How to Become a Social Media Influencer

Unfortunately, the path to becoming a social media influencer isn’t cut and dried. People who are already influencers on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or Pinterest, can tell you how they became influential, but not how you can become a social media influencer. That leads to a ton of shady practices on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. (Maybe even Pinterest but how would I know?)  You have accounts claiming they can skyrocket your social media profile from zero to superstar influencer status in six months or less. You have individuals frantically DMing every brand they see, declaring their undying love and promising to promote the brand they love (yet have never mentioned) if only said brand would send them some free stuff to wear.

Then after lunch, they make their social media posts and tag another ten to twenty brands, hoping that somebody, anybody will repost them and make them feel special for a hot minute. 

That is sad and unnecessary.

How to Become a Social Media Influencer Step 1– Accomplish Things in Your Field

I was sitting in church last week and my pastor, Aram Mushegan, said some things that had me frantically taking notes because they related to the idea of becoming an influencer.  

If you want to be a social media influencer, you need to develop a message worth hearing and credentials to make people pay attention

Ever notice how famous actors often get asked about stuff that’s WAY outside their realm of expertise and no matter how ridiculous their answer may be, you see a group of people nodding their heads?  That’s because, unfair or not, people respect accomplishment.  Put the other way, nobody wants to hear from somebody who hasn’t accomplished anything. And that doesn’t mean you and your powerlifting state bench press record need to kick down the doors at Universal Nutrition to let them know that you’re the answer to their publicity needs. I mean actual time in the game.  The reason why brands like to use spokesmodels who are in shape is because their bodies show that they’ve put time in. If you’re out of shape, nobody wants to hear your diet tips. EliteFTS founder, Dave Tate, once said that he got more questions about working out when he was lean and muscular but not as strong than when he was smashing world records at a heavier bodyweight.

How to Become a Social Media Influencer Step 2– Learn to Market Yourself

Sitting angrily on other side of the coin from the good-looking fitness airheads, are the accomplished athlete and coaches who refuse to learn how to market themselves but can’t stand the fact that social media is filled with unqualified people peddling exercise nonsense. Second thing my pastor said that stood out to me:

Hate seeing bad advice by unqualified coaches who are social media influencers? Start learning how to market yourself better

The purpose of sponsoring an athlete is so that people will want to buy a brand’s products. Plain and simple. A brand wants to know that their sponsored athletes are capable of helping them get their brand message out there. Hard to tell if you can’t even get your own message out.

Learn to market yourself –

Not in an Instafamous way either. You want results that will create an income for you years after you’re ready to retire from your sport. Put posts on Instagram, Twitter and yes, Facebook, that show your training philosophy. Don’t think of it as giving away information. Look at it as making an investment. Let people see you not only develop yourself, but also training others successfully.

How to Become a Social Media Influencer Step 3–Don’t be a brand Whore

Yeah, I said it. Please stop making posts where you tag twenty different companies.  All that tells them is you’re not really a fan of what they do and worse you see them as interchangeable with others in that space.  Building a relationship with a brand is just like starting a romantic relationship.

Just like nobody wants to marry the girl who’s with a different guy every night, brands don’t want somebody who’s courting their rivals at the same time as them.

You’re going to have to make them feel special.  

Pick out companies with philosophies that seem to resonate with yours. Also, choose companies whose stuff you enjoy using. Make posts where you’re wearing their shirts, using their supplements, explaining why that piece of equipment works for you.  You get the idea. If they reach out to you with an offer to be in an affiliate program, go ahead and give it a shot. It’s not sponsorship but it does give you a chance to see if you like the idea of having to promote a brand as part of a contract.

If you don’t, then maybe being a sponsored athlete isn’t for you.

About the author

John Greaves III is a writer based in North Georgia with nearly two decades of experience in training at home. A former amateur kickboxing champion, John now competes recreationally in powerlifting. He takes a physical culture approach to training; believing that strength and health need not be mutually exclusive. In addition to his nonfiction work, John has written two fiction books, A Different Kind of Giant and A Little Lesson in Manners that are available on