2021 is the Year of the Travel Influencer

Love them or otherwise, influencer marketing is on the rise—especially in the travel business. As we see the slow return of travel, businesses are looking at ways to entice travelers to come back, and that’s where the travel influencer comes in. If you’re thinking “how can I be a travel influencer?” Read on.

An influencer is someone who promotes a product on social media or on a website in exchange for product, payment, or both. In short, a person who influences others to do or buy a certain thing. It doesn’t even have to be a product, it can be a lifestyle (go exercise!) or a specific cause (here’s what you can do to not support human trafficking!). Anything that you do in an attempt to influence others makes you an influencer.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely interested in travel, but there are many topics can equal success for you as an influencer (even without a giant following). If you think your niche is TOO niche, don’t worry, there’s no such thing. Nicole Randon has a nostalgia-based account with throwbacks to the 2000s. After over 100,000 followers, she only realized she was an influencer after a New York Times article came out calling her an influencer.  You don’t have to go into the social media biz with a plan, sometimes, the plan finds you.

Travel or nostalgia not your thing? What about cooking, remodeling, or woodworking? Honestly, it’s hard to think of a niche that wouldn’t have an associated cause or products/services to go with it. Finance is a great one, as well, as 2021 has brought about the memestocks, crypto buzz and everyone and their grandma getting involved it seems #toothemoon (because why not). If finance is your jam, check out the examples in the best personal finance blogs. Family and personal finance are great topics both in terms of research, lucrative partnerships, and overall informing others about one of life’s most important topics.

Many might think that there’s no way that being an influencer can make up for and replace a solid income from a “regular job”, and for most, that’s true. However, supplementing other forms of income with influencer marketing can be a great way to make extra money, stay in amazing places, or even just have a chance to experience something you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. Just make sure not to fall victim to common mistakes many experience when starting out.

Top 5 Things to Remember—the Biggest Influencer DON’TS:

1) Never write to a company demanding free anything. There are ways to RESPECTFULLY do this, but if you’re bluntly asking for hundreds of dollars of free stuff/services and saying you’ll post a picture of it to your 300 followers….that’s not a good look.

2) Don’t approach companies that don’t fit in your niche. Craft a pitch keeping your own niche and the company in mind. There are ways to make things stretch, of course, but don’t reach out to companies if you have no idea how you’d fit it in to the ‘brand’ you’ve already created for yourself! The algorithm dislikes inconsistency, so if you’re hoping to reach as many people as possible, go with what you know.

3) Don’t fall victim to schemes disguised as influencer marketing. This is a big one and you’ve probably seen it all over social media—companies looking for brand ambassadors/influencers and asking you to buy their product and then promote it, giving you a percentage from each purchase. It might sound good on the surface, but it’s really just the company’s way of getting gullible people to buy their product. Do your research! If YOU have to pay, it’s a sign that not everything is as it should be.

4) Don’t be fake. And never artificially inflate your following. People have developed a good nose for sniffing out when someone is trying to promote something that they haven’t tried/don’t use, and no one likes a phony. Just be your authentic self as you would be, and work influencer marketing into who you already are. Approached by a chocolate company but you blog about travel? Incorporate it into an article on travel snacks!

5) Don’t forget your audience. It’s so easy to lose focus when your social media feed is literally all you and your interests, but remember your audience. Who are they? Do you have a business profile and can see the stats? Have you checked social media analytics to see what they can tell you about the age range, interests, gender of your followers? If no, start there first. If your audience is mostly 18-25, maybe promoting dentures isn’t your best bet. Stick to what got you followers in the first place, understand your audience and hone your craft!

Any other tips you’ve come across in your experience (or dangerous promotions you’ve seen out there?) Let us know!  

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