Thanks to the internet and the prominence of social media and other online platforms (such as YouTube), it’s become easier than ever for people to start a hustle on the side while they labor at their day jobs. For many, that means peddling goods on digital storefronts ranging from Instagram, to Amazon and everything in between.
For some, however, it means becoming an online personality with thousands (if not millions) of followers, a micro-celebrity in their own right. With a large online following comes not only online ad revenue, but also opportunities for brand sponsorship and more.
As the saying goes, “If you build it, they will come,” though this isn’t always the case. The internet and the world of content creation is an odd beast, one that many still struggle to fully understand and navigate especially for those just getting started.
For those influencers beginning their journeys, here are 5 tips to help you get started after you’ve picked your niche and online identity.
1. Produce content you enjoy making
While this may sound like a given, you’d be surprised by the number of people who enter the online world with the intention of making an easy buck, thinking that run of the mill content can bring them fortune and fame (there are exceptions to the rule, as always). “Love what you do” has rarely been as appropriate a proverb.
In a sea of sensationalized titles, overacted reactions, clickbaity thumbnails, shady algorithms, and content of every kind and type, it’s becoming more difficult to stand out. If you don’t produce content you enjoy making that displays your knowledge of your niche and passion for it, you’re not likely to make it far.
Starting out on TikTok? Here is a Middle East guide to influencer marketing on the popular video app.
2. Understand your audience and the content they like
While it can be easy for a YouTube sensation like PewDiePie to make a random video out of the blue and still get millions of views, the same doesn’t often apply for novice influencers with a few thousand subscribers or followers.
Starting out, many successful influencers today were aided by producing content around relevant content and trends. YouTube film reviewers discuss the latest movies in theatres, TikTok personalities produce their own takes on trending video ideas, and Instagram health influencers try out the latest fad diets – it’s how the internet works. If something is trending, more often than not you’ll want to cover it to ride the wave of SEO hype.
3. Engage with your audience
Nothing cheers up a follower or subscriber more than having a content creator they are interested in reply to their comment, or better yet, incorporate their comment or suggestion in a post or video. It shows them that you care and they have a hand in the content creation process, which makes them more invested in the influencer’s brand.
Make a habit of replying to comments, hosting polls, asking for suggestions and ways to improve, and more. The higher your engagement metric, the better.
4. Be transparent and honest
One valuable trait every influencer should have (though unfortunately many don’t) is transparency. Starting out, you are bound to make some missteps. Own up to any mistakes you make, like sharing incorrect information about a topic or making an inappropriate comment, and make amends. Also, when including sponsored content in your post or video, it’s always better to disclose that. In some countries, you are legally bound to do so.
The last thing your followers want is to be lied to, misled or taken for granted. If a soliciting company wants you to keep your affiliation with them secret, you’re better off not signing on, even if it means rejecting a big paycheck from a brand.
5. Be consistent
Perhaps the most important metric for growth in an era where social media platform algorithms keep shifting is consistency. Posting relevant content on a regular basis not only keeps followers up to date with you and your content, it also keeps users on your site of choice, be it YouTube, Instagram or whichever other platform, which the platform’s algorithm will reward you for.
YouTube, like many others, makes money when users are consuming content and viewing inserted ads. Increased engagement with your channel on a consistent basis means advertisers will pay them more. Essentially, if YouTube is happy, you’ll reap the corresponding benefits.