There has been a shift in the marketing world from traditional advertising to user generated content creation. Social media has changed behaviours between companies and their customers. Peer recommendation plays a much greater role when it comes to purchasing decisions. Brands are starting to recognise this and reward those with social influence in return for their advocacy.
There are some things we can’t help you with at Freestak. I personally wish I was getting better looking rather than worse. Sadly, having spoken with our community manager Lenka, the Freestak platform can’t reverse the ageing process… Apparently a sense of humour transplant isn’t on the menu either. But what we can do is try and give you some useful pointers on social influence, how it works, what you can do better and share what your piers are doing to attract greater audiences and, in turn, brand recognition and partnership.
Wait, what is an influencer? Am I one?
First things first, if you are active on social media and have something to say which is educative or entertaining then you are an influencer. Not only are you creating content, but you also offer meaningful distribution of that content because your audience (which we are looking to grow) know you, relate to you and engage with you.
So we have established that you are informed and have a captive audience to whom to disseminate brand advocacy. But do you have enough influence that a brand would directly want to reach out and partner with you?
Put it this way, if you fulfil the above criteria then you are left with one thing to do in order to start buddying up with brands. Get followers. If your reach is broad then your message will not only be impactful but trendsetting. At the this point you will become influential…
OK let’s have a look at the basics. You’ve got something unique to say, you have an interesting way to say it. How do you get the followers to say it to?
Create an online presence on each of the major channels (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and focus your content on the channel you think your audience will most likely access it through.
- Writing about the latest Justin Bieber album (Editor note – yes I listen to the same music as 14 year old teenage girls)? Try Snapchat.
- Have a beautiful panoramic shot of the Andes you took on your holiday last week? Maybe go for Instagram.
Wherever you share, try and ensure that your handles for profiles are the same across all channels ie/ @bieberfanboy33 @bieberfanboy33 @bieberfanboy33. It makes it easier for prospective followers to find, follow and engage with you.
Promote your new social presence! Have a blog, homepage, own domain? Share all of your channels in the same place and you’ll be surprised just how many people follow you on several. Ability to add social sharing buttons? Even better!
GCGC – Generate Consistently Great Content. The golden rule of social media is to post regularly to keep your audience engaged and informed. But most importantly make it interesting, think groundbreaking, worth sharing, commenting on.
Think journalistic. Think visual. Think different.
If you are talking about a topic that has already been talked about, present it in a different light. If you are taking a picture of the Andes that has already been shared, shoot it from a different angle. You get the picture.
Really the key to this is GCGC but ensure that anything you are posting incorporates compelling visual content and is well structured and easy to read.
Make it sound good. Make it look good.
Think aesthetics. If you’ve a consistently beautiful Instagram account or continually provocative Tumblr you’ll likely be followed. Not only that, but followers will return to your site as they know you produce GCGC and might have missed something.
There are other effective ways to increase followers which you should partake in. However, we are fully against getting into buying your followership. Don’t do it, it’s not worth it!
You can also encourage people to include you in conversations, be a point of reference. Regularly interact with communities on social media, as you would hope they interact with you, and those you follow will become followers. Similarly, comment, reply, repost, republish, monitor and use the same hashtags, be a part of trending topics. And feel free to be self-referential by using your own content to form the basis of future discussions – ‘Hey, I researched and I wrote a post about this’, etc. Lastly, don’t be afraid of asking your audience to share your GCGC; ’Tag a Friend’ works well on Instagram, ‘agree with me? Retweet!’ on Twitter etc.
Network, Network, Network
Leading on from this ‘social networking’ you might also find it useful to get involved IRL. Socialise, go to events and talks, make introductions. The likelihood of you being able to cross pollinate communities and audiences with other online thought leaders will be greatly increased if you meet these influencers in person and talk and discuss. Do not underestimate the power of someone else’s audience. It’s not a competition. Are you a running blogger with 300 followers but want 3,000 followers like Mr Runny McRunner Pants? Ask Mr Runny McRunner Pants to share your GCGC. After all, it’s likely that if you and Mr Runny McRunner Pants have stuff in common, his audience will likely already be interested in what you have to say, right?
“How do I become an influencer?”
“The really funny first answer is that you have to have talent. The next funny answer is that you have to put in a ton of work.” [Gary Vaynerchuk in his book #ASKGARYVEE]
Hopefully the above points are useful reminders for you. There is a caveat however which the title of each paragraph (and the quote above) gives away. You’ll notice that each of the recommendations takes the form of an imperative.
Get, Increase, Network.
Unfortunately, no matter how scintillating that one article you wrote on ‘Back Garden Igloos for 4-14 year-olds’ was, it ain’t gonna go far unless it’s shared, re-tweeted, republished, liked, mentioned, commented on, etc. You are going to have to produce GCGC and then spend time on social media err, doing the hard work for it to go somewhere. So don’t be idle, be idealistic. Believe in your content, then share it.
We wish you well with your respective recruitment drives. We’ll be here to help where we can with more articles and pointers on our Freestak platform. And, of course, we’ll follow, share and like… 😉
If you’re an influencer in the endurance sports sector and you think you’ve got what it takes to be a member of our Freestak platform – we want you. Apply here and Lenka, our community manager will be in touch.