Influencing has increasingly become popular in the social media world. But what does it mean to be an influencer? And how does one build a brand that stands out and is successful? Social media influencers are said to be users who have established credibility in a specific industry, have access to a huge audience and can persuade others to act based on their recommendations. Arthur Nkusi, a media personality and influencer, says understanding who an influencer really is tricky because people define brand influencers differently. “I personally don’t believe everyone with a following is a brand influencer. I believe for someone to influence for a brand, is when they have a shared audience with that brand,” he says. Do research on ‘what works’./ Photos/Net “If someone has an organic audience, and happens to share the demographics with a brand, then you can influence for it. However, there are celebrity influencers that have general influence. They endorse the brand due to their influence and that can be another way to influence for a certain brand,” he explains. For an influencer to build a successful brand, Nkusi says, they need to define their audience and content or become famous, and anything nowadays can make you famous. Juliette Karitanyi, a communication specialist commonly known as JujuLabelle on Twitter, says a brand influencer is a person who consumes a certain product, or uses a certain service and influence, or drives a number of other people to use the same products or services. As an influencer, it’s important to find things that you easily do without putting so much effort. These, she says, can be talking, dancing, or writing. “Then learn how to do it professionally, remember these are things that come to you easily but then, try to be a professional in this field. You can become a professional eater, or someone who travels for food.” “This niche will allow you to grow your audience with other people who have the same passion as yours, and it will also bring you opportunities from brands that want to work with you. Or you can also look for them and suggest working with them. They will be attracted to work with you because you do these things for fun and you already have an audience that shares the same passion as yours.” Axelle Mutesi, a communications officer, believes a brand influencer is someone who has understood a certain brand or product by engagement or usage and he/she leverages his/her social media prowess to connect the brand or product to the audiences. In her opinion, a brand influencer has to have used the brand or product and understands it because to her, you cannot influence what you have no idea about. She recommends any influencer who wants to be successful to have social media pages, be active and consistent, understand and engage with your target audience. “Put up relevant posts that resonate with the brands you want to attract. Be authentic in your story building. Grow your audience, but an authentic audience, because it doesn’t make sense to have 10k followers and have only 20 people engaging on your page. According to me, it’s about quality and not quantity. So have your few or many followers but let them be real followers and authentic.” Bruce Intore, a talent manager, describes a brand influencer as someone that makes you discover, like, or purchase a product through any platform they use by strategically engaging with the audience in different ways. He also believes that influencing isn’t really defined by the number of followers you have, noting that you might have a lot of followers but yet you are not influential. “Being a brand influencer has now become a real profession; first you need to decide that it is something you really want to venture in professionally, and I think the best way to become a brand influencer is by creating relevant content, being consistent with your posts, to know your target audience and to grow your numbers to get more relevant clients (brands),” he notes.