How to Become a Social Media Influencer
For decades, performers have been supplementing their income by promoting brands. From making appearances at trade shows to doing TV commercials, celebrities show their support for products and services and convince people to buy them. While you might not be famous enough yet to be a celebrity spokesperson on-air, you can become a social media influencer or brand ambassador for companies you believe in.
SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER VS BRAND AMBASSADOR
These terms are often used interchangeably and are very similar. The biggest difference really comes down to the size of your audience. Social media influencers generally have a much larger following than brand ambassadors. They are often sent free products or offered free services by companies and asked to promote them because of their influence.
Brand ambassadors have a smaller audience. They often need to promote a product or service first on their social media, then approach the company about getting paid for the promotion. Some companies have established programs for brand ambassadors. People wanting to promote the brand are given a code that they share in their posts. If their followers use the code to make a purchase, the ambassador receives a portion of the sale or free products or services. A brand ambassador can become an influencer as they continue to increase their followers and notoriety.
CHOOSE YOUR FOCUS AND SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM
To become an influencer, you need to establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information. This means providing consistent, useful content, which will be much easier to do if you choose a topic you enjoy talking about and a medium you enjoy creating. If you love cosmetics and making videos about how to apply it, consider starting a YouTube channel with tutorials showing how to use makeup to achieve different looks. If you are concerned about the environment or animal welfare, create TikToks or post photos on Instagram supporting these causes.
POST NEW INFORMATION REGULARLY
Social media influencers make it look easy, but it actually takes a lot of work. They may post images of themselves lounging on the beach or hanging out with friends, but that does not reflect the amount of time they put into planning and creating their content.
It’s important to have a lot of content before you start inviting people to follow you, so there is something for them to see when they visit your page. Once you have a good following, you’ll have to continue to post high-quality, relevant content on a regular basis or people will start looking elsewhere. Having a content strategy and creating some of it in advance will make it easier to post frequently because you won’t be wondering what to share every day or every other day.
ATTRACT AND MAINTAIN FOLLOWERS
Just asking your friends and family to become followers is not going to be enough to make you an influencer, unless you have thousands of friends or relatives. But it’s a good place to start. Next, find online groups and forums related to your focus and actively participate in them, then tell other members they can find more valuable information about the topic on your page or channel and invite them to follow you. Once you have a solid base, you can start reaching out to other influencers to see if they are interested in cross-promotion.
In addition to wanting good content, people also want interaction on social media. If you start receiving comments messages, you’ll need to respond to them in an appropriate way. Even if the comment is negative, responding in an immature or negative way can quickly turn people off. Remain positive in all of your communications.
ATTRACT CORPORATE ATTENTION BY PROMOTING PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
When you first start your influencer page or pages, chances are that companies won’t be offering you free products and services or paying you to promote them. You need to attract their attention first. If you’re doing cosmetics videos, be sure to mention specific brands you like by name and tags them in your posts. If you are taking the environmental angle mentioned above, wear clothing or use products that don’t negatively affect the environment and call them out by name.
If companies don’t respond to your tagging of them, reach out to them directly and encourage them to view your page to see how strong your following is and how you are promoting them. This can be one of the hardest things to do, but it might be the only way to get noticed at first. As your status grows, companies may start reaching out to you about showcasing their products or services and offering to pay you to do so. Once this happens, you know you have reached influencer status.
Being a model or performer and a social media influencer can go hand-in-hand. You should be promoting yourself in a positive way on social media for your performing career anyway, and agencies regularly look to see how many followers an applicant has or ask for this information on an application. Why not receive some free products or even get paid in the process? Just realize it isn’t going to happen overnight and be willing to put in the work needed.