In a (post?) Kardashian world, hearing about influencers has been unavoidable. Yet, what is an influencer and why try to be one?

Influencer Marketing Hub said influencers possess two critical things: 1.) The power to affect what other people do –and– 2.) A distinct niche following. The latter serves as a vector for their influence, having allowed them to impact what others do on a gargantuan scale.

At the heart of why influencers have earned status is this: They care about what they do. Their passion for their niches have made them organic brand ambassadors. They have learned to not focus on power but to focus on what they love, gaining name recognition with those who share their passions.

While it takes work, being an influencer can offer tremendous benefits.

  • Flexibility: Influencers build their empires around their actual lives and interests Mondovo discovered.
  • Authenticity: Influencers earn more money, likes and traction by being themselves Tap Influence noted.
  • Independence: Influence on social media can launch businesses, products, services—or help them level-up—said Stephen Davies, digital strategist.
  • Passion: Influence’s biggest boon may be an ability to nurture deep community ties around a topic or cause that matters personally.

“Let’s be honest,” said Kasey Jones, founder of A Better Jones digital marketing agency. “You’re still going to have days that feel like work. But it becomes much easier to get through those really hard days when there’s something deeper that’s motivating you.”

Also co-founder of The Other Side of Sales podcast, Jones has grown a following on LinkedIn. (Connect!) Still, how does anyone achieve influencer status by being themselves? She and other highly effective influencers shared tips with Digital Unicorn readers who want to up their influencer games.

First, Jones suggested, soul search: “What kind of an impact do you want to have? When people see your content on social media, how do you want them to feel? What can you do or say to really convey that message? This process is actually a lot more introspective than it is exhibitionist.”

Know Your Niche

Next step. Tom Ward interviews successful influencers on YouTube and reported, in “Forbes,” that homing in on what fascinates people in a selected niche allows for the creation of deeply satisfying content on both ends. His tips for doing that included:

  • Roam the niche. Find out what platforms target followers have flocked to and identify known top performers in blogging, video, etc. Then search posts from newbies and seasoned pros for pain points they hinted at to offer “meaningful” solutions.
  • But stay focused. Content that resonates is written—from captions to blog posts and beyond—to inspire and motivate. Niche identified, get clear on what it wants. Regularly speak to that to build trust and expertise.
  • Engage. Relationships are cemented through interaction with followers. True influencers have learned to prioritize audience needs by rejecting affiliations and projects which may earn short-term attention but harm long-term credibility.

“You don’t need millions of followers,” Jones explained. “You just need the people who you really want to talk to. If your content is really targeted toward them and it’s really designed to help them, people will catch on and it’ll totally have an impact.”

Die-hard personal brand fans in the 1,000s are better than 100,000 who have never truly engaged.

Put in the Time

Effective influencers have put in regular, planned chunks of time with their profiles and followers. Social networking schedules have helped others avoid wasting time or succumb to distractions. Izaak Crook, of the App Institute, offered this online marketing advice:

  • Plan. Influencers never churn content randomly. They post, according to a master plan, at the same time every day—when they know they can interact. Followers are then primed on when to expect fresh content and feel rewarded for being there.
  • Again, engage. Where followers are concerned, more may not mean better: Focus on engagement, not numbers. Influencers with active, loyal followers have repeatedly found new ways to engage, inspire and mobilize them.
  • Capitalize. Skip that scheduled evergreen article to comment on a hot-topic niche issue, ask a question or share a recent poll.

And be who you are—not just an Influencer.

“You’re unique,” Jones urged. “Say and do the things that really mean something to you and I promise it will resonate with somebody out there. There’s something truly incredible about that first message where they say, ‘Thank you so much. I’ve been working on this.’ Or, ‘I’ve been struggling with this.’ Or, ‘You said it in a way that really hit home for me.’”

The Kardashians have mastered their game. How ’bout you?

[Editor’s Note: Want more influencer tips? Click on “Resources” at Plus? Subscribe to DU print for access to the long-form version of Karla’s story in our next edition.]


Chase that Digital Unicorn!

Like what you just read? Follow these select source links:

Davies, Stephen. “How to Become a Social Media Influencer: The Ultimate Guide” (March 4, 2020).

Influencer Marketing Hub. “What Is an Influencer?” (Feb. 29, 2020).

Jones, Kasey. “Resources.”

Tap Influence. “Influencer Marketing” (June 2, 2015).

Ward, Tom. “How to Become an Influencer: 10 Tips for Success” (Dec. 12, 2017).