You’ve probably heard this phrase thrown around a lot on social media. Contrary to what you might imagine, being an influencer doesn’t mean you need to have the business acumen of Sir Richard Branson, nor the cult status of Mark Zuckerberg.
No, being an influencer on social media is something that just about anyone can do, provided you know the first steps to take …
What is a social influencer?
A social influencer is someone who has a substantial following and who’s opinion directly (or indirectly) resonates with many others. Through the power of Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, social influencers are able to communicate with a large audience, on such a level that can instigate a choice or change.
This choice could be something as simple as buying a specific product, or using a certain catchphrase. Or it can be more personal – such as sharing core values and beliefs, or avidly following their blogs.
It’s important to understand that there are two types of social influence. The first comes in the form of celebrity – when people choose to buy things or eat at certain places, just because their idols do. This kind of influence is the most obvious.
The second type of influence comes from people who don’t necessarily have celebrity status, but are widely regarded amongst large online communities as an expert in their field. Their blog posts have a large readership, and their opinions carry a level of credibility amongst many.
As a business tool this kind of influence is huge, as it means you can leverage this knowledge and reputation into the ultimate goal: selling a product or service.
Social influencers are able to communicate with a large audience, on such a level that can instigate a choice or change.
How do you measure your influence?
A person or brand’s influence on social media can be determined by a number of factors. These include:
- How many followers they have.
- How many likes and comments their content receives.
- How many shares and retweets they get.
There are a number of tools out there to measure these metrics, but one of the most credible and reliable is Klout. Klout is able to monitor your social media activity across multiple platforms in order to generate a ‘Klout Score’. This is a score out of 100 and (as you might expect) the higher the score, the greater your influence is.
We go into more detail about Klout in our other article, 5 things to know about recruitment social media, so feel free to check that out to understand how Klout can be used to track your performance online.
Examples of effective social influencers
David Beckham and Elon Musk. Two very different kinds of influencers. While you’re more likely to buy a t-shirt or aftershave marketed by David Beckham, you’d be less so inclined to buy a t-shirt that the Tesla CEO wore.
Elon Musk has a Klout score of 87.
Well first of all it’s no slight to Elon’s fashion sense. It all comes down to a little word called association. Influencers are very good at becoming associated with their niche. So while you wouldn’t buy a bottle of ‘Musk by Elon Musk’ aftershave, you probably would buy a Tesla Model S electric car – because this is technology he’s renowned for.
If you’re widely renowned for specialising in a certain niche, then you’re already on your way to becoming an influencer.
Both of these influencers are great at what they do, because they constantly hammer home what their niche is – and they do so across multiple, relevant publications and platforms.
Of course, these two specific examples were both influential people long before the explosion of social media.
The task for businesses looking to become influencers is more difficult as, without the distinct advantage of fame or an existing fan base, you’re fighting it out with a whole host of competitors looking to do the same thing.
The question is then: how can you reach the front of the flock and become a thought leader?
So how can I become
a social media influencer?
Key steps to becoming an influencer on social media
Master a topic within your niche
By becoming a master of any given topic, you’re going to generate an audience. And by doing this you’ll create an inherent awareness of your brand, product or service.
Sounds useful right?
Well there are a few simple things you can do to stay ahead of the curve and really boost your knowledge of any subject …
- Sign up for Google alerts or utilise Social Mention
Signing up for Google alerts will help you to stay abreast of all the latest news within your field. You can specify where you want the alerts to come from, whether it’s a specific person or publication. If they share … you’re made aware.
Social Mention is a website that allows you to search for specific topics across social media, and it will show you how much this topic is talked about, what hashtags are used for it, and who the top sources are.
- Subscribe to relevant blogs
Subscribing to relevant blogs and following key influencers in your area is essential if you want to keep up with the competition. Not only that, it means that you’ll stand more of a chance to collaborate with other influencers further down the line – which will only serve to enhance your reputation.
Influencers are very good at becoming associated with their niche.
Produce your own unique content
This is one of the most important factors of becoming an influencer online. It is crucial to create original content if you want others to take note and listen. While sharing other people’s (quality) articles is a good thing, if that’s all you do then you’re only going to be known as a regurgitator.
Nobody wants to be known as a regurgitator.
Nobody wants to be known as a regurgitator.
Publishing your own content is a key part of becoming an influencer on social media.
Hopefully after reading this you’re a little wiser as to how to start building your reputation as an influencer on social media. Understanding how influencers operate is key, so make sure you follow as many as possible and learn from them.
We want to hear from you! Whether you’re winning at social or looking to improve, comment below with your thoughts and questions on becoming a social media influencer!