Social Media Influencers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take English and speech classes to develop your oral and written communication skills. Business, finance, mathematics, and accounting courses will provide you with the skills needed to run a business and manage one’s finances. It’s important to take as many computer science classes—especially Web development and digital design—as possible in order to become tech savvy. Social studies and government courses will teach you about how the world works and current events.

Postsecondary Education

You do not need a college degree to work as a social media influencer, but any postsecondary training that helps you to develop your business, financial management, analytical, problem-solving, and communication and interpersonal skills will be useful. Additionally, earning a degree in your specialty (fashion, culinary arts, business, etc.) will provide you with an additional level of expertise that will be useful in communicating about your interests. It will also make you seem more trustworthy and  knowledgeable. For example, an influencer who has a degree in culinary arts will be much more convincing when offering his or her opinion of a restaurant or high-end kitchen range than someone who does not have such a degree or a background in the food industry.  


The online learning platform Udemy offers a certificate in social media marketing. Visit for more information. Colleges and universities offer certificates and classes in marketing, social media marketing, and related topics.

Other Education or Training

Classes in marketing, search engine marketing, social media writing, and other topics are offered by the American Marketing Association, eMarketing Association, Internet Marketing Association, SEMPO, and other organizations.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Voluntary certification in Internet marketing is available from the American Marketing Association, eMarketing Association, and the Internet Marketing Association. Contact these organizations for more information. No licensing is available for influencers.  

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

No experience is needed to start trying to work as an influencer, but some people enter the field after first working for a few years at marketing or social media consulting firms.

Technical skills for influencers vary somewhat by social media platform. For example, Instagram users must be very skilled at taking and editing photographs, while users of YouTube must have good video production skills and be able to present themselves professionally on camera. Bloggers must be excellent writers, and have good photography and videography skills. Since most influencers use more than one social media platform, you’ll most likely develop a variety of skills as you seek to raise your profile and attract followers. All influencers must know how social media platforms work, know which platform is the best match for their target audience, and stay up-to-date regarding emerging platforms and trends in their particular field. They also need knowledge of social media optimization and marketing techniques.

Social media influencers need a wide range of soft skills and other personal traits. For example, they need confidence. You must believe in your talent and abilities, and you must have the courage to contact companies to sell yourself and your services. Influencers also need top-notch communication skills because they must be able to explain their work to potential employers and interact with their followers. Having a “thick skin” is important because not every follower will be happy with what you write, your opinions about a product or service, or a photo or video that you post.

Authenticity is frequently cited by people as why they follow a certain influencer over another. You really can’t fake authenticity. Influencers who appear authentic are those who are passionate about their interests, who genuinely interact with followers, and who do not try to pretend they have more knowledge or experience in an area than they do. Authentic influencers also make sure that they comply with Federal Trade Commission requirements that require them to state that they are being paid or are receiving gifts in exchange for a post.

Other important traits for social media influencers include dedication, excellent time-management skills, good judgment, creativity, and top-notch organizational and analytical skills.