Role models define every generation. Societal challenges and cultural shifts create environments where those who assume positions of notoriety teach, alleviate, or even resolve tensions. Today, those people are social media influencers. Across the numerous digital outlets available, influencers present an image and, more importantly, impart their wisdom in a way that captures an audience consistently.

How? By following three important steps:

1) Motivation

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Influencers seek to motivate others. Therein lies what moves them to write, film videos, and create engaging content that people actively look for. It represents a continuous cycle where those able to do something find ways to empower others. However, quite quickly, society can put pressures on influencers—oftentimes of a superficial kind—that can redirect their motivation towards insignificant standards. Would you rather motivate out of sheer spectacle or find a deeper connection with an audience? Would you rather dismiss principle or accept your following as those that grasp value in what you say? Is a like or retweet more valuable than a lifestyle change? There should be an internal drive to motivate others by example. That must be clear to your followers.

2) Branding

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From motivation stems the influencer’s branding. An influencer’s calling card–to a given degree– should move away, although not completely dismiss, the  “jack of all trades” impression. Rather, an influencer must concentrate first on one main subject matter and run with it. If providing movie reviews, would someone also want your take on a new restaurant? Maybe, but more than likely not. Influencers create a loyal following by doing one thing and getting known for that one thing. Just like a product, the influencer must know what their branding is. You diversify branding once settled among the social mediaverse, not before.

3) Influence

Have the right motivation? Check. Formed the correct branding? Check. Now, you influence. Keep in the mind that influence is not simply having a massive audience. Every Influencer needs one, for sure, but the real key behind popular influencers is retaining a massive audience on a consistent basis with a message that mobilizes action. Transitioning that “quantity v. quality” threshold is the mark of a valuable, lasting influencer.

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