While perusing your Twitter feed you notice yet another Kardashian has tweeted a photo captioned “I love my new jeans!” with the brand name tagged. While you and millions of other followers have viewed this picture now, you are not easily fooled. It’s clear that this celebrity has been paid big bucks and as with some other celebrity posts, may not even necessarily like what they’re promoting. So why should you be persuaded to buy them?
Well, companies have finally seen the light and are discovering the unique advantage of using peer-to-peer marketing, rather than celebrity endorsements to promote their products. While celebs have thousands, if not millions, of loyal followers; every-day influencers, like you and me, are perceived as much more genuine and trustworthy. Using ‘real people’ (non celebrities) to promote brands results in higher conversions in the long run.
In general, the public is simply more likely to believe the guy next door who is promoting a brand that they actually care about rather than companies employing ‘fake’ advocacy.
As influencer marketing continues to take center stage, more and more ‘average Joes’ like us are jumping on the opportunity to take part in brand campaigns. Here are five strategies, including channels, tips, and tools, you can employ to become far more than ‘average’ on social media:
Know your platform
Each social platform has its own distinctive characteristics, from tone and depth of content to audience attributes and size. You therefore need to pick which platform is the best fit for your topic and employ the right tools to improve your reach.
Twitter With a majority of male influencers, Twitter is the right platform for users who want to gain popularity as tech, sports, or music experts. However, it is also a very demanding network, requiring users to to stay up to date with the main discussions. If you want to become influential on Twitter, you have to meticulously follow what topics are being mentioned and base your Tweets on those.
Download TweetDeck in order to monitor multiple groups and stay on top of different conversations taking place. The Desktop/Web/Chrome app provides you with the flexibility of viewing multiple Twitter timelines on one simple interface, allowing you to easily manage multiple Twitter accounts.
Instagram A platform dominated by female influencers, Instagram drives very high engagement of users in the fields of fashion, food, pets, and travel. With Instagram the key is to remember to make your posts visually appealing and to post often. If you prefer to ‘show’ (with pictures) rather than just to ‘tell’ with text, then Instagram is the right medium for you.
Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out which hashtags to use in your posts. TagsForLikes is a great way to get more likes and followers on Instagram by offering the current top tags on Instagram for you to simply copy and paste.
Facebook Though the majority of Facebook users are age 20-30, Facebook is the best social network for you to reach a variety of different age groups at the same time. Offering more room for expression than the character-limited Twitter or the image-focused Instagram, Facebook is the way to go in order to build a following regarding your expertise if your topic involves more textual content.
Although the majority of Facebook is textual content, it is very important to include visuals to get your posts noticed. Canva is a free online tool to help you create customized, engaging graphics to fit in with your posts.
Blogs This is the perfect channel to discuss technology or fashion and delve in-depth into content. Of all the means of becoming an influencer online, blogs are most effective to easily establish yourself as an expert on a specific topic.
You can use Portent title maker to brainstorm ideas for your blogpost title. Simply enter your subject into the Portent tool, and you’ll get a sample blogpost title with a breakdown of why the title might make for a good read.
YouTube With over 300 hours of videos uploaded every minute, YouTube has something for everyone. The ancient saying, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’, is certainly true with Youtube as you can not only ‘tell’ about how you are an expert on a given subject, but more importantly ‘show’ as well.
Youtube Keyword Tool Alternative will help you find keywords that people use while searching on Youtube so that you choose video captions and the tags that are most likely to attract viewers.
Choose your niche
Rather than following existing trends and posting about them, you should focus on one item that you are passionate about. By honing in on a single point of interest your posts will be more straightforward and organic.
Be passionate This may sound obvious, but it is critical that you choose a topic that you have true passion for, because your audience will be able to sense your authenticity. Your posts will be filled with more color and excitement which will naturally attract more fans of the same topic.
Be real While it is crucial to choose a niche that you are passionate about, it’s also important to be genuine with your posts by displaying your true feelings. People are looking for your true opinion as an ‘expert’ in this field, so feel free to express yourself honestly.
Be an expert Since you are planning to focus all of your content on one point of interest, you have to become an expert on the subject. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to get a university degree in the science of skateboarding, but you need to put in the effort of staying up to date with the discussions taking place on your social channel, as well as doing research outside of social networks. The more knowledgeable you are on a topic, the more you have to offer your audience.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest news about your field of interest using feedly. The app is a news aggregator that allows you to easily organize, read and share the content of your favorite sites while cutting out all irrelevant subject matter.
