Some of the biggest influencers are not actors, politicians and musicians. It’s ordinary people like you and me. They harness their love for their domain- music, fashion, food, beauty- and spin it into a money making venture for them. Social media influencers wield unimaginable power among their audience members and use the power to affect purchases in products and services.

The easiest way to influence today is to use technology, especially the internet. Social media influencers are rock stars in their own right, commanding endorsements and attention. It’s a position of power and you can be that person too.

Here are tips on how to be a social media influencer:

  • Study your passion – it’s tempting to spread yourself across different genres in order to maximise your influence sphere, but don’t do it. It will become difficult to give a commitment to each area and you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin to make a meaningful impact. Figure out what you’re most enthused about and learn whatever you need to know about it. Study it, analyse it, follow it before you decide to go through with it.
  • Know what you’re good at- once you’ve figured out your passion, think about what you’re good at. What can you do to make your passion shine through? Do you want to create content rich blogs? Do you want to take fabulous photographs and shoot video? Would you like to put it all in song? Depending on what you’re good at, you’ll need to think of where to create your influence.
  • Understand where you want to do your work-if it’s content-driven, look for a blog hosting site. For pictures, Instagram would be a great choice. YouTube is fabulous as well, but is not as simple as the others. LinkedIn has a publishing option as well. Being on a professional site like this will add to your aura of being an influencer. Find your niche and make your presence felt.
  • Stay on top of your game- creating great content is required but that’s not enough to get you to the next step. Keep abreast of the latest trends in your niche- check statistics, numbers and figures. Make sure you don’t miss out on new features and updates- sign up to be in the loop. Most platforms have blogs and you should be reading up on them so as to keep in touch with the way it all works. Read every day and learn about what you must and must not do.

    Use Google Alerts to keep you informed. Whether it’s a post, a press release or a new article, you’ll be notified when something crops up. This is extremely important because one of the key points of being an influencer is the ability to stay in touch with the latest. Your audience will be thankful for the current information and you’ll be able to continue to be a person of influence.

  • Widen your circle of influence- while your first priority should be your own social media pages, see if you can tie up with other content spaces too. For instance, if your interest is in beauty products consider writing a column in a magazine for a period of time, addressing reader questions. Or if your interest is technology, then write about your perceptions of the latest products on the market. You get to address a different audience and you will increase the size of your existing audience. More importantly, being approached by a newspaper, magazine, or site of repute goes a long way in enhancing your own reputation as well.
  • Engage- you cannot create credibility or believability among people if you only post and do nothing else. Influence doesn’t happen in isolation and so you need to listen and reply. Get on Quora and talk to people. Host a chat or conference on Twitter and online. It’s important to share comments and ideas, not just reviews. This will also help you see what everyone is saying and address any issues there might be.
  • Do not compromise on quality- influencers are wooed by brands and marketers because of the value they get. Part of the process is giving influencers the product to try out. That’s understandable. Sometimes marketers pay influencers to help with a new product or launch. They hire the expert. This is also alright. What’s not is if the product isn’t good or not up to standard, you still write a positive review. This is misleading and it is unfair as well.

    Do not write anything untrue or unreal. Be honest with yourself, the producer and your audience. Anything less is unacceptable.

An influencer’s job isn’t pure marketing. Yes, it brings in business. Yes, it’s good for brands and products. But the influencer has an important role. It is to make sure that the faith reposed in them is never compromised. Remember this and you’ll not go wrong.