“It derives from the ideology that emphasis is placed on a key individual within a niche that has persuasive authority over potential buyers. The influencer is one of the go-to people in their industry and their voice commands a lot of respect. People believe what they say and act upon their recommendations. They just can’t wait for the influencer to release their next article or video.

Sounds like something many people strive for. But how do you become an influencer?

Haydn Shaughnessy published an article on Forbes (read *here) untitled: “How to Become A Social Media Influencer: Ten Small Steps”. This is pretty much spot on in terms of how I believe you can become a social media influencer.

One of my favourite Social Media Influencers is Mari Smith (@MariSmith). I have been following and learning from Mari for years and she is a keen content creator who always engages with her audiences. It’s obvious she really knows her stuff – her expertise is crystal clear for all to see. Mari receives a lot of attention in her industry for the knowledge and resources she contributes.

So that brings me to the topic of this article. You will notice that the title is Social Media “Influencers”. The quotation marks resemble my opinion that there are many users who get labelled Social Media “Influencers” by… let’s say… cutting some corners.

I commonly find profiles of Social Media “Influencers” who have a big following and more importantly in this case, lots of content. I mean LOTS. Hundreds of thousands of posts. Or even millions”.

If, for instance, you look at their Twitter profiles closely, some “influencers” only registered on Twitter a few years back. How can anyone send a few hundred thousand tweets in only a few years? That must mean they are sending hundreds of tweets per day!

The main problem that strikes me with this high-volume approach is that there is no way the “influencer” has read the content they are posting. They are blind to the articles and media they are sharing and recommending to their own audiences. They may as well be replaced with a robot. In fact, with the social automation tools now on the market, some have been.

A typical approach taken would be to load up hundreds of articles each week that have ‘relevant sounding’ headings into software, like *Hootsuite or TweetDeck and fire away. Engagement strategies are then dictated by waiting for other users to engage with the content they share, then jump into the conversation. If at all…

This might sound quite appealing to you – only engaging with those people who first show interest in what you’re saying. Almost a pre-qualifying stage. But its not ethical. And what I mean by ethical in this circumstance is that they are creating a false sense of accomplishment to their audiences. They appear to recommended content they share as valuable and compelling. But in reality, they have probably never even read it.

So my question to the reader is this:

Are you an influencer if, over time, you auto-post hundreds of articles every week to your audiences and your messages get a lot of engagement and social shares?

The author hardly thinks so.

To me, becoming an influencer means creating content that people find of high value. Of the highest in fact. They read your content and find it so persuasive that they can’t wait to share it with their audiences. Influencers get engaged in conversations with their followers and give-back to the masses.

That’s a real “influencer” to me.

Stuart Davidson is a Marketing Digital specialist, with a great background in the field. We really recommend you to follow his blog

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