How to Become an Influencer

Girl filming herself while putting a lipstick

In today's digital age, the term "influencer" has evolved from a trendy buzzword to a legitimate career path and a genuine job title. Becoming an influencer is not just about striking a pose or posting pictures; it's a multifaceted profession that demands a diverse skill set, ranging from digital marketing to video-editing and storytelling.

With the influencer market surging and promising opportunities, the path to influencer status is more accessible than ever. In this article, we'll explore what it truly means to become an influencer, dissect the dynamics of today's influencer market, and present a comprehensive 12-step guide on how to become an influencer.

Whether you're an aspiring content creator or simply curious about the influencer world, this guide will explain to you all you need to know about how to become an influencer.

Table of Contents

What is an influencer?

An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect the opinions, behaviors, and purchasing decisions of their audience, primarily through their online presence and social media platforms. They are typically regarded as experts or authorities within their niche and have the ability to engage and connect with a dedicated following.

Sport male content creator taking a selfie with a bottle of water

Becoming an influencer requires the cultivation of a unique persona, consistent content creation, and the ability to resonate with the audience. Contrary to popular belief, influencers don't necessarily have to be celebrities; they can come from various backgrounds and expertise.

Influencers come in different tiers, including nano, micro, mid-tier, macro, and mega influencers, each with varying audience sizes and engagement levels. Nano influencers have a smaller, highly niche audience, while mega influencers often have millions of followers and cover broader topics or industries.

Here's how tiers are usually divided:

  • nano-influencers: typically 1,000 to 10,000 followers;
  • micro-influencers: typically 10,000 to 100,000 followers;
  • mid-tier influencers: typically 100,000 to 500,000 followers;
  • macro influencers: typically 500,000 to 1 million followers;
  • mega influencers: typically 1 million or more followers.

Influencer market

The influencer market is a dynamic and rapidly growing industry. As of 2023, it is valued at 21.1 billion U.S. dollars. Notably, data from HubSpot reveals that 89% of marketers who have already embraced influencer marketing intend to either maintain or increase their investment in 2023. Furthermore, 17% of marketers plan to explore influencer marketing for the first time this year.

Influencer and content creators - what's the difference?

Influencers and content creators are related but distinct terms. While they are often used interchangeably, there are fundamental differences between the two. Influencers, as mentioned earlier, are individuals with the power to sway their audience's opinions and behaviors. They typically leverage their personal brand and charisma to do so. Content creators, on the other hand, are focused on generating high-quality content, which could be in the form of videos, articles, or other media. They may not necessarily have the same level of personal influence as influencers.

In essence, influencers tend to use content creation as a tool to build their influence, while content creators prioritize the craft of producing engaging and informative content.

How to become an influencer in 12 steps

1. Make a business plan

Before diving into the world of influencer marketing, it's crucial to create a clear business plan. Define your goals, such as whether you aim to generate income, raise awareness, or promote a cause. Identify the strategies and resources you need, and set a timeline for achieving your objectives. A well-thought-out plan will serve as your roadmap throughout your influencer journey, and it will enable you to make money as an influencer.

Let's take Kayla Itsines, Sweat's co-founder, as an example. We can presume that her primary goal was to create an online fitness empire centered around her Bikini Body Guide program. She included regular content on fitness and nutrition in her strategy. Moreover, she connected with her audience through transformative success stories and building a mobile app for workouts. Thanks to a solid plan she managed to align the content, social media strategy, and product development efforts.

Kayla Itsines and a bowl of salad

2. Choose a niche

Selecting a specific niche or topic of expertise is vital in standing out as an influencer. Focus on areas you're passionate about and have knowledge in. A well-defined niche allows you to target a particular audience, making it easier to build a loyal following that shares your interests.

Even though niches like food, traveling, or fitness, are pretty popular, there are basically tons of other options to choose from. For example, Summer Rayne Oakes is an environmental activist and influencer who gained popularity by sharing her passion for urban gardening and sustainable living. Among other things, she's famous for filling her loft apartment in Brooklyn with hundreds of plants.

Summer Rayne Oakes transplanting plants

So, if you have some specific skills, you can always try to capitalize on them. That's exactly what Zach King did. He's a famous social media magician who first gained popularity on Vine (you remember Vine, right?). While magic isn't an unusual niche per se, Zach's approach to combining storytelling with magic in a short video format was definitely innovative. He created mind-boggling illusions that kept viewers entertained and coming back for more.

Zach King doing magic trick

3. Define your brand

Your personal brand is how you want to be perceived by your audience. It's essential to establish a unique and authentic identity that sets you apart from other influencers. Your brand should reflect your values, style, and the content you create, creating a consistent image that resonates with your target audience.

