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How To Become an Influencer: Your Guide to Social Media Success

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Who runs the digital world? Influencers. From tastemakers to comedians to recipe developers and more, there are so many paths to social media success. Whether you’re interested in flexing your creative skills online or you’re looking for a lucrative side hustle, you may have wondered how to become an influencer yourself. 

Though some may assume that becoming an influencer is as easy as posting some content online and gaining instant fame and virality, the reality is that becoming an influencer requires hard work, skill, social media know-how, and consistency.

From finding your niche to learning how to make money from your content, we’re covering the first steps toward launching your career as a social media influencer.

A woman learning how to become an influencer by creating content.

What Is a Social Media Influencer?

“Influencer” is a term tossed around a lot online. Sometimes, people use the term to refer to celebrities like Kim Kardashian. Other times, “influencer” is used to describe just about anyone with a phone who posts photos or videos online. So, what exactly is a social media influencer? Though the definition evolves as the digital landscape changes, an influencer is simply a person who influences another. In the context of social media, it refers to someone who has the power to influence an online audience.

Typically, an influencer has credible knowledge or expertise on a specific topic, giving them the authority to make educated recommendations to others. On social media, this means sharing products, services, and emerging trends on a digital platform. They often have a large following of people who are dedicated and receptive to their opinions and value their ideas. In recent years, companies have recognized the power of influencers, leading to heavy investments in influencer marketing campaigns that provide brand awareness and sales. 

Is an influencer the same as a digital Creator or content Creator? An influencer may create digital content as a means to growing their audience—like a beauty influencer who’s gained a following from their creative video tutorials. However, a content Creator may not be an influencer, like a photographer or graphic designer who creates and sells digital content but doesn’t cultivate an audience that they influence.

A man recording tips on how to become an influencer.

How To Become a Social Media Influencer: Key Steps To Take

Intrigued? Let’s discuss the necessary requirements for how to become an influencer. While each person’s path will be different, there are a few commonalities you’ll want to keep in mind. 

Read on below as we highlight important steps you need to take when learning how to become a social media influencer. 

  • Define Your Brand: Will you focus on a specific niche, like cooking, fashion, or travel? Use this time to define your “why.” Having a clear and defined purpose will help you create content that’s valuable to your audience, which is at the heart of a successful social media strategy. 
  • Identify Your Target Audience: Are you targeting busy parents in need of easy hacks and recipes? Or maybe you want to speak to young professionals looking for affordable, fun outfits, activities, and travel ideas. Your audience should be genuinely interested in your content. Consider demographics such as age, location, and other interests. 
  • Create Consistent Content: You want your followers to eagerly await your next post. To do so, make sure the content is appealing and authentic. You should also post regularly and diversify the types of posts you share. 
  • Understand Your Engagement Rate: This term refers to how much your followers engage and interact with your posts. And it’s not just likes—saves, comments, and shares all play a vital role in calculating engagement, giving you a comprehensive view of your social media impact. Focus on creating content that fosters genuine engagement with your audience, and sparks a conversation. 
  • Grow Your Business: As you grow, it’s time to think big and set realistic goals for your future. Do you want to turn this into a full-time career? Where can you take your influence from here? Outline your path forward, and remember to celebrate your achievements along the way.
A woman researching how to become an influencer.

How To Become an Influencer on Each Social Media Platform

Chances are, you already have your favorite social media channel to scroll and share on. If you are learning how to become an influencer, you may want to pay attention to multiple platforms. Diversifying your social media presence can help you expand your reach, grow your audience, and discover new business opportunities. 

Each platform, however, is unique, meaning that different content and strategies work for each one. Keeping up with the different ways of posting, sharing, and tracking content across many social media platforms may sound daunting. But with some smart planning, you can repurpose your content across platforms and get the most out of your content creation efforts. 

So, are you ready to take your influencer journey to the next level? We’ve got the insider info on all the top social media powerhouses, from Instagram to TikTok and, yes, even Amazon. With our guidance, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills to succeed on any platform.

How To Become an Instagram Influencer

First, let’s talk about Instagram. There are more than 500,000 influencers on Instagram, so it’s an important platform for cultivating an audience and shaping your brand. If you want to learn how to become an influencer on Instagram, check out our top tips below. 

  • Create content that performs: With so much saturation on Instagram, succeeding is all about learning how to stand out. And right now, Instagram is clearly leaning into their short-form video format, Instagram Reels. Experiment with different types of content and finetune your creative skills. And make sure your content—especially videos—have a strong “hook” that compels users to watch and engage. 
  • Grow your audience: Utilize all that Instagram has to offer to consistently grow your audience. Post a mix of in-feed images, Instagram Reels, and Stories, strategically collaborate with other influencers within your niche to tap into their engaged audiences, and utilize interactive features like polls and Q&A sessions to boost engagement.
  • Encourage engagement: With Instagram, it’s all about your engagement. The built-in algorithm looks for content that drives audience interaction. Think about what content your followers react to most. Are your Stories heavily viewed, or do you find the most likes on your feed posts? Encourage people to comment, share, and re-post your content to increase engagement.
  • Go pro: Convert your personal account to an Instagram Professional Account. This unlocks various tools that can help you further your success. Most importantly, you’ll have access to a Professional Dashboard, which tracks and provides key analytics to help you better understand your impact.
A woman learning how to become an influencer on Instagram.

How to Become an Influencer on TikTok

You may be wondering how to become an influencer on TikTok. This unique platform focuses on short-form videos and encourages influencers to thrive in their niche. Ready to learn more about TikTok?

