What have you heard about social media influencers? Does anyone come to mind? That content person who only writes about content? Or the business guru that quotes themself? Or, our personal favorite, the storyteller that has a 7.5 out of 10 likelihood that they grabbed their story outline off of an old episode on The Hallmark Channel?
If you’ve been keeping up with the latest digital marketing trends the last couple of years, the word “influencer” might ring a bell - reminding you of some or all of the above. Today, influencers are taking over the internet - but, do you know what the secret is that catapults them to fame? Depending on the channel - it’s really a mixed bag. Is it the popularity of their topic? Their image? Their existing network? Ability to be a hashtag genius? Money for ads? Investors? It can actually encompass many of the above, but typically revolves around the trust that they develop and the reliability of the advice on their channels over a period of time.
If you want to become an influencer on social media to promote your new business or start-up, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind to grow the right audience - including NOT being an annoying, average influencer like everybody else. And also thinking that becoming an influencer can be done overnight and from completely organic means. It can take up to two years of consistent, daily posting to increase your follower size - and that doesn’t include the regular engagements you have to partake in on other people’s threads. If this doesn’t sound like what you had in mind, you’re probably searching for a “5 easy tips” blog and you’ve landed in the wrong place.
What we’re going to tell you about are ways to help you understand how to become an influencer by marketing yourself appropriately - as well as how to understand whether or not you should be doing it at all. To begin, let’s just say that there’s a fine line between becoming an actual influencer and being a poser.
So, let’s set our intentions here for a moment.
The role of an influencer is to be the subject matter expert about a certain topic or product and to educate people about it - keeping them coming back for more and not cringing when they see your company or name appear on social media. If your goal is to be a poser on social media, by all means, go against all the best practices we provide below.
But, if you’d like to share valuable insight on social media that will boost followers and credibility, we’re here to teach you some social media best practices that will prevent you from being labeled “that obnoxious know it all” during an executive’s team building night out.
Cliches to avoid on social media
- Having no experience to back up your ideas - There are tons of books and other materials to educate you on a certain subject. But, just because you read the book, doesn’t mean you are now an expert on that subject - even though it sure would be nice if that was the case! And if someone wrote a blog about it, created a template, or populated the world’s most successful marketing funnel doesn’t mean that you can do the same or sell to others that idea without the application of doing it yourself. If you’ve never done something yourself, your ability to read doesn’t trump someone else's experience. Once you experience what you’re advising someone about, then you’ve started creating a platform to begin to build on to help you reach a seat at the table.
- Claiming absolutes in your social posts - While you may think you can work your fairy-godmother skills to improve any business, unfortunately, there is no one-size fits all approach to fixing issues. Telling people direct mail is dead or that email marketing doesn’t work is just stupid. Claiming absolutes that you might have experience with, but have taken zero time to instruct the business about is extremely unwise. As an example, larger companies will need an entirely different solution than start-ups or SMBs. Let’s say it louder for the people in the back: marketing is not a one size fits all approach for business.
- Telling people that there's an answer in the comments section - Do you ever want to scream “we don’t have all day here” when someone says “check out the answer in the comments below”? Spoiler alert: If people wanted to look around for things, they'd read a Where's Waldo book. Eliminate the fluff. Give the people what they're looking for and get straight to the point. You’ll not only boost your credibility, but you’re also ensuring people will read the whole piece of content you created.
- Creating a podcast because everyone has one - Just because someone else is doing something doesn’t mean you have to follow in their footsteps. It’s time to stop "doing the things" and put together a real plan for social outreach - including actually contributing to social media communities. Just like it takes two to tango, it takes captivating content and support to build a successful social media following before becoming an influencer. You have the potential to set yourself apart from other influencers. Instead of copying their every move, do some research to make the best moves for your small business and create your own path.
- Trolling other people's posts and dropping in a link to your website or service - No one likes their spotlight to be taken away, especially when they worked hard to get it in the first place. Be patient, your time will come. Plus, you definitely don’t want someone thinking you’re the “a” word (annoying) when it’s not even your own content. So, the next time you find yourself wanting to just drop a link to your website in a comments section, maybe try writing something supportive instead - building a sense of community will help you and the creator alike.
- Becoming a motivational speaker or coach - We know - everyone’s a mindset or life coach in today’s world. But that doesn’t mean you have to be. Why bother trying to be someone you’re not just for the sake of attracting more attention. Ever heard of false advertising? There are definitely some credible motivational speakers out there, but it can be hard to know where to find the real deal and that doesn’t mean you have to become one to become an influencer. Spend some time learning about who and what motivational speakers really are before you dive in.
- Stop hiring people to faux post for you - Anyone can hire a ghostwriter to create some social media posts, but where’s the authenticity in that? Stop hiring writers to think for you and build audiences that identify with your faux persona. Instead, be your own person and start posting to social media so that people get to know the real you. Are you a conversational writer who enjoys adding in a splash of humor and sarcasm to lighten the tone? Show it off! As cliche as it sounds, people will gravitate to you not just because of the content itself, but because of the voice of your content.
While there’s no single way to succeed at becoming a social media influencer, there’s always lots to learn in the digital marketing world. Don’t be alarmed if it takes a little while for your account to grow. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all. Also, never be afraid to ask for some assistance. Sometimes some tough love and expert advice is just what you need to move forward and grow your business. You definitely don’t want people thinking you’re, dare we say it, a poser when you put out content.
If you learn anything from this blog, remember to stay authentic. Post your own thoughts to social channels. Be unique and be yourself. Do your influencer marketing research, and if you need some assistance, reach out to people who will actually help you and not blow smoke.
Marketing consultants can help you understand how to properly create a genuine social influencer identity that will help you become truly successful when launching your new or existing business. If you’re ready to hit the ground running, connect with us.