Some research shows that people trust social media influencers almost as much as they trust their friends, which explains why some of the most successful influencers make six-figure incomes, get signed by important agencies, and tout major products to their millions of followers. Although it isn’t easy, these 5 easy steps to becoming a social media influencer will get you started.

How to Become a Social Media Influencer in 5 Easy Steps

1. Find Your Niche

Pick an interest you love, check out the competition, and then narrow it down. For example, “Fashion” is too broad a topic and already has a lot of coverage. “Designer Shoes” is better, but there is still a lot of competition. “Italian Designer Shoes” is a good niche, but only if you have something to contribute that isn’t already covered. This is the most important step, so take your time and do your research.

2. Find the Right Platform

Your subject matter also dictates the form of media you should provide and promote. Following the example above, fashion mavens need photos and video to deliver their information, so Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are their best bets.

Social media platforms are increasingly designed to showcase specific types of content. Find the platform(s) which best delivers the content you provide, but leave yourself room to grow. If you are forced to change platforms, you’re likely to leave a lot of followers behind.

3. Build Your Brand

Are you snarky and sarcastic, or friendly and helpful? Are you funny or straightforward? Whatever “character” you create, it must be maintained across platforms. This approach is your brand, and your brand is what attracts advertisers, sponsors, and followers. Always remember that being an influencer is a business, and a business’ brand is how customers identify and relate to it. Most people don’t go to a seafood restaurant for a hamburger.

4. Be Engaged and Be Engaging

Always reach out to followers, leaders you follow, and others you meet along the way — it’s called social media for a reason! When attending online courses and webinars, engage with your fellow students and the speakers. Participate in online forums and comment on blogs dedicated to your subject.

5. Be Consistent

Like any business, you need a strategy. Once you have established your brand, remain consistent in your approach and content. Post consistently and follow up on comments. Readers look forward to regular posts and expect the kind of content associated with your brand. If you are inconsistent, they will be disappointed, and you will lose followers. Once you have found the right mix of personality, content, posting frequency, and engagement, plan accordingly and stick to it.

There is a lot more to becoming a successful influencer, but luckily, a lot has been written about it. Utilize every resource at your disposal, and learn everything you can about effective marketing, entrepreneurship, time management, social media, and Internet culture.