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The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Social Media Influencer

by Ragini Salampure

Social media: At first, people thought it was a passing fad; now they know it’s the communication style of the present and the future. 

Almost 4.5 billion people use social media — that’s over half of the earth’s population. People are now realizing that if you want to accrue fame and fortune, you’re going to have to go to the world of the digital. 

Key to the legitimization of social media is the concept of the social media influencer.

Influencers are those social media users with tons of followers who, quite simply, influence the culture and the way it runs. They can influence fashion trends, dance styles, music, etc. They also have a unique place in the world of digital marketing. 

Businesses adept at marketing know that attention is no longer going to billboards and television. People are online — and so they need to focus on online marketing.

They can pay social media influencers to endorse their product. Those influencers will gain money, and the businesses will gain exposure. 

All things considered, it sounds pretty great to be a social media influencer. But how do you gain that status? 

This article will walk you through how to become an influencer, so read on. 

Pick Your Platform

As Marshal McLuhan used to say — the medium is the message. Each social media platform has its own communities, fanbases, and modes of communication. If you want to succeed as an influencer, you need to know which social media platform you want to make your home. 

As always, it’s best to specialize. You might think you’re opening up more options for yourself to start on several social media platforms at once, but you’re actually spreading yourself thin. 

If you don’t know which platform to focus on, people won’t know which content of yours to focus on.

It’s much better to master one social media platform, gain a certain amount of followers, and then transfer to another. Once you already have fans, they’re more likely to follow you where you go. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular social media platforms out there today, and see what you can do to optimize your use of them. 

Instagram 

Instagram has over 1 billion monthly users. While it’s not the most popular social media platform out there, it’s the most popular social media platform that’s relevant to the culture. Facebook is technically the most popular social media platform out there, but most people simply use it to connect to friends. 

Instagram’s culture is a visual one. A simple scroll through any active Instagram user’s timeline will reveal tons of images from a multitude of sources. 

While you can put captions on your texts and share videos, Instagram, at the end of the day, comes down to the image. The most popular users on Instagram are generally the most beautiful, live the most glamorous lives, or share content that’s seen as visually stimulating.

This means that Instagram is perfect for you if you’re looking to be a makeup, beauty, or fashion influencer. The world of physical appearance has taken off in recent years, and if you can provide something in this world, you’re likely to do well on Instagram. 

Similarly, Instagram is great if you happen to be a model. Conventional models can post their work with high-profile clients, and show off the products that they promote. Alternative models can find work with alternative clients through Instagram itself. 

Instagram is also great if you’re a photographer. You can easily post personal work, work you’ve done with models, work you’ve done with corporations, and work you’ve gotten in showcases. 

This will, in turn, allow you to build up fans, and attract the attention of those businesses that will pay you to promote their products. 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Instagram is for those who want to be influencers while staying a bit professional about the whole affair. 

If you’re not all-in on meme-culture and still want to provide something that has inherent value to it, we highly recommend making use of Instagram. Those that traffic in the worlds of beauty, fashion, modeling, and photographer would do well to work on Instagram.

It’s tough to get started on Instagram. Unlike TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook, Instagram doesn’t show your friends what you liked on your friend’s timelines. This means it’s harder for a new user to have their post go viral. 

Give yourself the perfect kickoff, and buy Instagram likes. This will enable more people to see your content, so you can show them what you can really do. 

TikTok 

TikTok is a strange case. The app had humble origins as a foreign app that focused on lipsyncing to songs. 

Strangely enough, it’s still focused on that but a whole culture has developed out of it. 

TikTok is hard for older people to understand, evidenced by the fact that the largest segment of TikTok’s users are under the age of 20. 

On the surface, TikTok is just people lipsynching to songs. Underneath, it’s so much more. 

TikTok is visual, but it’s focused on video as opposed to image. Stars are often people who are attractive but simply film in their own bedrooms with modest lighting and setup. 

People on TikTok create short, homemade videos that remix songs, pop-cultural staples, and dances to create trends. It’s heavily based upon the meme-cycle, with people copying and making variations upon ideas that came before them. 

Often the focus of TikTok’s are funny, ironic, and cute. They’re subverting your expectations by parodying or updating trends that you’ve previously seen.

The problem with TikTok is that the community is extremely insular. Those parodies and remixes that they’re doing refer to other trends that they saw on TikTok. 

This is why it’s so easy for teens to get into, but hard for adults to understand. 

