How to Become a Social Media Influencer

How to become a social media influencer

What is a Social Media Influencer?

A social media influencer is someone who has established a loyal following across social channels of people who trust their opinion. Social media influencers have developed credibility with their followers and influence their follower’s personal styles as well as their purchasing decisions.

How to Become a Social Media Influencer

Being a social media influencer can be a lucrative position, but building up that trust and credibility with followers takes time, patience, and usually some level of expertise on a topic or in a specific industry. 

Below are several of the most helpful tips you can use to begin building your following. 

Choose A Niche 

You can’t be all things to all people – and that is especially true when it comes to developing your own personal brand. There are literally thousands of other people vying for your same audience. Millions, perhaps. In fact, there are currently more than 3.8 billion social media users

One way to help you stand out from the crowd a bit is to choose a niche. For example, you run a budget-friendly household. Before you settle for that niche, let’s look into it a bit deeper.

There are already thousands of other budgeting and couponing social accounts out there. A good way to compete with them is to narrow down the niche. 

You could write something like a post about budgeting your way for a European vacation for the entire family. That is specific and could make you stand out over other accounts.

That is the sort of specificity that draws people in.

Define Your Target Audience

You can’t be an influencer without a rapt audience. So how do you find them?

  • Check out the competition. Find influencers who have a similar niche and look at what they do. Which social media channels do they use? Do they share a lot of videos? Images? Written content? Do they offer incentives or run contests? If something works for them, it’s likely that it’ll work for you.
  • Keyword Research. No matter how much times have changed, one thing holds true: using the right keywords will help you show up in search results. That’s even more true for an influencer. Using the right keywords also helps influencers appear on platforms like Upfluence as well as social platforms — where the influencers will be doing the majority of their marketing and reach. That means more ways for more people to find you. For those who are blogging, WordPress has a plugin called Keyword Planner which will practically do all the work for you. Just install it, and let it find the words you should be using. We will cover some other helpful plugins later.
  • Monitor social media. Constantly be watching what others in your similar field are doing. Learn about your audience’s challenges, needs, and pain points. Figure out how you can solve their issues. Offering valuable content is always the best way to gain and keep a loyal following.

Focus Your Efforts

With many different social media channels available, it’s unrealistic to think you can maintain a steady presence on all of them. If you try, you’ll spread yourself too thin, and no one platform will ever receive your full attention, ultimately causing your audience to suffer.

Focus your energy on where your audience spends the most of their time. With a little research, you should have a fairly good idea of which platform that is. If you saw the most action on Facebook and Instagram, then that’s where you should be. If it was Snapchat, then focus on reaching that audience.

Always give your audience the attention they deserve.

Create A Social Media Strategy

When it comes to your online content, don’t just wing it. That is the worst thing you could possibly do. Why? Because coming up with new content each and every day is hard work. Sometimes, it feels draining, or you hit a big creative block. It can be very tempting to just take the day off.

However, the key to holding a rapt audience is to always be present. Don’t forget – there are countless other people waiting to take your place. If you go radio silent, your fans might hop on over to your biggest social competitor.

Creating a formal strategy (and writing it down) helps keep you on track. Think of it as a contract with yourself. This type of plan also allows you to know which posts will go out when.

Promote

Now that you’ve put in all that hard work, make sure somebody sees it. Creating content is just half the battle. The other half is promoting it. 

Some easy ways to get your audience pumped up include:

  • Engage with them: answer questions, reply to comments, send out surveys – anything to keep them active and involved.
  • Collaborate with other influencers.
  • Publish quality content regularly.
  • Offer giveaways

How to Integrate Social Media on Your Website

If you have a website, it is imperative that you integrate it as much as possible with your social media channels. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

