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What makes someone an “influencer” in the social media and online marketing space? It’s all about growing a loyal following and building trust with your followers.
If you’re eager to achieve influencer status, it’s important to note that there’s more to digital influencer marketing than just posting a few Instagram stories now and then. It requires a commitment to creating engaging, valuable content, both on social media and on your blog.
The good news is you don’t need celebrity status to be an influencer. Below, we’ll walk through the basics of growing a following and using influencer status to drive traffic to your site.
The answer depends on who you ask. In general, an influencer is anyone with the power to influence people’s purchasing decisions, according to Business Dictionary.
These days, you don’t have to be a Kardashian to be an online influencer. Aside from celebrities, influencers also include industry experts, bloggers, and “micro influencers,” according to Influencer Marketing Hub. That means if you run a blog or business, using your expertise to position yourself as an influencer can help you build trust in your brand.
Most influencers have a well-defined niche. Digital marketing expert Neil Patel is an influencer who has generated a massive following by sharing helpful marketing tips and tricks that keep his audience coming back for more. In the home renovation space, DIY expert Jenni Radosevich has amassed a large following on her blog and social media channels by posting DIY projects and renovation tips alongside colorful, engaging photos and copy.
Successful influencers don’t get there overnight. You need an effective strategy to begin building your profile.
First, you need to find your niche — the more specific, the better. Hubspot suggests spending some time defining a persona for your target audience: think about your audience’s wants, needs, and goals, and consider how you can help them solve their problems.
Taking an audience-first approach will also guide your content. The most successful influencers create content that’s helpful and inspiring to their audience.
As you begin creating and sharing content, engage often with your followers. Ask your blog and social media followers what they like, what they don’t like, and what they want to see more often — after all, an engaged audience is an influencer’s bread and butter.
Blogging is one of the best ways to gain followers, according to Hubspot. Even though social networks are an important tool for influencers, your blog is a hub for content that you own and control, unlike content you share through third-party social media sites.
If you don’t already have a blog, you can create a fully customizable blog on WordPress.com in just a few steps. Once your blog is up and running and you’re posting content, you can amplify your content’s reach by using social sharing buttons, ramping up your SEO efforts, and using tools like Google AdWords to drive traffic to your blog and increase your following.
You’re starting to generate an impressive following — now what?
You might start receiving offers from brands that are eager to partner with you and reach your audience. While this is exciting, don’t lose sight of that persona you created for your target audience.
You shouldn’t jump on every opportunity that comes along, especially if some opportunities don’t align with your audience’s interests. If you’re a travel influencer, for example, it doesn’t make sense to partner up with a toothpaste brand. Any partnerships or sponsorships you accept need to add value for your target audience — and your audience can tell the difference between content that’s authentic and content that’s uninspired.
Digital influencer marketing is a powerful tool, and it comes with a responsibility to remain honest and transparent with your audience. Otherwise, you risk damaging your credibility and losing followers. Keep it clear, engaging, and focused on your audience, and you’ll find success in your influencer status.