Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Becoming a social media influencer is a goal for quite of a number of people online. There’s a good reason for that. There’s money to be made.

Influencer marketing has become big money for brands. It’s estimated that companies will spend between $5 – $10 billion paying influencers to promote their products.

That’s because there’s power in social media. People are 71% likely to make a purchase based on a social media referral.

Do you want to start making real money as a social media influencer? Reason to find out how.

What’s Your Niche?

Becoming a social media influencer doesn’t just happen. It’s not like you set up an account, post pictures of your cat, and then you’re an influencer.

Sorry, it doesn’t work like that.

The steps to become a social media influencer takes planning and patience. The first step in the planning process is to decide what your niche is.

Your niche will help you drill down your content into specific topics. For example, if your niche is fitness, then your content can be workouts, motivational quotes, weight loss tips.

Becoming an influencer in your niche will also make it easier for a brand to find you. In the fitness niche, you may attract supplement brands, fitness equipment brands, or weight loss programs.

Pick Your Dream Brands to Work With

Now that you have your niche, you get to figure out which brands you would love to work with. Don’t just target the big brands like Nike or Adidas.

Yes, those are great to target, but there are plenty of brands to target between having a small following now and where you want to be.

Look at all brands in your niche, large and small. Which ones would you love to work with? What is it about those brands that make you want to work with them?

Follow these brands online and get a sense of the content that they regularly post.

Look at Others in Your Niche

You’re going to be competing against thousands of others trying to become influencers in your niche. Just look up hashtags related to your niche in Instagram and you’ll see posts of people who are puffing themselves up.

These aren’t the people you want to follow. Look for people in your nice with over 20,000 followers. These people should also have a low number of people that they follow, too.

Look at how often they post and the type of content they post. Look at their profile pages and see how they sell themselves in the bio. Look at the look and feel of the pages. On Instagram, do they have the same look, or is it disjointed?

Do this for the top 5 accounts in your niche and follow them.

Figure Out Your Brand

You need a brand. No, not a logo, a brand. A brand is something that you are promising your followers. In fitness, it may be weight loss without dieting.

If you’re in the lifestyle niche, you might decide that your brand is about doing the impossible. You might be inspired to help others build a business or live a dream.

This is critical to figure out now because it will drive all of your content. It will also attract brands that are aligned with yours, so choose carefully.

Pick Your Social Media Channels

This is the easy part. Pick your social media channels. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself by choosing a dozen different channels. Pick one or two to start with and do them well.

Instagram seems like the most obvious choice because that’s where the money is. You can also take a moment to decide to invest in Instagram tools to help your account grow.

Other channels can include Amazon (see below), Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Make a Plan

Before you start posting, you need to make a plan. No matter what channel you chose, you need to know what kind of content your audience is looking for.

You should have a few ideas based on what you’ve seen others do in your niche and what type of content brands are posting.

Draw an outline of how you can make a difference in the lives of your followers. You also want to note how you plan to do that differently than all the other influencers out there.

Instagram Influencer Tips

To be an Instagram influencer, you need to do a few things and do them well. Here’s what you need to have:

  • A clean, consistent look in your posts.
  • Post consistently.
  • Connect with other influencers in your niche.
  • Use the right hashtags.
  • Comment on other posts in your niche.
  • Have a call to action in your posts.

The most important thing to do is to add value in a way that’s unique to you. Do that well and follow the tips outlined here, you’ll be a social media influencer in no time.

Become an Amazon Influencer

Amazon recognized that money is being spent on influencer marketing and decided it was time to jump in the game, too.

It created the Amazon Influencer program, which is similar to affiliate marketing. Instead of promoting products on your website, you have your own branded storefront.

You promote products related to your niche and drive traffic to your storefront. If people make a purchase, you get a commission.

In order to qualify, you do need to have built up a following. Your content also has to be relevant, too.

Now, brands have plenty of options to promote their products on Amazon. In addition to the Amazon Influencer program, brands can tie that together with Sponsored Products. You can learn more about sponsored products here.

The Secret to Becoming a Social Media Influencer

Becoming a social media influencer is really about becoming a master at branding. You promise your audience something unique that they need. It could your weight loss journey or your ability to travel the world and work from anywhere.

Your brand can teach people to dream to do these things for themselves. If you can do that well, that one thing, above everything else will be enough to build a loyal following.

You can then leverage that loyal following into a new career as an influencer. When you start earning money, you’ll want to read this to learn how to earn more money as an Instagram influencer.