Social media influencers have exploded in popularity recently, providing creative entrepreneurs new opportunities to monetise their passions online. With brands recognising the marketing potential of influencers, there’s never been a better time to launch your influencer career. This guide will walk you through the critical steps to becoming a successful influencer in the UK.
Is Being an Influencer a Profession or a Business?
Many people may see being a social media influencer as more of a hobby than a real job. However, influencing can be considered a profession and a business for those who take it seriously.
As a profession, being an influencer requires specific skills and effort to find success. Like any other professional, influencers must have expertise in content creation, marketing, photography/videography, writing, and more, depending on their niche. They provide value to brands and audiences through their content and ability to connect with followers.
Influencing also shares many characteristics of running a business. Influencers must strategically brand and market themselves, network with partners, strike deals with sponsors, and handle finances and taxes related to their earnings. Successful influencers often hire teams to help manage their accounts and business activities.
The most savvy influencers approach their work with a business mindset – setting goals, developing plans, tracking analytics, and reinvesting profits to grow over time. They combine their creative talents and niche knowledge with smart business acumen.
Social media influencers require professional skills and business strategies similar to other careers and entrepreneurial ventures. For those who put in the hard work, creativity, and marketing know-how, influencing can be considered both a legitimate profession and a rewarding business.
Choose Your Niche
The first critical step is selecting your niche. This should be a topic you’re genuinely passionate about and can create content about consistently. Fashion, beauty, travel, photography, fitness, food, and lifestyle are some of the most popular and profitable niches. Don’t just chase trends – choose a niche that excites you. This enthusiasm will come through in your content and help you build an authentic personal brand.
Identify Your Target Audience
Once you’ve selected your niche, identify and research your target audience. Analyse the demographics, interests, and preferences of people within your niche. This will allow you to tailor your content and brand effectively. Creating content specifically appealing to your target audience will boost engagement.
Choose Your Platforms
Select 1-3 social platforms to focus on where your audience is most active. Here are the top platforms for influencers:
Instagram – With over 1 billion monthly users, Instagram is ideal for visually focused content. Leverage features like Stories, Reels and IGTV to share photos, short videos, and longer videos. Use relevant hashtags and optimise your captions.
TikTok – One of the fastest-growing platforms, TikTok is perfect for creators making short, entertaining videos. Post at least daily to keep up with the rapid pace. Viral dance and comedy videos often achieve huge growth.
YouTube – The second largest search engine, YouTube offers major opportunities for influencers to create long-form videos such as vlogs, tutorials, and reviews. Focus on high-quality filming and editing for maximum impact.
Build Your Brand
Develop a consistent personal brand and content style tailored to your niche and platforms. This includes your profile aesthetic, photo editing style, content topics, caption voice, and more. Maintain this consistent branding across platforms so followers recognise your content.
Create Engaging, High-Quality Content
Producing regular, high-quality content focused on your niche is essential. For Instagram, compose compelling photos and creatively edit them. Ensure good lighting, audio, editing, and intro/outros on YouTube. Show your personality and share your expertise through your content—post at least once per day when starting.
Engage With Your Audience
Building connections with your followers is key. Respond to comments, ask questions, and share user-generated content. Instagram Lives, TikTok duets, and YouTube Q&As allow you to engage directly. Use analytics to understand your audience better. Building these relationships will foster loyalty.
Collaborate With Relevant Influencers
Collaborating with others in your niche can expand your reach. You could guest post on each other’s accounts, co-create content, or participate in influencer campaigns. Identify influencers with an audience similar to yours and propose ideas for collaborations that would benefit both parties.
Leverage Hashtags and SEO
Strategically using relevant hashtags and keywords will get your content seen by those interested in your niche. Research which hashtags are most popular but not oversaturated. Include a mix of niche and general hashtags in your posts and optimise your captions and titles for SEO.
Monetise Your Influence
You can begin monetising your influence once you’ve built an engaged following. Here are some top ways UK influencers earn:
Sponsored Posts – Brand sponsorships can earn £500-£5000+ per post, depending on your follower count and engagement rates. Pitch yourself and negotiate rates.
Affiliate Marketing – Earn commission promoting products through programs like Awin and ShareASale. Successful influencers can earn £1000s per month.
Selling Own Products – Leverage your audience to sell your ebooks, courses, merchandise, or services. Develop products tailored to your niche and promote them to your followers.
Paid Content Platforms – Monetize your content on sites like Patreon, OnlyFans, or Cameo by providing exclusive content or interactions for monthly subscriptions.
How Much Does It Cost To Be An Influencer
The investment required to become an influencer can vary greatly depending on your niche, content format, platforms, and goals and ambitions.
For example, a fashion influencer on Instagram may need to invest in high-quality photography equipment, fashionable clothes and accessories, and potentially advertising to promote their account. This could mean an initial investment of £2,000 or more. However, a gaming influencer on Twitch may only require a high-spec PC, gaming console, and microphone to get started, which could cost around £1,000.
The cost also depends on whether you take a full-time or part-time approach. Overall, be prepared to invest time and money into developing your brand.
Depending on the scale of influencer you aspire to be, you may need to invest anywhere from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands of pounds over time. Start small and reinvest revenue from your influencing activities to grow over time.
Becoming a successful social media influencer requires dedication, strategic planning, and authentic passion for your niche. While the influencer world may seem saturated, there is ample opportunity to launch and grow your brand in 2023 and beyond.
By narrowing down your niche, identifying your target audience, selecting the right platforms, consistently creating high-quality content, engaging with your followers, collaborating with others, and leveraging monetisation options, you can establish yourself as an authority and influencer in your field.
While growth won’t happen overnight, by investing time and effort into building your online presence and developing your skills, you can eventually turn your passions into profits. Use this guide as a roadmap to start your influencer journey today.
Remain adaptable as social platforms and algorithm preferences evolve. Let your genuine enthusiasm for your niche shines through in your content and activities. Provide real value to your audience through entertainment or education. With the right mix of persistence, creativity, business savvy, and authenticity, you have immense potential to rise to influencer fame and become the voice your industry listens to.