The power of influence can be seen all over the world, and especially in the world of marketing. Word of mouth is still considered one of the most effective forms of promotion, but of course, it has changed with changing times. Today, we do it over gadgets and social media, but it still gets the word out. No matter what marketing efforts a brand invests in, it’s ultimately the people that get to decide whether they believe in the claims of that brand or not.
Brands like Apple, Tupperware, and Levi’s thrived even in those times when social media hadn’t become the phenomenon that it is today. And believe it or not, they relied heavily on brand reputation to get them through to clients, which was fuelled in many ways by word of mouth.
And why are we talking about word of mouth marketing? Simply because it’s found its way to becoming a whole new niche of marketing — Influencer Marketing.
The Era of Influencer Marketing
An influencer can be anyone — yes, even you. If you’ve been inspired by an Influencer you follow on Instagram — whether it’s their lifestyle, confidence, their Instagram feed, or maybe all of it put together — you might’ve ever wondered “What does it take to become an Influencer?”
Truth is, the first and most important thing you need is the passion to become one. Influencer Marketing requires originality, content creation, and also the ability to advocate your own personal style into stellar pictures/videos/content that your followers will love. Great content is what pulls in more and more followers to jump onto your bandwagon, but the journey there isn’t exactly a simple one.
Many top Influencers agree that the toughest part about doing it was starting off the right way. And here are some important questions you need to ask yourself before you kick-start:
- What is the niche that truly interests me?
- What am I good at?
- How will my existing skill set contribute to my passion?
- Do I need to learn a new skill/update my current skills to be successful?
- Who is my inspiration, and how do they make it work?
- Why do I follow the influencers of my choice?
In the process of answering these questions, there’s a lot that you’re going to discover about yourself. And that’s a good thing! Once you’re more familiar with who you are and where your talents lie, you can move onto forging your new journey as an Influencer.
How to Become a Top Influencer in Your Niche
What exactly is your niche? It could be travel, food, fashion, make-up, fitness, or even the broader category popularly known as “Lifestyle”. While there isn’t a rule of thumb that you need to stick to a certain niche, you do need to be more focused while creating content if you hope to be successful. With that in mind, it’s always a smarter (but not mandatory) option to excel in a single niche.
And here’s how you can do that:
1. REALLY understand your niche
Let’s assume as an example that yours is a Travel niche. This particular niche is booming, with more and more people quitting their jobs to travel full-time, and create spectacular feeds with images of the places they go to. This also gives them the opportunity to collaborate with brands in the hospitality industry, travel agencies, companies that curate experiences, clothing brands that cater to travelers, and much more.
So, as an aspiring travel influencer, how well do you understand your niche? You need to do quite a bit of research, by watching vlogs, following other travel influencers, observing their patterns and themes, seeing which posts of theirs receive better engagement, and much more.
Apart from this, you also need to understand the trends that are making waves in this niche. What type of travel content is getting maximum views? What do travel enthusiasts really want to see? And of course, with enough research, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the intended audience and understand what type of content excites you, and what type of content is easily dismissible or not up to the mark.
2. Create a content bank
From the minute you decide that you want to enter the world of Influencer Marketing, you need to start creating a content bank. A content bank is nothing but a collection of pictures and videos that you know you can start uploading to your feed. The idea is to fill your profile with enough content related to your niche so that you can start building a fan base and also attracting the attention of brands that would like to collaborate.
And you really need to make an effort for this to happen. If you want to be a fashion influencer, you need to start experimenting with outfits, getting a photographer (or a friend who loves taking pictures) to click more pictures of you. You also need to start attending events related to fashion (store launches, fashion shows) and posting about these events.
And no, you can’t expect to start benefiting from these posts immediately, although you’re pouring your own resources into it. The idea in this stage is to build a foundation that can act as a virtual portfolio for you, as an influencer.
3. Create a solid following
Your followers are the ones who will ensure that you become a household name in your niche because, without their support, even great content can take you only that far. By constantly engaging with your audience, you create more opportunities for your following to increase. Another great tip is to use as many hashtags and geotags as possible, and watch your following boost in a short span of time.
You could also opt to buy organic followers from an authentic site that gives you genuine accounts as followers. Having an already significant number of followers creates credibility for your profile, and persuades new profile visitors to click on the “follow” button.
4. Reach out to brands
There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to potential brands in your niche, suggesting collaborations and listing out why you’d be a great brand partner for them. Brands value proactive influencers who understand their brand goals and synchronize in the thought process as well. In fact, you can also rate some content free of cost and mail it over to them — it’s a smart way to grab their attention!
Once you have enough brand collaborations in your portfolio, you’ll notice how other companies will start approaching you themselves. And the more substantial your experience with such partnerships is, the greater the chances for you to build a well-known name for yourself in your preferred niche.
5. Be consistent, from day one
Remember that there may be a thousand other budding influencers out there who could take your place if their content is better than yours. Not just content, it could also be their follower count, their consistency, their volume of content as well. And so, if you’re really committed to becoming a successful influencer in your niche, get ready to be consistent about it.
This means frequently posting both pictures and videos on your feed and regular Instagram stories. Engage with your audience using polls, live videos, and even replying to comments from followers to let them know that you value them. Just like how a brand needs to build a loyal customer base, you as an influencer will have to be consistent with your efforts and keep your followers interested.
The Power of Influence
And so, we circle back to the power of influence and why the digital market can be so driven by it. If you’re great at what you do, understand your niche well enough, and have the passion and capability to build a following that will stick by you, you’ve already got half the equation solved!
The other half will test you on how well you’re able to live up to your title of being an influencer, and also how fiercely you can expand your reach on Instagram and other social platforms. If influencer marketing is a complicated equation, you need to know how to use the variables in your favor!