Are you interested in learning about how to become an influencer?
In this post, we offer a step-by-step process you can follow to become an influencer.
We even include a real-world example for a few steps.
How to become an influencer
To become an influencer, you need to follow a few key steps that include deciding which topic you want to follow and which social media platform you want to tackle first.
Here are the steps we’ll be covering on how to become an influencer:
- Find your niche.
- Research your audience.
- Choose a social media platform to focus on.
- Get to know your chosen social media platform.
- Start posting content.
- Establish a social media marketing strategy.
- Choose a few revenue streams.
- Set yourself up for brand deals.
Let’s start at the top.
1. Find your niche
Some influencers don’t have a niche, especially in the age of TikTok.
They publish all sorts of entertaining content to TikTok, then either rack up their views and follower count over time or go viral one day from a single video.
You could certainly try this approach to see how it works for you, especially if you’re not sure what kind of content creator you want to be but still want to make videos.
However, we highly recommend picking a niche and creating content for that niche from the get-go.
It’ll give you a better chance at growing an audience early on, especially if you choose TikTok or YouTube as your first platforms as they’re known for being very niche-specific.
An example of a TikToker who found their niche
This is Shane Alden (@thewilddryad on TikTok).
He’s a forager who uses TikTok as a way to educate people on how to forage for edible plants and fungi in the wild, which he does by posting valuable content to the platform.
His first TikTok was published on May 30, 2023, and by mid-August of the same year, he already had over 108,000 followers and more than 910,000 likes on the platform.
He chose a niche from the start and has truly carved out his own path within it.
Disclaimer: Blogging Wizard has no affiliation with Shane Alden. We just think his TikTok account makes a wonderful example of a new creator who’s doing everything right.
How to find your niche
First, consider what you know or what you’re interested in.
If you create content for a niche you know nothing about, you’re always going to spend the majority of your time researching it and less on actually creating content.
The only exception to this is if you base your content around you learning something.
If you choose a niche you’re not that interested in only because you feel it’ll bring you the highest number of views or revenue, you’re only going to set yourself up for burnout in the long run.
Becoming a successful influencer requires you to create a lot of content, so it’s best to choose something you’re passionate about.
2. Research your audience
Once you choose a niche, you need to know more about that niche.
Specifically, you need to know which platforms they hang out at.
Enter keywords related to your niche in the search fields of platforms like TikTok and YouTube and maybe even podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Only look at podcast platforms if you’re interested in creating audio content.
Open up your favorite way to take notes (app, pen and paper, napkin, etc.), and make note of the interest your target audience seems to have in each platform.
This could be the volume of content you see for each platform, the number of creators there seems to be for your niche, how many views content receives and how many followers each creator has.
This will give you a good indicator of how well your chosen niche performs on each platform, and it may even let you see the failures of what are soon to be your competitors.
That is, if a particular niche doesn’t seem to perform well on a platform, it could simply be due to the lack of high-quality content from creators who are already on the platform.
3. Choose a social media platform to focus on
We highly recommend choosing a single social media platform to focus on while you’re just starting out.
It’ll give you the opportunity to put all of your efforts into one form of content creation, which will let you create high-quality content consistently.
This, in turn, will make it easier for you to attract an audience early on.
Let’s start with your research.
By now, you should know which platforms your niche performs the best on and which platforms don’t get much traffic.
You should also be aware of the creators who are on each platform and how well you feel they do at content creation.
Your best bet is to choose the platform that has the highest amount of interest but the lowest amount of competition.
So, if there seems to be a decent amount of views on videos related to your niche on Tiktok but not a lot of likes for those videos and not many followers for creators on that platform, you may have found an opportunity to establish yourself in a somewhat untapped niche on the platform.
You can also base your decision on the type of content you want to create.
For instance, if you want to focus on short videos shot with your smartphone that are under a minute long or only a few minutes long, you may be better off posting to platforms like Tiktok and Instagram.
If you want to create in-depth, high-quality video content, start with YouTube.
If you’re really interested in starting a podcast, start by releasing podcast episodes on Apple Podcasts and Spotify simultaneously, and maybe even recording them live on YouTube and Twitch.
An example from our chosen TikToker
Shane Alden’s TikTok technically falls under the “planttok” side of TikTok, meaning TikTok videos that all relate to plants in one way or another.
However, his niche goes much deeper than this.
Instead of simply creating content for all types of fauna, he chose to focus on plants and fungi you’ll experience while you’re out on a walk or hiking through the woods.
He even went viral for a two-minute video he posted on how to identify poison ivy.
The post received over 1 million views, 159,000 likes, 2,500 comments and 20,000 shares.
The rest of his content that focuses on foraging (he sometimes uploads videos about art and music) consistently receives tens of thousands of views.
This means he’s truly found his niche on TikTok, and it’s working quite well for him.
4. Get to know your chosen social media platform
Once you decide on a platform to focus on, take some time getting to know it. It’s best to do this with the account you plan on creating content with as it’ll give you a chance to establish yourself even before you post your first upload.
You don’t need to stay within your niche, either.
Simply browse the platform, like videos you enjoy and follow creators whose content you want to see more of.
Most importantly, start commenting on social media posts to build your personal brand. When some users like a comment, they follow through by viewing the account who posted it.
You may just earn a few new followers this way.
What you’re really doing by using the platform more before you post your first upload is learning what makes it tick.
See how creators use their captions and descriptions, what they put in their bio, how often they upload, any features you should be aware of, such as stitches, duets and filters in TikTok, and more.
This will help you decide how to approach your content as you move forward.
This is what Shane Alden has done with his TikTok account.
He realized that short-form content works best on TikTok, so he dedicates each video to one helpful tip about foraging so he can keep each post as short as possible.
5. Start posting content
This is the most exciting part: you finally get to start posting content!
