If you’d like to try your hand at being an influencer on social media but are unsure of where to start, it pays to have an honest conversation with none other than…yourself. The first and most pressing question that you will need to answer is, “what is it that I am passionate about?”
In mentally reviewing your years in school, you will no doubt observe that some of your teachers were able to make less-than-riveting subject matter extremely compelling, while others made the ostensibly exciting pretty dull.
If you’d had more choice in whether to attend certain classes, how would the methods of your various instructors have affected you? If you could have tuned out that physical anthropology teacher—or simply stopped attending his class without repercussion—would you have actually followed through?
It pays to consider these questions when launching your social-media influencer business. If your teachers had all had a tremendous passion for the subjects they were teaching, how much more intensely might they have held your interest and attention?
After considering these queries, it’s abundantly clear how important it is as an influencer to choose your topic with discretion in order that you may convey your passion, and thereby engage your audience.
In an arena like social media where people need only unfollow if you do not hold their interest, it is even more important to stick to this rule of following your passion than it is in academia, where dropping a class takes considerably more effort.
You’ve Chosen Your Area of Influence—Now What?
Let us assume that you’ve chosen your topic—one that is a passionate focus of your attention, even in your downtime. This is an area of interest that you would obsess about even—and perhaps especially—if you won the lottery. For the sake of discussion let’s play with the idea that you are a chef/influencer.
The internet is rife with influencers posting about cooking and recipes, so what is an aspiring influencer, hoping to break into this sphere, to do? Do you search your heart for another, less popular topic to post about?
For the would-be influencer who has a sincere wish to impart helpful information on a topic about which she is completely enamored of, answering “yes” to this question would be far too big of a compromise.
The answer that requires the least sacrifice is surprising simple. All that is needed is a simple narrowing of focus, something referred to in marketing speak as “niching down.”
The All-Out Importance of “Niching Down”
In order to be influential within your area of expertise, it is imperative to realize that no one can—or should—be all things to all people.
Applying this principle to an influencer-marketing business requires only that the influencer/entrepreneur focus specifically on a subtopic of her area of interest. For example, a chef/influencer may love to experiment with raw recipes. She could then choose to focus exclusively on raw “cooking.”
Raw cooking is still a relatively broad topic, so she could choose to narrow it further by focusing on raw versions of traditional comfort foods—or even raw versions of takeout favorites. Tightening the focus in this way eliminates a lot of competition and narrows the field considerably, giving a newly-minted influencer the chance to be truly influential within her chosen niche.
Once a very specific area of expertise is chosen, it is time to engage that ready-and-waiting niche following that will truly appreciate the content this raw comfort-food chef/influencer is providing.
Taking Advantage of the 5-3-2 rule
Now that you’ve selected your area of influence, be sure to post content that will interest and engage your audience.
The 5-3-2 rule holds that out of every ten posts, five should be curated content; that is, content from other sources that is relevant to your niche topic, three should be original; for example, blogs and ebooks you’ve written or original videos and photos. The remaining two posts are where you authentically connect with your audience by sharing personal information that makes you and your experiences relatable, endearing you to your followers.
Striking a balance in posted content can be a crucial factor as far as engagement goes. In choosing curated content, it’s a good idea to look to content creators who post content that is within your niche area.
Build relationships with these fellow influencers and you can support each other and share audiences who appreciate what all of you are posting. You can get a head start on forming these connections by using data analytics platforms like SocialBook to find out about the audiences and reach of your fellow influencers. You can also try content curating tools like Feedly or Pocket to help you to easily select content that will wow your followers.
In your originally-created content, promote your brand with impunity, but—and this is a big but—be sure to steer clear of the hard sell. Make sure in your original posted content that you are giving information that is of real value to your audience.
If you are a chef/influencer, like in our example, please include some recipes or other information and tips that are of substantial real-world use to your followers so that they can get a good idea of who you are, what you have to offer, and subsequently, whether your brand is one they can truly get behind and support.
Finally, followers want to know that their influencers are human and relatable. No one feels inspired by someone who is superhumanly perfect. Even if—lucky being—you happen to be just a bit superhuman, you would do well to scan your memory for stories that are less envy-inducing, like that time last week that you caved and ate that pizza—the one without the cauliflower crust.
Bringing It All Together
The biggest takeaway from all of this should be that the most important quality in an influencer is authenticity. If you do not have it, people can immediately sense it and will be put off—perhaps without even consciously knowing why—by your pretense and lack of humanness. If you do possess it, those same people will be immediately endeared to you and “follow” you, to your inbox, to your shopping cart, or even to the ends of the earth.
Find the influencers from your niche to reach your target audience, try SocialBook to start your first step.
This article was originally from my LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-boost-your-social-media-influence-niching-down-choosing-heidi-yu/