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5 Steps to Becoming a Successful Influencer

Ryan MacGrath
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There is no perfect way to become an influencer, no magic formula that’s going to get you tens of thousands of followers overnight. Sure, it happens to some people, but just like winning the lottery or becoming the next hottest movie star, a lot of it is simply up to chance. However, there are some basic principles that you can use to empower yourself and get the ball rolling when it comes to creating and presenting your content. The clearer your messages, the stronger your content, the better the tools you use, and the more consistent you are in your approach all play a major role in upping your influencer game. Let’s play, shall we?

Step One: Get started!

You can fantasize about being an awesome influencer for weeks and months and years, but if you don’t actually take action, it’s just never going to happen. It’s easy to get caught up in a mental loop of self-doubt and procrastination. So, your first goal is to put all of that in a little box in your brain and forget about it, pick up your phone, turn on the camera and get going. Don’t worry about being perfect! That’s only stopping you from developing and growing your ideas. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your influencer status be top-notch right off the bat. Look at it as something you have to build, and not as something that suddenly happens. 

Step Two: Find your niche

You’ve got your phone set up in front of you and now it’s time to snap that photo or take that video. What are you going to say? What’s the caption on your post? What are you trying to communicate? Asking these questions is part of defining what you’re going to post and how you want to shape your influence. Are you into talking about the food you make and the favorite ingredients you use in your recipes? Are you discussing your beauty tips because you love makeup and everyone is always commenting on how great you look? Maybe you have an ear for new music and want to share your album reviews? Or perhaps you’re super into mid-century modern interior design? Whatever it is, it’s important to be specific and convincing. If you have no experience in the subject, you’re probably not going to convince thousands of people to follow you. Just do you! Think about what makes you different from the rest of the crowd, what makes you stand out in a sea of influencers. We all have our own unique stories and points of view, and now is the time for you to really consider that originality as an asset; use it to your advantage! When you find your niche, you’ll be able to create loads of cool content because your interest level is already there to serve it. 

Step Three: Choose your tools

When you’re first starting out, you’ll want to keep it simple. Your phone/camera and your message might be enough to launch your influencer career. But if you’re keen on making a go of this and if you have a specific niche in mind, then you’ll probably want to make a small investment in some equipment. If you’re focusing on showcasing your culinary skills, for example, you may want to pick up a set of LED softbox lights. They’ll come in handy for any indoor photography or video shoots. If you’re into doing makeup tutorials, then you can go for a ring light to illuminate your face. These are relatively inexpensive options that can make a big difference in the quality of your content. Couple them with a proper camera and a decent microphone, and you’re off to the races! 

Besides physical tools, you should also check out your options for photo and video editing apps and online tools that are designed to boost your efforts. For editing, both InShot and Snapseed are super handy. They can be used for free (minus the time you’ll spend watching a few ads) and offer surprisingly powerful editing suites. And for those of you shooting for Instagram fame (or fame on any platform, really), you should be using your Onescreener site as your link in bio. It’s a customizable content hub where you can use your own domain name as your link. If you’re aiming to look professional, your Onescreener should be the site to which you’re directing your traffic to promos, links, and additional content. 

Step Four: Add value to your posts

Big celebrities and established influencers can often make a post, let’s say a pic of them blowing a kiss into the camera, and simply throw in an emoji as the caption. People know them already, they have a context for who that person is, what they stand for and where they might be at that time. A post like that by one of these people might garner thousands or even millions of likes (hello, Kim Kardashian). However, if we come back down to reality, those sorts of numbers just don’t happen for 99% of us. That’s why it’s important to add some value to your content, to make your posts mean something in a very saturated market. If you’re posting about fashion, tell your followers why you love a certain piece of clothing, where it’s from, how they can wear it, how it makes you feel, or how it inspires you. Give information to your followers that lets them know you’re thinking about their reactions and that you care about their opinions. Another way of expressing value is to offer something to your audience. Maybe you have a promo code for a cool shop or service or for a sweater you wore in your last post. When you give something to people, be it useful information or an opportunity to take action (promo code!), then you’re inviting them into your conversation. They are more likely to join your community for the long haul and be loyal to your influencer brand.

Step Five: Be open, honest and vulnerable

This is the hard part. We often have a tendency to filter our emotions, our thoughts and ideas when it comes to expressing them to others. And it’s a pretty natural thing to be at least somewhat guarded. However, when your goal is to create a personal brand, you’ve got to be just that, personal. Show the different sides of yourself, the happy points, the bad days, the angry ones and the sad ones. The more human you are in your social media, the more likely you are to attract people to you, and in turn to the messages and products that you’re pushing. While there’s no need to divulge your most private moments, being vulnerable within reason will let people know that they can converse with you, and take part in the moments that you’re creating or sharing. Showing that you’re passionate about a certain cause or brand will get people’s attention, and may also lead to partnerships and collaborations with companies, organizations or other influencers. 

There are so many subjective factors that go into becoming an influencer, and it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint exactly why some people achieve it and some don’t. But keeping these five steps in your back pocket when you’re getting started will only help you to build a strong foundation for the work ahead. Another key factor to remember is consistency. Try to keep to a posting schedule, perhaps two posts per week for starts, and find that aesthetic and language that works for you. Use the right tools, connect with the right people, be consistent, be open and have fun with it! You’re bound to gain some influence. 

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