How to Become a Social Media Influencer. A Step-by-Step Guide.

If you want to rise above the crowd as a social media influencer or opinion leader but don't know where to start, you've come to the right place. We've put together this practical guide to guide you through the basic steps to becoming a social media influencer in your industry, achieving your goals as an influencer, and monetizing your influence.
Let's start with the definition
What is an influencer?
An influencer is someone who can significantly influence the buying decisions of a group of people through their authority, credibility, knowledge, and connections. Unlike celebrities, influencers are considered ordinary and average people, so their opinions seem more credible and believable.
Influencer status cannot be obtained overnight. An influencer must first build their target audience, which in turn provides them with a relevant and effective platform to express their opinions. They also strive to create original and engaging content rather than publishing what has already been saying and done before, thereby giving their audience an undeniable reason to follow them.

What are social media influencers?
Social media influencers are another category in the industry, and unlike crucial thought leaders, they gained their status as influencers because of the size of their social media audience.
As we know, the importance of social media has skyrocketed over the past decade, with 3.8 billion people worldwide now present on at least one social channel. So it makes sense that people are increasingly turning to influencers on these platforms to guide their buying decisions.

Five key steps to becoming an influencer in your industry
1. Focus on a niche you are passionate about. 
If you want to gain credibility and, therefore, influence in a particular field, it's critical to focus on a niche that you're passionate about and knowledgeable in.
Some specific niche ideas might be as follows:
  • Vegan Food.
  • Mature skincare
  • Business Finance
  • Budget travel.
Notice how these niches are not just general categories, but focus on a specific element of a broader theme? Of course, it's important not to get hung up on a niche topic that has no audience, but when you focus on «subcategories» like this one, it allows you to reach a target audience that is looking for exactly the content you're putting out. It also dramatically increases the chances of your name being associated as an expert in that particular topic.
2. Demonstrate your knowledge. 
Once you've determined what niche you will specialize in, it's time to share your knowledge in that area. This will help you build your audience and make a name for yourself, as people will tune into your content to get your latest tips, knowledge, or opinions.
Sharing your knowledge with your audience through high-quality content demonstrates your authority in the field and the value you bring — not only now but also in the future as they continue to follow you.
3. Have an opinion.
 As an influencer or someone who is on your way to becoming one, you shouldn't sit back when it comes to issues related to your niche. One of the biggest benefits of being an influencer is that you have the opportunity to voice and share your opinion, so make sure you speak up on topics that are important to you and your audience.
One Internet minute holds more than 500 hours of videos uploaded by users on Youtube, 147,000 photos uploaded to Facebook, and more than 347,000 stories uploaded to Instagram, so if you want to rise above the sea of online content, you need to be an independent thinker.
Stick to your values and beliefs because authenticity is everything.
4. Connect with other influencers. 
To become an influencer, you need to network and communicate with other influencers, especially if you want to be very successful.
There are two main ways to do this:
  • Start conversations with influencers online
  • Communicate in person at relevant events
To make contacts at relevant events, you first need to figure out which events are worth attending. Some effective ideas include:
  • Industry trade shows
  • Conferences
  • Seminars
  • Live talks/interviews.
Do your research ahead of time to determine which guest speakers, presenters, or influential audience members will also be at the event, and then do your best to discuss with them in person at the event.
5. Engage with the audience.
 It's essential to keep an ongoing conversation with your audience through all channels by asking questions, answering questions, or thanking people for their comments.
The most successful influencers strive to be accurate, accessible, and understandable. After all, an audience is the foundation of an influencer's career.
You can visit your audience's blog or social media channel and return the favor by interacting with their content. Even the smallest gestures play a big role in building an influencer's career.
Why do you want to be an influencer?
Being a thought leader in your niche is extremely rewarding and gives you the opportunity to positively impact people's lives in ways you didn't even know you wanted. However many people think that being an influencer is an easy and glamorous life, but in fact, this is often not the case.
Choose your preferred social media channels.
It's important to note that as a social media influencer, you don't have to be active on all social media platforms. Instead, choose the platforms on which your niche's target audience is most active, and then pay close attention to developing 2-3 of them, investing effort in them every day.