  1. Add Social Media Buttons: One of the best things that you can do is to add a social media button (or a row of them) to your website. Implementing social buttons adds a visual means of getting people to sign up and follow you. By putting the buttons at the top of the page, you are ensuring that they see them quickly and can join without having to leave the site. In fact, the best thing to do is have the buttons open a new page on the browser so that they can still surf your website after following you.
  2. Don’t Forget Share Buttons: Adding share buttons to your content and products encourages users to share your post or item, and it makes it easy for them to do so. If you are running an online store, share buttons are a great way to highlight your inventory. If a customer sees an item that they like or want, they can hit the share button and their followers will now see your product. This can help use other people to advertise your goods for you.
  3. Display Your Social Media Feed: Another great way to integrate social media is to display your Facebook or Twitter feed directly on your website. This way, readers can see samples of the content you are adding to your page so they can decide if they want to follow you. Think of this as a means of selling your social media feed to them.
  4. Keep Your Website Updated: Social media is changing at such a rapid pace, it is sometimes impossible to keep up with it all. But you need to do so as much as possible. You need to know the terminology for each media platform (likes, followers, etc.) and you also need to have the most updated links and buttons on your website. (It doesn’t help if a platform updates or tweaks their logo and you are still using the old one to promote your feed.)
  5. Analyze Your Data for Trends: There are numerous plugins and apps that can also help you analyze your social media data in much the same way as Google Analytics. Paying close attention to this data can help you know what posts are getting the most views and when is the optimum time to post.
  6. Don’t Overextend Yourself: One of the biggest problems with trying to integrate social media is to overdo it. If you tried to update and keep track of posts on every form of social media out there, you would quickly be overwhelmed. Instead, choose two (no more than three) platforms to focus your energy on. If you wind up with a Twitter feed that hasn’t been updated in six months, then you’re going to lose the confidence of those who follow you and not gain other new followers.

By integrating your website with your social media accounts, you can ensure that you create a successful social media campaign.

WordPress Social Media Plugins

What makes WordPress such a great platform is that it allows third-party vendors to create plugins that you can add with ease to do just about anything.

If you have a WordPress website, there are many great ways to connect your site to your social media accounts as a means of promoting your page.

Some of our favorite WordPress social media plugins include:

  • Feed Them Social: This plugin allows you to display your social media feeds directly on your website. It doesn’t use widgets or anything else that can look clunky, but instead allows you to quickly integrate your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds along with others such as Pinterest and YouTube.
  • Monarch: This plugin has an amazing number of social media networks beyond the “Big Three” of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In fact, Monarch allows you to place buttons on your website for over 20 different social media platforms. It also has different styles of pop-ups and floating sidebars as well as sharing buttons that you can add to your page to help integrate with your social media accounts.
  • Revive Old Post: Even if you have been blogging for a while, it is not too late to get involved in social media posting. This plugin allows you to share older posts to your accounts without having to manually repost them, using automatic features to regularly post the material.
  • OnePress Social Locker: This plugin places the content of your website behind social media buttons. Then, your site visitors can like and repost your content with ease. In this way, you can get your material out to the public and then they can, in turn, spread your blogs to their friends through social media platforms, thereby gaining you even more followers.
  • Social Warfare: What makes this plugin such a great option is twofold. First, it is incredibly customizable with over 5,000 different combinations of buttons that you can use to connect with your readers. The other thing that this plugin can do is help you sort your blog posts by popularity based on the number of reposts or other social media shares it has received.
  • Create Your Own: One of the most exciting new ideas in social media is to ultimately create your own social media platform. You can use a plugin called BuddyPress to seamlessly integrate with your WordPress website. When you use this, visitors to your site can:
  • Register with your site and create their own profiles
  • Follow feeds from other users and the website itself
  • Join sub-communities such as groups based on interests
  • Add each other as friends/followers
  • Send private messages to each other 

This ability to create your own social platform is just another way to help bring in customers and keep them closely connected so that they can share interests and posts all connected by your central hub.

WordPress offers several options when it comes to using social media to bring in readers and interact with them in meaningful ways. Plugins are central to getting your social media message out to your readers. 

For even more social media plugins, be sure to check out the Best WordPress Plugins for Facebook and Twitter.

For Instagram users, there is another tool we recommend. 

Plan Your Instagram Feed in Photoshop

If you’re looking to get your business more active on social media, then it’s essential you sign up with Instagram. Instagram currently has more than 1 billion users active each month.

To put that into perspective, that’s over three times as many active users as Twitter, making Instagram one of the top social media platforms in the world today. 

Whereas Twitter focuses on hashtags and verbal messages, Instagram is extremely visual. That’s why it’s a good idea to use professional photo editing and layout software to help plan your Instagram feed.

Photoshop is one tool that can really make a difference when it comes to making your feed look professional.

Why Should You Plan Your Instagram Feed with Photoshop?

One of the features that makes Photoshop so great is that you can use templates to help set up your visuals ahead of time. This allows you to tweak things like colors, fonts, and photo layouts so that you know exactly how it will look when you upload it.

