This article was originally published on Entrepreneur.com.
Today, the word “influencer” can mean anything from content creator to speaker, industry icon, author, musician, and even reality TV celebrity. To some, it could mean someone who has amassed a large following on social media. But to entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s the best way to build authority, a well-loved brand, and a strong connection with your audience.
If you’re ready to be a seven-figure influencer in your niche, here are seven steps to making it happen.
1. Share your perspective
You need to be bold about expressing your point of view to build influence and stand out in any niche. By sharing your point of view, you’ll attract people with the same views and values. They’re more likely to be interested in what you do and what you sell. Influencers who have spoken out about the causes and issues they care about create a loyal following and emotional connection.
2. Lead with your personal story
Consumers are now getting savvier and want to know more about the businesses they buy from. There’s a reason Spanx grew exponentially with founder Sara Blakely as the face of the company. Blakely shares her story everywhere and many people know about how she started the company when she was broke and used to sell fax machines door-to-door.
Before I buy products, I go to their Instagram page to check them out and even watch their stories. I’m more likely to purchase if I relate to the business owner.
3. Create entertaining content
So many entrepreneurs are so focused on educational content that they forget that there’s already so much of that out there. People are inundated with how-to articles and videos and get tired of the same old boring content. If you want to stand out, find a fun way to entertain your audience and make them laugh.
For ideas, head to TikTok (where lots of entrepreneurs are finding it easy to grow) or Instagram Reels to look for ways to put a spin on your educational content. You can use transitions, filters, and trending music to capture attention.
4. Be accessible
One way to really stand out in your industry is to take the time to be accessible to your audience. So many influencers and celebrities are so far out of reach that they’re no longer relatable to the general public.
If you want to build influence, take the time to respond to people’s comments on your post, reply to direct messages, and retweet other people’s content. Every time I do this, I always get messages of gratitude and I’ve met people in person at events who remember these small gestures.
5. Partner with other influencers
To amplify your reach and growth, build partnerships with other influencers. This sounds counterintuitive because entrepreneurs are concerned about competition, but if you can find an expert with an aligned audience, this can be mutually beneficial.
You can see this happening with events, online summits, podcast interviews, and even Instagram Live. This will skyrocket your growth so that you can reach more people.
6. Have multiple revenue streams
The path to seven figures is possible for anyone as long as you’re focused on serving your audience. Be really clear about the problem that you help people solve and repeat that in your content and messaging until that’s what you become known for.
If you’re just starting, validate your idea by just putting it out there and talking to your audience about it. It could be as simple as “Who needs help with ?” and start a conversation through direct messaging. You could offer a consultation or strategy session and start building testimonials.
If you are already selling a product or service, evaluate which ones are bringing in the most revenue and focus on those. You can still offer more than that on the back end and upsell people into those products and services, but your marketing will be more clear and focused if you’re talking only about one, two, or three problems that you solve.
One way to expand your offerings is to think of it in three levels:
- DIY (do-it-yourself), where your customer gets the product and they don’t get any extra help outside of customer support and online tutorials
- DWY (done-with-you), where you offer coaching and more access to you
- DFY (done-for-you), where you offer start-to-finish execution and implementation.
7. Find a way to give back
Influence is really about making an impact. Think about ways to give back through your company by partnering with aligned nonprofit organizations and charities. People are more likely to buy from companies that have a social mission (think of Toms Shoes, Ben & Jerry’s, and Warby Parker.)
Nowadays, consumers are being more selective about the businesses they support. Make it a priority to implement these strategies to stand out in your niche and build a brand that influences in a positive way.