Becoming a Social Media Influencer in 2020

[1]

Influencing is one of my jobs.

Trust me, it’s never a job title I thought that I would have. I mean, what makes me so special, anyway? When I started to gain traction through my online social media, I realised that for some reason, in some way, I was influencing others. People cared about what I was talking about online, and they wanted to spend their money on products that I was trying. They were excited to have any interaction with me, but… why? What about the selfies that I was posting were any different from the millions of selfies that get uploaded by 21 year olds like me everyday? I wanted to know what made me different. So, over the last two years of my influencing career, I broke down exactly what was making me successful in the online industry. 😁

Quality of Post (not photo)

Let me start by saying that I’m no professional photographer. I’ve never taken a class in Photoshop, and I don’t have financial access to the latest and greatest equipment. It turns out that all you really need to become a social media influencer, is a smartphone, and access to the Internet. Don’t get me wrong, that selfie you took on a DSLR camera last summer still looks AMAZING in your feed, But, what kind of value is your audience getting from seeing your post. Is it helpful, inspiring, or informative? For example, If your post is questioning authority, smug your face up! This draws people into reading on “why the smug face?” and brings quality to your post. Last year I used this strategy myself to draw attention to my Instagram page with a very “done-with-life” look on my face. The caption explaining my situation gave this post REALLY good engagement. That engagement then propelled people to share my story!

[2]

Engagement Makes Impact

I’m lucky enough to have been born in 1998, making me one of the oldest “GenZs”. Here lies a rare group of adults working in this field who actually understand what drove us to spend our first dollars online when we were 13 years old. Before I say anything else, I want to tell you about a time when I was younger and eager to be making my FIRST online purchase. There were so many options, I had an entire eBay wishlist that I had been curating for months. But, I used social media a lot, and my favourite app at the time was Tumblr. Another user had more followers than me, but she still answered my messages, and it gave me reason to further engage with her posts. I wanted to talk to her more! So, when she posted one day that she had just finished opening her online Etsy store, you can bet that my first online purchase was a homemade bracelet. BUT IT WAS FROM HER. To me, it was priceless.

Now, you may be thinking “Great story about the first girl that noticed you, Adam, but what about when our audience isn’t so eager and impulsive to buy from us adults?”, in which case my question to you is simply this; How’s the value that you’re giving your audience? Many social media users will be quick to a post-gym selfie with the hashtag “#gains💪” instead of writing a caption where they took the opportunity to discuss something that really motivated them, thus encouraging their readers to become motivated. That caption will inevitably start discussions where you’ll have the opportunity to be more transparent with your readers. Over time you’ll have regulars who’ll become your supporters on AND offline. That’s what makes personal branding today more important than it has ever been before.

The Value of Trust

What’s the difference between a commercial that you see on TV and a sponsored advertisement that you scroll by on Instagram? Well, first of all, it’s 2020, and most of us are making the major switch from cable TV to commercial free streaming services such as Netflix or Crave, meaning the number of people consuming (let alone being influenced by) commercial advertisements is dropping rapidly. You can read more about the inevitable shift from pay TV subscriptions to on demand streaming options here. [3]

With that being said, social media has very quickly become a way for us to easily consume information, whether it be from our friends, family, or members of the media that we trust. Think about it; if a really good friend posts about this awesome new product, you’re probably more likely to try it based on that referral alone, rather than basing your buying decisions solely on what the brand has managed to advertise to you. We trust who we know, and we’re influenced by who we trust. We also tend to want to support those that we feel connected to, so if your friend lands a micro-influencer campaign [4], not only are you more likely to remember the advertisement as it relates to someone that you personally know, you’ll also likely be more willing to try the product out, in support of your friend. This is great news for advertisers, and it’s why so many brands are spending more and more money on influencer marketing. [5] It’s why being a social media influencer in 2020 is giving people the financial freedom to work for themselves, online, building the reputation of their own personal brand.

Conclusion

Over the course of writing these blogs, I’d like to dive deeper into what makes a great online influencer, how to gauge the monetary value of an influencers work, and what it means to grow your own personal brand online. Thanks to influencer marketing, I’ve made friends around the world, built lasting connections with well known brands and organisations, joined in on trips and experiences that I otherwise never would have had the opportunity to, and even managed to make my own money along the way. The best part? It’s only 2020, and I have my whole life ahead of me.

An advertisement that I participated in for an LGBT Dating App called “Her”
Sources:

[1] Image derived from https://blog.praxiscenterforaesthetics.com/this-artist-built-a-career-through-social-media/
[2] Image derived from http://www.instagram.com/adam.mcmaster
[3] “Netflix Usage Surpassed Cable and Satellite TV for the First Time in 2018” https://bgr.com/2019/01/31/netflix-vs-cable-2018-statistics/
[4] “What are Micro-Influencers and Why Are They so Effective?” https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/power-of-micro-influencers
[5] “Influencer Marketing: State of the Social Media Influencer Market in 2020” https://www.businessinsider.com/influencer-marketing-report

Facebook: Have you ever thought about becoming a Social Media Influencer? I wrote a blog post about my journey in the field, and if you’re thinking of joining me, this might be a good place to start! http://bit.ly/2O9T5UH

Twitter: Thinking about joining the Social Media Influencer Market? The time is now. http://bit.ly/2O9T5UH

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