How to be an effective social media influencer

How to be an effective social media influencer

The global influencer marketing market size has more than doubled since 2019. In 2021, the market was valued at a record 13.8 billion U.S. dollars. On a global level, the influencer marketing market was valued at 6.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. (Source:Statista)  By definition social media influencers are people who have large audiences as their followers on social media channels. They are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. These influencers have the ability to reach large audiences that are loyal followers to these influencers on their social media platform. 

So, is it even a real job to be a social media influencer? If you have a shadow of a doubt about ‘social media influencers’ being a real job – then to clarify that, it indeed is a real, paying job – and often a very lucrative one! Like any other job, where a person is expected to complete a particular task/s and then gets paid for doing so, similarly, social media influencers are tasked with predominantly promoting brands and or affiliate programs to their very loyal fan base. From famous Youtubers to people with a large following on Twitter, influencers are a great way to generate excitement about the brand/product, drive enquiries and hence build a  healthy pipeline.

Why would anyone want to become a social media influencer- According to WordStream there are 3.7 billion social media users and the influencer marketing industry is worth an impressive $5 million!  As a social media influencer you can inspire, motivate, teach and while doing that enable people to consider the products and services that are being promoted. You become a positive role model in the life of others and affect change at a greater scale. Also you get paid for that and bask in the attention of your followers while partnering with brands and businesses for doing so. In many cases influencers get free VIP experiences, freebies of products, sneak peaks into products and services pre- launch, preferential passes and more, so clearly it’s a win-win.

With all these perks, how can you be an effective social media influencer after all? A bit like in real life it starts with engaging and networking with the right audience, building careful lucrative working relationships with industry folks, showcasing your subject matter expertise and showing up – consistently. Growing a healthy social media influence is a long process with many ups and downs. 

This is how you can do it one step at a time;

  1. Define your goals – Get a clear understanding of why you want to be a social media influencer and what you want to achieve from it. There should always be a long term goal, but also smaller achievable milestones that only make sure you are always moving forward. Make a plan, and take one step at a time persistently.
  2. Identify your target audience – Defining an audience enables you to build content that resonates with them. It becomes easier to understand their needs, pain points. Defining an audience really enables you to develop consistent messaging for them as well as identifying the best marketing tactics to nurture them through the funnel. DO NOT BUY FOLLOWERS!
  3. Build a community– Remember it is Human 2 Human, so it is important to engage, network and share. Comment, like and reply to posts. Share content that allows you to help others and essentially is an answer to common problems that the community members face. 
  4. Be consistent – Be persistent in posting messages. It is always a marathon, never a sprint. Consistently sending messages to the community is a sign that you are always available to help and are a subject matter expert. Keep dishing out content that rain or sun shine. Your followers will grow only when they are entertained, engaged and keep learning something.
  5. Identify what social media channels are best for you – Not all social media channels are the same. Each of them serve a purpose and often serve the audience at different stages in a sales funnel. Understand where your audience hang around and remember to show up there consistently. There is no need to spread yourself too thin –  a mistake many small businesses do, in a bid to be visible everywhere. You have to be where your customers are looking, especially when you are starting up and do not have tons of help to manage your socials. Focus on a few channels and build your klout.
  6. Build with other influencers – Do not reinvent the wheel as they say. Watch what others in your space have done and ensure you do not repeat their mistakes. Also, collaborate with other influencers that compliment your service or product. Two heads are better than one. Grow together, complement one another and share the followers.
  7. Participate in other forums – Remember to stay inspired and continue to learn on this process. Get active on subject matter forums, groups and circles where you can not only participate but can also learn from those far ahead of you in the game. You never know when inspiration may strike you to leverage your expertise in a way that will catapult you as a social media influencer.
  8. Seek help when needed – understand the importance of seeking help from an influencer agency. There are some pros just as there are cons in doing so. Pros being – scale your influencer marketing to maximize ROI, benefit from a creative strategy partnership and finally agencies help you to drive data driven campaigns that are effective in driving the results you otherwise would take longer to achieve. Cons can be they are expensive, may not know your audience as well as you do, could automate too much losing out on the personalized touch you have with your followers.   And hence it is important to understand what would work best for you.
  9. Track everything – How will you know you are being effective! Track everything!  Keep a close eye on your analytics and metrics. Test different strategies and tactics and learn by trial and error. The best part about social media is that it is fast moving- go ahead and experiment.
  10. Take your work seriously – the followers are not going fall from the blue skies. There has to be discipline, structure and a clear line of action. Work on your hashtags – they should be meaningful, relevant, fun and valuable. Get your media kit ready – Do you have a website/community page, social media channel signs ups, tools to drive good looking visual content, identified the campaigns you want to run, any contests/give always based on your target audience and more. Be prepared and revise continuously depending on how your audience reacts to your content.

Each social media channel is unique in its own way. When it comes to attracting the audience across different demographics and it is important to choose the one that is right for your audience. It is important to assess which channels showcase the content about your product/services in the best possible manner.

According to a social media influencer survey taken in 2019 by Mediakix Instagram remains to be one of the most successful channels to be an effective social media influencer. The very visual format of the channel grabs eyeballs instantly while Insta Stories and Reels engage audiences with short videos. The question to ask is, if it is the right channel for you, and is your audiences looking there. For example this may not be the best channel for a B2B company where customers are looking for far more in-depth information before even thinking of commencing on the buyer journey. LinkedIn in that case could be a better option to combine long form content with short visual posts that build credibility while providing value to professionals in your field.

The possibilities are limitless. The key is motion through the emotion. Motion in your thought and actions. Remember why you started and where you are going. Keep building even if you don’t see instant results. If you do it right they will come.

Show the right ‘Emotion’ that you are here to help your target audience through their journey of achieving excellence, and through that you will be on your way to achieving yours.

Good luck!