How This Entrepreneur Grew His Social Reach to Over 250 Million Followers

How This Entrepreneur Grew His Social Reach to Over 250 Million Followers

If the above headline has you chomping at the bit, I’ll cut to the chase—the social influencer in question is none other than Victor Ricci. Currently, Ricci stands at the head of Trend Pie—an ad agency that specializes in getting low-cost installs for exciting apps using influencer marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, though—Trend Pie isn’t Ricci’s first shot at influencer marketing. In fact, while still a young college student at Seton Hall University, Ricci quickly made a name for himself on Vine, amassing a robust follower base of over 1 million enthused fans.

Though he’s no longer as active on Vine as he once was, Ricci’s social reach hasn’t experienced any major setbacks—quite the opposite, in fact. As of today, both Ricci and Trend Pie have regularly used influencer marketing to build a social following with over 250 million members.

First Off—What’s Influencer Marketing?

If you’re new to the idea of influencer marketing, there’s no need to fret—the concept is a simple one. Basically, the vast majority of brands have a relatively small audience. Using influencer marketing, however, they’re able to get their content in front of a larger, more engaged group.

To make influencer marketing happen, brands will first reach out to influencers. In turn, said influencers, promote their content, ideas, products or services on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other popular network. Sometimes, even email- or blog-based shoutouts are negotiated.

Though easy to internalize, making influencer magic is one of those things that’s easier said than done. Fortunately, Ricci hasn’t left the greater social media marketing community out in the dark on this one—below, you’ll find three of his top tips for dominating influencer marketing:

Engagement Matters More Than a Massive Following

If you’re like most marketers, when taking to social media to connect with industry-specific authority figures, you’re looking for one thing, and one thing alone—a sizable social following.

While not necessarily a bad way to go about things, according to Ricci, there’s a better way to find the perfect influencer to keep your brand on the up and up. Here’s the trick—instead of focusing on followers, zero in on a potential influencer’s ability to engage his or her audience.

How? It makes sense if you think about it—strong relationships aren’t necessarily made manifest in big numbers; moreover, in the amount of time an influencer spends reaching back out. As such, monitor an influencer’s activity—if they’re involved, engagement is likely to be stronger.

The best part about engaged social followings, though? Based on what Ricci has experienced firsthand, not only do they download apps, read e-books and sign up for software demonstrations, but should they have a positive experience, they’ll tell others about it, too.

The Best Ads Keep Audiences On Their Toes

One of the biggest mistakes brands make when producing product- or service-pushing content with influencers is that they fail to take into account the importance of quality. In the driver’s seat, they often opt for something that looks good, but force-feeds users a slimy sales pitch.

The trick is to keep audiences on their toes—to keep them thinking. Instead of spending hours working up enough inventive juice to build something brilliant, place a great deal of creative control in the hands of your influencer. They know their audience; they’ll know what will work.

Plain and Simple, You Must Know Your Audience

No matter how hard you might try, there’s no cutting corners with this one. And while coming to know your target audience on a more finite level requires some serious time, energy and cash, by so doing, you’ll be better equipped to make the most of any upcoming influencer involvement.

Studies have shown that, on average, brands make around $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. It’s an impressive return, but not one that’s guaranteed. To meet or exceed such an average, it’s key that your influencer’s social audience be largely composed of ideal buyers.

For example, if yours was a brand that routinely took to Instagram to sell hand-crafted jewelry, teaming up with a top-tier female athlete for content promotion might not be the best fit. Yes, the eyeballs are certainly there in large quantities, but are your ideal buyers? Not so much.

When your business is starting to work with influencers, focus on engagement and not the top tier celebrities. Though you should eventually aim to work with bigger names in your industry, everyone needs to start somewhere!

This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

Read next: How Mobile Apps Are Revolutionizing The Workplace