Now, before we jump into how to become an influencer, let’s first determine what it’s not. Becoming an influencer doesn’t mean setting up some social media accounts and posting to them every day. It doesn’t mean doing anything you can to grow your following on those accounts, whether you’re paying for followers or gaining them organically.
No. What we are talking about are the real steps to becoming an influencer. And you know I love to offer you as much value as possible, so I have created a free worksheet for you to use as you listen through this episode.
Being an influencer is more than just taking selfies and becoming instafamous. You have to grow your audience in order to create a loyal community.
IE 111: How to Become an Influencer that Grows a Community
Before I dive into how to become an influencer, I need to tell you that the tickets for my live event, Influencer Entrepreneurs Academy, are going fast. This event is being held in Charlotte, NC in April of 2019. On the first evening, April 2, we will enjoy a cocktail cruise on gorgeous Lake Norman where we can meet each other and have a chance to greet our speakers and our sponsors. The next 2 days will be filled with speakers teaching and then time for you to put their strategies into action in your own business.
Rather than spending 2 days taking furious notes while speakers talk fast, each attendee will be put into a mastermind group of other women. You will sit with these women and you will all work together to help each other implement the lessons.
If you haven’t secured your tickets, you’re going to want to do that today. We have a limited number of spots available and this will be the best conference you attend all year. I have put everything I wanted in a conference into IEA and I know that you will walk away with strategies already in place to grow your business and take it to the next level in 2019.
Who Are You and What Do You Stand For as an Influencer?
I recently finished reading the book, High Performance Habits, by Brendan Burchard. (This is one of the business books I recommend for all women entrepreneurs. You can find the rest of that list right here.)
One of the things that Brendan has you do in the book is to look at how you stand up for others and for yourself and how you influence others to do the same. And I’m not even kidding, this took me right back to 5th grade. You know, that time of life where you’re figuring out who’s cool and who’s not, what you stand for, and whether you’re the smart one, the quiet one, or the popular one.
As my friends and I navigated these new waters, it quickly became apparent that there was one particular girl in our class who was being shoved to the outside of the group. She was teased and ostracized.
And let me tell you all, my 5th-grade self wasn’t having it. I was taking a stand. And I was fully aware that I was taking a stand. I knew that I was going to cross that divide of cool kid and not cool kid. I remember being okay with the fact that the other kids were either going to like me for who I was…or they weren’t.
So needless to say, when I read the part of Brendan’s book where he talks about knowing who you are and what you are willing to take a stand for, that scene in 5th grade stood out as a defining moment for me.
What does all this have to do with me being an influencer?
It’s simple, really. I knew that as a former reading specialist for children who had very difficult lives, and a 5th grader who was willing to stand up against the mean kids, I could help grown women just like I helped that girl in my class and just like I helped all those kids in the inner-city school I taught at.
I could become an influencer and I could help women grow their businesses. I could teach them how to do it. I could teach them how to stand up for themselves and their families while they built those businesses. That’s just who I am.
Don’t Pursue Being Instafamous as an Influencer
So many people think they’re going to just be the next big YouTube star or they’re going to be Instafamous. But if you want to truly be an influencer…if you want to truly make a real difference in people’s lives…it takes more than being Instafamous.
It takes more than having 100K followers on Instagram to actually have a business. You aren’t an influencer just because you have the “swipe up” feature on IG.
You have to understand that when you see a person’s highlight reel on IG, that is not the true authentic side of that person. You aren’t seeing what they can do to help you or change your life. You’re seeing only the parts of them that they want to show you. They can’t help you on the journey of creating or growing your business if you don’t even know who they are or what they stand for.
Instead of trying to find a bunch of followers, I want you to concentrate on finding your zone of genius. I did an entire episode about that recently that will walk you through exactly how to figure out what you should be doing and why.
What Problem Are You Solving as an Influencer?
If you want to become an influencer, you have to start by asking yourself what problem it is you are solving for people. If you just create content willy nilly and you have no idea what problem your content is solving for your readers, you are not an influencer. You’re just posting random content.
If you’re a food blogger and you post mostly vegetable recipes, ask yourself why you post about that. Are you vegetarian and you want to help others who may want to try the vegetarian lifestyle? Are you trying to help those who need to lose weight or someone who has heart problems and needs to eat more veggies?
Maybe you’re a fitness blogger and you create workout programs. Who are they for? Are you targeting the mom with little kids who just can’t get to the gym on a regular basis?
Those are real issues that you can provide answers for. But if you find yourself posting a recipe today, a workout video tomorrow, and the last book you read a couple days later, you need to take a serious look at what problem you want to solve for your reader.
As an influencer, you are trying to influence your audience toward something. You aren’t just posting random information that has nothing to do with a specific issue.
Be Authentic and Show that You Care as an Influencer
If your readers ask you questions but you don’t take the time to answer them, you are not an influencer.
One of the first and most important parts of becoming an influencer is building trust with your audience. If you aren’t available to them and you don’t answer their questions and concerns, you are not becoming an influencer.
I am so tired of bloggers telling me that they don’t have time to answer their audience’s questions. They work full-time or they homeschool or they have a couple of young kids at home and they make excuses as to why they can’t interact with their readers.
Here’s the thing; if you are spending all that time creating free content, why not take the time to figure out what your audience needs from you and create a product to solve their problems?
You have to begin to think beyond what you’ve been doing. Maybe you need to create a membership site and get involved with your people while you hire someone to create recipes for the blog.
You don’t have to create 100% of the free content that you share to get your stuff out there. If you want a business, figure out a way to get the money coming in so that you can hire people to do the things that don’t make money so that you can focus on the things that do.
Create a Sense of Community as an Influencer
When you post to social media and you don’t tie your post back to your audience and how it can help them, it just goes into the “highlight reel” folder. This makes your audience click away or scroll right on by because they don’t feel a sense of connection with you and what you’re sharing.
One of the best ways to create this sense of community is to give your followers a call to action that includes something you’ve shared.
Let’s say you shared a recipe. When you do an Instastory about the recipe, tell your followers to make that recipe and then tag you in their own Instastory. And when they do that, share it again in your stories and give them a shout-out. DM them and thank them for sharing and tagging you.
When you interact with your audience in this way, you are teaching your entire audience how to interact with you. It makes other people want to create your recipe so that they can share it in their stories and they can then see their story shared on your stories. (That’s a mouthful.)
The point is, you are creating a community of people who want to see what you share, who then share it to their followers, and who keep in contact with you in order to get more of what you’re sharing.
When you create this sense of community, your audience is developing a deep trust in you. They’re going to buy your products and purchase any affiliate products you share. They’re going to share your content with their friends and family.
If You Don’t Know What to Share
I routinely hear from many of my people that you don’t know what your audience wants from you. You’re afraid to create a product for fear that it will fall flat.
Maybe the reason you don’t know what to do is that you’re relying on what social media tells you to create or what’s hot on Pinterest. Maybe instead, you should just ask your audience what they need from you.
What problem do you need to solve for them? What kind of content or product could you create that would help them?
Influencers understand what their audiences want and need and they can then influence them in which direction to go to fulfill those needs.
Stop killing yourself to get the “Swipe Up” feature on Instagram. What difference does it make if you have it but you don’t know how to use it as an influencer?
A true influencer knows what her audience wants and needs and she creates solutions to the problems her audience faces. Your number of followers doesn’t matter if you don’t know who you are, if you aren’t solving a problem, if you aren’t sharing your true and authentic self, if you aren’t creating a sense of community.
It’s a complete and utter waste of time. Start to think about the problem you need to solve for your people and watch your influence soar!
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