Our advice is to make sure Instagram is one of the platforms you focus on, especially if your target audience is active there. An impressive 93% of social media influencers focus their time and efforts on Instagram because it's proven to give them the most successful results.
The same study found that Facebook came in second place, followed by YouTube.
How do you determine which social media platform is best for you? Consider the following:
  • Who is your target audience is.
  • Where the other influencers in your niche are most active.
  • What type of content will you be creating.

 Develop a content strategy
Speaking of content, it's critical to plan what you'll create and share with your audience to make sure it hits the mark. After all, you want your content to be engaging, valuable, and unique to your target audience, increasing your success as an authority.
We recommend that you post content each week on social media that fits these categories:
If you come across content that you think will be useful to your audience, be sure to share it with them on your channels. Not only will they appreciate the value, but it's also a great networking tactic to help you connect with other authority figures in your niche or industry. Who knows, maybe they'll reciprocate later by posting your own content.
Educational and informative content that you've created yourself: Build your reputation as an expert in your chosen topic by regularly creating your own practical and valuable content for your audience. This could be a series of social media posts helping them solve a specific problem, or a post about your latest free eBook, for example.
Posts about yourself: 
To establish yourself as an authority, you also need to publish regular social media posts about yourself, especially if they provide a glimpse into your daily life. Remind your followers that you, too, are human, as it is this affinity and audience trust that will help you succeed as an authority on social media.
Distribute your content
If you want your content to reach as many people as possible on your social networks, you also need to plan how, when, and where you will distribute your posts.
One of the most important tips is to plan to publish your content at optimal times, which are determined by the location and behavior of your audience. In other words, you need to figure out when they are most active in their time zone.
We recommend using the social media platform's built-in analytics tool to determine this, if possible, or if the platform doesn't have one, try using a third-party company.
You need to think about how you will post your content to ensure as much engagement and views as possible. Each social media platform has its own rules about how to post content, but keep these general rules in mind for success:

Customize the description or message of your post if you plan to post on multiple social media channels. This will keep your content fresh and ensure that if the same person follows you on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, for example, they won't be bombarded with posts they've seen from you before.

 Blog alongside social media
We would advise anyone looking to establish themselves on social media to blog alongside their social media commitments. This is because, despite how much effort you put into your social media channels, you don't necessarily «own» them the way you would like to.
If an app glitch causes your entire profile (photos, likes, follower count, and everything else) to be accidentally deleted, or if Instagram suddenly ceases to exist, there's little you can do to get it all back.
However, by having a dedicated blog, you have much more control over your content and can even back it up in case the worst happens. It's also a great way to increase your subscribers, which is an essential goal for influencers, and it gives you an additional platform to encourage your audience to interact with and share your content. Just remember to install social media sharing buttons on your site.

 Interact with your subscribers
The goal is to try to develop a deeper and more meaningful relationship with your audience, and the best way to do this is to interact with your subscribers by acknowledging and responding to the messages you receive.
As a social media influencer, your social media content will garner lots of comments, likes, and shares — especially as your audience grows.
Although it may seem time-consuming, responding to your audience will make your followers feel valued and increase the likelihood that they will interact with you in the future.
Keep in mind that not all of your comments or posts will be positive. That's the nature of the online world. Remember to remain calm and professional. After all, you are now doing business on social media, and your behavior on these channels can make or break your success.

