Thanks to social media, being an influencer is now a career option open to anyone. Done correctly, there are opportunities to earn an income from it even with relatively small audiences. Of course, as we all know, there are those out there with millions of followers, who have become celebrities in their own right and are making significant sums as a result. If you are just starting on your path to being an influencer, here are some tips you might want to think about.
1. Picking a suitable niche
The most successful influencers produce content around a particular niche – well, at least that’s how they started. According to Viral Nation, the most popular niches today include beauty, fashion, health and fitness, travel, gaming, parenting, relationships and how to make money. These are the niches that attract the biggest followings and where big brands are most likely to offer large sponsorship deals to influencers. This is by no means a definitive list; there are influencers in every niche, from archery to Zumba.
How do you choose the right niche? If you are going to do this over the long term and enjoy what you do, then you need to choose a niche that you are interested in and one that you have good knowledge about. You can’t really influence people if you don’t know your subject.
2. Choose the best channels for your niche
With the growing number of social media channels available today, you simply won’t have the time to be successful on every one of them. When you start out, focus, instead, on one channel where you can start to develop a good following. If that works out, you can expand to another channel later.
The two most important factors when choosing a channel are to know where your target followers hang out and to make sure that the channel is the right match for the type of content you are creating.
This, however, will require you to do a bit of market research. Find out who your target market is and which channels these people use. Check out which channels other influencers in your niche have a presence on. Think about the content you are going to produce (blogs, videos, images) and which channels are best for these.
3. Develop a content strategy
Once you have your channel set up, don’t dive headfirst into making content. Instead, work on your content strategy. Think about what things you want to cover, how you want to present it and when the best time of the year is to make it public. This way you produce a content calendar that will allow you to develop a long-term plan of action that is considered and actionable.
You also need to think about how you connect with your followers in order to grow your audience. What you produce needs to have value for them, providing solutions to problems, whether it’s how to stay healthier or the best way to hang a picture. A key part of this is how you present yourself and in making sure what you say and how you say it is of high quality, original and authentic.
4. Publish consistently
The other advantage of developing a content calendar is that it enables you to plan for consistent publishing. Once you start gaining an audience, you need to keep up the momentum to maintain their interest. Long gaps between posts, especially when you first begin, can result in a quick fall off of viewers. Ideally, you should publish at regular intervals, like twice weekly, so that followers will know when to expect your next post and become excited about seeing it.
The interval at which you post will obviously depend on how long it takes you to create the content. Make sure you work at a pace that is comfortable for you. If you are starting your venture while working in another job, this means your content creation time is likely to be limited. Work within your limits. If you push too hard, the passion for your topic might become a chore you lose interest in.
5. Grow your followers
If you are going to earn from your content creation, you need to have a reasonable following. Brands will want to see this before they start sponsoring you. Growing a following, however, doesn’t simply rely on posting content. You also need to engage with your viewers in other ways, such as taking part in conversations, commenting on other posts and, most importantly, responding to comments people make on your posts. You can also help by sharing and liking content produced by your followers.
6. Set up a website
Having your own influencer website offers enormous potential. For a start, as everything you post on there is searchable on the internet, you can attract new followers who might not use your social media channel. If you have accounts on multiple channels, a website is a great way to keep all of your followers up to date in one place. And, if existing channels fail or go out of fashion (think Vine, Google+, Myspace), a website means you have a place where you can keep hold of your followers and continue posting content to them.
The other advantage of a website is that it can be used for a wide variety of other things. You can set up a merchandising store, make money from affiliate commission and Google ads (all great sources of income if you don’t have sponsors), and set up fan pages, groups and forums to keep up engagement with your followers.
Content creators from micro-influencers to social media celebrities can earn a living by finding the right niche, creating great content and engaging with their audiences to develop a following. With the addition of a website, they can take this even further and generate income even without sponsorship. If you are looking to create a website for your influencer channels, check out our Content Creator Hosting plan that has been specially created for you.