Have you ever wondered how people on Instagram are able to receive free products? How do they become an Influencer and start working with their favorite brands?
Instead of paying for other forms of advertisement, brands invest in Bloggers to get their products in front of more people. You don’t need a huge following to become an Influencer. If anything, micro-influencers are becoming popular for brand promotion since their audience is more engaged.
Usually, a micro-influencer can have as little as 1,000 followers on social media. However, anyone can start working with brands if they have something valuable to offer, whether it’s having the target audience they’re looking for or good-quality content.
If this is something you’re interested in doing, you can follow these 5 easy steps to become an Influencer and build an engaged following that’ll start attracting more brands to your page.
How to Become an Influencer
Define Your Niche
A niche is a topic that your blog or social media platforms focus on. Narrowing down your niche will help you determine who your target audience is and what type of content to focus on creating. You want to fill a specific need and answer questions people may have about a certain topic. There are a variety of niches to choose from such as:
- Mental Health
- Blogging Tips
Think about what you’re interested in creating content about and whether or not people are always looking for answers within the niche you choose. Keep in mind, you want to choose a niche you can see yourself talking about consistently for a long period of time.
Here’s an example: My niche is focused on natural hair, clean beauty, and wellness. I feature safe, effective beauty products for women to use in their everyday routine and provide tips on how to make wellness a priority. My target audience contains women who want to learn how to take care of their hair and skin while keeping their mental health in a good space.
As you continue on your journey as an Influencer, you may expand your niche as I did and talk about multiple topics. There’s nothing wrong with that! However, make sure you don’t do too many at once and lose the purpose of your platforms. Slowly incorporate new topics and watch how your audience reacts to it. Once you see that they’re interested, you can continue to grow your platforms!
Create Quality Content
The quality of your content will determine whether or not your audience shows engagement and if it’ll attract brands to your platforms. Brands will start to notice you and show interest in a partnership if you create good-quality, consistent content. You don’t have to invest in a professional camera! Although a camera is a great upgrade, you can start with what you already have and still put out amazing content.
I had an iPhone 6s Plus when I started my Instagram page and I know my quality wasn’t the best, however, I was able to grow my audience and improve my editing skills to enhance my content. Your phone can create quality content on its own if you have plenty of lighting in your area. The brightness of your area can either make or break the quality of your content.
A ring light is a great investment to make if you want to improve the quality of your content. Since I didn’t have the funds for a bigger one, I was able to find one that was budget-friendly and still got the job done. I love that it gave plenty of light, had different brightness settings, and came with everything I needed to take pictures + record videos easier.
I was able to find many hacks on Pinterest for my iPhone to improve my photography. You also want to check out editing apps because it can enhance the quality of your content. My favorite ones are Adobe Lightroom, FaceTune, Snapseed, and inShot. Check out the blog post below to find more equipment to invest in on your Influencer journey.
Related Post: The Best Equipment for Content Creators to Purchase
Increase Following + Engagement
I know in the beginning I said follower count isn’t the most important, however, you need enough followers to get noticed by most brands. A micro-influencer can have as little as 1,000 followers, therefore, that would be a great starting point. I was able to secure my first paid partnership when I was around 1,500 followers, it’s possible to get paid and work with your favorite brands no matter what your numbers look like.
You can increase your following by creating valuable content that provides a solution to a problem. Using hashtags, following similar pages within your niche, and engaging with other people will attract your target audience to your content and they’ll follow you if they like what they see!
Another important thing to focus on is increasing your engagement. Having an audience that regularly engages and resonates with your content will increase your chances of being noticed by brands. Engagement can be in the form of likes, comments, shares, and saves. Creating sharable, valuable content will spark engagement and help you get to know what your target audience likes and dislikes.
Related Post: How to Increase Engagement Organically on Instagram
Here are a few ways you can improve your engagement:
- Write captions that educate/entertain
- Reply to your comments
- Engage with other people
- Focus on building genuine connections
- Respond to your DM’s as often as you can
I know this may sound overwhelming, however, you want to get to know your audience and build connections. This will lead people to continuously show up for you and trust your recommendations. Having the trust of your audience will come in handy when brands want you to promote their products. Brands want to see that your audience is interested in what you have to say!
Related Post: Must-Know Strategies for Increasing Instagram Followers
Post Honest Reviews
In the beginning, you can’t expect to get paid immediately for your content. You have to get your foot in the door and give brands a reason to work with you. It’s great to focus on establishing brand affinity. Brand affinity means that you’re a regular supporter of a company and their biggest fan. You’ve been using their products for a while and purchase them using your own money.
Start with the products you already use in your everyday routine and post a review about them. Make sure you tag the brand in the photo + caption so they can see it. Brands love to see when an Influencer talks about their products organically. This will show that you’re genuinely interested in their products and put you on their radar. Those same brands that you’re posting reviews for may want to collaborate with you in the future. My first paid campaign was with a brand I already supported and loved.
Although you’ll be creating this content for free, you have to start somewhere. When you’re ready to work with brands, you’ll be able to refer back to this organic content and show how well it performed.
Please don’t share a positive review if a product didn’t work for you. Your audience + brands can tell if you’re being genuine or not. If you want to gain the trust of others, it’s best to remain authentic and be honest. Everything won’t work for you, however, it doesn’t mean someone else won’t be interested. Your review will notify them of things they should look out for if they do decide to purchase it.
Pitch to Brands
After you have worked on building your following and engagement, you’re in the position to start pitching yourself to brands. I know this sounds scary, and I don’t blame you for being nervous! However, you can’t expect to get anything if you don’t ask for it. Don’t sit back and wait for brands to reach out to you for a collaboration. You have to stand out from the crowd of other Influencers within your niche by putting yourself on their radar.
Related Post: How to Confidently Pitch Yourself to Brands
Before you pitch to a brand, you want to have an idea of what you can offer them. What value can you bring to their brand that would make the collaboration successful? Do you have the target audience they’re looking for? Are you viewed as an expert in your niche and know your audience trusts your recommendations?
I’d recommend pitching to smaller/medium-sized brands first. It may be difficult to get the attention of bigger brands, but it’s not impossible. It may be easier to collaborate with brands closer to your size in the beginning. This will help you grow and gain more experience when you’re ready to start working with popular brands in the future. Remember, you have to start somewhere!
I used to believe that you had to be popular on social media to become an Influencer, however, that’s not the case. Everyone has something unique to offer through their content, and sharing your voice with the world will help you stand out from the rest. If you’re passionate about creating content, follow these steps to establish yourself as an expert within your niche and start your journey.
You can’t expect massive growth overnight. Also, don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. Continue to stay consistent with putting out good-quality, valuable content, forming genuine connections, and growing your personal brand.