To successfully monetize your audience, follow this step-by-step plan.
Participants need to feel like they're gaining.
Elite status:This is when members receive benefits not available to other members or available but at an additional cost. Elite status encourages the member to be a frequent consumer of your content and rewards them for continued loyalty.
Valuable Information: There's a lot of free information on the Internet, so if you offer a paid content model, it should be precious. In other words, information, tips, or tools that they can't get anywhere else. Information that helps audiences overcome their greatest pain and improve their lives is also considered highly valuable.
VIP service: When someone commits to purchase an offer, they don't want to feel ignored or mediocre. Provide all of your members with VIP service by giving them a priority, including contacting them frequently, responding quickly to their requests or comments, and providing them with additional benefits such as free resources.
Networking opportunities with other members:People like to feel part of a community, and you, as an influencer, have the privilege of being able to contribute to that shared experience.
Insider access to site owner/director: Everyone loves exclusive content, especially when that content offers a behind-the-scenes look or insider access to someone's life, career, etc. It also gives participants the advantage of having a direct link to you. For example, you can have a private channel (like Slack or WhatsApp) that allows members to reach out to you for advice when they need it.
Members-Only Forum:Similarly, a members-only forum gives exclusive access to ongoing communication with both you and other members. This fosters a sense of community and takes your content offering to a whole new level.
Create a paid content model separate from the free content model
When it comes to paid and free content models, you don't have to choose one or the other. The goal is to offer both models to your audience because it allows new subscribers to learn more about you, your experience, and the value you can offer them before they decide to buy.
Typically, influencers do this in one of two ways. You can:
Continue to offer free content on your blog, but open a members-only forum with access to you and other perks such as exclusive articles, training calls, webinars, etc.
Continue to blog for free, but create paid information products, books, and courses so your audience can purchase individual resources as needed. Learn more about this below.
Find the right paid content model.
The three most common paid content models include:
Paid Wall: This method restricts access to content only to those who have paid for it, so only members or subscribers get access to information or resources.
Individual transactions:Instead of offering multiple pieces of exclusive content for a flat fee, each individual piece of content (e.g., an ebook, webinar, white paper, or online course) can be purchased separately.
Metered content: This method allows you to offer content for free until the user reaches a specific limit, whether it's the amount of time spent on the site, the number of articles viewed, or the number of downloads completed. This allows people to become familiar with a small portion of your content before they decide to pay for full access.
 Paid content to monetize
1. Live webinars are a great way to expand your audience, gather their contact information, demonstrate your expertise, and give insight into the value of what you have to offer.
It's very effective to start with a free live webinar because they are easy to create and attract a large audience, and then you can repurpose them in several ways to monetize. These include:
Selling access to single repeats: Sometimes webinar attendees can't attend because of their time zone, or they found the webinar so valuable that they want to be able to re-watch it on demand.
Selling a replay package: If you've created several free live webinars, you can easily repurpose them into a replay package that will sell for a special price. As with upselling, you can emphasize to your audience that this package offers even more benefits than buying each replay individually.
Selling Webinar Membership Access:If you produce multiple webinars each month or year, offering paid webinar memberships that give subscribers instant access to them as they come out would be a great idea. Don't forget to also offer exclusive perks for members, such as access to a closed online community or a live link. Subscription plans can be monthly or yearly.

2. Online courses are a great way to pull together all your knowledge on a relevant topic and offer it to your target audience at a premium price. A course can be delivered daily or weekly via email, an online course platform, or a password-protected part of your website. Along with modules, online courses can include digital resources such as videos, ebooks, worksheets, and more.
3. Digital Downloads. Speaking of digital resources, you can also create and sell access to your videos, eBooks, digital printables, white papers, etc. While the prices may not be as high as an online course, it's still a great way to get consistent monetary compensation for your expertise.
You can also sell your digital downloads through a pay-per-download network, where you get paid based on the number of unique downloads of your content by users.
If you've always dreamed of becoming an influencer but thought that this career was reserved for the rich and famous, you're in luck. In this digital age, anyone can be an influencer; all it takes is a comprehensive step-by-step plan and dedication to get online every day, create valuable content in your niche, engage with your audience or follow industry developments.
Now you have a fail-safe plan to help you succeed as a social media influencer or key thought leader in your niche. Just understand your reasons for becoming an influencer, follow the process of raising your status as an influencer, and monetize your influence. You'll quickly realize your dream of becoming an influencer.