Photoshop also lets you manipulate the quality of your pictures so that they look truly professional. This is a must if you are trying to create a business presence on Instagram. 

Once you have used Photoshop to create the perfect design, you can use other apps to help you utilize Instagram optimally including when to post your pictures to your feed.

For now though, think of Photoshop as the first step before you start putting things out there on social media.

What Do You Need to Plan Ahead of Time?

Basically, when you are creating your graphics in Photoshop, there are four areas that you need to have a handle on. These include:

  • Color Scheme: Color is an important way to catch your audience’s attention. Sure, a black and white photo may have some poignancy to it, but a dash of color is going to grab their eyes. (If you can mix the two together—say, a black and white photograph with one color item—then you can really create some visual magic.) As for what colors to use, it is really up to you. Some people are all about branding—if that’s the case for you, then, by all means, stick to your corporate logo colors. But don’t feel you are stuck with them.  
    • A lot of people use every conceivable color possible. You can also let your calendar determine your color palette with soft pastels for springtime and darker earth tones for autumn. But get a handle early about how you want to use color in your posts and save your favorite colors to a swatches palette on Photoshop. Once you get that perfect shade of red or blue, you can come back to it again and again for consistency’s sake.
  • Fonts: Multiple fonts can actually be included in what is called a “font family.” Find one that works for you—such as an elegant script or something more light-hearted and whimsical. The idea here is to use something a little more dramatic than Arial or Times New Roman.  (Just don’t go with Comic Sans and you should be fine.)
  • Layout: How you want your images to appear on your feed is also important. Layout can involve a grid (Such as text on one side and images on another), rows (grouping images by theme in one row or column) with text in another, diagonal patterns, or even a 9-grid (a giant image of 3×3 blocks that include smaller spaces for things like pictures and text).
  • Post Types: Finally, you‘ll want to focus on the types of posts you are making so that you don’t repeat the same topic or style too often. These can include a mixture of quotes from influencers, pictures that serve as conversation starters, or even behind the scenes images.

Regardless of what field you are working in, it makes a lot of sense to use Photoshop to help lay out your Instagram feed. You want to include images, colors, fonts, and layouts that are elegant and professional so that you can draw in readers and hopefully turn them into customers.

Best Times to Post on Social Media

In order to be successful on social media you need to know the peak times for posting so that you can hit the largest targeted audience.

We will take a glimpse at those times below. 

This data has been broken down by social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and even by which type of content works best at which times. For instance, a business may find more success at one time while a non-profit may have more success at another.

Additionally, a tech-based company may have better results during a given time span than a retail company. 

According to SproutSocial.com, here’s a run-down for the best times for each industry to post on social media broken down by platform (focusing on the Big Three—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).

Global Engagement

Facebook: Wednesday, 11 a.m. and 1–2 p.m.

Twitter: Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m.

Instagram: Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday from 10 a.m.–11 a.m.

Consumer Goods

Facebook: Wednesday at 1 p.m. and Friday at 11 a.m.

Twitter: Sunday at 11 a.m.

Instagram: Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Media

Facebook: Wednesday and Thursday at 5 p.m., Friday from 8–9 a.m.

Twitter: Wednesday at 9 a.m. and Thursday at 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Instagram: Friday at 9 a.m.

Education

Facebook: Wednesday at 9 a.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m.

Twitter: Saturday, 5–6 p.m.

Instagram: Friday at 10 a.m.

Nonprofits

Facebook: Wednesday and Friday at 8–9 a.m.

Twitter: Wednesday at 7 a.m.

Instagram: Tuesday from 1–3 p.m. and Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Tech

Facebook: Wednesday from 9 a.m.–noon

Twitter: Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Instagram: Wednesday at 6 a.m. and 9–10 a.m., and Friday from 7–10 a.m.

Healthcare

Facebook: Wednesday from 10 a.m.–noon

Twitter: Wednesday from 8 a.m.–2 p.m.

Instagram: Tuesday at 8 a.m.

Finance

Facebook: Wednesday at noon

Twitter: Tuesday from 1–5 a.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Instagram: Friday at 11 a.m.

Recreation

Facebook: Tuesday at 2 p.m., Wednesday at 1 p.m. and Friday at 11 a.m.

Twitter: Friday at 9 a.m.

Instagram: Wednesday and Thursday at 1 p.m.

