From beauty gurus, to fashionistas, to travel bloggers, to technology mavens; it seems like everyone these days has an internet persona and is getting paid to do it. I’ve often found myself scrolling through Instagram and Youtube, and wondered “just how is this person affording to live this lifestyle just promoting their favorite products?” Ask me 10 years ago if my mother would approve of “Lifestyle Blogger” as a promising and well-paid career, and I’d say you were crazy. But nowadays, people from all generations are turning to social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube and making six and even SEVEN figure salaries from brand deals and paid promotions — all off products, places or food they claim to “love.”

So how do they do it? It all boils down to authenticity. In the world of fast-forwarding, ad skipping, endless feed scrolling, and ad blockers, it’s harder than ever for advertisers and companies to reach their desired audience. Advertisers need a way to capture a specific demographic’s attention and capture it for more than five seconds.

That is where influencer marketing took off by storm! Suddenly all of your favorite internet celebrities seemed to be talking about how much they loved Dollar Shave Club, or how they’re reading this cool new book on Audible with their Kindle Fire. Suddenly it seemed like everyone was eating Sugarbear Hair Vitamins, and all lost weight “Teatoxing.” Coincidence? No.

Brands recognized the power of the “relationships” that social media has produced, and all of a sudden it wasn’t an actor on television telling you what to buy, it was someone you know and “interact” with on a daily basis.

Being a social media influencer boils down to a few key steps:

Consistency

Posting on your social media regularly may seem like a chore, but giving small peaks into your daily life is how to build a strong following. Most social media accounts that have garnered that influencer status post 1-3 times a day, and will often go live on and update their Instagram Story with what they’re up to throughout the day.

Staying on Brand

Find your niche and stick with it! Like blogs, people follow social media accounts because they have relevant information or relate to them in some way. This might mean focusing on your fitness routine, what you’re wearing every day, or even how you decorate your home. This doesn’t mean your Instagram can’t be about a combination of topics, but if someone followed an Instagram about your dog, they may not be interested in pictures of what you’re eating today.

Authenticity

Speak from the heart, and give people a glimpse into your life. People are quick to notice when they believe someone isn’t being genuine or sounds too scripted. Don’t be afraid to show your personality in your posts!

Ambassador to Influencer

There are many brands who will bring you on to be a social media ambassador for them, just by applying on their website with your social media handles. Ambassador programs typically offer discounted products and a unique discount code that you can share with your followers that rewards you with an incentive. This is how many people get started, and before you know it, brands may begin reaching out to you if your following is large enough.

Two brands I have personally been a Campus Ambassador for are:

Blog

Many influencers begin their careers as bloggers. Blogging is an excellent way to build an organic following, as well as generate content for your social media. Blogging works as a method for attracting an audience because it provides resources of value and positions yourself as an expert in the area you’re speaking about.

By following these steps, utilizing hashtags, and interacting with your followers, you could be well on your way to becoming an influencer! Remember that while there are a select few that go viral overnight, most popular social media accounts grew to where they are slowly over many years. Growing an organic following comes from posting genuine and consistent content that interests a specific audience. Find your target audience and your voice, and you’ll find that the followers will come streaming in!

Follow me at @Socially_Alexis on Instagram for more social media hacks, lifestyle, and insights into my daily life!