In a world of millennials and new marketing lingo, there’s one term which crops up more than others. Raising awareness of new products has changed, due to the use of social channels such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and even Snapchat. Individuals with large social followings are now cemented within marketing strategies and today the internet is awash with brands working alongside social influencers on paid campaigns. However, the burning question is; what is a social influencer and how do I become one?
1. Pick your niche
The most important thing to consider before starting a channel is the niche or interest you want to talk about. Ideally, choose something you’re most knowledgeable about and most importantly something you enjoy doing. A great way to find inspiration is to search keywords and interests on social media, find out what others are doing and how you could do it differently.
2. Choose your platform
There are many types of social influencer, from bloggers, to vloggers, photographers and even podcasters. Choose a platform that plays to your strengths; for example, if you have a big personality, YouTube may well be the best place to start. However, Instagram is currently the most popular channel for brands and influencers due to its highly photo-led content.
TIP: Begin with one channel first. This will help you to grow, curate and maintain your content more effectively. When you’ve established a loyal following, you can then open a secondary channel and encourage your audience to follow both.
3. Avoid bots and ‘free followers’
Becoming a social influencer won’t happen overnight, many influencers take years to build up a loyal following. Brands are now more interested in loyalty and engagement over huge numbers of followers. While growing your channel the likelihood is you’ll be contacted by accounts such as @gainfreefollowers, asking you to purchase a bump in followers. But a word of warning; while this might seem attractive, avoid it like the plague. These followers are dormant and will not engage with your content. You can spot people who have bought their audience as they’ll have 80k followers but only get something like 100 likes per post. Brands will also spot this and refuse to work with you if your following isn’t authentic.
4. Create interesting content
It goes without saying, you’re more likely to succeed if your content is interesting. It’s worth investing in good camera equipment if you’re serious about growing your channel. All content should do three things: Stimulate, Educate, Engage. The photo or video should grab the user’s attention (Stimulate), tell them something useful i.e. information about your favourite product (Educate). Finally, your content should have a call to action i.e. a link to purchase a product or ask a question (Engage) this will prompt the user to like or comment. Every time you write a post, ask yourself if it does all those things. If it doesn’t, ask yourself what the point is and amend it.
5. Engage in two-way conversation
The clue is in the name; ‘social’ media. The most common mistake people make is only posting outward content. This means posting their own content and neglecting what’s going on within the community. To create and maintain a loyal audience, it’s paramount to like, comment and share other people’s content. A great way to do this is to follow other influencer accounts like your own and engage with them. Then as your account grows, begin to engage with your own followers in this way. The more you engage with others, the more you will be re-posted and shared, resulting in faster growth.