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The influencer industry - as we now know it - is relatively new and has evolved drastically over the past 10 years. Before the rise of the digital creator, traditional influencers consisted of celebrities, editors, and other high-profile individuals frequently featured on TV or in magazines.
As sharing content online through online journals and websites became more mainstream, the blogger was born. With the rise of the digital influencer, the front rows of New York Fashion Week shows previously reserved for high profile individuals, were replaced by everyday women who had built impressive audiences through their digital content.
Since then, things have changed even more. With the release of Instagram, sharing curated, real-time content was made seamless. Not only did it allow for an easy way to share digital content, but it also allowed for the audience relationship to be cultivated like never before. Influencers were no longer aspirational individuals, but became more like friends and trusted advisors to their followers.
Influencer marketing has emerged as one of the most impactful marketing strategies a brand can implement. There has even been a rise in influencer marketing agencies that specialize in this vertical of the marketing and advertising world. It goes to show the need for professionals to handle this line of work. Influencer marketing continues to grow, allowing more people to leave their 9-5 jobs to become an entrepreneur and full time-influencer (sometimes called a blogger or digital creator).
The best part about this? Anyone can be an influencer! As long as you have a passion behind what you are sharing, you can create digital content on just about anything.
For many influencers, what began as a fun hobby or creative outlet, has evolved into a full time business as their following has grown and they have built out shoppable content.
With some context behind influencer marketing in mind, let’s look at the path to becoming a full-time influencer.
One of the most important things to think about when it comes to your niche is to know what is unique about you. This allows you to put your own spin on things based on your personality and experiences. Knowing yourself and defining what makes you unique can help you build a brand based on authenticity and grow your sphere of influence. The more you care about your niche, the more successful you will become.
Trying to become a creator without first identifying your niche is like working as a personal stylist and styling your client without knowing the first thing about their taste. As the expert, how are you supposed to build their dream outfit without first knowing their preferred color palette, hobbies, or daily lifestyle? In this example, helping someone add to their wardrobe or home is a deeply personal process, because the decisions are intentional and driven by a sense of individualism and personal taste.
The same goes for working as an influencer! As an influencer, your audience will look to you to curate shoppable products and trends for them. Once you start to build a following, those followers will come to you when considering any product, service, or idea. Committing to a niche and staying consistent within that realm is crucial to building credibility with your audience and the brands you work with.
Some popular (and easy to monetize) influencer niches to consider:
When considering an influencer niche, take into account not only your skills, but also what you’re genuinely interested in and passionate about. Look to your everyday life to inspire your content! This will make content creation and your influencer business feel organic and natural, ensuring you’ll have continuous long term content opportunities. Keep in mind you can always expand into new verticals in the future as your audience grows with you. But it’s always best practice to stick to a specific niche when starting out. This will help you narrow down your target audience so you’ll know how to promote your content.
Once you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to narrow down which platform you want to focus on. Choosing your primary social media platform will depend on the type of content you want to produce and the goal behind the content. It’s also important to determine where your niche’s audience spends time.
Typically, influencers will have one to two primary media platforms they focus on to promote and amplify their shoppable content. This allows you to invest time and energy into creating the best content without spreading yourself too thin. Creating content for each media platform takes a different approach. Over time, you can add additional social channels to promote your content and drive traffic to your primary platform or shop. This will be important once you start monetizing your content!
A few of the most popular platforms on the rise for influencers include YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. Here are a few examples:
Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine the best media channel for your use case and personal preference/comfort level.
Once you’ve identified your best channel(s), it’s time to optimize your profiles. This is your chance to personalize and align with your overall brand, and allow audiences to find you! What do you want to tell people about yourself? What do you represent? How do you want your audience to feel when visiting your page? Here are the first steps to getting your preferred media channels set-up:
IG Bio Examples:
Pro Tip! Once you are a LTK Creator, you can include a link to your Shop on LTK in your bio to allow your audience to easily shop the product you feature in your content, and return to it again and again as you establish trust and credibility with your followers. This essentially becomes your retail store!
Similar to choosing the right platform for you, understanding your influencer target audience is a crucial step in creating the most impactful content. Think about your audience: Who are they? How can you best connect with them? What do you know about your audience and what resonates with them? This starts with some research!
