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Published August 25th 2015

17 Top Tips on How to Become a Social Media Influencer

We asked social media influencers for top tips and practical advice on becoming an influencer on social media.

Influencer marketing has become one of the most effective channels to reach modern day consumers, whose interest and attention has become increasingly harder to capture.

Interestingly, word-of-mouth is now perceived as one of the most effective advertising methods, as customers often prefer to research a brand on their own and only rely on feedback or recommendations from someone they trust.

In a 2014 study from Augure, influencers were mostly defined as having three distinct characteristics:

  • 79% say influencers are able to mobilize opinions and create reactions.
  • 73% say influencers have large online communities focused on specific topics.
  • 62% say influencers have a significant share of voice on a given subject.

The impact of influencers on marketing campaigns continues to increase. They’re perceived as thought leaders, experts in their field, the most effective partners for sharing your brand’s messages and driving business your way.

But how do you get there? What are the key steps to follow when seeking to become an influencer yourself?

Following our Top Trumps Twitter campaign, we asked our Top Trumps which is the next big marketing development in their view, in an article published last week by Stuart Davidson, and this week we’re looking at their top rule for becoming an influencer on social.

1. Neal Schaffer (@NealSchaffer)

Be seen

From Twitter chats to Google Plus hangouts, Periscope broadcasts to in-person social media conferences, there is no better way to become a social media influencer, in addition to becoming a content creator and creating your own community, than by interacting with others, learning their needs, and helping them. With influence comes responsibility!

2. Ted Rubin (@TedRubin)

Engage, interact and build relationships

Build a personal brand that is authentic and transparent…and above all else, be true to yourself, passion is a key.

3. Lee Odden (@leeodden)

Have an active, focused and useful presence

The number of people publishing content on social networks is growing at a staggering rate. Standing out means not trying to be all things to all people. Stand for something specific and focus on going deep on that topic with your messaging, engagement, connections and content. Become the best answer for what you want to be influential about, and stand out by being unique.

4. Jeff Bullas (@jeffbullas)

Persist, persist, persist

Create great content that solves pain points and work on building as much earned attention on social media that is global and engaged.

5. Mari Smith (@MariSmith)

Publish quality content, consistently

The root word of ‘authority’ is ‘author.’ If you want to establish yourself as an influencer and an authority, you simply must write more.
Get your body of work out there in as many formats as possible: written (blog posts, email newsletter, social media posts), spoken (public speaking), audio (podcast, radio show), video (live and recorded), etc. Find the platforms that most resonate with you and where you can reach most of your audience and be consistent!

6. Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)

Be in the (viral) moment

Make sure you are part of the conversation, or even better, leading the conversation on social when something is going viral. If you’re not part of the moment, you cannot influence it.

7. Will McInnes (@willmcinnes)

Listen carefully

Publishing a stream of fragmented, unrelated posts on your social media channels is an easy way to lose followers – and credibility. This is a tactic that is easily said, and harder executed. Pay attention to industry news, read other people’s posts, and think before replying. Careful attention to detail and the simple act of listening first, rather than just publishing a barrage of content is a great way to escalate your social media presence to influential status. You will learn who the major players are in your area of interest and you’ll be better equipped to speak to them in their own language.

8. David Meerman Scott (@dmscott)

Create content for your buyers, not your own ego

On social networks be helpful 85 percent of the time by sharing and engaging, 10 percent publish original content and less than 5 percent talk about what your organization does.

9. Mike Allton (@mike_allton)

Be approachable

Unlike celebrities, we expect our educators to be approachable. We need to be able to reach out with our questions, and have a reasonable expectation for a response. By the same token, if you’re going to be an educational influencer on social media, you have to be prepared not only to receive many questions from your social followers, but to answer them as well.

10. Eric T. Tung (@EricTTung)

Engage with events

Attend industry conferences to meet people, and propose your own speaking session. If the large conferences are too big, consider starting at your local social media club, chamber of commerce or marketing association.

Once you have a large, vibrant, engaged community, I think that makes you an influencer, whether or not you’re recognized by lists.

11. Azeem Azhar (@azeem)

Figure out what you want to talk about

Be relevant, impactful and thoughtful with your contributions, mixing original material with curation, and avoid joining followback circles.

12. Marsha Collier (@MarshaCollier)

Focus on value and quality

Being an influencer is more than a title to be bandied around. Being an influencer infers a responsibility. A true influencer doesn’t concern themselves with the numbers, they are more concerned with the value they give and the quality (via reads, shares and clicks) of their followers.

13. Doug Kessler (@dougkessler)

Don’t be a dick

Don’t set out to be a social media influencer. Set out to join the right conversations in your market, be in a few places consistently, sharing stuff and helping people achieve their goals.

Most importantly, don’t be a dick. You have time before hitting ‘post’. Use it to bring out your better self.

14. Stuart Davidson (@StuartJDavidson)

Network a lot

Consistently grow your networks to build bigger scope and reach. One of the simplest and easiest ways to build audiences of engaged users is to constantly talk to your contacts and provide value to them. A good piece of advice, a useful recommendation or just a pleasant conversation, can go a long way.

15. Lilach Bullock (@lilachbullock)

Provide value

Don’t just broadcast, take the time to engage with your audience. Also, provide value and share a mixture of content – include third party as well as your own – that spikes a conversation, educates, and informs your audience.

16. Ian Anderson Gray (@iagdotme)

Be patient

Be patient! You could buy followers and try to artificially boost your Klout score using black-hat methods, but you will be destined to fall flat on your face. The best way is to slowly grow your social media community over time and build your content hub (whether that is a YouTube channel or a blog).

17. Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer)

Work hard

I don’t think there are many rules on the web at all. As soon as you think there is a rule, you find an exception. However, I do think there are some common characteristics among the people I most admire in the field, such as working hard and consistently creating interesting and useful content, as well as building an active audience.

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