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Social media has grown significantly since its inception and people have used it to promote, grow and even build an entire business from it. Brands are attempting to target a digital generation knowledgeable in social media, so they’re turning to influencers who can help them to advertise and promote their products.

The influencer marketing is massive, and more and more people are choosing to become social media influencers – due to this, we believe it’s crucial to be aware of what it takes to achieve this career goal, as well as the pitfalls associated with it. This way, you can more easily figure out if being a social influencer is for you.

Let us help you to make an informed decision – in this article, we will look into the factors you need to consider before taking the plunge, so that you can be one hundred percent confident of your decision.

What is Influencer Marketing and Who Are Influencers?

When businesses choose to partner with influencers to increase brand awareness or conversions amongst a target audience, they are utilising influencer marketing. Influencers, simply put, are individuals who have a certain number of followers on social media who they actively engage with; they establish a relationship with their fans who, in turn, trust influencers when it comes to purchasing decisions. They have to be relatable and accessible in order to connect with their audience and to becomes trusted brand ambassadors.

Currently, there are 3.484 billion active social media users worldwide; it’s not surprising, therefore, that brands wish to use this vast resource to promote their business. Instead of simply advertising through their social media accounts, brands are taking it one step further and leveraging influencers’ online presence to reach a wider audience.

Social influencers tend to be seen as trustworthy and genuine, capable of attracting customers and providing the necessary social proof that consumers need to make a purchase. For example, 86% of women are likely to turn to social networks before buying a product or service, and 49% of consumers take influencer recommendations into account before doing the same.

Social influencers are changing marketing as a whole, as they allow businesses to reach new customers, generate sales and promote their brands. But it’s not only businesses that benefit from influencer marketing. On the contrary, the many advantages that come from becoming an influencer are attractive to an increasing number of individuals.

Benefits of Being an Influencer

But what are the exact benefits of becoming a social influencer and what makes people want to choose this job?

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Perhaps the most obvious advantage is the fact that you can get paid to advertise products or services. By making a career out of it, you also get the flexibility of working from virtually anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. If you are a stay-at-home parent, want to travel the world or hate the corporate environment, becoming a social influencer can help you to create the lifestyle that suits you best – and that you’ve always dreamed of.

Even though receiving freebies or getting paid a lot of money to advertise a brand’s products shouldn’t be the only reason you wish to become an influencer, there is no denying the monetary perks that come with this career path.

As a social influencer, you also have the opportunity to help and inspire people. This is a big reason behind many people’s choice to pursue this career and, even if they never end up reaching millions of followers on Instagram, these types of influencers can still get a huge following by providing value, inspiration and advice to their fans. When you have the power to impact people, making real change is possible, so you’d be able to leverage this influence to make a difference.

Another benefit is that you’re doing what you love. If you are passionate about travelling and the outdoors, being able to share this with people who share a similar mindset can be a great feeling – especially if you love talking to people.

Downsides to Being an Influencer

While you can benefit greatly from being a social media influencer, there are still some disadvantages to pursuing this career path.

For instance, influencers need to spend a lot of time promoting their own brand before being ready to promote other people’s; you can’t become a successful influencer overnight. It takes time to build an engaged audience, which means you not only need to put in the time, but you also need to maintain this effort over a long period of time. This is why choosing a niche that you are passionate about and is profitable is the perfect combination.

It may be worth thinking about the fact that many influencers, when they start out, are not bringing in a lot of money. On the contrary, some begin to make a name for themselves by working cheaply or for free, which is not suitable for everyone.

Some believe that being a social media influencer may not be sustainable in the long run, whether because another influencer may overtake you or because companies will stop using this type of marketing altogether. However, influencers are still going strong, with brands happy to work with media-savvy social individuals who can help them to reach a wider consumer base.

Of course, you’ll have to stay at the top of your game in order to remain relevant over time. It’s good to be aware that each influencer business is different and what applies to one doesn’t apply to another. So, while it’s important to keep these downsides in mind before reaching a final decision on whether or not this is something you want to so, it’s also vital not to get discouraged.

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Factors to Consider before Becoming an Influencer

Taking all of the above into consideration, there are several elements to keep in mind before becoming a social media influencer, which you can find below:

Have a Well-Defined Niche

Businesses exist within specific industries, sectors and niches; if you wish to become an influencer and make a living doing what you love, then you need to choose a niche as well. Decide what angle will be best suited for you; do you love travelling, beauty or health? Create and develop a social personality around your favoured niche, which will make it feel less like a chore.

