How to Become a Social Media Influencer (Tools and More)

So, what is a social media influencer and how do you become one? In this article, we’ll explore types of social media influencers, and what successful influencers on social media need to do. 

social media influencers
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Check out these social media influencer examples and tips to help boost your own following.

We’ll also share a great source for digital assets to help you create the best content. Ready to get started?

So, you’ve seen top social media influencers, and you’d love to try something similar. Or maybe you’ve seen types of social media influencers in your favorite spaces, and you just want to learn more. Let’s start off with a clear social media influencer definition:

A social media influencer is a person (or even an entity or business) who has established a strong presence on social media. The “influencer” part is in reference to the ability to influence their following. The reach and visibility give the social media influencer a lot of sway—or the ability to have influence—over a specific audience. 

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For example, let’s examine some simple social media influencer examples.

Imagine an Instagram user with 10 followers. If this user mentioned really enjoying a particular product, a relatively small group of people would see this opinion. Now, imagine this same scenario if the user had 1,000,000 followers. That’s a lot of people who would see that this person of influence enjoys this product—and then possibly give the product a try too. 

Influencers on social media aren’t necessarily “just popular people” either. Social media influences tend to be known for something, like a skill, expertise, or some other type of credibility.

So, for example, a social media influencer known for tech reviews may have significant credibility when it comes to that industry. But they wouldn’t have the same sway in the beauty industry. That’s not where they built their credibility.

Even “regular people” influencers tend to have something to their credit or a specific niche. There are many types of social media influencers. They can occupy so many different areas of interest, from business to comedy, the arts to technology. 

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Are you trying to figure out how to become a social media influencer? It’s got a lot of perks that make it really appealing. Having a broad influence on social media means it’s easier to share content.

In a professional or business setting, more views can mean sales, networking opportunities, viewership, and more. It has a broad appeal and has become more and more desirable for a wide variety of industries.

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But how do you do it? Are there social media influencer jobs? How do you monetize?

In this article, we’ll explore some practical ways to build your social media influence. Keep in mind that it’s typically a process that takes quite a bit of time, research, and dedication. Any service that promises you overnight stardom is likely making promises that can’t be kept.

Think of it as being like building a business or a professional brand. It takes time and resources to build a social media following. 

Some Pros and Cons to Consider

Again, it’s very easy to look at top social media influencers with rose tinted glasses. It all sounds pretty awesome. And often it can look simple too.

But influencers on social media, especially those with a lasting presence, often have to pour a lot of time and resources into their presence. Even if you do have a post or video that goes viral, it doesn’t necessarily equate to a lasting following—and if you do achieve that status, it can come with many challenges.

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Here are some of the benefits of having a large following and being a social media influencer:

  • A large outreach means it’s easier to get eyes on your content. This can be an amazing resource when you’re trying to sell a product or get users to engage with a project.
  • Being a social media influencer can also bring opportunities to you. Employers and opportunities might find you, via your online presence.
  • You also can curate a community once your presence grows. This can prove to be a really rewarding experience—creating a positive, engaged space that revolves around a niche or interest.
  • You may also gain a “louder microphone”, so to speak. The larger your following, the more your outreach. This comes with the potential to do good, like elevating voices that may otherwise go unheard or speaking out in support of causes you care about.
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Let’s also take a look at some of the potential cons:

  • When you’re a social media influencer, jobs, opportunities, and others will have an added window into your online activities. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it does mean that privacy can be an added concern to keep in mind.
  • Again, it means you can’t throw caution to the wind with your online activities. Silly memes might not mean much on a personal account. But it may read very differently when you’re treating your presence as a professional one.
  • Social media influencers are often expected to stay on trend, which means extra research and awareness of said trends. This also mean adapting to algorithmic and platform changes, which can happen quickly and even without much warning.
  • There can also be burnout and an expectation to maintain a particular public image, especially if you’re a solo social media influencer. Examples might include wanting to take a week or two off—but missing out on considerable engagement.
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Practical Ways How to Become a Social Media Influencer 

Remember, there’s no one single way to become a successful social media influencer. Nor is there one magic source that’ll suddenly give you a giant following (especially not an organic and engaged one!).

