Influencer marketing saw 198% rise in 2017 owing to its efficiency at spreading brand awareness and generating leads. In fact, 39% of marketers believe that influence-generated content is capable of outperforming brand content.
We can full well expect 2018 to continue to be the year of the influencer. Influencers are bound to dominate our social media feeds. But given the sea of influencers out there, each with their own appeal, how does one outshine the rest?
As overwhelming as it may be, how do you cut through all the noise and connect with your intended audience? There are a few things you can do to show you’re not just the typical run-of-the-mill influencer.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways you can stand out as an influencer.
1. Know Your Audience
Growing your influence on social media is all about knowing and understanding your audience. You can’t gain a competitive advantage over your fellow influencers if you don’t know who your target audience is.
There’s a reason you have as many followers as you do. They choose to rely on your opinions on products over anyone else’s. So, figure out what is that X-factor that’s helped you build your audience thus far and capitalize on it.
The way to go about doing all this is plain old research. Create personas for your ideal audience, much like a brand creates buyer personas for their products. You could use apps like Person App to stay on top of this.
Master the psychology behind consumer behavior, and tap into their emotions and thought processes. Be the solution to your readers’ content needs.
For instance, if your audience is comprised of gearheads, your content should focus on test driving and reviewing cars. And that’s exactly what Tim Burton, aka Shmee150, delivers to the 1.3 million supercar aficionados that follow him on YouTube.
2. Publish Quality Content Consistently
Your content strategy can be the all-important distinguishing factor that separates you from the rest of the pack. There are two aspects to consider here. The first concerns the quality and type of your content. The second is your consistency.
Speaking about the first, you want to create and share the kind of content that offers significant value to your followers. Product reviews, testimonials, how-to videos, and tutorials are the best ways to provide informative content.
This is how you demonstrate your expertise in your domain and get people to trust your opinions.
It’s the premise on which blogs like AsapSCIENCE have built their audience. Known for their explainer videos on YouTube, they leverage platforms like Twitter to generate more traffic for themselves. They regularly share quirky facts along with their latest videos.
What’s more, you don’t necessarily need to be an expert in a specific area. You can stand out by documenting your life experiences and sharing them with viewers.
This father-son duo of regularly share their experiments motivated by their curiosity to find out “What’s Inside”.
Talking about the second aspect, now, consistency doesn’t pertain only the quality of content but also your timing. Try to be as regular with your posts as you can be. Set up a schedule and plan in advance what content you want to share when.
Personally, I feel that consistency is a very important part of growing on any social media network. It’s how you remain relevant and connect with as many users as possible.
3. Focus On Visual Appeal
The meteoric rise of photo sharing applications like Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat show that photos equal more engagement. Producing visually appealing content is a great way to increase your exposure and reputation.
Utilize strong visuals and share as high-quality of images as possible. Experiment with ways to leverage visuals in creative ways like trying out different Instagram feed themes.
Serge Najjar likes to keep things minimalistic. There are numerous other feed themes you work into your content. It’s a nifty way to showcase your uniqueness.
The majority of us are visual learners. That’s why it’s important to not only share captivating photos but ones that provide value to your followers. Infographics, gifographics, and quote graphics are good examples.
Delivering this kind of content, though, isn’t always easy. Even if you have managed to take the most perfect image you could, there’s always room for improvement. Being handy with photo editing tools can go a long way to give your photos that extra appeal.
Certain edits are best left to the experts, and not everyone is as handy with post-processing tools. Thankfully, tools like Mendr exist to do the job for you. The platform allows you to share your photos with photo editing experts and have them make the changes you need. They can make your photos go from this to this.
4. Engage Your Community
Brands look at an influencer’s ability to engage their audiences when finding people to collaborate with. How do you improve your engagement rates, then?
It goes beyond the likes, shares, and comments you receive on your content. The way to engage your social media community is to engage with them.
It’s about making sure your followers know how important they are to you. Acknowledge them, whether it’s by liking their comments on your post or responding to their queries in a timely fashion.
That’s something I truly appreciate about Neil Patel. He’s always prompt to reply to his readers.
Get the conversation started by asking them for their opinions on a relevant topic. For instance, if you’ve reviewed a product in your latest post, you can ask your readers about their personal experiences using it.