Data Takeaways

Now that’s a lot of information to process, and again, that only covers three of the main social media platforms. But it also gets us to an interesting point—data isn’t everything.

Sure, if you’re a tech company, it seems like you have the best bet of reaching Instagram followers on Wednesday at 10 AM. But that means that every other tech company you are competing with will be looking at and using the same data. 

What does that result in? A glut of tech-related Instagram posts every Wednesday morning that readers will gloss over because there is just too much to sort through. So what should you do?

Schedule and Be Flexible

Your best bet to actually reach potential followers with your social media posts is to first make sure that you have a schedule set up. If you plan to post on Monday at 10 AM, then you should have a schedule in place to ensure that you have something to put out every Monday at that time.

However, you also need to learn to be flexible. Play around with the schedule some. Try some “off posting” times to see if you get any return on your investment. If you notice that you are getting good results during times that the “data” says you shouldn’t, then go with what’s getting results.

The bottom line is that when it comes to social media postings, there is not one cookie-cutter answer or best fit for every single business. You need to experiment and find the best fit for your interests.

A great way to stay ahead on social media is to avoid making big mistakes. 

Social Media Fails to Absolutely Avoid

Social media influencing is not without its pitfalls.

Unfortunately, putting yourself out there in front of billions of people doesn’t just increase your chances of growing your audience. It also increases your chances of making a mistake in front of billions of people.

Every typo, error or faux pas you make is out there for everyone to see. And you better believe, even if you delete something immediately, there’s a good chance somebody has already taken a screenshot. Online content never dies.

With that in mind, here’s a list of the biggest mistakes you can make and what you can do to avoid them:

Social Profiles That Aren’t Optimized

This one isn’t going to end up in undying embarrassment, but it’s not going to win you any new fans, either. If your social media has blank bios, missing contact information, or zero content, no one is going to bother to follow you.

Even worse? Outdated content. Say you created your business Facebook page five years ago when your company was nothing but a dream. Now, it’s your full-time gig and your only source of income – but you never bothered to update your social platforms.

What happens when someone tries to contact you and the email no longer works? Or the products you have listed have nothing to do with what you’re actually selling? It’s going to make you look sloppy at best and at worst a scammer.

A good way to optimize your current content is to update it

An Inconsistent Schedule

The easiest way to lose your audience is to be inactive. There are thousands of other business owners vying for that same market and if you don’t share useful information but they do, guess who’s going to win?

If creating and scheduling content regularly seems daunting, consider using an auto-scheduler that will allow you to pre-load a bunch of content on a day that works for you.

Too Much Duplicate Content

If you’re posting the same exact content on your website, blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, that’s just too much. Your audience will quickly get bored with your repetitive posts and move on to something better.

If you don’t have the time to come up with unique posts for each platform, consider narrowing your focus. It’s likely that your target audience is concentrated in just one or two locations anyway.

Losing Your Cool

Every entrepreneur has at some point in time dealt with a difficult or unruly customer. It’s just part of running a business. This might seem obvious, but don’t flip out on social media.

It may take everything you have to keep your snarky comments to yourself, but it’s for the best. Losing your temper, using crude/inappropriate language, or calling names will only come back to haunt you later. You don’t want to be known as the girl or guy that went off on a crazy Facebook rant.

Constantly Plugging Your Own Products Or Services

You know that friend you have? The one that only ever talks about himself? It gets pretty old fast, right?

Don’t be that guy.

Social media is about communication and engagement. It’s about building relationships and providing useful information. It’s not about tooting your own horn every chance you get.

Failing To Do Research

Attaching yourself to a controversial political topic or inadvertently mocking a sensitive issue is probably the last thing you want to do, right? So, before you hop on the trending hashtag bandwagon, do a little research to find out what it’s all about. There have been multiple companies in recent years that inappropriately used a hashtag just to gain some attention, without bothering to do any research.

If you do a quick Google search for “social media fails,” you’ll find hundreds of more examples (many far more risqué than what we’ve discussed). People commit these errors again and again. And yet, they’re totally avoidable. With a little forethought and attention to detail, you can easily create a strong online presence without risking embarrassment.


Final Thoughts

Being a social media influencer can be a rewarding and fun job – but it is just that: a job. It’s hard work, and you have to be constantly tuned in. Unlike other careers, where you can shut down at the end of the day and relax, as a social media influencer you have to be ready to respond to issues whenever they pop up.

For more great articles on social media, check out the social media category on our blog. 

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