A friend of mine is now making all of her money on social media. She started her YouTube and Instagram accounts two years ago, and she now has a huge following. Now she gets paid sponsorships and for promoting certain products or services. She calls herself a social media influencer.
How does someone become a social media influencer?
A decade ago, people would have laughed at you if you said you wanted to get paid to post photos or videos online. But today, many people are doing just that. Thanks to the rise of social networks like Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, influencers are getting paid to advertise products or services through their social accounts.
There are more than 3 billion people who actively use social media – roughly 42% of the world’s population. Build a large enough following, and your social accounts become very valuable to businesses. And 74% of consumers rely on social media to influence their buying decisions. It makes sense that your friend is making money on social media if she has a large following. And influencer marketing is projected to be a $10 billion industry by 2020.
Social media influencers use different social media platforms to express their opinions on brands or products with the goal of influencing their active audience.
Influencers are very connected with their audiences, and they regularly engage with them. That’s why their messages are so valuable. Their followers listen intently when they post content, and they have the power to affect their purchasing decisions.
If you’re interested in becoming an influencer, you need to start with one important thing: finding your niche. You can’t be an influencer if you don’t have a large following, and it’s hard to build a following in saturated niches (unless you have something unique to offer).
What are you passionate about? What do you have strong opinions about? The goal is to find a small corner of the Internet world where you can leave your mark. Find a way to make yourself stand out, and start working hard to build your following by creating regular, valuable content.
If you’re having trouble getting your account off the ground, you can use a service like Kccatl to get some followers on Instagram. For YouTube, you can find services that will get your videos likes and views (the Shuffle Dance channel is a good example). The key is to make sure that all likes will be related to your video.
Once you have a bit of a following, it’s easier to grow your audience and get people interested in your content.
It's all about building your brand, and this will take some time and work. Research your industry. Who are the main influencers? What kind of content gets the most engagement? Which brands are working with influencers in your industry? Are there gaps, and can you use these gaps to your advantage?
Once you have a rough plan for building your brand, you can start deciding which platforms you want to use. It’s important to develop your brand consistently. Your brand needs to be easily identifiable across all platforms.
Personal branding is a complex process, and I recommend that you get some books on it or do your research online on how to succeed.
It will take some work to become a social media influencer, but it’s worth the effort to get paid to do something that you love.