Redirect your followers to other influencers if they’re looking for something beyond what you’re offering. As a thought leader yourself, you’re in a position to connect them with others. This is just another way of reinforcing your expertise in the industry. It gives them more cause to trust and rely on you.
5. Leverage The Right Platform
This point ties back to the first point where we talked about the importance of knowing your audience. Other than understanding their needs, it’s important you understand the social media platform your audience frequents most.
So, instead of jumping the gun and creating a profile on every channel, do some research. This is a lot easier if you know the kind of content your audience expects from you and on which channel.
You also need to understand the advantage of every individual social media platform and how you can best leverage them. Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole isn’t going to benefit your content delivery strategy. Especially, if you’re trying to push content on a platform your target audience is inactive on.
Take a look at lifestyle blogger, Camila Coelho, for instance. She demonstrates an understanding of what kind of content is best suited for which platform. She leverages YouTube to share makeup tutorials, DIYs, and beauty pointers with her viewers.
At the same time, she uses her Instagram profile to share content on lifestyle topics like fashion, accessories, and travel.
6. Remain True To Yourself
As an influencer, it’s important to remain authentic and true to what you believe in. Influencers build their followings by openly expressing themselves, who they are, their lives, and their honest opinions on things.
Showing your viewers and readers the real you is the best way to connect with them, and to get them to relate to you. It’s how you can build and grow your influence over consumers and their purchase behavior.
Highlight your professional expertise while retaining a human side. Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerable side because that’s how users will be able to identify with you.
There’s no one size that fits all when it comes to building your audience. What works for other influencers may not work for you. So remember to remain true to your belief,s and your content will automatically come off as more authentic to users.
Say the brand you’re partnering with asks you for a product review. Listing only its positives while ignoring all of its flaws, as minor as they may be, makes you look unauthentic.
You want to be transparent and candid with your viewers, much like Marques Brownlee, here.
7. Take Advantage Of Video
Videos are all the buzz these days, and will surely remain a dominant trend for some time to come. In the past year or so, alone, videos have seen a 17% increase in usage.
To put things in perspective, the average person spends almost 1.5 hours watching online video content daily. Additionally, 81% of businesses are, presently, using videos for marketing purposes. Clearly, then, video is something you want to jump on because both brands and consumers crave such content.
The steep learning curve involved in producing video content is what turns off a lot of influencers from it. While it may take some effort and investment on your part, this is something you should be exploiting. It’s how you can you stand out from other influencers.
Talking about the type of video content you could be creating, there are quite a few options you can explore. Tutorials, DIYs, and unboxings are great places to start. You can also create more meaningful and emotional content documenting your life experiences.
I say take it up a notch with live videos. Most platforms like Facebook or Instagram have a feature whereby you can share in-the-moment live scenes with your audience. They provide you with an amazing opportunity to organically grow your audience.
Social seller, Kim Garst, here, loves to go live on Periscope to deliver information to her followers. Since signing up, she’s racked up close to 10 million views on the platform.
In The Words of Henry Ford, “If it doesn’t add value, it’s a waste.” The same applies to influencer-generated content. People look up to you for advice, opinions, recommendations, and more.
If you fail to deliver, then you’re just another fish in the pond. I strongly believe that influencer content should always focus on adding value.
More than that, you want to over-deliver on the value you provide to both your fans and the brands you work with. But how do you achieve that?
Well, when it comes to your audience, it involves everything we’ve discussed so far. Whether it’s publishing quality content consistently, or going above and beyond to help your users find answers.
By focussing on being a value creator, you shift the conversation from “we” to “us.” That’s how you expand your audience and influence thereof.
From a brand perspective, too, you want to deliver more than you promised. It’s how you build a great reputation in the industry. Surpassing brand expectations is how you get more, better brands to notice you. The trick to doing that, unsurprisingly, relies on your ability to incorporate all of the points we’ve already discussed.
Be on a constant lookout for emerging trends in the influencer marketing industry, and try to stay ahead of the curve. These tips can help you navigate the tricky waters of social media.
We’d love to hear your take on the strategies above. And if you have any tips you’d like to share, please do so in the comment section.