A gig economy expert has revealed the key steps to becoming a successful social media influencer – either as a side hustle or your next career move. Instagram and TikTok stars are leading the charge on advertising products and services, with huge brands eager to put their names in front of their growing and lucrative online audiences.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for new voices in the industry as long as you know how to go about making an impact. Alok Alstrom, CEO of AppJobs’ Future of Work Institute, advocates for workers in the gig economy and studies workplace trends.
He said: “We see a lot of people turning to the gig economy, either to earn some extra cash or as a full-time career that will give them more control over their working lives. The social media influencer is a position that did not exist 10 years ago. Influencer marketing is where a company pays a social media user to promote their product on their social media platform.
“Companies also offer influencers an article or experience in exchange for free promotion on their platforms. It’s a popular career among young women, but it could be a side hustle or even a full-time business for anyone.
Alok listed his top tips for becoming an influencer and busting some myths about the profession:
You don’t need to have thousands and thousands of followers
Instagram, TikTok, and even your local community Facebook group offer influencer marketing. Smaller influencers may be more authentic, reliable, and they may have a niche brand that an organization is looking for.
Companies want to draw attention to their product, but if none of those people need or want that product, they won’t buy it. It is best for a business to choose an influencer who has the right audience for the product. As an influencer, you need to identify your own brand and work to maintain it.
It’s not just for young women
Many of the influencers you can see online are women in their teens and twenties. Indeed, they are often digital natives and are more accustomed to using platforms like Instagram, but there are many brands that need promoters with different audience types – not all companies target those who align on younger women.
The clue is in the name, social media. If you’re not socializing with your followers, you’re missing a trick. Ask questions in your captions, use polls on your stories, and most importantly, interact with other people’s content.
Engaging with other people’s posts means they’re more likely to engage with yours as well. This will increase the reach of your posts, which is much more important than the number of followers.
Quality over quantity
Consumers have become savvy about social media ads and promotions and will continue to swipe if it doesn’t apply to them. Rather than thinking you have to post multiple times a week, focus on producing content that will make your followers stop and pay attention to what you’re saying. High quality images and videos always help with this, and be sure to take the time to write a good caption to accompany the posts.
Target the brands you want to work with
The best thing about being an influencer is connecting with brands you admire. Contact them and tell them you want to work with them, and more importantly why they should want to work with you.
Don’t say yes to everything
Once you start building your social media presence, you’ll often receive messages from brands wanting to “give” you products. Beware of scams and don’t say yes to everything. Be sure to represent brands that align with your brand and values.
If you start promoting many brands on your platforms, it will make you look dishonest, discourage brands from working with you, and disengage your followers.