These days it seems like everybody is claiming to be an influencer...and it’s no wonder! I mean, who doesn’t want to travel the world, eat at the nicest restaurants, and get paid to wear designer clothes? But it’s not easy to gain an engaged following and make full-time influencing sustainable. Influencers function as their own brands, which means they need to work day in and day out to make their personal brands relevant, grow, and perform to the level that brands want to work with them.
With the current saturation in the influencer space, changing algorithms, and the plethora of platforms on which to post your content, it’s become increasingly difficult for influencers to grow their brand. So, if you’re thinking about taking the leap and becoming an influencer, it’s important to be able to set yourself apart from the crowd by having a holistic and detailed understanding of how to market yourself.
Here are 10 skills you should brush up if you’re looking to become a successful influencer and build a scalable, profitable personal brand.
1. Data and Analytics
There’s a lot of back-end data that goes into creating effective and engaging content. That’s why it’s important for you to know what sort of data is important and how to accurately interpret that data to potential sponsors and clients. Start with a solid understanding of how to track users through UTM tags and bit.ly links.
These metrics allow you to show the value of your content, whether it be insight into engagement, overall impact, or link opens. Get comfortable keeping tabs on your metrics through Google, Instagram, Facebook or YouTube analytics. These numbers will be vital in pitching to brands, understanding your audience’s preferences, and justifying higher rates.
In the simplest terms, SEO (or search engine optimization) is a way to optimize your content so it pops up on search results. SEO allows new users to find your blog, builds credibility, and ultimately grows your brand. It’s is an important aspect of every social platform, not just blogs. Did you know YouTube and podcasts also use keywords to grow their viewership and listener base?
3. Email Marketing
One of the easiest ways to communicate with your online community is through email marketing. Use it to increase traffic to your blog, grow your following, boost your engagement, and make money off your content. To effectively market via email, learn how to create, segment a mailing list and then focus on growth.
4. Content Production
As a content producer, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you should have some content production chops to be successful in your work. The first step to being organized and efficient is being able to create an overarching editorial calendar so content makes sense on every channel.
Additionally, you should understand what goes into producing a successful blog post or article. Establish an ideation process for photo shoots, video shoots, and brand collaborations, and have at least a general knowledge of photo and video editing software.
5. News & Trends
Social media algorithms are constantly changing and it can be a struggle for bloggers and influencers to stay up-to-date. But to be successful on each platform, it’s mandatory to stay on top of the latest trends, changes, and newsworthy events within the industry.
The same thing goes for keeping your audience up to date with any news. Users expect for influencers to know it all, from the latest sale at Nordstrom to what Create & Cultivate said in their last article on small business tips.
Being an influencer essentially means creating a personal brand. Thus, you need to learn how to sell yourself rather than a service or product. Understand how to craft a sales pitch for brand collaborations, how to put together a media kit, and how to pitch yourself to your audience in order to gain new followers. Understanding the sales side of the influencer industry will help you scale your business and become profitable.
It’s important for influencers to not only maintain their online community, but also get offline and network IRL. You should be making a concerted effort to network with other influencers in your industry, speak publicly whenever you can, and be comfortable going to events alone. Yes, being an influencer is an online business, but face-to-face interaction is still incredibly important when it comes to relationship-building and growth.
Get familiar with industry standards for influencer rates and figure out how much you should charge for each of your services. These figures should be roughly based on your time to complete a project and your engagement metrics. Additionally, learn how to budget for photo shoots, submit invoices, and yes...you’ll also need to understand how working as an influencer affects your taxes.
Especially with the heightened regulations around users’ privacy and personal data, it’s incredibly important that you have a good understanding of the laws around your industry. Read up on all FCC guidelines, know what you do or don’t need to include in sponsored post copy, and understand limitations when it comes to using brand names. You should also read every word of brand contracts and understand giveaway guidelines. The legal side of your business may not be the most fun part of being an influencer, but understanding what you can and can’t do is imperative for the longevity and success of your personal brand.
10. Business Strategy
The most important area influencers often forget they need to learn about is how to grow. Business strategy is a hard skill to learn, but is often what sets apart the top influencers in the industry from everyone else. From expanding verticals to launching your personal brand, you need have a strategy in place for how you’re going to grow and make “influencing” a sustainable source of income. Whether it be signing with an agency, getting a mentor or taking business classes, be sure you don’t forsake this important aspect of your career.
Flocke hq is a one-stop shop for influencers looking to build their digital empires through transformative technology and innovative strategy. If you’re an influencer looking to up your game but feeling a bit lost, reach out to Tyler at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if Flocke hq can help you scale your influencer business.
Tyler Grove, co-founder of Flocke hq, has worked for some of the industry’s top brands, handling influencer marketing for Red Bull, The Ryan Sheckler Foundation, Lorna Jane, Coola Suncare, SiO Beauty and n:Philanthropy. With a Masters Degree in business and media, Grove has also built her own brand We Traveled Where, which started as a personal blog and has since grown into an international resource for travel, a podcast and YouTube channel. Over the course of her career, Tyler has worked in public relations, content marketing and business strategy.