11 Ways Literally Anyone Can Become A Social Media Influencer

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social media influencers

Celebrities like Cardi B, Lil Nas X, and Shawn Mendes all started their careers by gaining attention as social media influencers — on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and the now-defunct Vine.

This has led many people to want to become famous in their own right. And what better way to do that than becoming a social media influencer?

If you're unfamiliar with influencers, they are different from content creators. While an influencer is someone who has the ability to push an idea, agenda, or content onto others, they don't often create content. A content creator, on the other hand, simply makes types of content.

For example, an influencer could post content that was created by a content creator to encourage people to follow that creator.

But if you want to become an influencer on Instagram, TikTok, or other social media platforms, there are some specific steps you can take.

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Millions of people engage in consuming content on social media every day, with businesses naturally relying on these online spaces more and more heavily as their primary means for reaching new audiences and consumers.

In 2018, Vox reported that "72 percent of major brands say they are dedicating a sizable portion of their marketing budgets to influencers." This means there is a huge demand for people with large online followings who are willing and able to advertise for these companies to their followers.

With the right tools and tips, you can turn online attention into tons of money.

If you're considering a career as a social media influencer, here are 11 important steps you can take to increase your chances of getting paid to post content online.

How to Become a Social Media Influencer

1. Find your niche.

Before you start, it is important to ask yourself what industry you are most interested in. Find something that you are passionate about and enjoy doing in your free time.

Whether it's makeup, fashion, cooking, or something else, this step will help you identify the audience you're trying to reach. From there, you can begin building your brand.

2. Start a YouTube channel.

Now that you know your niche, you'll need to reach your target audience. Out of all the social platforms, YouTube is considered by many to be the best for establishing an online presence and building your reach.

Many top influencers — like Jackie Aina, Nikita Dragun, and Jaclyn Hill — all started their careers by engaging audiences on YouTube. YouTube is also great for giving your audience an idea of who you are and measuring how much they enjoy your content.

3. Create a content calendar.

One important part of becoming an influencer is developing a content strategy. Where will you post? How often will you upload? What will you upload and why?

Know the answer to these questions before you even start posting anything. You will want to be consistent with your followers so they can depend on you.

4. Draw the attention of your target audience (in a positive way).

Now for the fun part! This is your chance to get creative.

Create interesting videos for your audience that are helpful and attention-grabbing. Try thinking outside of the box to come up with an original idea that others aren't already covering.

For example, "Eating at the Worst Reviewed Restaurant," "Blindfolded Makeup Challenge," and "Boyfriend Rates My Outfits" were all creative ideas that YouTubers came up with to entertain their audience without involving clickbait.

Creative ideas that other people can relate to are the most likely to earn you subscribers, comments, and shares. Make sure to engage with viewers by responding to their comments and try asking what videos they would like to see next.

5. Use your YouTube channel as a starting point to gain followers on other social media networks.

Make sure to mention your social media handles in your videos, making it easier for newly acquired fans to find you on other popular platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

Once your traffic is spread out and you've gained a significant multi-platform following, you'll be able to start marketing yourself to potential advertisers.

6. Network with other influencers and content creators.

Work with other influencers and content creators to increase your visibility online. Don't be afraid to reach out to people locally and over social media.

Not only will you be able to learn from their failures and successes, but being associated with influencers who have larger followings than you do can help you gain your own followers and subscribers more quickly. Partner with them to come up with creative ideas that might being more traffic to both of your channels.

7. Engage your audience regularly with a steady flow of original content.

Once you have traffic on all of your social media platforms, it's important to keep your audience engaged. You'll need to keep coming up with original, entertaining ideas that work on all platforms on a regular basis in order to keep your audience tuned in.

8. Begin reaching out to brands to let them know about your platform.

Many online businesses nowadays are looking for people with a strong online presence to advertise for them.

Brand sponsorship and advertising play a huge role in social media influencing. Reach out to brands via email or in-person to let them know you are interested in working with them.