But there are practical strategies you can use to help kickstart your social media efforts. Check out these ways you can push your following further.

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Know Your Niche and Your Target Audience

Knowing your niche is an important aspect of being a social media influencer by definition. Think about your favorite, top social media influencers. They’ve got some kind of focus or thing that they’re all about.

Even if it seems ambiguous to you at first, there’s almost always some kind of focus. Maybe it’s lifestyle or comedy or family living, for example. It tends to feel more obvious when the social media presence is for a brand or a business.

This focus or expertise in this niche is what draws followers. Think of it as having something in common. 

But what about target audience?

Your target audience is the specific group of individuals that you’re intending to reach and engage with. If you can identify them, you can better understand them. Which, in turns, means you can better appeal to them. If you don’t know who your target audience is, it can become really difficult to strategically appeal to them.

Want to learn more about target audiences and how to appeal to them? Check out this free resource:

Choose Your Platforms

Choosing the right social media platforms for your goals can be challenging. You don’t necessarily have to be on every platform. It’s often more effective to focus your efforts on key platforms.

  • Make sure to really take the time to identify your target audience. This can help you narrow down which platforms you should target. For example, maybe your target audience prefers TikTok over Facebook.
  • Consider the type of content you intend to create and share. Different platforms are better suited to different types of content—like videos, text, or imagery.
  • Keep track of engagement. If you try out one or two platforms, and you find that one is working out and the other isn’t, try adjusting your strategies.
  • Take a look at your peers in your niche. What are they doing? What works for them? While you shouldn’t copy, research can be very helpful in understanding how a platform works.
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Optimize Your Profiles and Use Features Strategically

Your social media profiles need to be strong. That means using the profile features strategically. Here are some overall best practices to consider:

  • Your username should make sense and be as consistent as possible across platforms. Inconsistency could prove to be confusing or misleading.
  • Imagery should directly relate to your professional branding. This includes profile pictures, banners, and any other visual content.
  • Your bio and/or about sections should be clear, concise, and resonate with your audience in an effective manner.
  • Link to your content, be it your official website or other platforms where you maintain a presence.

Optimization is a detailed process—and a process that requires regular updates and adapting as platforms change. Learn more about this process in this free article:

Engage With Your Audience

This is potentially one of the most enjoyable parts—engaging with your audience! But there’s still nuance to it. Aspects you should consider include:

  • Regular engagement is an essential part of keeping an active following. Consider how often you’ll engage with your audience and how you’ll do it. Keeping a calendar can help organize (or even queue) your content.
  • Keep in mind that engagement may also requite moderation. The unfiltered Internet can also invite commentary that may be unpleasant. Consider how you’ll monitor, filter, or address this, not just for yourself and your brand, but for your audience or community. 
Stock illustration from Envato Elements

Collaborate With Others

Collaboration and networking can be a wonderful way to connect with others. But it’s important to approach it with good taste and good etiquette. No one wants a “clout hungry” person in their inbox, begging for an engagement boost. That’s not going to make a good impression.

  • Join communities and engage with others who have similar interests. This can be a great way to organically network with others within your niche. 
  • Rather than focusing only on what networking could do for you and your presence, think about what you bring to the table too. What is the benefit of collaboration with you and your professional brand? You can begin to build value even before you’ve got a large following. 

Check out these free articles for even more networking insights and tips:

Explore Analytics

As you engage with your social media platforms, you’ll have access to a variety of data. Reviewing your analytics is all about using this data to gain insights into how your content is performing. You can examine this data, even very simple data, to help make data driven decisions. For example:

  • What content performed the strongest? How does it differ from content that didn’t have as much engagement?
  • Are there any aspects you could use in future content, in a strategic way?
  • Do you notice similar trends in the content of other creators? Or is this something very specific to you and your niche? 
Stock illustration from Envato Elements

Trends can also be a great way to further engage with and even expand your audience, especially if you leverage aspects like hashtags. 

