For businesses and other marketers, the Internet is one massive audience waiting to be tapped. However, getting even a portion of that to look your way is no easy task. This is why you will want to become an online influencer. Influencers are listened to, and that is what you want.
But establishing yourself as one is not something that you can do quickly. You need to gradually build your reputation from the ground up. Read on to learn how you can turn yourself into an influential force on the internet, and use that position to your advantage.
Why you would want to become an online influencer
One question that you will likely ask before proceeding is why become an online influencer in the first place. There are a multitude of reasons, and each one can either help your business or your professional career.
Create a huge following
Attracting a large crowd to your brand requires a lot of effort. Being an influencer makes the task easier, as people will come to you naturally. Furthermore, the following you gain here will prove to be more loyal, creating longer retention.
Many online influencers are noted just because of how large they’re following is:
@katyperry has so many followers you think the whole population is following her.
— Lèsely Moore Jr. (@signedbylesely) September 20, 2016
Bring in potential customers and referrals
With the huge following that you attract as an influencer also comes plenty of potential customers. Each of your followers can also be utilised for bringing in more referrals, letting you grow your audience further.
— Local Beer Works (@localbeerworks) January 28, 2017
Creating and directing trends to your favor
Trends are some of the biggest drivers of consumer behavior, especially online. Thus, being able to harness the power of trends will definitely benefit your business. Your status as an online influencer gives you just that, not only letting you steer ongoing trends, but also create your own. Much of this is going to be done through your hashtag marketing strategy.
Understanding how influence works online
Another thing you need to have a good grasp of when it comes to online influence is how it actually works. Understanding this part will help you better use the status, not only for your own benefit but also for your followers.
What makes one an online authority
Authority is an important aspect of developing your influencer status. People are always looking for high-quality actionable content on the Internet. Online influencers are the ones who come in to fill that need.
But who decides authority? Ultimately, it’s users themselves who determine which content and personalities they consider as authoritative. And often, that decision is based on how much the content provider is able to engage them. This engagement can come down to:
- How many followers you have on any platform.
- The number of views your YouTube videos get.
- How many responses you get in the form of replies and comments.
- If your content is being shared.
Thus, to become an online influencer, you need to continuously engage with the audience. And this not only about providing information, but also other activities including building social connections and improving your interactions with your audience. All of these help build you as a figure that audiences can rely on.
For example, we know for certain that PewDiePie definitely an online influencer. All of his videos get millions of views, and he also has the most subscribers of all time. He exerts most of his influence in the video game industry. That’s why he created his own video game:
Having him review one of your games could be huge. But it would be even better if you had some of your own influence over an audience.
The psychology of online influence
Building your influence online goes much deeper, though. To make good use of your influence, you have to understand the psychology behind it. Aside from the above mentioned authority, psychologist Robert Cialdini identified five other principles to keep in mind:
- Reciprocity: In order for you to gain from your following, they also need to gain from you. Understand your goals as an influencer and how it matches with the goals of your audience. From there, you can better provide them with what are looking for.
- Consistency: Becoming an influencer is not a one-off thing. To keep your following, you have to consistently deliver quality content on demand. Commitment also plays a big role, you have to be decisive to follow through with any move you make.
- Liking: People are more inclined to follow those that they like. As such, you have to build yourself as someone likable to them. This starts with connecting and building your relationship with followers.
- Social proof: The Internet is often a numbers game, with those having a large following seen as being more credible. And this is what draws even more people towards these personalities, to be in with the crowd. This social proof also means they can be more readily persuaded to take your desired action. It is the key motivating factor in why people buy Twitter followers from us.
- Scarcity: People are often attracted to things that are limited in supply, mainly out of the fear of missing out. For you, the influencer, this gives the opportunity to help them in making decisions about the matter. You also get to share valuable insights on how to deal with their particular problems.
All of these principles combine to give you a clearer picture of how your audience thinks. When applying these principles, think about how they fall in line with your objectives, including how you intend to influence your follower base. From there, adjust your planned approach to suit the situation at hand.
