It may look like it’s a new trend, but influencers have actually been around for a very long time. The classic one that comes to mind is Farah Fawcett advertising hair care products – and I was not even born at that time. It’s true that there is a greater number of influencers today – due to the reach of social media – and that, luckily, you don’t have to be a famous movie star or a highly notorious person to become one.
Building your reputation and your audience takes time, determination, and planning. But, if you do it right, you’ll end up a respected voice in your field, and you’ll get to monetize your expertise as well as become better at selling your products.
Dream big but start small
Choosing a niche should not be very hard. If your knowledge and interest are mainly about learning, you have a large selection to pick from. You can either research to see which niches are the least covered and specialize in those or go with whatever your field of expertise is. The point is to establish yourself as an important voice among your peers and your audience.
Effective influencers are made through organic growth, so don’t expect miracles and don’t get frustrated if you don’t reach fame overnight. Every new follower and share matter, so focus on getting those and work at being genuinely relevant to them.
Create your brand
Once you know what niche you will be starting with, it’s time to figure out how you want to be perceived. Everything from the colors and imagery you pick to represent you to the tone of voice, the frequency with which you post, and the type of content you share will matter in the overall brand.
You’ll also have to create your own mission statement, both to share with your audience and to have it constantly in the back of your mind. Reputation is key when it comes to influencers, so having a good mission statement and living by it will take you a very long way.
Choose the channels
Out of curiosity, I opened my browser history of today (clicks are so easy and natural I honestly do not remember everywhere I’ve been online), and it turns out that before noon I had already visited Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I almost went on LinkedIn too, but I can’t remember my password again, so I’ll reset it later.
The point was not to admit I’m a procrastinator who likes to surf the web a lot, but to show that there were at least four possibilities of getting my attention with interesting articles or products today.
You might not want to start your influencer journey on four different channels at once, but my advice is to pick at least two and have your own blog and website. Single points of presence are a lot less effective.
Create and curate good content
There are two types of content pieces – evergreen (the ones that remain relevant long after their first publication) and topical (articles that have to do with the current events or subjects that are very hot at a certain time but become obsolete rather quickly). You will have to feature both, as well as a range of other relevant resources from other content creators.
While it’s perfectly fine to use automation tools for posting, it’s very important to check in often and interact with your audience. Not only will you drive up your engagement rates, but you’ll also get a feel of what they want and manage to come up with items that are even better suited to your audience.
Network online and offline
They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and I find that very accurate. It also takes a lot of other influencers to grow one. Networking will get you far, so do your best to meet and support other relevant voices in your field.
Think about volunteering to make presentations for industry events, help to organize webinars and conferences, and just be present and helpful wherever there is a gathering of “your peeps”. You’ll not only get very valuable shout-outs, but you’ll also have the opportunity to learn a lot both about the subjects that interest you and about the influencer role.
Don’t let fame get to you
Influencers are so successful because they seem to be “one of us”. Audiences follow and trust them on account of their authentic voices.
Whether your initial goal was to become known to make a difference in your field or to have a more poignant message about your own work and promote your online courses, it’s important to stay who you were in the beginning. That’s why people followed you, and if you turn away from that, you’ll quickly lose them.
It’s also advisable to help out other smaller creators and show support for your growing community. Internet fame is a very fickle thing, and you’ll have to nurture it constantly.
Even if the first thing that comes to mind when we talk of influencers is pretty pictures of nice clothes and makeup with hashtags for every wardrobe and beauty product, this functions very well in other areas. To become an influencer in the e-learning field, you need to be passionate about it, find your niche, and work hard until your voice becomes acknowledged. Then, work even harder to stay there.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.