Online marketing has changed rapidly in just a decade’s time and social media is more important now than ever before. Understanding the value of social influencers is not just important; it’s vital to your own success either as a personal brand or a company.
Many people want to become social influencers but don’t know-how. Many more people don’t even understand why social influencers are important in today’s Internet climate.
I want to cover all of this stuff with a few tips and strategies for launching your own influencer brand online. You can do this through any major social network or even with a well-designed blog. The ultimate goal of an influencer is to build a targeted audience that hangs on your every post and treats you like an authority.
Social Influencer Basics
Major social channels are becoming even more popular for marketing opportunities. You can see this in many of Gary Vee’s videos where he frequently recommends leveraging social media influencers or just becoming one yourself.
Social influencers are people who have large followings on the web & social. These influencers draw massive attention to every post they make across various platforms. And in the marketing game, it’s all about going where the attention is.
Each social network has its own benefits & drawbacks. But the value of an audience can be defined by a few points:
- The niche/target audience
- The interactivity of followers
- How posts are organized on the network
Instagram marketing is very different than Snapchat and Pinterest. Likewise, 10k followers on Twitter with almost zero engagement is much less useful than 1k followers on Instagram who constantly like/comment on photos.
With this in mind, you can fully understand what it means to be a social influencer with power. You’ll ideally have a large following in a specific subject like sports, entertainment, design, decorating, or whatever you’re into.
This social following could come from a variety of sites but at least one would have a very high engagement for the number of people liking, sharing, and commenting on your posts. It’s a pretty simple concept to define but very hard to put into practice.
The first step on your path to social influencing is to decide how you want to promote content and which platform(s) appeal to your areas of interest.
Visual content works best on Instagram and Pinterest. Links, ideas, and social connections work best on Twitter. Personal brands work best on Snapchat. Content and links work best on blogs or info-sharing platforms like Quora.
You certainly don’t need to limit yourself to one single network. But it’s best to start with most of your attention placed on one network to learn how it works.
Sharing content, building a following, and connecting with others takes time. The more time you invest in one network the more you’ll get out of it.
Just pick one place to start and learn that network well. If you love taking photos then start on Instagram. If you love recording videos then start on YouTube.
The network you start with doesn’t have to be your primary network. But you have to start somewhere to learn the ins & outs of gaining followers, connecting with others, and sharing content that connects with people.
Targeting & Content Selection
Model your social account to present yourself as an authority on whatever topic you pick. This could be food, health, design, art, decorating, or even something really targeted like knitting or ballet.
Once you get started be sure to stay active. Keep posting on a regular schedule and post daily if possible. This will help your audience learn to expect consistent posts and it give you a chance to build credibility while testing different content styles.
The more content you produce the more people will see you as an active authority. This builds your personal brand, your account’s reputation, and helps others find you through search and/or re-sharing(pinning, retweeting, etc.)
If you’re not sure what type of content to post just browse through related accounts. Search in Google to find the best accounts in your niche and study their content.
So if you’re looking to post health/fitness content then Google for the best health/fitness Instagrammers or YouTubers or Snapchatters. From there you can study their content and think about how you might want to structure your own content.
Let me be clear that content is king for all areas of the Internet. You’ll never build an audience if you’re farming out quality just to get out new daily content.
Focus on quality and get into a schedule of maintaining that quality. From there you’ll be more receptive to building an audience that cares about what you share.
Building Your Audience
When you’re happy with your content then it’s time for outreach.
Start by contacting others in your niche and building rapport with them. Show them support and learn about their audience.
By meeting other influencers you’ll be networking with people who can help you build your account and your online brand. Networking is huge in this business; in fact it’s pretty much the main part of being an influencer.
Your audience will grow much quicker with support from others so be sure to give just as much as you get. Gary Vaynerchuk talks about the thank you economy where you should give before you receive. Put this into action during your influencer strategy.
Give shoutouts to bigger influencers and give credit when it’s due. Share recommendations for other influencers with your followers to anyone who you think is worth following.
Learning to become an influencer seems rather simple in theory. But you have to actually put in the work and have something interesting to say. But once you have great content you’re already 50% of the way there.
The rest is up to meeting the right people, staying persistent and being willing to try new strategies for growth.
Where It All Leads
You may be saying to yourself “OK this is great, but where does this lead and why is it useful?”
The concept of an online influencer is a very new idea. The old media was guarded heavily by major corporations and media suits.
But nowadays a kid anywhere in the world can grow a following into the millions with the right network & content strategy.
From this point, it’s possible for anyone to become their own media outlet. Brands and sponsors will pay influencers to publish recommendations for their newest products or services. And honestly, it doesn’t take having 1M followers to start getting promotional offers.
Once you’re large enough you can even try breaking into influencer networks that manage popular social influencers.
There are too many to list but I’ll offer a few worth checking out:
Brands and content creators rely on influencers to provide marketing support in lieu of the ever-fading ad industry.
Influencers also enjoy the status and the limelight that comes with a major following, and the money isn’t too bad either. Plus large influencers can diversify across many networks like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and even post sponsored content on their own blog.
This can lead to a lifestyle where you get paid to use social media all day. Yes, it sounds strange, but wherever there are people paying attention marketers will follow. If you can get enough attention from your followers you can quickly break into online marketing as a notable social influencer.
Everything laid out in this post takes time. Nobody did anything of immense value in a day or even a month.
But if you follow these strategies and keep active you can become a powerful influencer in whatever space interests you the most. Just be sure that you produce valuable content that’s unique compared to what others are posting. Give your followers a reason to follow you and the lofty title of social influencer will soon be yours.
And if you’re looking for social media growth tips be sure to check out some of our related posts: