My name is Zhané and I’m an influencer from South Africa.
I have a very modest following on Instagram yet people from my city seem to label me as an “influencer”. For the longest time, I wasn’t sure why, as I’m definitely not in the big leagues yet (which I define as having 100k + followers, and I’m only in the 10k range).
But two years ago, it struck me.
See, the difference between turning content creation into a full-time job versus not finding much success and eventually giving up all boils down to one thing – intention.
Yeah, I know it may seem anti-climatic. But hear me out.
The influencer industry comes with many preconceived notions such as “not being a real career”, having to take sexy photos and posting them online, going to cool parties all the time, and getting a lot of free stuff.
Those are some of the benefits that come with being an influencer, sure. But that is nowhere near what being one actually is.
I’ll get into the day-to-day life of being an influencer/content creator in a later post.
If you want to *actually* become an influencer, you must start with your “intention”. Or, your “why”.
Why do you want to enter this industry?
Is it because you want to get free stuff? Go to parties and meet high-profile celebrities?
Or do you genuinely want to build an audience; a community?
As you can tell, one of these answers will ensure you find success in this industry. The other one may help you land some collaborations here and there but it probably won’t work out for you in the long run.
If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this post, it’s this –
Your “intention” should integrate this one important facet when it comes to influencing/content creation:
Creating meaningful, valuable content that will either:
1. Entertain or amuse your audience.
2. Show your expertise and knowledge on a particular subject with said audience.
3. Be an inspiration to them and uplift them in some manner.
Any of these three things will foster an authentic community of followers that will begin to trust in you and your opinions, which will then turn into influence. Influence = success.
Not a high amount of likes or followers (although, this is a byproduct of having influence and creating valuable content).
Your ability to influence others is what separates a person with a lot of followers and an influencer.
Have a clear, well-thought-out “why”. This is the foundation on which you are building a successful career, so it has to be rooted in some sort of passion or keen interest in the industry.
Think to yourself, “what are some of my best qualities?”. Maybe you’ve got a great sense of humor and your friends love it when you tell a joke.
Or perhaps you keep abreast of the latest tips, tricks and tech for digital nomads, so you feel you have a lot of great info to share.
Or you could be a fashion/beauty guru and you want to teach older women to look their best without breaking the budget (which is what I’m sort of diving into).
This is called establishing a niche, which is the most important step in becoming an influencer. Remember that you can become an influencer in any niche, it certainly doesn’t have to be fashion, beauty, skincare or anything that you don’t want to be known for.
So, to summarize:
Set your intention (why do you want to do this?).
Establish a niche (what is something that you can offer the world?).
When my account first hit 10k back in 2020 (I think?), I struggled with these two steps. My feed looked messy, and I’m sure my followers were confused with what kind of content I wanted to be known for. Beauty? Hair? Fashion? Swimwear? Poetry? Food? Photography? Random aesthetic photos from Pinterest?
Fast forward to August 2022, I was frustrated because my posts weren’t doing well. I clearly didn’t have an audience and zero influence, which led me to take a brief hiatus from my account.
Now, I’m back with a solid foundation, an established niche and a game plan to grow an authentic audience that I can uplift, inspire and teach.
I love inspiring people and making them feel good; so I want to elicit that feeling from my followers when they look at my posts. Therefore, going forward, I will ensure to post valuable content.
Honestly, I’m just a simple girl from a small city. If I can do this, you can too. Remember, no one is you, and that’s your superpower. I think that’s how the saying goes.
If you’re serious about building a career in this industry, then you can absolutely do it. The world needs your content. Stay tuned for the next post!
Good luck. 🙂
Thanks for the post, Zhane! We think a lot of people are going to find this useful!