Build and foster relationships
Building your network is a crucial element in gaining traction and – what’s more difficult – maintaining it. In order to create a quality following, you have to cultivate relationships with your followers and other peers.
Start small Begin reaching out to a small community of users with the same interests, then spread out. If you try reaching out to a big bulk of people without personalizing messages, users will sometimes view you as insincere. If you put effort into building each relationship and discussion separately, your audience will begin viewing you as a credible expert.
Get started with Keyhole, which allows you to track a specific hashtag or keyword, and follow users who are talking about the same topics you are.
Reach out to other influencers When you run into a user who is an expert in your field of interest, it is important to reach out to him and begin interaction. Once you open that door, you can gain access to his entire network of peers.
Sysomos is a good way to get started with its feature called Tweet Life that allows you to figure out which influencers to reach out to by tracking their category tweets, meaning tweets that are the same as your field of interest.
Utilize cross-promotions Once you foster close relationships with other influencers in your community, you can use each other to increase your reach in the network. For example, you can be guests on each other’s podcasts, mention each-other in Tweets, and share each other’s posts. This way you increase your visibility within other users’ networks, and you also gain credibility by mentioning another influencer in your subject matter.
Repost for Instagram allows you to browse through content from your community and repost it, giving full attribution to the person who posted.
Post content that gains interactions
Being a useful social influencer for companies requires more than just a large number of followers – you need to continuously engage users. There are a few key types of content that receive the most interactions:
‘How-to’ guides Creating how-to guides attracts users who want to gain simple insights and helps establish you as an expert in your field.
Snapguide can help you discover and create how-to guides on all your favorite topics. You can use the platform to build and publish your own step-by-step guides using pictures, videos, and text.
Behind the scenes Giving your audience ‘sneak peaks’ or a behind the scenes look at different items is a great way to pique their curiosity.
You can use Periscope to livestream either publicly or to private friends to share your behind the scenes live in real time.
Reliving experiences The final way to gain interactions is by using emotional content; when re-living your candid experiences, users are drawn in by your authenticity.
Headlinr helps you come up with catchy titles, providing 30 headline formulas based on your keyword search.
Cultivate your social image
In order to be visible to your peers you have to create a distinct image, an authentic and believable brand for yourself, and all of your social posts and interactions need to reflect that image.
Build your own community If you want to magnify your social brand, a great method is to create multiple accounts around your field of interest. For example, you can have your own personal page, the page of the topic that interests you, and another community page.
Hootsuite is a popular tool that will allow you to easily manage multiple accounts viewed clearly across multiple columns.
Move across platforms If your topic fits in with more than one social network, creating multiple pages or profiles with the same personal brand and the same topics of interest is a great way to build your social image. For example, if you blog about fashion, you can create an Instagram profile for your blog where you post the images that you posted in your blog.
Buffer is a huge time-saver, as it allows you to organize and manage all of your social profiles through one central dashboard.
If all else fails… post a video
Most social media experts agree that video is the future of content. Total engagement in video content grew by 255 percent in the past year, with Instagram’s video engagement growing an astonishing 622 percent. Video content is also shared nearly four times more than other types of content, making it an easy tool for users to expand their reach.
Personal Stories Users are attracted to real-life stories and true experiences, so don’t be afraid to get personal.
Tutorials The quickest way to expand your reach and be viewed as an expert in a certain field is by uploading video tutorials. Many of the biggest Youtube influencers are those who give make-up, cooking, or gaming tutorials. By offering your peers a useful, well-made, visual guide, you are far more likely to drive engagement.
Use Magisto to easily edit videos directly on the app so that they are ready for immediate upload.
Just Link It If you don’t want to be in front of a camera, simply linking to or embedding any video has proven to increase engagement with that post.
TubeMogul allows you to upload a single video clip to dozens of video sites (not just Youtube) and you can get comparative statistics of how your video is doing on each site.
No matter what platform you’re using, to become a social media influencer who is trusted by your peers, you have to consistently work to engage with other users and uphold your own genuine brand. It may be demanding, but by taking these steps, any average Joe can become highly influential in their network, making them far more valuable to a company than over-priced celebrities.
Read next: How tech is a big drive for marketing
Read next: Is 2016 finally the year of location?