One of the biggest misconceptions about influencers, by brands and followers alike, is that they just got lucky. The reality is that cultivating influence is an art, and building a following online is hard work.
There’s no such thing as an accidental influencer. Social media is a fickle friend with a short memory. Even if you unwittingly start trending, or spark a meme, if you’re not quick to capitalize on your 15 minutes of Internet fame, that initial rush of follows, likes and shares will soon dwindle.
Take the grumpy cat – or rather Grumpy Cat™ – a meme that started doing the rounds in 2012 after a photo of the cantankerous feline was posted to Reddit. Her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, seized the opportunity, quit her day job and a million-dollar industry was born. Now Grumpy Cat is on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and makes personal appearances at Comic Con. Brands are scrambling to work with an Internet sensation…that’s a cat. While every influencer’s formula of success is different, these digital trendsetters do have some things in common. Webfluential, the global influencer marketing service, shares some of the secrets of successful influencers:
1. They have a personal brand
Call it a look and feel, a sense of style, a manner of tweeting, or even just a vibe – influencers create and cultivate a brand of their own.
2. They have mastered their tools
Ask any of the top-tier igers (Instagramers) what editing apps they use: they’ll tick off Camera+, Snapseed, and more. Video blogging requires a deft hand with filming equipment and editing. Then there is Wordpress and its thousands of plugins for bloggers. An artist is only as good as his tools.
3. They have disciplined posting habits
The best influencers use tracking tools to see WHEN is the best time to post WHAT type of content on WHICH platform. They have content plans, posting schedules and spend evenings and weekends uploading ahead of the time if they have busy day jobs.
4. They get to know their audience
Influencers also know WHO is following them, and WHY. They immerse themselves in the interests of their audience and use their platforms to find out more – like creating engaging conversations via their Facebook page to ask: “What would you like to see more of?”
5. They interact
Followers want more than anything to be acknowledged. Taking a moment of your time to reply with a “Tx” will buy you invaluable goodwill.
6. They track their numbers
Any serious blogger uses Google Analytics to measure pageviews and unique visitors (which Webfluential has custom-built into its platform to monitor influencers signed to its service). An influencer might modestly say, “I have around 12 000 Twitter followers”, but they’ll know down to the exact number.
7. They know their worth
An established influencer is not shy about attaching a value to the amount of time it takes to create content, and build and maintain a following. They have a rate card, be it for website advertising, sponsored posts, taking part in campaigns and/or personal appearances. Some even have a minimum prize value, in order to conduct giveaways via their various online platforms.
8. They stick to their niche
If a brand approaches a well-known food blogger with a free trip to New York for a smartphone launch, not only has that brand not done their homework, but also chances are that the influencer will turn them down. The best influencers know their niche, are choosy about the brands they associate with, and won’t risk alienating their hard-won followers for a freebie.
Influencer marketing is a relatively new concept, and one of the two biggest challenges hardworking influencers face are credibility and measurability. Webfluential solves both these dilemmas, and provides a third element: opportunity, connecting influencers with brands in the right niche, at the right rate.