By Haley Chung

As social media rises to the top as an effective marketing tool, social media influencing has become an increasingly legitimate career path. One the surface, the job seems glamorous, fun, and easy—influencers post selfies in exchange for party invitations, free vacations to Europe, and closets full of designer clothes. But how do you reach that point where big brands line up to work with you? Here are five tips that, paired with hard work and resilience, can help you become a social media influencer!

 

1. Find a niche.

There are 1 billion active monthly users on Instagram, with over 110 million in the U.S. alone. Finding a niche not only allows you to stand out, but fulfill a want for a certain audience. For example, makeup-lovers turn to James Charles for beauty advice, while young adults turn to Emma Chamberlain for lifestyle videos, while vegans turn to Chloe Coscarelli for vegan recipes. Not having a niche can make you indistinguishable from the other millions of influencers. But having a niche allows you to attract an audience that follows you for your content. 

 

2. Post regularly.

Once you’ve figured out your niche, it’s important to post regularly. Posting 5-7 times a week is ideal to continuously engage your audience and constantly provide fresh content. This is where the hard work and persistence kick in! It can be difficult to regularly generate content, which is why it may be helpful to plan out a calendar full of ideas and posts beforehand. 

 

3. Hashtag wisely.

One of the best ways to reach new (and niche-specific) audiences is to hashtag. But did you know that you have to hashtag wisely? It may be tempting to use the most basic hashtags like #influencer because it already has 25.2 million posts and must be super active, right? But if you’re just starting out with a small following, your posts will never reach the top of those hashtags as bigger creators with higher engagement will be prioritized. So tailor your hashtags to specific niches and find ones that have less posts (anywhere from 500—10K depending on how big your following is) so that your posts can always be boosted to the top of that hashtag!

 

4. Build trust.

When you’re first starting out, it can be tempting to accept offers from any brands that contact you. But in order to build trust with your followers, it’s important to only partner with legitimate brands whose products actually appeal to you. It’s obvious to followers when an influencer accepts every partnership, and that can lead them to put less trust in the influencer’s recommendations and ultimately unfollow. 

 

5. Engage with your audience.

Lastly, it’s vital to engage with your audience in any way you can! This can take the form of Instagram story polls, giveaways, or even just replying to comments. Engaging with your audience not only humanizes you as a creator, but allows them to see you as an active influencer who cares about your followers. This can lead to more loyalty, incentive to comment, and followers in the long-term!

 

If it’s your dream to become a social media influencer, it’s never too late to begin building your platform. It may seem daunting initially, but these steps and a little bit of perseverance are enough to get you started!

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