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How To Become an Influencer

By Catherine Hodder, Esq. | Last updated on

Is fashion your passion? Do you love posting about your pet, beauty products, or even your favorite restaurants? If so, you can turn your hobby into a profitable business by becoming an influencer. Influencer marketing has taken social media by storm. It is a 21.1 billion dollar industry that has more than doubled since 2019.

What Is an Influencer?

According to Indeed, “a social media influencer is an individual who has gained popularity and trust among a growing audience of online followers by becoming an early adopter, innovator or niche expert in a specific area of interest." And being an influencer can be profitable. Companies know that hiring influencers get their products in front of their desired audience. The Morning Consult Influencer Report found “72% of Gen Z and Millennials follow influencers."

Types of Influencers

Top celebrity Instagram influencers such as Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and reality show celebrity Kylie Jenner have hundreds of millions of followers. But they are the exception, not the norm.

There are different levels of influencers depending on the number of followers you have:

  • Nano-Influencers –1,000 to 10,000 followers
  • Micro-Influencers – 10,001 to 50,000 followers
  • Mid-Tier Influencers – 50,001 to 500,000 followers
  • Macro-Influencers – 500,001 to 1 million followers
  • Mega-Influencers – Over 1 million followers

But even if you are a nano-influencer, you can make a big impact, especially if you have a specific talent or expertise in a niche area and engage your followers.

Content can range from any topic but generally fall into one of these 15 categories:

  • Beauty
  • Crafting
  • Décor
  • Entertainment
  • Fashion
  • Finance
  • Food
  • Gaming
  • Health & Fitness
  • Life Coaching
  • Lifestyle & Luxury
  • Parenting
  • Pets
  • Travel
  • Technology

But you don't have to limit yourself to one of those categories. It may be better to focus on one micro-niche and become an expert in that.

9 Steps to Become an Influencer

Whether you are a blogger, host a podcast, or make videos, there are several steps to take to launch your social media presence.

Discover Your Passion

What topic drives you? What could you talk about for hours and not get tired? Genuine content creation happens when someone is excited about a topic and wants to share their knowledge. Avoid jumping on the latest trend or fad but create content your audience cares about.

Develop and Protect Your Personal Brand

What are you about? Mr. Beast creates expensive stunts and viral giveaways. Makeup artist Huda Kattan turned her makeup tutorials into a beauty empire. What makes you unique?

While cultivating your brand, let your personality show. The number one rule about influencing is to be authentic. Your followers will be more engaged if they sense you are genuine.

And craft your social media profile to keep your brand consistent among the various platforms. Use a professional profile picture, relevant keywords, or hashtags in your bio to drive traffic to your social media accounts.

Consider trademarking your social media handle by filing an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This can help to prevent others from using it without your permission and gives you intellectual property rights to claim trademark infringement against unauthorized users.

Identify Your Audience

Any successful business owner knows their customer. An influencer must understand the demographics of their target audience. How old are they? Where do they live? What are their interests? What type of content engages them? And how do you reach them? What is their preferred social media account? For example, younger people may prefer TikTok and Instagram Reels over Facebook and Twitter. Determine who is your audience and how you speak to them.

Develop and Protect Your Content

First, decide what social media platforms you are going to use. It is better to focus on a few and deliver more quality content than spread yourself too thin. Choose the social media account that aligns with your content. For example, if you promote something creative, you may want to post to your Instagram account because it is a more visual social network than Twitter.

Take advantage of content creation tools to make high-quality posts. You can use Canva templates to enhance your Instagram posts or to help create and edit videos. Then create a calendar for your social media posts for when you will post content. Consistently posting content builds your audience.

Another rule about content marketing is to post relevant content that aligns with your brand. If you only review hamburger restaurants, your followers may not be interested in your review about fitness equipment. However, you may be able to branch out to reviews about chicken sandwiches.

Be sure to protect any original content you create, like photos, videos, and written statements under copyright law. You can protect your rights and register ownership of your original work with the United States Copyright Office.

Invest in Equipment

If you are going to spend a lot of time creating valuable content, then you need the right tools and equipment. Determine what equipment you need to produce the content you want. Depending on where you are posting, you may need the following:

  • Digital Camera
  • Smartphone
  • Laptop
  • Proper lighting accessories
  • Selfie stick
  • Tripod
  • Green screen
  • Microphone
  • Noise cancelling headphones

If you invest in equipment or use part of your house as your studio, you may be able to write off that expense as a business deduction.

Create Collaborations and Partnerships

A great way to boost your follower base is by reaching out to other influencers. They may reach a different audience segment and welcome the opportunity to attract yours. For example, if you have a podcast or blog, you may ask them to be a guest on your podcast or post a guest blog on your site. Or you can create brand deals with other companies. For example, if you like to review and talk about electric bikes, you may reach out to e-bike manufacturers, dealers, or people who make parts or accessories for e-bikes. They may want to pay you to talk about their products.

Understand SEO, Analytics, and Metrics

Successful influencers understand how the internet works and uses search engine optimization (SEO) to drive organic traffic to their social media channels through keywords and hashtags. They use analytics and metrics to know their follower count and engagement rates. This is important data to show prospective brand sponsors the effectiveness of your outreach.

Seek Out Sponsors and Opportunities

What is your marketing strategy? How can you make money? You may become a brand ambassador for a product. You could review items on Amazon and make money as an affiliate marketer. If you have a podcast or website, you could sell advertising on your site. Or become an expert on something and sell related products on your website.

Organize Your Business

Whether you are a full-time content creator or just using social media marketing as a side hustle, it may benefit you to create an LLC for your venture. A limited liability company protects your personal assets from lawsuits such as a defamation claim or a claim from someone injured by a product you promote. It also allows you to include any generated income on your personal income tax return, avoiding double taxation. And you can deduct equipment and expenses from your influencer marketing campaigns as a business expense. Furthermore, operating as a business lends credibility to your sponsors.

And here is a final tip: Have a thick skin. While you may have positive feedback from followers and a profitable return from brand sponsors, prepare to deal with the negative side of social media. Often you may experience insults or arguments from attention-seeking “trolls." The best way to handle them is to ignore them because they thrive on attention.

How Influential Are Social Media Influencers? (Law and Daily Life)

Does a Social Media Influencer Need to Form an LLC? (Law and Daily Life)

Business Formation Made Simple (FindLaw Legal Forms and Services)

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