The rise of influencer marketing means almost anyone can learn how to become an influencer. Social media influencers can have a massive amount of sway, and brands can leverage their influence and reach more customers than ever before. It's clearly beneficial to brands, but it can be a lucrative job or side hustle for successful influencers.
If becoming an influencer is a goal, the strategies and resources outlined in this guide will explain how to become an influencer in 2023.
Here's how to become an influencer in 2023
1. Identify a niche
Every influencer needs a niche. This is the topic you create content around, and it's the basis for growing a following.
The best situation for most influencers is picking a niche that relates to a passion or experience. You have to create a lot of content, and loving what you're doing will help you enjoy your work.
You can start with a broad niche — cooking, parenting, beauty, fashion, entrepreneurship, design, etc. — and narrow it down from there. For example, if you're passionate about cooking, you can focus on healthy cooking, farm-to-table, fine dining, etc. Some successful influencers even have a combination of niches, like parenting and fashion.
There are a lot of ways to define yourself as you learn how to become an influencer. But because your niche is your brand's identity, follow your passions and stay true to your authentic self.
The social media landscape is ever-changing, and you have so many options in 2023. Most influencers are popular on only one or two social media platforms, so sticking to 1-2 channels is the best use of your time.
Learning where your target audience spends their time can help you decide which social media platform to start with. For reference:
- More Gen Zers now use TikTok over Instagram.
- YouTube and Facebook are the most used social media platforms among adults.
- 78% of adult women are on social media compared to 66% of men.
There are benefits to every platform, so you really need to know your niche and audience. If you're interested in creating long-form videos, YouTube is the place for you. TikTok is better for short, on-trend videos. More and more influencers are creating short videos (Reels) on Instagram, but it's still better for photos.
Optimizing your social media profiles is the process of setting up your profiles so you can collect information about your audience and earn money.
There are three main things you want to focus on:
- Switch to a business account: You can easily switch your personal profile to a business account, and business accounts are free. You can find the option to switch to a business account in your profile settings. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok, and more all have this option.
- Create an engaging bio: Your user bio is the first thing a follower sees when they click on your page, so write it in an engaging way — give people a reason to follow you! Bios are typically short, and it should be a quick introduction to who you are, your story, location, contact details, and what you offer your followers.
- Update your profile pic: Profile pictures give your followers a quick glimpse into your brand identity. Eventually, you might want to invest in professional head shots, but you can capture a nice, clear picture of your face with your phone's camera for now.
4. Get to know your audience
Setting your social media account up as a business account gives you access to built-in analytics tools that give you insights about your current audience. When you are learning how to become an influencer and growing your following, there might not be much data there.
In the beginning, you can do research by looking at others in your niche and paying attention to their audience. You won't be able to see analytics, but you can click on individual profiles to learn more about their audience.
Getting to know your audience is one of the first steps into building a loyal follower base. Understanding creates empathy and trust, and that's key in this business.
5. Start posting relevant and valuable content
Learning how to become an influencer ultimately means you're learning how to start a business and make money with a social media platform. And that's why you can't just post whatever the heck you want — you need to develop a content strategy.
Every piece of content you create should have a purpose or goal, and here are influencers' top goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Sales/lead generation
- Increased community engagement
- Grow your brand's audience
- Increase web traffic
None of your content should deviate from your core niche. That doesn't mean that you can't introduce new things, as long as you can connect them back to your niche.
For example, some of the most successful influencers weave personal, day-to-day content in with everything else because it helps them tell a story, add authenticity, and connect with their audience.
There are certain best practices and standards with each type of social media platform, like using hashtags, length of captions, SEO, and so on. Make sure you research these standards before you get started.
6. Keep up with current events
There are two types of content: evergreen and topical. Evergreen content is something that's always relevant and is better for bloggers, while topical content follows specific events.
Topical content is super popular for influencers, and going viral with a post can make your career. You can create content around social media trends, sporting events, the newest Netflix series, election season, and so on.
It's a lot of work to stay on top of everything that's happening in the world and on social media trends, but here are some strategies:
- Read social media news sites — like Mashable, Social Media Today, and Social Media Examiner — via RSS Feed Aggregator
- Subscribe to podcasts related to your niche
- Set Google News Alerts to monitor specific keywords and phrases
- Follow industry leaders on Twitter
7. Stay authentic and on-brand
Finding your voice and identity takes time as you learn how to become an influencer, but the most important thing is to stay true to yourself and your brand.
Working as an influencer is a lot of hard work, and it's much easier if you're being your authentic self. This is especially true as you're following trends and experimenting with different types of content.
Your audience is following you for a reason, and you don't want to let them down by throwing content at them from out of left field. For example, if you're an influencer in the travel niche, starting to talk about home decor would be really confusing to your audience. Do that too many times and they can easily click the "Unfollow" button.
