So you want to become an influencer.
The job has plenty of upside. There’s all the free stuff, for one, and the most successful influencers can earn thousands of dollars from a single tweet or blog post.
We asked some of Austin’s top influencers and social media experts for advice on how to build your personal brand on social media or through a blog.
Here’s what they said:
1. Pick one topic and focus on good content
“You need to establish yourself as a figure - it can be sports, it can be travel, fashion is really big, or even just beauty,” said Jane Ko, a food and travel blogger for ATasteofKoKo.com.
But she warns not to forget that it is about creating content people that draws people in. “If you create good content and good readership, the brands will come.”
2. Fake it until you make it
“Just start doing it,” said Daniel Carter, a doctorate student at the University of Texas’ School of Information. “If you want to be a fashion Instagrammer, just start taking photos in the clothes you have.”
3. Build a following with free giveaways
One of the easiest ways to build a following is to offer a giveaway - like a gift card to a retailer - to anyone who follows you, signs up for your newsletter or “likes” your page.
"A group of Instagrammers will get together and pitch in $50 so they can do a $250 Nordstrom's giveaway," said Sarah Ware, the CEO of influence marketing firm Markerly. "Then people start following those Instagram accounts."
4. Specialize in one social media platform
Ware urges up-and-coming influencers to focus on one social media platform.
“If it’s YouTube, focus on that. If it’s Instagram, focus on that,” she said. “People often spread themselves too thin.”
5. Be authentic
“You have to be persistent, and patient, and love it,” said fashion blogger Jessi Afshin. “So many girls are trying to do it because it’s cool — you can see the love is not there.”
She said the best influencers are “authentic,” meaning they have a genuine obsession with what they are writing about and taking pictures of. That makes their endorsements more valuable to readers.
6. Consistency is key
“The best advice I can give is to be really consistent with your postings,” said food and travel blogger Natalie Paramore. “You always need to post at least once a week and have something to say. More frequently is better.”