On the surface, becoming a social media influencer may seem simple enough. After all, all you have to do is post great photos and use popular hashtags, right? Wrong. To be an effective and popular influencer, you need to brand yourself. To do this, you need to figure out the platform you want to take, the niche you want to fit into. Are you interested in promoting a certain lifestyle? Are you interested in becoming know for fitness? Are you a mommy blogger? Once you’ve figured out your personal brand, the real work begins. Appeal to people of your chosen niche or platform and give them a reason to be engaged and want to follow you.
Know Your Audience
Use analytics tools to see who’s interested in you and use this information to target those demographics. If you’ve chosen to brand yourself around fitness or being a mother, appeal to those audiences. Post relatable content that appeals to your target. If you are branding yourself as a fitness influencer, don’t target people uninterested in that lifestyle. Focus your efforts on gaining the attention of like minded people, those who either already live a healthy and active lifestyle, or aspire to. Consider the age range of your audience. Tailor your content to what appeals to this demographic.
People like following real people. Of course, we all love scrolling through social media and looking at beautiful people. However, audiences are engaging most with influencers who feel real. Share aspects of your life through your posts and interact with your audience. If you get comments or DMs, respond to some to show your followers that you care. This helps create a relationship and encourages your audience to continue following you.
Build Your Product Thoughtfully
Many influencers dive into the world of creating their own product line. Social media is the most effective marketing tool available, but can be unreliable. Social platforms get products and services in front of billions of people daily, but that visibility doesn’t guarantee sales generation. If you’re thinking of creating and marketing a personal product or one that you’ve created in collaboration with another brand, choose your product wisely. Consider what your followers like and what they will actually spend their money on. Analyze any available data about your audience before deciding on a person product line.
Capitalize on Market Need
Does the current market actually need your product? Again, having more followers does not equate to sales. Consider the case of Instagram influencer Arianna Renee. She produced her own clothing brand, ERA, thinking that her audience would buy. Arianna was told she needed to sell at least 36 units of her first T-shirt to be able to keep the company going. With 2.2 million followers, this shouldn’t have been difficult, right? Wrong. She wasn’t able to sell enough units. Influencer marketing expert Shirley Leigh-Wood Oakes was not at all surprised by what happened. She commented “… the brand was very poorly created and weak in execution and brand image”. Others went on to explain the shirt was just too plain. There always needs to be a demand for the product. Here, the item was just an overpriced t-shirt, which did not appeal to market need.
Find a Way to Launch Cheaply
Spending a lot of capital pre-launch is never a good idea. While it’s important to generate buzz and garner interest, this needs to be done in a smart, economical way. Utilize social media to the best of your ability. Reach out to personal connections to help get the word out. Consider collaborating with other influencers to promote your product. Don’t overspend on marketing and PR until you have tested market interest and evaluated actual sales.
Explore Licensing and Royalties
Consider collaborating with other brands through licensing agreements or royalties. This is a less high-risk option than creating an entire personal line of products. Lending your name to an existing brand can help test the waters and see how people respond to your alignment with different products. This is a great option for those who are less concerned with the ‘business’ aspect, allowing you to do what you do best, market a given product.
Since social media marketing has become such an essential part of brand awareness and brand presence, it may be a good idea to work with a professional. There are influencer management agencies that would be able to help you optimize the brand that you’ve created. These experts will work with you to ensure you are an effective influencer and they will help guide you towards the best way to build and maintain your brand. They can also help broker collaborations on your behalf.
Building your influencer brand might seem like a big undertaking. The truth? It is. The influencer market is flooded. At this time, it would be difficult to break in and build yourself up. According to one person on Twitter, “the influencer bubble is bursting”. Influencers are a dime a dozen, and they are becoming less effective as a marketing tool, not really generating sales. When building your influencer brand, aim to be unique and stand out among the competition in order to overcome these obstacles.