Main image of article Becoming a Tech Influencer: a Step-by-Step Guide

Whether you’re interested in sharing your knowledge and opinions on the latest technical tools and processes, guiding newbies toward new and exciting careers, or building your professional brand and cachet, becoming a tech influencer could be the way to go.

These days, social media, podcasts, blogs and online videos give outgoing communicators the opportunity to share content and slowly build a community of loyal followers. In fact, its possible to turn your passion into a lucrative side hustle or full-time career by devoting the necessary time and effort.

Would you like to be more influential? If so, here’s a look at the steps to becoming a tech influencer.

Set Goals and Define Your Niche

Setting well-defined, achievable goals and identifying a compelling niche or subject area is the key to choosing the right platforms, generating frequent content on topics that appeal to your audience, and being able to establish yourself as an influencer.

Neal Schaffer suggests that you take a moment to ask yourself:

  • Where do you want to take your career and your life?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • Which group are you targeting with your campaign?
  • In what areas or fields do you have an above-average or high level of expertise?

“There’s riches in the niches,” noted Schaffer, a digital and social media marketing consultant, speaker and author. Determining a niche area that interests others can help you engage in more targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

Building a loyal following requires authenticity and the right intentions, noted Horace Mackey, an AI sales director and tech career influencer with more than 20,000 followers on Instagram and 5,000 on LinkedIn. For instance, Mackey speaks from his own experiences to educate people about the career opportunities for diverse professionals in technology and debunk the myths that may be holding them back. Storytelling is one of the easiest ways to get started with creating online content.

By the way, you don’t have to know everything about a topic to write about it, unless you’re promoting yourself as a technical expert. Your focus area can be something that you want to become an authority on, especially if you’re on a journey to learn a new or disruptive technology that others might also be interested in learning.

Brand Yourself as an Influencer

Once you’ve selected a niche, your next step is to create a robust, recognizable brand that will capture attention and create strong and lasting connections with followers.

How you brand yourself, your tagline, and even the graphics, background color and photography props you use on your profile can go a long way toward creating a unique visual identity and boosting engagement on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, noted Schaffer, who suggested reading his free e-book to learn more about leveraging LinkedIn for personal branding and engagement.

Creating a thoughtful, intentional brand means creating a blueprint for your marketing efforts and the angle you take on content. Your brand identifies your purpose, how you will be known and the expectations that people have of you.

Start Building a Community

Whether you decide to share content through social media, blogs, in-person events, podcasts or videos, it is best to start small and pick a format and platform that aligns with your communication style, strengths and comfort zone. Each social media channel has its own demographics and target audience, so keep that in mind when deciding where to focus your time and efforts.

For instance, Mackey initially gained the spotlight by speaking to students at his alma mater Georgia Tech about his career journey and the opportunities for non-technical careers in technology companies. His educational storytelling evolved into a more comprehensive video content strategy that includes voice over articles and analysis of job postings, including an explanation of the competencies, skills, responsibilities and earning potential for a specific role.

Produce Consistent, Engaging Content

Your efforts will have a cumulative effect, so as you gain followers, try to publish new content every week—or even more frequently. Just be sure to respond to comments, questions and messages from your followers in a timely manner.

Engaging directly with your audience fosters loyalty and encourages them to share your content and become regular followers.

Network and Collaborate with Others

You never know what may happen when you reach out and engage with other tech influencers. For instance, Mackey’s “splash moment” came when he appeared as a guest on a podcast hosted by a tech influencer with a strong following.

Partnering with fellow tech influencers or subject matter experts can expand your reach and introduce you to new audiences. However, just be sure that their brand and messaging supports your goals and what you are trying to communicate. Be wary of podcast hosts that charge appearance fees.

If leading a large community is your ultimate goal, consider hosting a monthly Zoom call to discuss a key issue, along with creating a Slack channel and engaging in social listening to gain insights into audience sentiment, feedback and more, Schaffer said.

Over time, you can gain credibility as an expert within a specific tech community and step up to a bigger stage by serving as a speaker in panel discussions or participating in industry events, meetups, conferences, and webinars. It really depends on how big of an influencer you want to be.