Are influencers the next big thing? Well, they're pretty much the biggest phenomena out there right now. Many brands are spending fortunes on influencer marketing--leveraging such opportunities isn't a bad way to earn money on the side.

It's all about making hay while the sun shines. But, before we get there, let's pause for a moment. I'm sure many of you might be wondering how do you become a social influencer in the first place? I'll tell you how.

How to become a social influencer

1. Be authentic.

To be successful as an influencer, your social presence should reflect your passion. You cannot post about random things and hope that people will be interested in them.

Pick a niche. Stick to it. Authenticity is the key to genuinely engaging your followers. Whether you're into fitness, food, or travel, your audience needs to know what you stand for.

2. Create aesthetic content.

Once you've decided on your niche, create visually appealing content around it. People follow influencers only when they find their work aesthetically appealing. Put in some amount of effort into the look and feel of what you're posting.

Make sure your images are of high-quality and not blurry. Instagram filters or apps like VSCO can help you edit your photos to make them look brilliant.

3. Be consistent.

In order to engage your audiences, you need to post consistently. Some people post multiple times a day, multiple times a week, or daily.

Select a schedule that suits you best but make sure you stick to it. I've seen that people who post consistently are able to grow their followers quickly.

While you're at it, don't forget to engage with your followers and other influencers in your niche. It will help you build more credibility and increase your follower engagement too.

So now, coming back to why you should be doing all this?

Why you should do it

1. Making money from blogging is no longer easy.

Bloggers, take note, as this one's specifically for you. The blogging space is becoming increasingly saturated these days. So if you intend to make a side-hustle off display ads, it's going to be a long, difficult road. Even with affiliate links, you can only make a decent amount of money it if you get tons of visitors.

While that's not completely impossible, it does take a massive amount of time and effort to get there. Instead, becoming an influencer is a rather simpler and efficient method of making some money on the side.

2. You can be your own boss and get paid too.

Once you land any sort of partnership with a brand, you can start making a side income right away. Most brands have some sort of contract in place with influencers. Such contracts would include details about the number of branded posts you'll create, their frequency, and cost.

Companies know better than to interfere with your content creation process. So you can be your own boss and get paid for your awesome content.

If you don't have the time to start a full-fledged outreach to brands, sign up on platforms like TRIBE. This is a much simpler and easier option to connect with brands who are looking for influencers. Simply bid for a project you like and submit your content. If it gets selected, you get paid immediately.

3. You can get free merchandise and services.

An alternative kind of compensation that some brands provide influencers are free products and services. Yes, I agree they might be a little less lucrative than money.

But think about it. Would you pass up a chance to stay for free at a luxury resort in exchange for your services? Or try out a cool new remote-controlled tripod to help you capture great photos, for a branded Instagram post?

I've encountered numerous micro-influencers who create such campaigns for their clients. Not only are the free products great, these posts actually draw potential clients towards them too.

4. You can gain satisfaction from inspiring others.

Although we'd all like to do it, not everyone can make money off their passion. However, as an influencer, you get to do just that. Make a side-hustle providing your valuable know-how, opinions, or reviews and with minimal effort. There's probably nothing more satisfying than the joy of helping and inspiring others.

However, keep in mind that when you're promoting a brand on social media, you're disclosing the relationship clearly. The Federal Trade Commission has now made this mandatory. And it also helps you be transparent with your audience about any gains you make from such promotion.

Are you ready for a side-hustle as an influencer? If you're already one, I'd love to know why you decided to become an influencer. Let me know in the comments below.