8. Post regularly and consistently
The influencer life looks pretty chill from the outside. Take Instagram for example — you will see a lot of pictures of people staring longingly at the sunset, beautiful tablescapes, and well-designed homes.
But the reality is that influencers work hectic hours to keep up with strict posting schedules. Here's how often it's recommended you post for different social media platforms:
- Instagram: 1-3x per day
- TikTok: 1-4x per day
- Facebook: 1-2x per day
- Snapchat: 4-7x per day
- Twitter: 1-2x per day, and no more than 5-7x per day
- YouTube: 3x a week at least if you're trying to grow a following
The reason for the differences in how often you post is because each platform's algorithm. For example Twitter's algorithm is much more dynamic and requires that you post on a higher frequency. Working with your preferred platform's algorithm can increase visibility.
Following industry news will keep you updated on any algorithmic changes that may affect how frequently you should post.
9. Automate your posts
One of the best ways to keep up with that busy posting schedule is to create a lot of content in advance and schedule it.
Most social media platforms have features to schedule posts, but if you are scheduling posts in advance, be aware of what's happening in the greater world.
Think about how it would look if a major crisis happens and your post about staying in a luxury resort goes live while most influencers are either listening to what's happening or actively responding. You can quickly come off as out-of-touch. In those cases, simply hop on and disable the scheduling.
Also, research shows that there are better times of the day to post on different platforms, so keep that in mind if you're scheduling.
10. Engage with your audience
Social media influencers are like micro-celebrities, and your followers love when you shine some of your light on them. It can be as simple as clicking the "Like" button on a DM or responding to a comment.
This kind of interaction reminds your audience that you're acknowledging their presence, and it's also how you stay relatable.
Hosting giveaways, polls, and contests are other popular ways to engage with your audience, and they're great because they can also increase brand awareness.
11. Create a media kit
Now that you have a niche and are growing your following, it's time to get serious about becoming an influencer. One of the best ways to do that is to create a media kit.
A media kit is like a one-sheet that explains to potential partners who you are and key points about your audience. You can create one using Canva, and there are templates online that will help you get started.
Your media kit should include:
- Number of social media followers
- Audience demographics
- Website statistics
- Contact details
- Collaboration options
12. Collaborate with other influencers
Collaborating with others in your niche is a great way to reach a broader audience. You will already have similar audiences, but because there are so many people on social media, you probably don't have the exact same followers. And remember, there is plenty of space online — you're not fighting over followers.
There are so many ways to collaborate, like:
- Host a giveaway
- Tag each other in posts
- Do a social media takeover
- Go live with another influencer
As long as you have similar sized followings, you're both being paid here in exposure so its a win-win for everyone.
To get started, simply reach out to others in your niche and ask if they're interested. There is no harm in asking!
13. Reach out to brands
As you learn how to become an influencer and really grow your following, you'll have brands reaching out to you, but you may need to be doing the outreach in the beginning. You're looking for brands who will work with you on sponsored posts and affiliate deals.
Your media kit is key here, and you can make anywhere from $100 to a few thousand dollars for each deal, even in the beginning. This study by Influencer Marketing Hub will give you an idea of how much you can make by platform and following size.
Here are some tips for reaching out to brands for successful partnerships:
- Do your research: Find brands that have worked with similar influencers in terms of niche and audience size. You can even make a list of dream collabs, and then research email contacts by looking on LinkedIn or doing a Google search.
- Write a compelling email: You've got to sell yourself and clearly explain why this brand should take a chance on you. It should be compelling but short.
- Join an affiliate network: Affiliate networks are a service that connects content creators with brands. Some popular networks are CJ Affiliate, Skim Links, and AWIN.
It's also important to let brands know that you're open to working with them by writing in your bio that you're an influencer and open to collaborations. Provide your contact details so they can easily get in touch with you.
The final word on how to become an influencer
Becoming an influencer can be a lot of fun, and it's flexible enough to be side hustle that you scale at your own pace. However, it's a lot of work, and you need to take it seriously if you want to be successful.
It's highly unlikely that you'll become an overnight success, but if you follow the tips outlined in this post, you will start to see all of your efforts pay off.
The biggest influencers have millions of followers, but more and more brands are beginning to work with micro-influencers which are defined as having anywhere from 10,000-50,000 followers. What brands love about partnering with micro-influencers is that their followers are highly-engaged and loyal.
Influencers are paid to promote different brands and services. Generally this is through creating content for sponsored posts or to sell products using affiliate codes or links.
It all starts with identifying a niche and setting up a social media profile. From there you need to consistently deliver valuable content, engage with your audience, and make yourself available to brands.
Influencers are paid based on the size of their audience, platform, and audience engagement levels. Pay can range from $50 for sponsored post to over $1 million.