How to become an Influencer

by | May 23, 2016 | #BeSocial

 Part 2: Connect with others who share your passion by Claudia Sheridan Getting started with social media is rather easy.  To open an account, all you need is a valid email address and a username.  Start posting interesting content, and just like that, you’ve created the foundation of becoming an influencer.  This is the reason that social media is so attractive: In a matter of minutes, you could have set yourself up to be “the next great thing” without even knowing it.
Last month I introduced the idea of the hobbyist who finds herself sharing her passion for cooking through Facebook and inadvertently became an influencer.  An influencer is simply someone others listen to.  For example, think about the last time a recipe popped up on social media, and in that moment, you decided what was for dinner.  Unbeknownst to you, the person who made or shared that post influenced your next meal.
In the last issue, we talked about harnessing your passion – tapping into your realm of influence.  Now, how do we start down the road to becoming one?  You need to establish a following.  Here’s the three-step process:
1. Connect with others.
First thing’s first: People need to know, like and trust you.  My parents taught me this years ago, and it holds true today in all aspects of life.  To become an influencer, you need to seek out the support of people who already know, like and trust you because these individuals will begin making up your tribe.
Connect with them through your preferred social media platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Instagram, etc.  In the beginning, this seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many people “hide” their hobbies from their trusted family and friends.  Don’t be afraid to share that which brings you joy.  Allow them to become your support network through your journey toward influence.
2. Engage others.
Social media uses the word “social” for a reason.  Social media is built on the premise of interaction and engagement with others.  Seek out others who share your same area of interest and reach out to them.  If actively seeking out others doesn’t come naturally, just remember we need to go beyond our comfort zone to grow.
Once you find others who share your interest, follow them, friend them, like them, and participate in their conversations.  Create a mutually beneficial relationship by commenting on their posts and sharing their content.  Be someone who adds value to conversations in a non-threatening but authoritative way.  Become a part of their tribe, and once you’ve established a rapport, invite them to become a part of yours.
3. Join online communities.
If you search Google for any given topic, your search will yield a ridiculous amount of returns.  Add the term “blog” to your search query, and chances are you’ll find someone out there who is doing exactly what you want to be doing. Similarly, conduct a search on your chosen social media platform, and chances are you’ll find a community or group that shares your same interest.  What now?
Become a part of that community.  Don’t be afraid to comment on posts and ask questions.  Learn from them, and allow them to learn from you.  When the time is right, ask the community administrator or the blog owner if you can play a larger role in the community, either by becoming a writer or facilitating online discussions.
For some, developing influence is a fluke, but for most, it takes work.  Instagram recently shared a post from a 17-year-old fashion enthusiast with more than 1 million followers.  At age 12, this young lady didn’t intend to become an influencer in the fashion and makeup world, but five years later, she’s found herself with incredible opportunities and is excited about what the future has in store for her.
So go ahead – get excited!  With a little effort, your hobby can create opportunities you never thought were possible.  Remember, if you’re passionate about something – whether it’s cooking, dogs, cars, fixing things, building things, storytelling, anything – share your passion through social media.  You never know who will secretly be learning from your journey.
For more information about Social Media, call me at 661-310-1313 or email me at [email protected].  Sign up at to receive Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners – free of charge! Editor’s Note:  Welcome to our Influencer series!  Over the next few issues, resident expert Claudia Sheridan will move from the basics to the nuances of becoming a social media influencer.  What’s an influencer, you ask?  A person who has the digital reach and power to affect others’ actions, behaviors, opinions and purchase decisions because of their knowledge, position or relationships.  Essentially, influencers use social media to build networks and spread messages.  Do you have a passion worth sharing?  Read on to become an influencer in your world.