Influencers, according to Larousse’s definition, are “people who, because of their popularity and expertise in a particular field (fashion, for example), are able to influence the consumption practices of Internet users through the ideas they post on a blog or other interactive medium (a forum, a social network, etc.)”, is still not taken seriously. When someone says the word “influencer”, my hand cuts that within 5 meters of someone will close their eyes, and lingual Instagram pages like @influencersinthewild give the detractors just enough grit. Business for their online presence. But whoever has the last laugh will laugh well, because one study showed that more and more companies are turning to influencer marketing! It seems that the age of traditional advertising is more and more over with ad blockers, and in our hyper digital society, the influencer is the king/queen of marketing.
No wonder then that the number of officially registered influencers is also increasing at a steady pace, and more and more young people are dreaming of getting the life of Yentl Keuppens or Acid. There is no formal training in universities or colleges yet, but fortunately there are many other ways to prepare yourself as much as possible for life as a modern influencer.
Master the right skills
Take some pictures or make a cool video and post it on your favorite social network: It sounds like a child’s play, but don’t get me wrong! Although young people today are born practical and have a smartphone in their hands, being a good influencer requires skills that do not come naturally. If you intend to further your studies, choose a direction such as Marketing. In most marketing courses, you not only learn the basics of marketing and business management, but also gain insight into consumer psychology, sharpen your language and copywriting skills, and learn how to communicate appropriately in both English and Dutch. In addition, you can also often choose a specific digital marketing module, where you dive into the wonderful world of social media and learn different digital skills, such as creating your own website – which is very practical for an influencer.
If you don’t really want to study for three years, you can also choose to take some guided courses in part-time or evening classes. If you, for example, speak English like a Spanish cow, you can practice so that not one person will worry you with the queen. Or how about a crash course in video editing? As a YouTubeur.euse or TikTokker.euse user, it’s really ideal to be able to master your content on your own. The Distance Learning Center already offers a complete one-day digital influencer training, which allows you to master the basics of influencer marketing in 8 hours.
If you want to become an influencer, you better start as soon as possible! Influence – as the word implies – is the practice of influencing a particular target group. This is interesting for businesses, because if a social media user sees their favorite influencer using a particular product or service, it will also tempt them to leave for that travel destination or consume that energy drink. Of course, you must first define your target group, and this takes time but also requires social skills. Be active on social networks and ask your friends and acquaintances to follow you there. If you have gained a large number of loyal followers over time and decided on the niche you want to specialize in – it is important to stand out from the crowd – you have nothing to lose by contacting a company on your own initiative. Companies are often very eager to collaborate with an influencer, but they don’t always know where to start. There are also specific platforms that combine influencers and companies and vice versa, such as the Ghent Connus app, a type of Tinder for influencers and companies, or the Influenzo platform.
If you want to become an influencer, you have to be well aware of one thing: Just like Roma, a popular social media profile doesn’t happen overnight. Finding followers takes a long time, but you also have to maintain your network and profile at the same time. Interacting with your followers, responding to direct messages, creating content… it all takes a lot of effort. So make sure that, along with your studies and hobbies, you also devote enough time to purposefully tapping your smartphone. Only in this way will you become Huda Kattan or the Belgian Mariano Di Vaio!