  • Follow and capitalize on trends relevant to your target audience. 
  • Overly chasing after trends can be counterproductive. Remember, a quick boost of engagement may feel great at first, but it likely won’t have the staying power of a dedicated following. 

But how do you stay in touch with trends, hashtags, and other current topics? It’s important to stay active and aware on your chosen platforms—again, another time investment, when it comes to being a social media influencer. 

Stock illustration from Envato Elements

Focus on Quality

Quality is essential. Like we briefly discussed, prior, if your content is entirely about trends and networking and chasing after numbers… it’s not going to feel satisfying for your target audience. Think about what you want to see when you consume content. Most of us are looking for high quality, engaging content, whether it’s a podcast, a video, a photograph, or a blog posting. 

Make sure your social media posts are high quality—because that’s what you want your target audience to associate with your professional brand. You want them to think that viewing your content means viewing something of quality and value—not that it’s an onslaught of empty fluff.

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Stock illustration from Envato Elements

Monetize. But Be Transparent

Monetization is the goal of many, but keep in mind that transparency is very important. How would you feel if a trusted voice recommended a product to you, and then you found out later that they were paid to endorse it? It wouldn’t feel nearly as authentic anymore, now would it? There’s nothing wrong with sponsorships, but honesty is always the best policy. It’ll help establish and maintain your integrity with your audience.

If you’re a social media influencer—or you’re looking to build a following—you’re going to need the tools to make it happen. Here are some ideas for your social media toolkit:

  • Visual Tools. These would include software to help you make things like graphic posts, images, and photographs. Popular choices include tools like the Adobe Creative Cloud family of software and Canva.
  • Scheduling Tools. These are tools that help schedule your social media posts in advance—so you don’t have to manually post them. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are commonly recommended options.
  • Analytical Tools. These are data tools, so you can use your data to make informed decisions. Facebook/Instagram Analytics and Google Analytics are strong examples.
  • Video Editing Tools. If your social media strategy involves video, you’ll need video editing tools. iMovie and Adobe Premiere are both popular choices.
  • Hashtag Research Tools. How do you know which hashtags will best serve your content. There are tools to help with that too. RiteTag and Hashtagify are two example services.
  • Management and Organizational Tools. Your social media presence may have a lot of things going on, and it can be very helpful to keep things organized. Trello, for example, is a great tool for keeping track of all your content.
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Stock illustration from Envato Elements

Need Extra Help Making the Best Content? Check Out Envato Elements!

Creating content, sharing it, engaging, and maintaining a social media following can be a lot of work. If you need help with content creation, Envato Elements is an amazing resource. It can really save both time and money as you shoot for your professional goals.

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Here’s just a few ways Envato Elements can help with your creative efforts:

  • How about a stylish Instagram puzzle grid template for your Instagram posts? Envato Elements has hundreds to choose from. They’re all fully customizable.
  • Making YouTube videos? Grab some cool transition effects to add into your videos. They’re completely customizable too!
  • From stock photos to audio files, illustrations to fonts, Envato Elements has you covered—all in one, convenient place.

The best part is, every bit of this content is included for one, low price—with unlimited downloads! Download as much as you need to help make your creative projects happen with no limitations, ready for commercial usage.

Want to learn more about social media, platforms, and engaging with your audience? Check out these free resources, right here at Envato Tuts+.

So, What Social Media Influencer Strategies Will You Try?

Creating a following and becoming a successful social media influencer isn’t a simple or straight forward path. Remember to regularly review your engagement and the data available to you. This way, you can continually learn and adjust your strategies.

Good luck to you and your social media efforts!

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