Long gone are the good ol’ days (aka the late 90s) when knowing how to stand out as an influencer only took a LiveJournal account and some extra time to write. Now, with better blogging platforms, video and social media, influencers need to do a whole lot more than get fired for ranting about their coworkers online to get famous, like Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com!
People like Heather paved the way for the professional influencers of today, but even this Mommy-Blogger-turned-Influencer knows that things have changed.
For one, there are many more influencers, bloggers, vloggers and social media-ers out there today. The category of “blogger” alone has been split into hundreds of different niches. And many bloggers have YouTube accounts and many YouTubers have blogs and many bloggers are on Facebook and…you get the picture. The influencer world is a lot bigger than it was 20 years ago. Every niche seems overrun!
But if you know how to stand out, how to be unique and how to authentically engage with your audience, you can achieve success no matter how crowded the niche. Read on to learn how to break through all the noise and significantly expand your audience.
Find Your Angle
If you’re in a popular influencer niche like fashion or travel, it’s easier to get lost amongst the other influencers unless you have an angle.
Basically, an angle is a unique perspective that makes you different from the rest.
How to be really, really, really different? Cross-pollinate your favorite passions. Why focus on one broad topic (where it’s difficult to stand out) when you could zero in on a few things you really love (and you can stand out like a BOSS)?
Why be just a travel influencer when you could be a vegan travel influencer who writes about all the international vegan dishes she tries all over the world? Or get your audience involved like Colin Wright, the writer, speaker and podcaster from Exile Lifestyle?
Colin is a minimalist nomad who has his followers vote on what country he should live in next. (Yes, live in. He packs up what little he has and moves somewhere new every few months!)
Or, why be just a fashion influencer when you could be an ethical fashion influencer who buys only from women-owned businesses?
Combine your passions like Perlu member Meg Cale from Dopes on the Road! When Meg first started traveling, she realized there was little information out there for LGBT travelers like herself. There was an information gap, and she decided to fill it! Since cross-pollinating her passions this way, Dopes on the Road has become the No. 1 lesbian travel blog!
Combining the things you already love and care about will give you an angle – a super sharp focus that will attract a dedicated audience and help you stand out from the crowd.
Collaborate with Other Influencers
Let’s say you already have your angle. You’ve set up your YouTube account, linked all your social accounts together, bought a domain name – the works. You’re producing content on the regular, too! But your audience growth seems to be, well…nearly nonexistent.
What’s next? You know there are plenty of people out there who will love you once they find you. So how do you get them to find you?
Collaboration, of course! Collaboration is a tried-and-true way for influencers of all kinds to grow their audience. Think about it: one project with another influencer puts your content in front of 2X the audience!
Influencer Nikkie of NikkieTutorials – queen of all things beauty – absolutely KILLS it with her collabs. She’s produced videos with James Charles, Shane Dawson, and even Beyonce’s makeup artist, Sir John.
Nikkie’s videos already get get lots of views – usually between one and three million. But this video collab she did with singer Jessie J? 13 MILLION views!
If you’re wondering how to stand out, collaborations are clearly the way to go!
Think of the influencers you follow. How many of them take the time to respond genuinely to their followers?
Unfortunately, the bigger an influencer’s audience grows, the quicker their engagement seems to decline.
Really successful influencers – the ones who have the most loyal audiences – work hard to stay engaged, no matter how big their audiences get. Being engaged and transparent with your audience fosters a loyal community that not only loves you but is excited to tell others about you, too.
In fact, true engagement is becoming more of an expectation than a bonus. So win the hearts of your audience members by responding to comments and messages and being accessible and authentic, like Demetrius Harmon. Demetrius got his start on Vine and has since amassed over a million followers on Instagram and Twitter. Funny videos may have been what first made him famous, but since then, he’s become known for poetry and modeling as well.
Demetrius opened up about his struggle with mental illness on social media and has since become a well known mental health advocate. He even designed hoodies with the phrase “You Matter” embroidered on them as a reminder to all of his followers that each one of them matters.
Not only does Demetrius strive to be open and authentic with his followers, but he also takes it a step further: he meets them in person. Anytime he’s in a new city or just wandering his hometown of Detroit, he sets up a time and place for fans to come meet with him.
And just when you thought he couldn’t be any more accessible, he does something unheard of in the influencer world. On Christmas day, 2018, Demetrius took a bunch of hoodies and hand delivered them, surprising fans all across Detroit. Demetrius truly knows the power of engagement.
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This Christmas was one of the best i’ve had in a long time, I spent the day driving around surprising people with You Matter hoodies, then I had a meet up and gave away a few hundred. Thank you for always making me feel so loved and accepted. & Michigan i love you, so much. Happy Holidays ❤️🤝
Hosting Q&As and livestreams is another way to engage your followers. Livestreams are so popular, even birds love them! Yes, birds. One bird, actually: Sophie the Magpie.
The beep means the bumwarm is at optimum quality. pic.twitter.com/FbX2aIYgOn
— Sophie The Magpie (@breesophiebree) February 26, 2018
Sophie may just be a bird, but she has amassed over 20K followers on Twitter from a weekly livestream. She has her own twitter account, @breesophiebree, where her owner, Andy Bowd, hosts a livestream every Saturday morning to show off Sophie and answer the audience’s questions.
If this kind of engagement can help a bird gain a following, it can surely help you, too!
As your audience starts growing, you may find you’re able to engage with your audience in entirely new ways, like Perlu member Jojo from Jojotastic. Because her audience has grown so much, she’s able to host in-person workshops – in Italy.
Remember: the Internet is Infinite
Seeing all the influencers in your niche can be a little daunting, but remember: the internet isn’t like a book – there’s no set number of pages; there’s no end of the internet. That means there’s more than plenty of room for you if you know how to stand out!
No travel junkie follows only one travel influencer. No fashionista follows only one fashion influencer. Most likely, they follow dozens or hundreds of influencers in that niche! And they’re probably on the hunt for more influencers to follow! So no matter what niche you’re in, there is space for your ridiculously awesome ideas.