Hopefully, this means you’ve learned enough about your chosen platform to know exactly what type of content you want to create and how to create it.
You might see many creators out there posting videos every day, and this is a legitimate way to get your profile off the ground quickly.
But it’s important to remember that quality far outweighs consistency, even in the world of social media.
You should only post on a daily basis if you can deliver quality content at that output rate.
As you gain an audience, pay attention to your metrics, and listen to what your audience has to say.
Your metrics will tell you which video formats and topics perform best.
Viewers often have follow-up questions, and some may even make requests for topics they’d like to see in the future.
It’s best to prioritize content your audience wants to see most over other ideas you might have.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to experiment with topics and content formats. Your audience may just surprise you.
Shane Alden’s upload habits
Shane started his TikTok account at the end of May of 2023, and we reviewed his account in mid-August.
He uploaded several TikToks every week to his account during this time period, often posting multiple TikToks on the same day.
He sometimes goes days without posting anything.
However, it’s important to note that most of Shane’s TikToks involve him talking to the camera with cuts here and there, such as this video:
This simple format is what allows him to post on such a consistent basis.
6. Establish a social media marketing strategy
Social media is important for all brands these days, but it’s especially important for influencers.
Social media is what drives your content, not to mention how all of your content will be uploaded to social media.
It’s important to establish a social media marketing strategy early on for this reason.
Start by deciding which platforms you should join outside of one you upload content to.
Instagram is important, but you should also consider joining Twitter and Facebook as well.
They’re all great for posting quick updates, but you can also use them to repurpose content you’ve already uploaded to your primary channel or content you don’t think is good enough for that channel.
You should also post consistently, whether it’s to your primary channel or to the other social media channels you post to.
Consider using a social media management tool to handle your posting schedule, social media mentions and social media inbox.
We like Sendible as it’s an extremely well-rounded social media management tool. They even have features optimized for publishing to TikTok.
Collaborating with other creators
One part of your social media marketing strategy should be to include collaborations in your content strategy.
Shane Alden does with Dave Odd (@eattheneighborhood on TikTok), who has three times as many TikTok followers as him and 10 times as many likes at the time this article was written.
Dave posts similar foraging content to TikTok, only he has a tendency to focus on wild animals you may encounter on trails.
By collaborating, both TikTok creators are able to share audiences, giving them both opportunities to gain additional followers at a much quicker rate.
7. Choose a few revenue streams
You don’t need “x” number of followers before you can start earning revenue from your content.
There are a few revenue streams you can find success in even with a few hundred followers.
They are affiliate marketing, merchandise shops and even dropshipping.
Be careful with dropshipping, though, as many consumers are starting to catch on to this practice, especially if you charge a lot for products consumers can find on sites like AliExpress for a few dollars.
Affiliate marketing is your best bet. It’ll allow you to earn commissions for products you recommend in your content.
Plus, most affiliate programs don’t have restrictions on the number of followers you need in order to be accepted.
Check out our article on making money as an influencer for more information.
8. Set yourself up for brand deals
Let’s talk about influencer marketing.
While some brands only want to work with influencers who have a high number of followers, many are a lot more lenient than that.
You should let brands know you’re interested early on because of this.
Place your business email in your bio or link-in-bio link.
You can also set up a “sponsor me” page, either on a dedicated web page or via a PDF sponsors can download through a public Dropbox link.
This page should include the following information:
- Your primary social media account.
- Number of followers you have.
- Average number of views, likes and shares you receive per piece of content.
- Your demographic (gender, location and age of audience).
- The types of content you’re willing to create for sponsors as part of influencer marketing campaigns.
- Data on additional social media accounts where you can promote brands.
Just don’t include how much you charge for sponsorship deals as different brands have different budgets, and you should negotiate on a per-deal basis.
Frequently asked questions
How many followers do you need to be an influencer?
There’s no specific number of followers you need to be considered an influencer.
We covered this topic in our focus posts on how to make money on individual platforms as well as in our post on the definition of the term “influencer,” which you can find links to below, but we’ll summarize our findings here.
The terms “influencer” and “social media influencer” refer to someone with the ability to affect a consumer’s opinion on specific subjects as well as their buying habits.
Therefore, you don’t need a set number of followers to be an influencer.
If your content has affected just one individual, either by changing their opinion on something or encouraging them to buy or not buy a specific product, you’re an influencer.
Here are the posts we mentioned:
- How many YouTube subscribers do you need to make money?
- How many Instagram followers do you need to make money?
- How many TikTok followers do you need to make money?
How much does an influencer make?
There’s no set amount of money influencers make for the number of followers they have.
Even nano influencers and micro influencers can generate revenue.
It’s true that the more followers you have, the more sponsorship offers you’ll receive. You can also negotiate for higher rates if you have more followers.
But not all successful influencers make the same amount of money. Sponsors may even pay different influencers separate amounts based on negotiations.
We covered this in the above referenced posts as well.
Fortunately, there’s also no rule on how many followers you need to start making money.
Most affiliate programs let anyone join regardless of their follower count. Plus, you can create merch whenever you want.
These two revenue strategies do not have restrictions on when you can start earning. All it takes is a single viewer to make a purchase from one of your affiliate links or place an order at your merch shop.
Is it hard to become an influencer?
We won’t lie to you. The early stages of becoming an influencer require a lot of hard work.
You don’t yet have the funds to hire staff to handle your emails, filming, research and video editing.
For the most part, it’s going to be you with your smartphone camera making videos with whatever ideas you have on a whim.
You’ll probably even start a hefty draft pile full of content you’re not quite sure about.
But we also want you to know that becoming an influencer is not impossible, either.
As long as you develop a clear plan and pay attention to quality while also focusing on consistency, you’ll set yourself up on a path to success.
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