1. Find your niche.
If you want to become a social media influencer, the very first thing you need to do is to choose a specific niche where you want to be known.
Although most social media influencers start out posting content, they're passionate about, what sets them apart is the fact that they tend to focus on a particular niche within the industry they're passionate about.
To find your little corner of influence, you'll need first to determine who is your target audience by developing a unique persona—a semi-fictional representation of your ideal reader. Tools like HubSpot’s Buyer Persona Generation Tool can help you identify the individual wants, needs, challenges, and goals of your ideal reader that you can help solve and address, pointing you to the right niche to establish yourself and grow as an influencer.
2. Use the "First Principles Thinking" approach.
In an interview with Kevin Rose, Elon Musk explained that there are two reasoning approaches people use. The first and most common is the analogy approach. People that use this reasoning method decide to do things based on what has happened in the past.
That's why we often see many people in a particular industry doing nearly the same thing, talking about the same topics, and even using similar formats when it comes to publishing and promoting their content.
The second reasoning approach is what Musk refers to as the First Principles Thinking approach. Instead of basing decisions on past successes or failures, Musk and others that use this reasoning approach study objective fundamentals and make their decisions based solely on that.
What’s good about following Musk’s way of thinking and reasoning is that it opens you up to other possibilities and approaches by “forcing” you to disregard the status quo, and think differently. Doing that can help set yourself apart from other influencers in your niche, and allow you to bring something new and fresh to the table for your target audience.
3. Choose your social media channel.
Instagram is the channel where 93% of social media influencers focus their content -- because it gives them the best results.
Source: Marketing Profs
However, just because those are the current statistics doesn't mean that Instagram is a perfect choice all the time.
The reason is simple: Your ideal audience may not be spending most of their time here.
If you want to quickly grow your following and establish yourself as a social media influencer, you need to make sure that you choose the right social media channel based on your niche and ideal audience.
Here are three questions to ask to help guide you in choosing the right social media channel:
Who is your target audience?
Again, this is where creating a holistic persona of your ideal audience is crucial. Instagram and Pinterest are excellent choices if you're aspiring to reach out to millennials. On the other hand, if your target audience consists mostly of business executives, LinkedIn may be your best bet.
Where are the other influencers in your niche?
Aside from sharing the same target audience, being active in social media channels where the big influencers in your niche open the door for you to reach out to them, and even collaborate with them in the future.
One tool I found extremely useful for this is BuzzSumo. When you do a search here using your targeted keyword, you'll not only see what topics other influencers have
What type of content will you create?
Some social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to post a diverse range of content formats while others like YouTube and Instagram only focus on providing users a specific content format.
That said, it's vital that you select the social media channel that best suit the content strategy you'll develop, which we will look into in the next section.
Regardless of which social media channel(s) you choose, remember not to go overboard with your selection. Stick to using two to three networks. Otherwise, you'll be spreading yourself too thin, and will find it difficult to build your credibility and following.
4. Develop your content strategy.
Just like in inbound marketing, the format and quality of the content you publish will make or break your chances of successfully building yourself as a social media influencer.
Decide on the format you'll use when creating your content. It should be one through which you're able not only to deliver valuable
Part of developing an effective content strategy is giving your audience the right balance of informative content and personal content. Remember, one reason why people trust influencers is due to their relatability.
One efficient way to do this is through the 5-3-2 principle: Out of every 10 posts you publish in your social media account, five of these should be valuable content written by someone else, three are educational and informative content you created yourself, and two should be posts about yourself.
Now, you may be thinking, "How will this help me become an influencer if half of the content I'll be publishing is curated content?"
For starters, influencers are known for being able to provide valuable content to their audience. That includes sharing content written by others that they believe their followers will find useful.
More important, sharing content published by other influencers in your niche will help you slowly get their attention. As a re