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May 29, 2018

How to fulfil your role and ‘influence’

As an influencer, you have your work cut out – not only are you a full-time social media guru, but you’re also your own content writer, photographer, marketer, web designer, sales exec, accountant and CEO. Alongside this already demanding job description is the added pressure that everything you post should impact and shape your audience in some way.

More so in the digital age, where everyone can produce Instagram stories, create live social media videos, and purchase a cheap WordPress domain – it can be difficult to cut through the noise with quality content … and influence.

Here are a few top tips on how you can do this and position yourself professionally as a respected content creator. In the long run, this will help retain and build your influence.

Invest time in ALL of your social channels

In particular, if you’re an Instagrammer or YouTuber, focusing all your time on your chosen platform makes sense. It is, after all, the channel through which you best communicate yourself and where you’ve built up your audience. However, while this authority is a huge benefit to brands, it’s important not to dismiss other platforms along the way.

That’s because as a digital influencer, your area of influence should be all over the internet. Spending more time on so-called ‘secondary’ channels will allow you to broaden your reach, extend engagement and increase audience size. For brands, this means that any social media cross-promotion you’re offering them will likely return great results.

Ultimately, the more channels your content appears on, the more opportunity you have to influence and get both your audience and brands to gravitate around you.

Stay connected

Retaining this channel-wide influence means you’ll likely find yourself online – and engaged – from morning till night. Not everything you do will be geared towards content creation, though, so it’s worthwhile investing in apps that go beyond your social activities –consider applications that help with organisation, photo-editing and billing for a truly seamless workflow. Here are a few favourites recommended by fellow bloggers to get you started.

And with a bit of forward thinking …

Be armed with not only an opinion on what’s happening but also a view of anything that is on the horizon. Just like a so-called ‘traditional journalist’, you’ll need to always be on the search for what’s current and upcoming, come up with ideas and stories that will get you maximum exposure, and think about what you can do to set the news agenda yourself. Social media is great for this.

So, you’ll need to spend a lot of time researching, reading and absorbing information. Be aware of any upcoming product releases, social media algorithm changes and breaking news within your niche the best influencers are never late to the party on these things.

Post frequently

Part of retaining influence lies with post frequency. This doesn’t mean you should be posting content for content sake – get rid of a content quota if you have one – but, as a blogger, updating your readers regularly should come very naturally.

Your genuine and engaged readership follow you because they love your content. Providing them with the stuff they love reading regularly is a win-win. Plus, if you’ve done your audience research, each one of your posts should be something that followers cannot help but interact with.

Know your audience

To influence readers, you need to think beyond what you like to write. What does your audience like to read? What topics are they going to find interesting (and shareable)?

Your writer to reader relationship should go far beyond website demographics; it should involve you genuinely listening and engaging with followers. Work on sentiment tracking – how was your post received? Have you started a conversation? Have people commented saying they’ve learnt something?

All that said, be careful not to deviate too far from what you enjoy writing about and don’t get too hung up on producing content exclusively based on what your audience likes to read. If you end up focusing all our efforts on something that you’re not that passionate about, it will show– and, ironically, readers will stop following you.

Take a unique stance

You can’t just regurgitate what’s trending. You’ll also need to think about taking a fresh standpoint.

As a blogger, you have a unique voice, and this is why many readers choose to listen to you, as opposed to engaging directly with brands. Having something unique and creative to say about something that may otherwise be drastically overdone gives you an edge and makes your voice better heard.

Don’t break your trust

This is by far the most important factor. You hold influence because of your ability to remain impartial. People respect and enjoy your content because you are wholeheartedly genuine, and you always tell the truth.

Brands can shout about their products to no end, but they will never be able to retract their bias. As an influencer, you can cut through the noise and give your honest view. With any partnership you take, ask yourself if this is a sincere collaboration on your part? If you don’t agree with a brand’s policy, name or product, then ultimately you shouldn’t be collaborating with them.

As such, it’s important you don’t lose sight of your core values. Real trust can take years to build but can be shattered almost instantly. And if your readers are genuine, they’ll spot a white lie a mile off.

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