For branding, you can use a variety of channels. For example, Chiara Ferragni built her brand around a glamorous and aspirational lifestyle, but she gained recognition through her fashion blog, The Blonde Salad. On the blog, she shared her personal style, travels, and experiences. Besides giving her recognition, her blog also supported her brand values - creativity, self-expression, luxury, and a love for high-end fashion.

Chiara Ferragni showing luxurios purse

4. Define your audience

Understanding your audience is key to creating content that resonates with them. Develop detailed buyer personas, considering demographics, interests, and behaviors. Tailoring your content to your audience's preferences will boost engagement and help you attract the right followers.

5. Edit social media profiles

Your social media profiles are your digital business cards. Ensure they are professional, visually appealing, and aligned with your brand. Use high-quality profile pictures, engaging bios, and relevant links. Consistency across all platforms will make it easier for people to recognize and connect with you.

On Facebook, feature relevant photos, and videos while using a cover photo that represents your brand. On Instagram, create a captivating bio and utilize Story Highlights to organize key content. On TikTok, maintain a distinct profile picture, choose a unique username, and craft an attention-grabbing bio.

6. Select social media channels

Choose the social media platforms that best suit your niche and target audience. Different platforms have distinct user demographics and content formats. Focus your efforts on the ones where your potential followers are most active and responsive.

Instagram Instagram is a visual-centric platform with a strong focus on images and videos. It's ideal for influencers in niches where visual content is essential, such as fashion, travel, and lifestyle. The platform offers easy-to-use features like Stories, Reels, and IGTV, enabling diverse content creation. Engagement rates are generally high, making it great for fostering a loyal community. However, there's a lot of competition. Besides that, keep in mind that the algorithm prioritizes new and engaging content.

Facebook Facebook is a well-established and versatile platform suitable for a broad range of niches. Its user base spans various age groups, making it an excellent choice for influencers with diverse target demographics. Facebook Pages provide in-depth analytical tools and a variety of content formats, including text, images, videos, and live streaming. The downside is that organic reach can be limited, and the platform tends to favor paid advertising for broader reach.

Kylie Jenner profile on Facebook

TikTok TikTok is a rapidly growing platform known for short-form video content. If you can deliver engaging, entertaining, or educational videos in under a minute, TikTok might be your best shot. The app's algorithm often boosts content from new creators, giving smaller influencers a chance to shine. It has a younger user base, making it suitable for niches appealing to Gen Z and Millennials.

7. Post content on a regular basis

Regularly create and share content that aligns with your niche and resonates with your audience. Maintaining a consistent presence will help keep your followers engaged and interested.

Posting schedules can vary by platform. On Instagram, it's often effective to share content a few times a week, given its preference for consistency and high-quality visuals. TikTok, on the other hand, usually demands daily or even multiple posts per day due to its focus on short-form, viral videos.

Here's an example of a weekly posting schedule on Instagram:

  • Monday: motivational content in the morning, product showcase in the afternoon;
  • Wednesday: behind-the-scenes Instagram Story with interactive features;
  • Friday: valuable niche-related content (tutorials etc.);
  • Saturday: user-generated content post;
  • Sunday: live Q&A or product demonstration to engage with your audience.

8. Find your specific angle - dare to be different!

Differentiation is vital in a crowded influencer landscape. Identify your unique angle or approach to your niche, and don't be afraid to be creative. Be authentic and offer a fresh perspective!

If you need inspiration, we recommend you check out the guy called Casey Neistat. He's a filmmaker and content creator who brought a unique angle to the world of daily vlogs. While daily vlogging was already a popular niche on YouTube, Casey's approach was distinctive. He combined high-quality cinematography and storytelling with his daily life adventures in New York City. Elements of action sports, humor, and insightful commentary are what set his vlogs apart from the standard "day in the life" format.

Casey Neistat riding a skate and sitting on a rock at the sea coast

9. Keep your audience engaged

Engage with your followers by responding to comments, messages, and feedback. Host giveaways, polls, and Q&A sessions to interact with your audience and keep them invested in your content.

10. Network - meet other influencers and brands

Building relationships with other influencers and brands can open doors to collaborations, sponsorships, and growth opportunities. Attend industry events, reach out to like-minded creators, and actively participate in your niche's community.

11. Learn new things

Stay up to date with the latest trends and tools in influencer marketing. Continuously improve your content creation skills, including photography, videography, and editing. Learning new techniques and staying informed will help you adapt to changing social media landscapes.

12. Evaluate your work

Regularly assess the performance of your content and the growth of your audience. Use analytics tools to track key metrics like engagement rates, follower growth, and click-through rates. Adjust your strategy based on these insights, refining your approach as you progress in your influencer journey.

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