Building your credibility
To effectively influence the audience in front of you, they must be first willing to believe what you have to say. This is where credibility means a lot. As such, building yourself as a credible source of information is the first step to take to become an influencer.
Bringing the right content
Content is often thought of as the single most important commodity online. Being able to provide valuable content to your audience is going to be your biggest role as an influencer. As such, you need to know how to pick the right kind of content they need.
Understanding your audience’s particular wants and needs become important here. Get that by interacting with them and asking directly. From there, use what you learn to sift through the multitude of content right at your disposal.
Small Business Trends’ Brian Knight notes that marketers are particularly useful here, as they create content targeting your audience. And since these marketers are going to actively connect with you to get to your following, you get access to plenty of content to distribute in return. Your fellow influencers can also be a good source of content to share. These are particularly good, as not only do you get to share high quality content, but also build your influencer network along the way.
Aside from others’ content, people also want to hear your thoughts and insights on topics within your niche. This is where you can bring in your expert knowledge to answer the questions asked by your audience. You can also address concerns or highlight the latest happenings within your industry that the audience needs to know.
Keeping the information flowing
As you have learned earlier, becoming an influencer is not a one-off thing. That is especially true when building your credibility. To be a credible source of information, you also need to provide that information whenever your audience wants or needs it.
Having a content release schedule is one way you can ensure that the information your audiences are looking for are delivered to them. Time the release of your content to when they are most likely consumed to make them more effective. You also need to advertise this content calendar just as the guys from Philip DeFranco does with his header image:
Creating so-called evergreen content is another way to provide information to your following. This content remains fresh and valuable for a long time. This is different from trending content, which is relevant only as long as the trend behind them lasts.
Evergreen content is also especially helpful for establishing credibility. Your followers can go back to and use it anytime they need to. Tutorials are some of the popular kinds of evergreen content you can create.
Presenting yourself the right way
Much like how people see you in person, your online credibility can also be affected by how they perceive you online. As such, establishing a good online persona is important.
This begins with your online profiles, be it your blog profiles or social media accounts. You want all of these to look professional. Your profile image on every social platform should be given a lot of attention as this is the first image people see when checking you out. Additionally, fill up all the pertinent details in your bio sections with up-to-date information. Lastly, be sure to provide accessible contact details people can use to reach you.
It’s more than just good-looking profiles, though. You have to follow that through with authenticity and honesty. Mashable’s John Rampton says that that being true to whatever you claim to espouse will lend more credence to what you want to say as an influencer. If you say you tweet about video games, you better tweet about video games like IGN:
— IGN (@IGN) February 6, 2017
This is especially the case when expressing your opinion. As an influencer even your personal opinion will hold a significant weight to your audience. As such, you have to be ready to stand by these opinions, even if they are not well-received. Being true to what you believe in will help you accomplish that task better.
Connecting with other influencers
Establishing your credibility by yourself can only do so much. At some point, you need to have others to vouch for it. And who better to do that than influential figures.
Building a relationship with other influencers begin with becoming one of their followers. Think about the personalities you looked up to during your early days in the industry. They likely remain as influential to you now as they were back then. As such, you definitely would want to connect with them. Luckily, social media has made has made keeping up with these influencers much easier.
More than following, you want these influencers to notice and acknowledge your work. For that, you have to grab their attention. Frequent mentions in your content, such as blog posts or videos, could do the trick here. Commenting on their own content is also a good tactic.
Of course, they need to have a reason to actually endorse your work to their own audiences. This where we go back to creating good content. Your content should something that would be of value to their own audience, such as:
- Topics that they have not yet touched upon.
- Supplementary content for their own work
- Response videos answering questions and/or calls they made
- Any content their audience will find interesting
All of this will likely catch the attention of the influencers, as they will also be looking for other material to share with their followers. Or you could go and send these directly to them.
