To become an influencer is the dream of many people. But to be successful with it and to lead a not only somehow glamorous but also lucrative influencer life requires hard work. Although some people know this by now, they might not be aware of how exactly one can become an influencer and earn money with it. So if you would like to become a social media star in 2020 and are wondering how to approach the project, this article is for you!

What exactly is an Influencer?

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Even though the term influencer is currently a trendy word and is now used almost inflationarily, the principle behind it is neither new nor mythical. Influence in English simply means to influence – and that is exactly what the influencer does. The principle has been used in marketing for ages. A well-known person, who has respect, prestige and great fame is used in advertising by talking about a product, using it himself, expressing his opinion etc. This can be a film star, an expert, a journalist, etc. However, this should not be confused with an advertising spot, which is immediately recognized as a paid action and loses credibility.

Instagram, YouTube, blogs – how does Influencer Marketing work?

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An influencer is an opinion leader who comments on a usually specific topic and uses a specific channel for this purpose. In Influencer Marketing these are social networks and blogs. However, it is very important to maintain credibility, integrity and authenticity, because that is what success is based on. Influencer marketing is not perceived as advertising, but as a serious recommendation from a specialist in a particular field.

Advertising in general is an emotional matter, and this is what influencer marketing does best. Because the influencer builds a real relationship with his followers. Experience reports are much more likely to tempt us to buy a product or service than a 08/15 commercial. By the way, it is not always just about the purchase, but also about brand presence and positioning. Many of the currently incredibly popular challenges are only really given a boost by Influencer si.

Micro Influencer: Opinion forming in small format

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Very few influencers reach millions of followers. Cases like YouTuber PewDiePie (80 million subscribers – as of January 2019) or superstars like Beyonce (122 million followers on Instagram – as of January 2019) are absolute exceptions. Especially in German-speaking countries this is difficult to achieve and even a celebrity like Bianca Heinicke (aka BibisBeautyPalace, with about 6 million Instagram followers – as of January 2019) is rather a small fish. Nevertheless, nobody should stop this, because even so-called micro influencers with a following of about 5,000-100,000 followers can have a huge influence in an industry and can be called key influencers.

Successful micro-influencers share a very important characteristic: they have perfected the factor authenticity.

Influencer – the private becomes the public

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In very many cases, for influencers, private life and work become blurred. Because almost always the supposed hobby becomes a job. Holidays without smartphone – unthinkable. City stroll without funny photos that are posted – rather not. Just doing sports, no, because the new energy drink has to be put in the right light, the new lycra or the great fitness shoes or equipment has to be used.

After all, the followers want to know what your idol does, how he or she is dressed, which restaurants and events are visited, etc. So being an influencer requires self-marketing and also a pretty thick skin, because of course troll attacks and negative comments can also happen. You have to be able to handle this and the skin must not be too thin.

For beginners it becomes more and more difficult to become an influencer

At the beginning of the influencer boom it was certainly much easier to become an influencer because there was little competition and the name was made relatively quickly. In the meantime there are many influencers and it is best to find a good niche. Although it may not be as highly paid as fashion and fitness, for example, you have a better chance of standing out due to less competition.

However, it is important that you have a solid knowledge of the area and a real passion for the subject. Because both of these things will be noticed quickly by the users and that gives credibility and makes your posts and pictures attractive.

Here are six concrete tips:

  • Find your own niche
    Even if, as I said before, the most important thing is that you have a solid knowledge and a real passion for the subject, you should still check if you can narrow down the niche and specialize further. For example, if you are an enthusiastic hobby chef, then the topic of cooking is certainly obvious, but you can check to see if there is a specific area, such as vegan cooking, gluten-free recipes, etc., which is not yet so crowded. The same goes for fashion for a special target group, trips to certain areas or certain types of holidays (single only, adventure holidays, photo safaris, etc.)
  • Develop your own style
    Users generally love accounts that have an unmistakable style, e.g. particularly minimalist with lots of white space, bright colors, lots of black and white photos, etc. No matter what, the more precisely your style is recognizable, the better.
    Apart from that, you should make sure that the pictures are sharp, well aligned and taken as professional as possible.
  • Using hashtags correctly
    Especially in the beginning hashtags are the easiest way to achieve a good range. It is important that the hashtag is chosen correctly. You can simply google to see which hashtags other users typically use for pictures of this kind. It also makes more sense to use German hashtags than English hashtags if you write in German. 9 to 11 hashtags are a good guideline. These can be put in the post or in the first comment.
  • Be active
    As an Influencer you have to be active all the time, this means not only posting regularly, sometimes maybe just a small comment, sometimes something longer, or just a photo. But this is not enough, you should also post on other Likes, leave comments and look for inspiration somewhere else. In short – stay up to date and do not rest on your laurels.
  • Quality instead of quantity
    However, this should not mean that the quality suffers and you are only worried about the quantity. As a guideline, 3 to 4 good posts per day can be considered. Many successful accounts even post only one image per day. The time of day also plays an important role. Pictures that are posted early in the morning or in the evening are often more successful, simply because more people see them. Many can hardly visit social media during working hours and do so before or after work.
  • Staying true to yourself
    Being authentic is still one of the most important rules. Who pretends to be authentic just to please the followers is not credible and cannot maintain this in the long run. Once credibility has been lost, the damage is difficult to repair. In addition, you also have to stay on the ground, because even if you proudly broke through the much longed-for 10,000 follower mark, this does not mean that they all remain loyal. So always stay on the ball, give your best and never lose the fun!