Being considered an online influencer is the dream for many people. Having the status of expert in your field will bolster your business, create you an audience and you get paid for it. But how exactly do you get to be considered an influencer?
1. Always Add Value
The first step is to forget the money. When you begin your journey you want to put the financial incentives and rewards on the back burner. You are looking at adding value to the audience. People like interesting things in a variety of formats, so you need to become familiar and confident producing and spreading your message in all mediums. Blogs and podcasts combined with ebooks and other freebies are a great start, and don’t forget YouTube. What you are aiming to do is offer your audience some interesting information that comes free and gratis. Do not attach conditions. You will not garner respect or kudos if you are only seen to be in it for the money.
2. Speak with Knowledge
This might seem like a really obvious point but you would be surprised how many people are trying to become an influencer without the knowledge to back them up. All industries change, so you will also need to keep learning, whether that is spending time reading the latest news, and learning from established influencers or taking a course and spending some time in continued professional development. Take social media for example, one of my areas of expertise, there is a myriad of tools available for marketing automation, for scheduling, for reporting. Naturally, I will have my own preferences, and of course those tools I dislike, however sometimes you must step out of the familiar and explore and experience other things in order to stay completely current and expert.
3. Be Visible and Interactive
Get out on social media channels and create a presence. You clearly need to be posting to your own social media pages, but also interact with other people in your field. Like and comment, retweet interesting content, tag people that might like to see something. If there are forums and groups, find them and get involved in the chat. It is important that you can show case your knowledge on the spot so people can see it really is you that knows what you are talking about. A study in July 2016 carried out by US Influencers showed that Facebook and Instagram rank as the most influential social media platforms, followed by Twitter and Pinterest. Look for opportunities to appear as a guest blogger on influential sites in your field. Look to become a regular contributor if possible as this helps people get to know you, and brings about the call to action to follow you in other places as you have built a reputation for being worth watching.
4. Be an Approachable Human
Online influencers should be responsive and interactive. This doesn’t mean you have to reply to every single comment or question, but it does mean you need to be seen to care. A like here, a reply there, helps your audience know you are out there and actually listening. Some of the biggest influencers make sure they take the time to respond (ok, so you might not know if it is them or a minion) but they are showing they are interested in their audience. One of the biggest influencers in my world has been Neil Patel, known to many, and even now you will see replies from him on all social media channels.
It does take time to become an online influencer. You have to be prepared to put in the time and the effort, however if you commit and keep at it, you have a really good chance of being noticed.
Anna Everett is a responsive social media marketing expert, author and self confessed Geek Girl.