Out there in social media land there is an abundance of talented creators with loads of charisma and expertise. But what is that secret sauce that catapults a social maven from the dreaded 30 likes threshold?
Oddly, part of the answer to rescuing yourself from influencer limbo is to worry far less about your number of followers. The most important thing to remember is that success is hinged on your authenticity, and if you look deeper, that is the crux of each tip in offered here. What follows is an assembled a list of tips that remind you how to be your very best, unique influencer self.
1) Be vulnerable by sharing true stories.
Somewhere out there there’s a holistic nutrition coach who’d like to be an influencer—let’s call her “Lynn.” Lynn shares pics on her Instagram feed of virtuous vegan meals and Instagram-lovely sunshiny days that make her feel perpetually “blessed” and “grateful.” Now there’s nothing at all wrong with feeling blessed and grateful. These are beautiful aspirations that could inspire her followers, but what’s missing from these posts is any kind of meaningful roadmap detailing how to reach this state of bliss.
What her followers really want to know is “How can I get there? What challenges did Lynn overcome to achieve this joyful condition?”
If Lynn resists sharing this crucial information, she risks losing the interest of her followers. In consistently blissed-out posts what is conspicuous is what is missing. What is missing is information—anything at all revealing something personal about the influencer that says “I used to struggle but now I’ve found joy. Here’s how I did it.”
Unfortunately, growth of any kind is not something that is easily accomplished by consuming a steady diet of in-your-face zen. If Lynn continues to avoid sharing crucial information about how she got from point A to point B, she could lose the interest of her followers. And interest once piqued and then lost is not easily regained.
Full acknowledgement that exposing this kind of vulnerability isn’t always easy, but your followers will greatly appreciate your candid shares—and hearing of how you’ve successfully overcome your challenges, they will be emboldened to grow through their own challenges. So tell your stories; the highs—as well as some of the lows.
A great example of a humble and relatable influencer in the holistic sphere is Kris Carr, who shares her challenges and triumphs as she lives and thrives with cancer.
2) Give, give, give.
Be generous. Give some value to your loyal followers. Share some of your secrets with them gratis, and on the regular. You don’t have to give ‘til it hurts but do give something.
Give some of those favorite recipes. Give away that foolproof method for leaping out of bed every day fully refreshed. Tell them how you finally convinced your stubborn toddler to actually swallow her food instead of simply storing it in her cheeks. Run a promotion where you give away a free heart-opening, rose scented candle with every order in celebration of Earth Day.
Give it away and it will come back to you many times over in the form of loyal followers and an expanding fan base as word of your fabulousness spreads.
3) Be uniquely you.
Following on the advice of number one comes the important recommendation to be you and only you. This brings to mind a cautionary tale about a musician I once knew who sang just like Bob Dylan. While there is surely a place in the world for this sort of earnest, imitative talent, this fellow would have been much better served if he had taken some time to discover the unique talents that he has to offer which set him apart from the rest of the pack.
The slot for Bob Dylan has already been filled. There are very few additional Bob Dylan openings to pursue at this time here on earth. You have been put on this planet to be you, so figure out who you are and what makes you tick. What is your unique perspective and worldview? Once you figure this out, then be that person and express yourself fully. Your followers will be blessed and inspired by your example.
Lynn, the staunch vegan mentioned previously, has an earnest desire to guide others toward better health but worries about alienating those who aren’t keen to go the vegan route. Lynn would be of much greater service to her followers—and to herself—by being who she truly is and allowing her tribe to find her.
4) Keep your eye on the prize.
Let’s focus a bit on monetizing what you have to offer so that you can thrive in the real world and continue to share your singular gifts. When you are starting out as a social media influencer, you’ll initially want to forgo at least part of your fee in order to make yourself more appealing to brands that might wish to partner with you.
Providing great value to a brand when you’re just getting started may well inspire offers of more concrete compensation from them when they ask to partner with you again during their next campaign.
5) Choose the best platform for you.
That is, make sure you are posting to the platform where your target audience likes to hang.
If you are looking to cover a lot of territory (Not recommended: This is akin to Logan Paul trying to appeal to one and all) Facebook and YouTube are used by a majority of Americans of all ages.
18 to 24-year-olds like their Snapchat but discriminate less in general and tend to be more frequent users of multiple platforms.
This means that if you are a parenting influencer, for example, Snapchat may not be the go-to choice of platform for you, since it’s likely that your audience may spend a lot more time on Facebook and Instagram. The best thing to do is to test the waters yourself by posting on different platforms an seeing where you get the most likes, shares and comments.
6) No bots, no bots, no bots!
Don’t intentionally install bot followers and if they come courting you, just say no, no, no! I recently saw an influencer I admire tell one of them to go take a flying leap—so to speak—right in front of everyone in his Instagram comments. Kudos to him; I trust him all the more now.
Brands are getting wiser to this trick and will pass you up for partnership if you have too many fake fans. And your real flesh and blood followers? They will be none too impressed by your attempts to win them over with a large number of fake followers. What works better is taking the time to meaningfully engage with the followers that you do have, taking the time to regularly respond to a few select comments or at least to like them. Which leads us very tidily into tip #7.
7) Have great metrics—the very best metrics.
Become huge as an influencer by making sure that you focus on what truly matters (hint: it’s not your number of followers). What you are looking for is engagement, engagement, engagement. And more engagement. Engagement substantially increases ROI, which makes brands happy, which in turn attracts more brands and more income.
Posting regularly and responding in a timely fashion to comments keeps your followers happily engaged. Influencer vetting platforms can help you to be more easily accessible to interested brands so that you can more easily benefit from these efforts to engage your audience.
Influencer platforms, like SocialBook, let brands conduct searches to find out stats about you like what brands you have worked with before, number of brand mentions, and yes, that ever-important engagement rate. And influencers who get onboard will get paid sponsorship opportunities.
If you pay attention to the most important metrics instead of getting carried away with collecting followers, it will serve you well in helping you to stand apart from the crowd when brands come across you in their search for influencer-partners.
8) Curate Some Content.
Be sure to post relevant content about your niche topic. In the words of Cagan Sean Yuksel of GRAFX, “Make your streams less about you and more about cheering on/amplifying all the new research, advancements and leadership you see in the entire sector. Connect the dots to broader trends and make your stream the curation of all anyone needs to know, with a positive angle.”
Curating content from other sources is also a great chance to bolster mutually beneficial relationships with brands and other influencers. When you post someone else’s content, someday perhaps they may return the favor. This can also be a great way to lay the groundwork for lucrative future partnerships with favorite brands.
Use These Tips and the Followers Will Follow
These insights are a great beginning if you’re looking to kill it in the social-media influencer arena. There’s room for your particular talent and appeal out there—that’s a given. Your potential followers are already waiting for you. Your only task is to position yourself so that they can see you shine.