Most companies pay per post and what you can expect to be offered will vary depending on factors such as your follower count, engagement rate, and which platforms you're most active on.

9. Keep a positive online presence.

Now for the most important step. Seriously. If there's anything in these steps you need to take with you, let it be this.

Make sure that you maintain an authentically positive image at all times. It's important that your followers trust you and see you as a positive public figure.

In recent years, we've seen increasing numbers of influencers caught up in scandals, making offensive statements or worse. It may seem like water under the bridge once the stories blow over, but many influencers have lost huge deals and opportunities due to their resulting negative public images.

Remember, as the face of many businesses, your brand is their brand.

10. Launch your own website.

Creating your own website is an important way to gain credibility and bring traffic to your brand. Use your site to pin blog posts to tell your story and attract both businesses and consumers.

A website will give you a professional look as an established influencer as companies begin researching you before contacting you directly. If you make it big enough, you can even sell merchandise to loyal fans and subscribers.

11. Consider contacting a management agency to represent you.

Once you have a large enough following, you might want to consider contacting a reputable influencer management agency. There, they can help you negotiate deals with brands, get in touch with other businesses, and even set you up with a PR team.

This step will give you more time to focus on making industry connections. By taking the right steps, you could even land a partnership with a huge company someday.

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How often should you post on each platform if you want to become a social media influencer?

Guidelines vary by sources and per platform, but Louise Myers of Visual Social Media offers the following suggestions:

Facebook: One post per day is optimal (although no more than two times per day max), with a minimum of three posts per week suggested.

Twitter: Between 3-30 tweets per day (15-23 optimal), spread throughout the day.

Pinterest: Three pins per day minimum, but no more than 30 pins per day maximum (10-15 optimal).

Instagram: One post per week minimum, three per day maximum (1-2 per day optimal).

YouTube: Weekly.

TikTok: Myers doesn't address TikTok, but other experts generally recommend three posts per day.

Remember, you're competing with millions of people all over the world, so try not to take hiatuses or repeat content you've done before.

How much money do social media influencers make?

Estimated numbers vary according to sources, but the generally accepted industry rule is that advertisers typically pay $100 per 10K followers.

According to Shopify:

  • Nano-influencers (1000-10,000 followers): $10-$100 per post
  • Micro-influencers (10,000-50,000 followers): $100-$500 per post
  • Mid-tier influencers (50,000-500,000 followers): $500-$5,000 per post
  • Macro influencers (500,000-1,000,000 followers): $5000-$10,000 per post
  • Mega influencers (1,000,000+ followers): $10,000+ per post
  • Celebrity influencers: potential earnings of "way, way more"

Currently, Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-paid social media influencer coming in at about $2.4 million per sponsored post. Then comes Kylie Jenner at $1.8 million per sponsored post, and Selena Gomez at $1.7 million per sponsored post.

What qualifications do I need to be an influencer?

There are no qualifications needed to be an influencer. You don't need a diploma, degree, 5 years of experience, or any of that.

Apparently, the only real "qualification" is having a relatable and likable personality online and a personal brand. All you need is a social media channel or account and many, many followers to be an influencer.

Is it hard to become an influencer?

Yes, it's hard to become an influencer. This is because of how dense of a community it is and how much competition there is.

At a normal job opening, you may have to compete with a few areas around that job's location, but as an influencer you have to compete with the entire world that has social media accounts.

Of course, this shouldn't stop you if becoming a successful influencer is what you are passionate about. Go for it, just be prepared to fight for it.

How many followers do you need to be an influencer?

The most common rule is that you need at least 1,000 followers to be considered an influencer.

But there are different types of influencers:

  • 1,000-10,000 followers = Nano-influencer
  • 10,000–50,000 followers = Micro-influencer
  • 50,000–500,000 followers = Mid-tier influencer
  • 500,000–1,000,000 followers = Macro-influencer
  • 1,000,000+ followers = Mega-influencer

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Maatie Kalokoh is a writer and former contributor to YourTango. She covers astrology, numerology, pop culture and relationships.