Influencer marketing is a growing phenomenon. So much so that it’s projected to become a $10 million industry by 2020. That’s why for many brands, learning how to become an influencer has become a huge priority.
You may want to ask ‘Why is influencer marketing so important?’
First of all, you’re not the first person to ask this and I’m sure you won’t be the last. Secondly, to answer in simple terms, it’s important because it will help you grow your business.
If being an influencer in your industry sounds like a very appealing prospect for you then I’d encourage you to read on to find out how you can position you and your brand in a way that makes you become one.
What actually is an influencer?
Let’s begin with this. The Cambridge Dictionary defines an influencer as “a person or group who has the ability to influence the behaviour or opinions of others”.
For business, this means that influencers have the power to influence purchasing decisions of the intended target audience, adding credibility to the brand they manage or work with.
When I talk about influencers, I’m not thinking about the latest contestant to leave Love Island who is selling diet pills on Instagram, I’m thinking of established entrepreneurs who are essentially ‘A list’ celebrities in their industry because they’re experts at what they do i.e. Steve Jobs.
These are people who are the face (and often the brain) behind brands. Think about it … when I say Vogue, you can’t help but think of Anna Wintour, Marvel is very much about Stan Lee and Richard Branson springs to mind when someone mentions Virgin. These three individuals are both successful in business and key influencers in their respective industries.
Are you thinking of becoming the next Anna Wintour for your industry? If so then you need to become an influencer and here’s how to do it.
#1: Identify your area of expertise
What is it you actually want to become known for? You need to nail this before you even begin trying to position yourself in the marketplace. You need to be very clear on:
- Who you are
- What you stand for / your values
- Who you’re targeting
- What you want to actually be an influencer on i.e. what you want to be known for
Think about something that really inspires you, that you’re passionate about and really focus on that. I’m not necessarily saying that you need to refocus your entire business on this particular passion and niche down, but you do need to focus on what you want to become known for and use that to promote your business moving forward.
#2: Pinpoint your audience
This is so important if you want to become an influencer (or be successful in business in general). You need to get an in depth understand of your audiences:
- Who they are
- What they like
- What they dislike
- The types of content they digest
- The events they like to attend
- Their opinions on key topics and trends in your industry
Most importantly, you need to understand their pain points – what frustrates them, challenges they face that your products or services can help them overcome etc – this will help you find opportunities to market your brand and position yourself in a way that builds your credibility.
#3: Find your unique voice
Do you ever create content and feel like it doesn’t quite sound like you? We’ve all been there. It takes time and a lot of effort to share a brand with the world that sounds unique to you. The good news is we’ve all been there and you will eventually get to a place where people say things like “I read your blog in your voice because it sounds just like something you’d say in person.” This is THE biggest compliment because it means that your audience is connecting with you in a different way.
So what does your voice sound like? As a solopreneur it should like you – your personality, your sense of humour, your tone, your phrases. It needs to reflect you and who you are and it needs to come across on all your channels, from video and social media through to your written word.
#4: Pick the right online channels
Speaking of channels, if you want to build influence then you need to have a REALLY REALLY good online presence. The issue is with this that there are so many options available for online promotion of brands that sometimes it’s easy to get carried away trying to build a presence on every single channel out there and that’s not good.
If there’s one thing I’d like you to takeaway from this blog, it’s this … you don’t need to be active on every channel going. In fact, you shouldn’t be if you want to become an influence because it will dilute your brand.
My advice to you is this. Pick a social media channel and a method of content creation i.e. blogging, vlogging, podcasting etc and conquer it. When I say conquer it, I mean pick a platform / type of content to create and:
- Post on your chosen channel on a daily basis
- Utilise all of the features on your channel
- Create and publish your content on at least a weekly basis
- Follow the right people online
- Get involved in conversations
- Listen to what your audiences have to say
The most important thing here is picking the channel that’s right for your audiences – if they’re on Instagram then you should be, if they’re on Pinterest then that’s where you should focus your social efforts. It’s the same thing for content – if they’re avid readers then writing blogs are your best bet but if they prefer to listen on the go then you need to launch a podcast.
If in doubt about this – ask your existing audience what they want you to create!
#5: Prioritise content creation
Once you’ve figured out the type of content you need to start creating, it’s time to work on an epic content strategy so you can start putting you and your brand out there.
This means that content is a HUGE priority for you and your business moving forward so it needs to become a non-negotiable in your weekly routine. It is for me – that’s why I dedicate a day a week to it.
The way you work content creation into your schedule is up to you, but when you prioritise it, you need to remember to do three things in every piece of content you create – make sure it’s high quality, offer value and be consistent in pressing the publish button.
#6: Share your opinions
Influencers have opinions, they like to share it and that’s not a bad thing. Why? Because it helps to create a connection with your audience and build credibility of your brand.
It sets you apart from the competition, helps you share your voice and helps you earn respect on your road to becoming an influencer – from peers and fans alike. That being said, It may also cause some controversy at times, depending on your industry and your views, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!!
Don’t be afraid to share your views and opinions – after all, it showcases you as the expert you are.
#7: Write and release a book
If you follow any influencers in your industry, I’m sure you’ll have seen that they’re either in the process of writing a book or have published one.
Positioning yourself as an author is a really powerful way to build credibility and influence in your industry. Not only that, but it opens the doors to new business and promotional opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise exist for you.
If you want to become an influencer then writing a book on what you want to become known for should be part of your strategy.
Networking – both online and offline – will help you build your audience, authority and open up opportunities for you.
Make a list of key events that are relevant to your target audiences and general marketplace and get them in your diary. You won’t regret it, I promise!
I’m very much a ‘collaboration over competition’ kind of woman (after all there’s a place out there for everyone) and this is something I think is important as an influencer. After all, it’s good to be seen to play well with others isn’t it?
So think about this … Who is well-known in your industry? Who does your target audience rave about? These are the people you need to leverage to build your own influence.
Why? Because, to put it bluntly, you’ll build influence by association.
My advice to you is to connect and converse with the influencers in your industry – offer them the chance to collaborate with you, get seen on their channels, share them on your channels and seek out opportunities to make guest appearances in the right places.
This will hugely help you build influence.
My final thoughts …
Becoming an influencer in your industry takes an awful lot of time, effort, persistence and expertise. It’s not something that is going to happen overnight and for some, if the proposition they’re offering isn’t right, it might not happen at all.
If this is something you want to commit to then you need to have a clearly defined strategy, no distractions and ability to see it through, because of course becoming an influencer is just the beginning … you need to maintain that position and that’s another story altogether.
Do you want to learn how to build influence and become to go-to expert in your industry? Check out my membership site Headliners: The PR & Digital Marketing Academy to learn more.
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