What I’ve written over the past several months is what I hope you’ll find to be a detailed guide on how to become what you might consider a top tier influencer and is meant to be a companion piece with the Ultimate Guide to Using Influencer Marketing. The process is designed to start with understanding visibility, picking a focus on where you have the most capacity to influence, learning how to expand on that capacity, learning a variety of tactics and concepts for audience growth, and along the way, perhaps transforming your life in a positive manner.
Before you embark on what I hope is a whirlwind of success becoming the next big thing in…whatever it is that interests you, I want to provide some advice that transcends the rest of the series.
- Disclose — proper disclosure is very important and can keep you out of trouble. According to our research, adding #ad as a minimal disclosure on Tweets, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Instagram posts doesn’t even impact the bottom line. However, it can keep you from being targeted with fines for not following the rules. When in doubt, disclose.
- Honesty — if you’re offered money and asked to review a product or service in a way that isn’t in line with reality, turn it down. This goes along with proper disclosure, because you are attaching your name to the review — there are still ways to provide an honest review without slamming a product or service by focusing on attributes that you do like, but don’t lie. Think about how you’d feel if you bought the product based on someone else’s review only to find out it wasn’t any good, and then keep that feeling in mind as you review.
- Have fun — this is an opportunity to be paid for playing around in an area that interests you, so don’t forget to let yourself enjoy the experience. If by the end of the process you say “I actually get paid to do this”, then I’ll have done my job.
Are you ready? I won’t use the cliché of “kid, I’m going to make you a star” but I would be very happy if that was the outcome.
Get an understanding on the importance of visibility as it pertains to the influencer’s journey, which includes a primer on how visibility works on Amazon, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. Finally, a teaser on engagement and the importance of interlinking social profiles.
Reference: Tiffany Sun
Reference: Ramya Menon
Reference: Lee Odden
After visibility is understood, the most critical step is to select a focus and remain committed to that focus. Learn how to cultivate your persona and utilize various tools to source content which can help you to get started in that niche. The goal is to work towards expertise.
Reference: Nic Haralambous
Reference: Adelyn Zhou
Reference: Oleksiy Kuryliak
Reference: Sean Ogle
Reference: Mike Koenigs
Grasp the importance of optimizing for one’s niche and how it pertains to content marketing and SEO. Then, explore an in-depth look at how to specifically source and utilize trends and content discovery on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube for the purposes of crafting an optimization strategy for your persona. Example persona chosen for this primer is that of a cosmetics blogger.
Reference: Catalin Zorzini
Reference: Austin Iuliano
Reference: Anne DiVitto
Reference: Larry Kim
Reference: Scott Kleinberg
Reference: Instagram Engineering
Reference: Tony Yeung
Should you accept every pitch? Should you negotiate? Why, when, and what for? Learn the importance on negotiating for fit as it pertains to niche optimization and when the lure of money should override that fit using the Take It? (TI) calculation; the assumptive examples for the calculations come from the skincare industry.
Becoming an authoritative influencer from scratch is not an easy process. Learn how to mentally handle the inevitable dips that occur, get inspired by how others have dominated social influence before you came onto the scene, and understand that while it may take 10,000 hours of consistent effort before you’re an expert, it’ll only take 400 hours before you are not half bad.
Reference: Andy Drish
Reference: Jon Collins
Reference: Steve Campbell
Quality is a term too-often used without providing explanation; understand how we define quality to mean depth of material using the humor niche as an example on YouTube with lip reading dubs and crank calls, and then with children’s book parodies on Twitter.
Reference: John-Henry Scherck
Feedback is critical for any influencer looking to improve. Learn first how to solicit internal feedback, how to listen to unsolicited feedback, and how to engage with your audience for feedback purposes.
Reference: Dan Wilkerson
Reference: Gary Vaynerchuk
Reference: Nicole Williams
Breaking news isn’t always the best strategy for influencers. Learn, using a lesson from content marketing, the differences and advantages/disadvantages to being the fastest, the most accurate, or simply the best influencer for a niche.
Reference: Josh Stearns
Reference: Tyler Hakes
Reference: Cision NA
Reference: First Draft
Using travel industry influencers as an example, explore how to involve your broader niche community into your overall practice, trading leads in order to remain focused, collaborating to improve quality, and simply looking out for each other.
Reference: steve blank
Reference: Dan Brown
Reference: Evan Carmichael
Reference: John Clark ►
Outreach is not an activity that should be left only to brands and their agencies. Learn how to apply a series of tactics designed to help you stand out from your influencer peers, why you need to be ever-present, and when you might want to consider getting trained.
Reference: Brendan McCaughey
Reference: Paul Kemp
Reference: John Rampton
Reference: Jeff Bullas
Reference: Roberto Blake
Some amount of audience growth potential boils down to being in the right place at the right time. By using a helpful heuristic, learn how to determine if it is too early when adopting new social networks as part of your routine or if a network has entered the Goldilocks zone for your niche.
Reference: Steve Bowbrick
Reference: Rebekah Radice
Reference: Jason M. Lemkin
Reference: Michael Dempsey
There’s more to networking than DMs and e-mails. Using online marketers as an example influencer niche get a better understanding on why you should make yourself known in person and what type of events might make the most sense for you. Use the Should I Attend heuristic to quickly filter opportunities from distractions.
Reference: Alex Soojung-Kim Pang PhD
One of the fastest ways to be viewed in your community as an expert is to become a published author; it’s one of the reasons this guide even exists. Learn how to get yourself motivated, organized, and on track to publish your first book, as well as the importance of promoting the book.
Reference: Mike Troiano
Reference: Jeff Goins
Reference: Chris Danilo
Reference: Yann Girard
Reference: Poornima Vijayashanker
Reference: Paul Jarvis
Reference: PositivePhil Podcast
Your work cannot exist in a vacuum. Learn the basics of syndication, promotion, and amplification and how they can help you to improve the size of your audience.
Reference: Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
Reference: Justin Jackson
Reference: James Carbary
Reference: Warren Knight
One of the most resilient forms of marketing and income generation is still email; learn why you need to be maintaining an email list, how to build the list, and what type of value your audience expects in exchange for giving you their email.
Reference: Michael K. Spencer
Reference: Ryan Hoover
Reference: Poornima Vijayashanker
Reference: James Carbary
Reference: Roger Dooley
Reference: Julia Jornsay-Silverberg
Reference: Chris Spurvey
There you have it. I’ve provided a set of tools that, when used correctly, can help a person fresh to a social network grow to respectable size and income using influencer marketing. I’ve armed you as best I can and now the rest is up to you. Peer level influencer marketing works, and you can be a part of it. When I started my two guides for how to use influencer marketing and this, on becoming a top tier influencer, we at Intellifluence didn’t have a very large reach.
And now? As of writing this, the numbers are already outdated due to a constant flow influencer signups, but stew on this: in aggregate our reach is now bigger than Kim Kardashian…just by connecting with ordinary individuals every day for 9 months.
Know what is crazier? By the time this material is published in a book, assuming it is by the close of 2017, our reach will be 3x-10x+ current reach. Agencies and brands cannot ignore the power of peers and what they bring, nor the risk mitigation provided. This is good for you, it is good for me, and it is good for them. Expect a wild ride in the next couple of years because influencer marketing isn’t going away; I hope you end up riding along with us.
Joe, CEO and Co-Founder of Intellifluence, has close to 20 years of experience in SEO, leading several successful marketing companies and providing expert consultation. He is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Using Influencer Marketing, which is available as an eBook or in print.