Social media influencer is a term we hear a lot these days. In fact, it’s a term that’s almost transformed into an occupation of sorts. If you look on LinkedIn, you’ll find people listing ‘Social Media Influencer’ under their job descriptions. It makes sense, social media influencers can make a lot of money; people do it for a living.

What do they do? Essentially, they grow an online presence and gain a loyal following across one particular social networking platform – or multiple ones. From here, they’ve got a stage to voice their opinions and influence their followers. Big name brands and companies recognize this, and they make contact with the influencer. Sometimes influencer deals are made, sponsorships are proposed, when this happens the influencer gets paid (monetarily or with complimentary products) to advertise and help promote different brands.

You may not have thought that this was common practice, but some of the top social media influencers get paid thousands just to post promotional tweets or Instagram photos. Generally speaking, the larger following you have, the more influencer potential you have. As a result, brands are likely to pay you top dollar as they know your influence will have an impact on their target audience.

Does working from home and potentially getting paid a lot of money, sound good to you? For many, this type of thing is an absolute dream, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. To help you better understand how being an influencer works and to help you get started on establishing yourself in this emerging market, I’ve put together this guide to becoming a successful influencer on social media. Read it, take notes, and start your influencer journey.

Commit To Part-Time

The biggest mistake you can make is to jump into this idea full-time. Don’t quit your job to become a social media influencer! That’s a surefire way to put more pressure on yourself and almost guarantee failure.

Yes, being a successful social influencer can replace your full-time job. But, it can take time to get to that position. You’re far better off committing to it part-time at first. Create an account on social media and dedicate it to something. Personally, I think Instagram or YouTube are the best platforms for this. Instagram is a great place to create a page around a passion of yours. You could start a fitness account where you post photos and updates of your fitness journey. This is one of the most popular ways of becoming an influencer on this platform. YouTube allows you to make a channel where you can post videos about whatever you want. Again, a great way of building a brand.

Start with your account and an idea of what you’re going to post about. Try and find a niche as this will make it easier to gain an audience from the beginning. Post regularly, make it work around your full-time job. The more successful you get, then you can evaluate whether or not you should commit full-time.

Grow Your Following

The biggest step is growing your audience and getting a large, loyal, following. This can be tricky, but there are a few things you can do to make life easier.

First – post regularly. People like following accounts that post regularly and keep them updated, if you post once in a blue moon you’ll struggle to get followers.

Second – be genuine! Don’t lie about who you are, be honest about everything. Authenticity is the best policy when it comes to growing a social media following.

Complement Your Social Media Presence With A Website

As a social media influencer, you may think all your time and effort needs to be dedicated to social media. However, you should complement your social presence with a website. Create a stunning site for your personal brand, and you can use it in many ways to improve your position. Find yourself a good SEO expert, and you can build a site that brings in a lot of web traffic. Web traffic can then be converted into social media followers if you direct them to your social channels, growing your audience.

Not only that, but you could use your website to post blog articles that you’ve written up. A lot of influencers do this when working with brands as it gives them more avenues to promote things. You could agree to create posts on social media, but also offer to write a couple of blog posts as well. This means you can ask for more money, and companies will like the fact their product is promoted through a blog that anyone can find by searching via Google. As well as this, a website could also be used to sell merchandise. Many successful influencers release their own merch to bring in extra revenue.

Don’t Become A Brand Whore

When you start becoming successful, brands will start to contact you. It’s vital you make the right decisions to keep your own personal brand strong. It sounds a little crass, but don’t become a brand whore. Don’t get in bed with every company that comes your way to promote their products. Only work with brands that align with your personal brand and that you believe in. This gives you integrity, which your followers will love, they’ll hate it if you become a sell-out, and you might lose followers.

Likewise, when you’re first growing your audience, you may have to reach out to brands to work with them. Don’t be afraid to send an email or private message to a company you’d like to work with. You’ll be surprised at how many are keen to get on board with influencers. Again, don’t look for any old brand, choose ones relevant to you!

At the end of the day, becoming a successful social media influencer won’t happen overnight. But, if you follow the advice in this guide, you’ll set yourself on the right path. Social media is so powerful these days, if you become a big influencer it could change your life forever!

*this is a contributor written post