The rise of social media influencers has had a significant impact on the way marketers target their customers. Celebrities have long influenced our buying choices, but with the explosion of Instagram and Twitter, combined with increasingly savvy audiences, many brands see micro-influencers as much more effective than A-list celebrities.
If you want to take advantage of this phenomenon and become a social media influencer follow our top tips.
1. Hone your craft
Becoming popular takes time and effort – it’s not just enough to post selfies or photos of your lunch. You need to work on formulating engaging posts that consider context, such as timing and the type of followers you already have. Ask yourself what your online persona is: fun and flirty? Intelligent and thought-provoking?
2. Be relevant
You need to know your topic inside and out – if you’re writing about tech, make sure you know what you’re talking about; the same goes for fashion, fitness, or beauty. Your content needs to be original and authentic – don’t lie about having visited somewhere simply because a brand asked you to (your followers will see right through it).
Make sure your posts are relevant not just to your niche but also to your audience: if most of them are 16-year-olds, talk to them on their level.
3. Engage with others
Be part of the conversation: participate in Twitter chats related to your niche and engage directly with your followers. Remember that not only will this help you become a better influencer, it could also provide exposure for your brand or business if you become well known enough in your niche.
4. Keep publishing
Building an audience takes time and patience, so keep posting relevant content consistently to drive engagement and gain more influence within your area of expertise. When it comes to sharing other people’s content, use social media tools such as Outbrain to ensure your content gets seen by the right people.
You should research how much other influencers are getting paid to get an idea of what rate you should be charging brands for promotion. As always, make sure you’re upfront about any sponsored posts.
5. Don’t sell hard
Your followers like you because they think you’re interesting and authentic, not for any commercial reason. Approach sponsored posts with caution: if you feel even remotely uncomfortable about promoting a product or service, don’t do it. Stick to your brand values and let the quality of your content do the selling for you instead.
After reaching a certain level of influence within your industry, many marketers will approach you themselves – from fashion brands to startups – to market their products to your audience. Social media is as important for businesses as they are for individuals.
If someone has taken time out of their day to reach out to you directly, make sure that you respond as quickly as possible. Always put them first no matter how big a brand they are – social media influencers have a lot of power, so it’s crucial to remember that the customer is always right.
6. Understand your worth
Don’t be afraid to ask what a brand will pay you for a sponsored post – this should become an open dialogue between brands and influencers over time as they get a better idea of what you’re capable of delivering in terms of engagement and audience numbers. Social media is all about building relationships with other people, which means everyone needs to put their hands in their pockets from time to time if they want something from each other.
Always be smart and safe when engaging with brands, no matter how much you want to work with them. If a company asks to send you free products in exchange for coverage on your blog or social media channels, always ask about their return policy and whether it’ll be possible for you to sell the items later.
Never promote something that doesn’t fit with your brand’s image – even if they’re offering you thousands of dollars. However, if there’s good money involved, that would allow you to pursue other projects (such as having enough funds to travel somewhere interesting).
Affiliate links make up a massive part of online marketing these days: linking out from your blog or social media profiles directly to an item for sale is one way influencers can monetize their content. However, it’s essential to disclose that your post is an ad (e.g., “I earn a commission from links you may click on this page”).
7. Don’t overdo it
You don’t have to be constantly updating with new content to build appreciation from your audience – many influencers will only post one or two times per week, so it’s crucial that you don’t clog up people’s feeds with sales pitches or self-promotional material (no matter how much you want them to see what you’re promoting).
Always put the needs of your audience first and listen closely to the feedback they give you about what they like and dislike: this can help you schedule posts more effectively for them not to seem too excessive.
8. Make friends
Interact with other accounts within your market as often as possible, both on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Build up a good rapport with them over time by liking photos or following back if they follow you – this will make it far more likely that they’ll give you promotional assistance in return when needed.
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