  • Create niche content: Niche subjects like #BookTok or #MoneyTok can garner devoted audiences. Focus on a specific niche and create content that not only entertains but also adds value, such as tutorials, tips, or insights unique to your area of expertise. 
  • Use the latest features: Stay ahead by adopting TikTok’s newest features and tools as soon as they’re released, such as augmented reality (AR) filters, new video effects, or interactive elements, to capture audience interest and drive higher engagement rates.
  • Collaborate: Collaborate with other TikTokers in your niche to tap into their audiences, and participate in or create your own challenges using trending hashtags and sounds to increase your content’s visibility and shareability.
  • Build your community: Beyond posting regularly, dedicate time to engage with your followers through comments, TikTok Lives, and by participating in trends relevant to your audience. Building a community around your content encourages loyalty and increases the likelihood of your content being shared across platforms.
  • Lean into trends: The platform’s fast-paced nature means trends come and go quickly. You can boost your visibility and attract new followers by jumping on the latest viral craze. These crazes can be anything from an of-the-moment dance to the fashion aesthetic. 
  • Learn from the platform: While this platform no longer offers a Creator-Specific account type, you can participate in its TikTok Creative Academy program. This comprehensive program has countless valuable features, including creation tips and monetization ideas.

How to Become an Amazon Influencer

Finally, let’s discuss how to become an Amazon influencer. Did you know that popular shopping platforms can even have influencers? As a content Creator on Amazon, you can share your favorite finds with your audience through a personalized virtual storefront.

  • Sign Up: First, sign up for the Amazon Influencer Program. Influencers of any size can apply if they have an account on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook. Are you applying with your Instagram or Facebook profile? You’ll need a business account to be eligible. Amazon also considers other analytical factors for approval, such as your follower count and engagement rate.
  • Create Your Storefront: Once approved, it’s time to build and curate your Amazon storefront. With a personalized URL, sharing and recommending your go-to products with your followers is easy. You can include product listings as well as your own photos, videos, and live streams.  
  • Share Products: Now it’s time to start sharing—and earning. Strategically link your storefront directly to your social media through Instagram link-in-bio, YouTube channel, or even your website. You’ll receive a commission when followers purchase through your unique link.
A man on his laptop learning how to become an influencer on Amazon.

How To Become an Influencer and Make Money

Of course, one of the major draws of learning how to become an influencer is the chance to earn a steady income

This is one of the main reasons people want to become influencers. However, not everyone will reap the financial rewards immediately. Audience size, reach, content quality, and engagement rates affect how much money you can make. With this in mind, some people treat it simply as a side hustle. 

No matter your approach to influencing, it’s essential to understand how you can profit from it. Are you ready to learn how to become an influencer and make money? Below, we’ve outlined three popular methods. Many involve establishing close partnerships with brands or seeking the assistance of third-party marketing companies to optimize your results. You’ll want to find the method that best aligns with your brand image and social media goals.

Two women experimenting with how to become an influencer and make money.

1. Brand Partnerships

One of the most lucrative ways to learn how to become an influencer and make money is through brand partnerships. These brand partnerships entail a collaboration between a brand or company and an influencer, in which the company will pay the influencer for content and promotion on social media. 

By combining forces, both sides help each other by increasing exposure and brand recognition. Consequently, this drives up sales for the company, which allows them to invest more in marketing. 

So, how can you land one of these lucrative brand partnerships? First, identify brands that complement your brand image and share similar followers. This can be done by researching brands that align with your niche and target audience. Next, promote yourself to these brands. Tag and mention them on social media or contact them with your portfolio highlighting your best work. When reaching out, highlight how your audience aligns with their target market and the unique value you can bring to their brand.

Once you land a brand partnership, it’s time to get creative. Remember that you’ll often need to adhere to requirements outlined by your partner. This can include specific formats or aesthetics you must use.

2. Affiliate Marketing

When learning how to become an influencer and monetize your social media presence, don’t overlook the power of affiliate marketing. In fact, affiliate marketing can become an extremely beneficial and reliable revenue stream for influencers.

So, what exactly is affiliate marketing? Think of it as a revenue-sharing agreement. Influencers will share specific, personalized links and shoppable content with their audiences and receive a commission when someone makes a purchase through those links and content. 

To get started, you can join an affiliate platform, like Collective Voice, that supports linking to top retailers. Then, you can utilize these affiliate links by peppering them into your social media content, and use the platform’s tracking and analytics to get a better sense of what your audience is buying. 

Affiliate marketing works best when you have a solid following that trusts your opinions and recommendations. Maintaining your authentic voice and aesthetic helps create a strong sense of trust with your audience. And showcasing how certain products help serve your everyday life can help your audience better understand the value of these products.

Two people on a computer making money through affiliate marketing.

3. Subscriptions

Subscriptions to your content are another way to earn a profit as you learn how to become an influencer. This innovative concept is available on many top social media platforms, including the popular Instagram subscription program for Creators.

Essentially, your viewers and audience are paying to access exclusive or premium content. These are available to your followers as in-app purchases, and you have the power to set your prices. Once you enable the subscription feature, you can create, post, and share specialized content only available for your subscribers. 

Of course, there are specific requirements you must meet to be eligible for subscriptions. While this can vary from app to app, guidelines typically include:

  • Being 18 or older.
  • Having a certain amount of followers.
  • Complying with all community policies and standards.

It’s also important to remember that you will usually have to pay a portion of your earnings to the social media platform. This can range as high as 30% for some platforms.

Let Collective Voice help you take your content monetization strategies to new heights. Level up your content with our affiliate tools, educational resources, sales insights, brand partnership opportunities, and more. Start monetizing your content now.