You will also want to consider that some industries may be more competitive than others. However, even though this is true, it’s still important that you are passionate about what you do. If you choose the ‘travel’ niche because you love it, then you will be able to find a way to make it your own and attract a specific target audience. What you shouldn’t do it choose a trendy niche or sector just for the sake of it – trends change all the time so what may be fashionable now, may not be so later once the novelty has passed.

Be Unique

What makes you different from other influencers in your niche? Answering this question will help you to gain a deeper understanding of what you bring to the table and what will appeal to your target audience. Doing the same thing everyone is doing will only serve to make you forgettable. Think about what makes you ‘you’ and harness it; people respond to sincerity, so be genuine and true to yourself as well.

Know Your Account

Having little to no fans or followers won’t get you anywhere. Before you can start influencing your audience, it’s crucial to grow that audience – this will also make it easier for bigger brands to want to work with you. A high degree of engagement is needed too, not just followers, as that won’t be representative of the whole picture.

It’s also typically required that you have a powerful aesthetic, as well as a strong, clear brand. After all, brands that are interested in working with influencers will check out the authenticity of the following, the value of your content and how you present that content. Poorly lit photos or low-quality videos will not cut it.

Analyse the current status of your accounts and see how you can improve it.

Showcase Your Great Personality

Influencers can’t communicate a bland personality; in order to grow your followers and engage with fans, having an interesting, relatable persona is key. This personality needs to shine through everything you do online, from replying to your audience’s comments to the type of video content you create. Of course, this includes your biography as well; while Instagram doesn’t allow a lot of characters in the profile section, you can still have some fun with it by adding emojis, for example.

Decide Your Content (And Its Frequency)

As a social influencer, you’ll need to know how much content you’ll have to post and how often (consistency when it comes to frequency keeps people engaged, as they learn when to expect content from you). Analyse your niche to ensure that you’re keeping up with what’s expected in the industry, for example, and don’t forget to create a schedule that will help you to organise posting times. And what should you post?

The type of content you choose to put out there is incredibly important and will help you to attract the right audience – trial and error can get you there, eventually, but it’s better to study your niche before making a decision. This way, you can more easily pick what and when you post, whether you prefer video or images, how many times a day or week you should engage directly with your fans and followers, and so much more.

Change things up to make your content exciting as well. If you’ve posted a picture today, post a video or a carousel tomorrow instead.

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Connect with Your Followers and Fans

Engaging with people is one of the most important elements of being a social influencer. To grow your account and build trust and loyalty, you’ll want to respond to comments, follow people with similar interests to yours and use the right hashtags. In addition, you may want to consider connecting with competitors as well – this way, you can see what type of content they’re posting and how they’re engaging with their audience.

Always Stay Up to Date

Without keeping on top of what is popular and trending, you won’t be able to reach and grow an audience. Ensure you’re aware of ‘what’s hot’ at any given moment but don’t jump into a popular bandwagon ‘just because’. For example, if your content focuses on beauty products, you don’t want to start posting about football; your fans follow you because you talk about beauty and may not have the slight interest in sports, so this will only serve to confuse them. Therefore, stay on brand at all times.

Contact People the Right Way

Think about the brands and companies you’d like to work with and create a pitch tailored to each one. Mass emails or messages won’t help you get noticed, so make sure to personalise them with information you learned while researching the brands. Introduce who you are and what you do, what your target audience is interested in, what makes you want to work with the company, what you like most about the products and how people will benefit by working with you.

Make sure your message is clear and concise; companies receive hundreds of emails a day or week so, to stand out, don’t write paragraphs dedicated to your passion for food, travel or beauty. Get straight to the point and highlight the value you offer the company or brand.

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Get Financial Advice

Working as an influencer is a completely different business model than being permanently employed, so it stands to reason that the financial side of it will also be different. In fact, keeping on top of your finances and being aware of your responsibilities – as well as of any potential benefits – can help you to continue growing your business.

Get advice from accountants for social influencers to ensure that you’re doing everything right. The government has strict rules when it comes to advertising other brand’s products and services, so you’ll want to be aware of them as well. For instance, you will need to be clear when you’ve been paid for a product endorsement and can’t be misleading about your relationship with a certain brand.

We understand it can be challenging to keep track of your finances while building your business, creating new content and engaging with followers – our Gorilla Accounting team will take away the stress of incorporating your business and managing the tax responsibilities associated with being a social influencer.

We specialise in accounting for contractors, so we know exactly how to help you build your business. Your dedicated accountant will work with you to ensure that your tax returns are filed correctly and that you never pay more than what you need to. And, with our FreeAgent bookkeeping software, you can keep on top of your finances with real-time information.