We only recommend trying to be a TikTok influencer if you have a significant grasp on the culture of the young. Gen Zers famously have a sense of humor that is deeply strange. You’ll only succeed on TikTok if you have a strong sense of meme-culture, irony, and are acclimated to how quickly trends change. 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, TikTok is hard to rely on. Those who wind up stars tend to wind up stars by accident. They also happen to be those who can promote a humble, down-to-earth look. 

Unless you’re going for a comedic persona, or are deeply connected to youth culture, we don’t recommend using TikTok to become an influencer. It has a lot of internet clout right now, but at the end of the day, it’s hard to rely upon. 

Twitter 

Twitter, unlike the above options, is not visually based. While you can share videos and pictures on Twitter, the culture is around “tweets” — bite-sized, high-information, written messages. 

Twitter, like TikTok and unlike Instagram, is highly viral-driven. It’s common for someone with hardly any followers to have one tweet that blows up. Twitter makes it extremely easy for anyone to share (or “re-tweet”) someone else’s message and liking a message also allows one’s friends to see it.  

Since Twitter contains short messages rather than images, one can usually see several Twitter messages at once, enhancing the number of posts they can see as they scroll. Of all of these social media sites, Twitter is perhaps the most addicting. 

Writers of all kinds often find themselves thriving on Twitter. Poets are able to easily share their work and promote their chapbooks, which are often self-published or published by other social media-oriented independent publishers. 

Fiction writers also thrive on Twitter. The process to publish a book takes a lot of steps, and writers are able to use their skills to craft an interesting narrative out of it to their friends. 

This even works for writers of short stories. Writers are able to build up fans and promote their new short stories when they get published. 

Non-fiction writers — such as journalists, essayists, critics, and article-writers — also find a home on Twitter.  

Writing, which used to be viewed as a coveted and intellectual field (since words form our brains — we think in language) is now just as easy to commoditize as ever. There’s no limit to what you’re able to turn into a brand these days. 

Conclusion

We only recommend Twitter to those with a strong grasp of language, narrative storytelling, humor, and the way the mimetic cycle works. At the end of the day, one must remember that it’s very easy to say the wrong thing on Twitter, and incur the wrath of a Twitter mob. 

Twitter mobs are an extension of “cancel culture”, a social system that has developed where people are ridiculed and criticized for things that they said that were deemed offensive. Twitter has made it easier than ever for people to communicate directly with the people they are fans of. 

Make sure that you know what you’re doing before you go on Twitter, or it might just come back to haunt you. 

Create a Content Schedule

As you can see, picking the right platform for your content is the most important part of the process. 

The next step is to create a schedule by which you can consistently upload content. People are looking for two things when it comes to social media content: quality and consistency. 

Leave quantity out of the equation. You don’t need to make three-four posts a day to succeed as an influencer. Instead, you’ll overwhelm your followers and make them less likely to stick around. 

Focus on making good content on a consistent basis. This means that people will know that they can trust you to deliver the goods and to deliver them on time. 

Listen to Your Audience

One of the best (and worst) things about being a social media influencer is that you can gain direct feedback from your fans. Whether you like it or not, your fans will tell you what they think about your content. 

This is both a blessing and a curse. 

Your fans, unfortunately, will be critical every once in a while. That’s okay. Don’t take it personally — you owe them good content. 

Take the criticism of your fans into mind, shift your content, and deliver the goods. If it happens to work, great!—continue on that path. If it doesn’t, you have more work to do. 

The good news is that your fans will also tell you when you’re doing something right. Take into account the enthusiastic support of your fans as well. 

These encouragements and criticisms will help you learn how to enhance your strengths and hide your weaknesses. 

Collaborate 

Social media influencers are, in essence, collaborators. They collaborate with their social media platform to deliver content, collaborate with their audience to provide unique entertainment, collaborate with businesses to promote products and make money — so why shouldn’t they collaborate with other influencers? 

One of the best ways to share your content with more people is to collaborate with other social media influencers. This, in the end, will be beneficial to both of you if you have similar styles.

You can introduce your audience to a new influencer and create some great content with them. They can introduce their audience to you and satisfy their audience as well. 

At the end of the day, if everything goes right, everyone’s happy. Fans have more content to view, and both influencers grow their fanbases.

Become a Social Media Influencer

At the end of the day, becoming a social media influencer isn’t quite as random as it seems. Fame might be a fleeting thing, but there are steps you can take in the digital age to achieve it. 

The first step is to put some serious thought into the platform that you choose. Weigh your options when it comes to Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Play to your strengths. 

Then, you have to start putting out content.

Create a content schedule, focus on quality, listen to your audience, and collaborate with other influencers, and you’re sure to shine. 

For more articles like this, check out our “life” section. 

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