Start with a simple Google search. Try searching for a handful of keywords or phrases that revolve around your niche. From here, you’ll scroll to the bottom of your search results and see what the related searches are. These tell you what your target audience is generally interested in, helping you to navigate what to produce content around that will resonate with those audiences.
Here’s an example of a home decor related search. The person is clearly searching for the right sofa choice for a small space, but Google deems these other searches relevant, meaning you may want to post some content around sectionals, modulars, and ways to furnish a living room.
You can also run a search to see what “competitors” are posting. You don’t necessarily need to see other influencers as competition, but instead look to those who have already paved the way in your niche and built an audience by delivering content that their audience enjoys. Take some notes on how they’re positioning themselves on social media and see where you can lean in!
You can do similar audience research within your primary platform as well. Search different keywords relating to your niche on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest to see what kind of content pops up. Look at related hashtags, content, and profiles that surface in results to understand who your target audience follows and the type of content they engage with. Do some digging with hashtags or related trending search terms for future content ideas as well!
Lastly, if you’ve already started posting content, use data to your advantage! Pay attention to content metrics to see how audiences are finding your content and engaging with it. What are they liking? Commenting on? Clicking? Asking questions about? Knowing what is working well will give you insight into what audiences are enjoying. Keep producing similar content along the same theme or content type and keep an eye on engagement metrics. You can also get demographics data on certain media platforms which will tell you age, location, and interests of your audience.
Now that you know which niche you’re focusing on and who your content will be geared toward, the next step is creating your influencer content strategy.
Your content strategy should align closely with your overall personality, skills, and brand. The most successful social media marketing is a result of the influencer’s presence fitting seamlessly into the audience’s feed. Keep your daily schedule and lifestyle in mind when developing a content and posting strategy.
No matter what platform you’re focusing on, you’ll need to determine the format, schedule, and overall goals of the post.
Once you’re signed up to be on the LTK platform, we have some great resources to help guide your content strategy including a monthly content planning calendar that includes seasonal content ideas based on trending topics in the LTK App. We also offer the option to schedule your posts in advance so your followers are most likely to see and engage with your shoppable content. Our goal is to always provide you with best practices to continue to grow your business. Apply here now to be an LTK Creator!
Now that you’ve developed your personal brand, know the audience you’re targeting, and have agreed on what and how you’ll be posting, it’s time to plan out your content!
As mentioned, planning out your content is one of the best ways to stay organized and remain consistent with your posting. Growing your influencer business and becoming a full-time influencer takes time. The more consistent you are with content across your platforms, the more followers you’ll grow over time, along with a dedicated audience that engages with and shops your content.
You want to create both a posting schedule and a promotional schedule to ensure you’re taking advantage of cross-channel promotion. Every time you post one of your primary platforms, be sure to promote that post across your other channels. Whether it's video or images, you can easily promote your content cross-platform.
For example, if you post an Instagram Reel, be sure to promote that within your Instagram Stories, add it to your Instagram Feed, pin it to Pinterest, or post the video to TikTok! You can use different hashtags, keywords, or tactics to gain traction across all channels depending on the type of content to help increase visibility and bring in new audiences.
Content promotion is also a great way to stay active and consistent on platforms, without having to create brand new content every time. And remember, each platform has a different audience which gives you the opportunity to repurpose content across different channels.
As long as you stay consistent, you and your personal brand are bound to thrive!
While consistency is key for growing your audiences, engagement is crucial in order to maintain your following long term. It’s important to think of your following as a small community. Taking the effort to build trust and loyalty among that community just makes it stronger and able to thrive more over time! Here are some unique ways influencers can grow their audience:
Pro Tip: Once you’re an LTK Creator, you can simply refer messages to your shop where they can find all of your shoppable content in one place.
At LTK, our goal is to provide you, as an influencer, with all the tools you need to build a successful creator business. Whether you’ve just begun your journey as an online content creator or have fully submerged yourself into the influencer industry for some time, with these tried and true steps, you’re well on your way to becoming a full-time influencer:
Once you’ve completed these steps, the next step is to start earning money for your shoppable content. Influencers earn money in a wide variety of ways:
At LTK, we make influencing easier with:
Learn more today and let us help guide your journey to becoming a full time LTK Creator.
This article includes content originally published for LTK by top content creators @mossonyi, @nadiaanya__, @amelialiana, and @wearetwinset.