We live in a world where social media is continuously bringing people further in touch with the world around them. Whether it is news discovery or brand discovery, making connections or sharing ideas, we have a fast-tracked digital environment at our fingertips ready and waiting to be unearthed.
Social media has also led to the creation of a tonne of new careers; in particular, the enigma that is the social media influencer. From YouTube’s top content creators, to Instagram’s largest profiles, people across the world are building communities and establishing themselves as influencers within various markets. They align themselves with brands, collaborate on new releases and promote products for businesses on a local, national and global scale.
Having your brand endorsed by leading profiles on social media can help your business boost engagement. By leveraging a large audience of engaged followers, you can increase brand awareness, drive more traffic to your website and, ultimately, encourage more sales.
But, you can’t just wait around for one of these influencers to discover you. Take the power into your own hands and start the search today!
Finding an Influencer
Before we tuck into how to discover an influencer that aligns with your business, we must know the defining features of their role. A Social Media Influencer is a user that has established credibility in a field and built a large audience by virtue of reach and authenticity. This audience can then be used to persuade thought or action.
So, with this in mind, start to research the larger profiles that:
- Have an established presence online within your industry, and/or
- Have a similar audience type to your target audience.
You may already have a fairly good idea as to the influencers who fall within your industry. If you are struggling to locate them, try searching popular hashtags used on social media platforms that relate to your product or service category. Alternatively, to gain a good understanding of the influencer-type you are looking for, you can look at the suggested profiles curated by Instagram specifically for your account, or influencers that competitors have collaborated with.
You can also use a simple Google search to discover influencers. For example, if you are a beauty company looking for someone to promote your product or service, you could search for makeup blogs or video reviews online to home in on the influencers creating waves.
Once you have discovered the individuals you think would boost your brand, products or services, it is time to build a relationship. Start by following their platforms through your professional business account and engaging with their posts. This is as good as an introduction and can put you at the forefront of their mind. From there, it’s a fairly simple process – once you feel its time, initiate a conversation! Using the social media platform, initiating a chat can be all it takes to spark a lasting business relationship.
Talk about the benefits of moving into a joint venture, whether it be cross promotion of brands, an interview, a paid promotion or a joint creative like a podcast or blog post. This can be done informally and sorted out in a simple conversation, or you can make it a more formal process with clear intentions and goals from the outset. Either way, ensure you are specific and showcase the ways that joining together can be a win-win situation.
Becoming an Influencer
Now, we know what you’re thinking. Being an influencer could be a fairly interesting job. Not only is it a way to have a great amount of control over your own personal brand, but you can also outline where you want your business to go.
Becoming an influencer is not easy. It takes time, patience and energy. It’s more than just the hashtags you use and the content you create. It relies almost solely on personal branding and how you convey value in your own brand to both advertisers and your target audience.
There are a number of elements that need to be covered before building a social media presence with the intent to become influential, as detailed below.
- What’s Your Difference?
Firstly, you need to find your niche. What makes you different to the other established influencers in your chosen field of interest? Don’t aim to copy these influencers; instead, establish a new and extraordinary perspective for audience members to discover.
- Platforms to Use
Once you’ve chosen your industry, the next step is identifying the platform that would best benefit your brand and the brands of the advertisers you’d like to entice. We recommend selecting 3-4 platforms to start with, and pin pointing which will be your main focus and which will act as support. Is your content going to be more video based, or are you a wordsmith? Visual, or written? This can help you narrow down the best platforms that allow you to use your skills to flourish.
- Create Content That Fits
Don’t just start posting whatever you can. Instead, build a strategy that reflects your goals and ideals. Building content that can be posted across the first few months will help you greatly and take the stress off trying to create content on the fly. More than that, it allows you to ensure that each post you create provides some value to the audience member and remains consistent in messaging and style.
- Building Your Contacts and Nurturing Your Community
It’s always good to be in the loop with other influencers and brands, so ensure that you engage with industry events, groups, forums and fan pages that interest your target audience. This allows you to build your network and potentially leverage future opportunities.
Just as it is important to engage with other professionals, it is just as (if not, more) important to bring it all back to the follower. Engaging in conversation with your followers allows you to build a stronger community and can strengthen your own influencer title. They are the ones that have allowed you to get to an influencer position, so respect and nurture them above all else.
- Invest in yourself
Although organic social media isn’t quite dead yet, it is pretty dormant compared to paid social posting. For this reason, if you want to really narrow down on your target audience, it may be wise to put some money towards your social media accounts. Boosting your posts will draw more attention to your account and, with the ability to choose specific audience types for each advertisement, you can really start to get your content in front of members of your target audience. If you are looking for more guidance, we have some social media gurus who are willing to help!
As far as we can see, influencers are not going anywhere. Embrace these interesting and persuasive individuals and build a lasting relationship that widens your own brand’s audience net. If you’re looking at becoming an influencer yourself, hopefully our handy tips above point you in the right direction.