Meeting with these influencers offline also helps in creating a connection with them. Conferences and trade shows, in particular, are popular venues where many influential personalities come together and share their knowledge. You could also attend the various events they organize. Once you make the initial connection, further that by inviting them to be guests to your own events. Harry can see Cmdr. Chris Hadfield was away on a sort of event…
@WilliamShatner Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we’re detecting signs of life on the surface.
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) January 3, 2013
Remember that, much like attracting followers, reaching out to fellow influencers is a gradual process. It might also not go out as you initially plan. But don’t be disheartened and just grab the next opportunity you see.
Choosing where to build your influence online
When striving to become an online influencer, you don’t simply go into every place you see on the internet. Instead, you have to carefully choose where to exercise your influence from to make the best impact in your limited time.
Your personal blog/website
Being your literal and figurative personal domain, your blog or website is where you would want to start. The biggest advantage with having a personal site orf blog is that you have full control of the content. This lets you better drive followers to your liking.
But to build that level of influence, your blog or website should have a clear focus. PR Newswrite for Journalists’ Amanda Hickens says that a good way to do this is by documenting the content strategy you use. It would also be helpful to write down your blog’s purpose and goals. This way, you can keep track and ensure that the content you release is helping you meet these goals.
Leveraging your brand’s unique aspects also plays an important role in casting influence. Thus, instead of just using pre-made blog or website themes, invest on getting a unique one made for these. Additionally, inject your unique spin on the content you provide. This will help you catch the interest of the audience further.
But, don’t limit yourself to just your blog. Do guest posts on other blogs to expand your reach. High-profile sites like Social Media Today, Hubspot, and Smashing Magazine accept posts from different general and niche writers. Tapping into your influencer network is also a great way to get increased publication space. In return, offer them the the opportunity to post on your own blog.
Social media influencers
Social media is arguably one of the biggest developments on the internet. And it has shown time and time again that it has the power to sway public opinion. Hence, it’s no surprise that this is where you want to go next when building your online influence.
One thing to keep in mind when creating your presence on social media is that it is not about you. Rather, it is about the online community. You should focus on friendly competitions with others on social media, instead of trying to wall yourself up. Collaborations with others, in particular, are going to be mutually beneficial for all the parties involved.
Follower engagement is also important in establishing your influence on social media. Pay close attention to what your audience responds and doesn’t respond to. From there, engage them with more of the same content. Use tools like bought likes and retweets to boost this content and make them more visible to your audience.
Establishing your online influence is not confined to cyberspace, though. In fact, people become more willing to follow an influencer if they get to see him in person, instead of just reading on or hearing them on the internet.
Like what was mentioned earlier, conferences are some of the venues you can use for your personal appearances. Organizations like TED, in particular, regularly hold conferences where emerging industry experts and members are given the chance to present their ideas to a live audience. Make the most out of these opportunities not only to reach out to the larger public, but also to connect with other experts.
But that opportunity would be wasted if you don’t have a good presentation ready. Note that this isn’t just about the the Powerpoint slides or the videos. How you interact with the audience in front of you will affect their receptiveness to your ideas. Speak with confidence to show authority on the topic at hand.
Audience engagement becomes even more important here. Encourage them to ponder upon the points you present and ask questions about it. From there, build a discussion that will not only answer the questions they pose, but also get them to act on the questions you pose in the talk.
Be an online influencer in your niche
You can become an online influencer and be a trusted voice in your industry. This is not just about your ego, and having the most followers, because being an influencer online can seriously have a positive impact on your business.
In your quest to become an influencer you have to consider where you want to exert your influence. The most common areas are:
- Your blog or website
- Social media websites you use
- Personal appearances you make
Each of these places are avenues where you can become an online influencer. The key to how you’ll become an online influencer on any of these platforms is going to come down to the content you share. The content you share must:
- Be relevant to your niche
- Have a consistent schedule
- Be presented professionally
- Find ways to connect with other online influencers
If you do all of this, and do it consistently for an extended period of time, you will one day be seen as an online influencer for your niche. It won’t happen overnight, and you can use our services to help you along, but you will get there with persistence.