schedule.
10. Use a good profile photo
These are small, often overlooked details. Companies and brands approach influencers with good profile photos and they use it to judge whether you are in alignment with their brand. So your photo should come across as trustworthy and genuine. It should reflect your page’s aesthetic. Avoid using cartoons or graphics for your profile photo. If you have a business page, then you may use a logo to represent the profile photo.
11. Constantly evolve and better yourself
As an influencer, you must strive to better yourself than what you were yesterday. It is hard work and no one who has been there will say it is easy. But make things fun. Challenge yourself. Learn new skills. Take a photography class or attend a course in digital marketing. If needed, invest in good cameras or tools that will help you take better photos. If you use videos, then learn the art of videography. All these will help you improve your content.
12. Some Dos and Don’ts to remember
- Do follow a niche and stick to it. Don’t try to be a fashion, foodie, and travel-blogger, all on one page.
- Do utilize your bio or profile page to highlight what your niche is. You can also direct your followers to your other channels, YouTube, Facebook, or even your blog or website if you have one.
- Don’t be afraid to delete, change, or edit your posts if you feel they are harming your page. If you see negative comments from your followers about something that you have posted, then it is a good idea to give it a thought as to whether you really want that on your page.
- Do feature products that are relevant to your niche.
- Don’t spam your followers: be consistent without being annoying or overwhelming. Try and gauge your audience’s active times on social media. For example, some people are more active on weekends. So it is a good idea to post then. On weekdays, you can post once or twice at peak times.
- Do be authentic. Don’t try to use someone else’s voice. Don’t try to hard-sell; rather sell as you’d try to convince a friend to buy something. Only recommend products/services if you truly like them.
- Don’t let all of your posts be about brand endorsements. Keep some stuff organic and general too. This is also rather important for building brand trust.
Being an influencer means you must retain your individuality, creativity, and also be consistent. Remember; what you put in is what you will achieve. So stay on top of the game and soon you will be successful.