Last Updated on June 8, 2020
Welcome to article 1 of 15 of our new series on how to become the best possible influencer. If you are actually looking to use influencer marketing, we published a massive guide on the subject. If you’re looking to grow as an influencer, you’re in the right place. Today’s discussion is going to focus on visibility. If you aren’t visible, no one will know you exist, and your influence reach won’t be as far and wide as it obviously could be.
Build in the Wrong Place and They Won’t Come
It should be intuitive that if you are trying to make a name for yourself and are spending the majority of your time doing so in a low traffic area, or in the wrong section on even the right social network, chances are your growth is going to be anemic. The “build and they’ll come” philosophy only works if you’re building your presence in an area with a lot of existing traffic. A hot dog vendor on a busy Manhattan street is going to do a lot more business than a cart of the same quality in the middle of a deserted highway.
Always be Broadcasting
There’s no way to get around this unless you’re a massive celebrity; to build up an audience and keep them following you, you need to always be thinking about what you’re going to share, when you’re going to share it, and how you’re going to go about post-production engagement. Salesmen need to also be closing; educators need to always be teaching; influencers need to always be broadcasting.
Obvious and Non-Obvious Places to Build Visibility
Non-obvious placement first. I just spent some keyboard time telling you that you shouldn’t place a hot dog cart in the middle of a deserted highway. However, being the only hot dog cart downtown in a bustling small city can sometimes yield better results than being one of 100 hot dog carts in a single block in Manhattan. The analogy is used to describe the importance of niche communities. What do I mean with niche communities?
1. If you’re a top tier ecommerce professional, chances are you are hanging out with Jeremy of mommymakeup.com on Ecommercefuel.com. Of course it will be less overall traffic than that of Twitter, but the focus and self-selection is strong, to where if you intended to become an ecommerce influencer, you need to be here.
3. Etc etc etc. Niche communities of a good size are a very good place to learn and establish yourself, which you can then use for audience expansion on the more obvious places.
For those obvious places, as of writing Intellifluence supports the following network filters when matchmaking brands and filters: Amazon, Blogs, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. Now, keep in mind that we are network agnostic, meaning that matchmaking does occur for other networks within the system, but this is just our focus. Let’s dig in on each of these networks:
Amazon — Amazon isn’t a typical social network in that you won’t find a lot of reviewer interaction outside of heavily commented product threads and in the reviewer support forum. However, brands won’t know about a reviewer unless they can FIND an influencer, which means leaving a high volume of quality product reviews. Let’s get something out of the way: Amazon is cracking down on incentivized reviews, but there’s still value in having an active profile, because Amazon’s meteoric rise as a product search engine means some Amazon sellers are using it as a means to find influencers for other networks as well. I wrote a bit about how that works here.
Blogs — Blogs are going to be the most varied discovery mechanism, if only because there’s no one standard way to blog. That said, there are a few considerations if you want to build visibility through blogging:
- Write for your publication often. Need to improve as a copywriter? CopyPress has a guide for that.
- Write for other publications as much as you can. Tiffany Sun has some good tips on how to get better at this.
- We’ll cover it more in a later section, but comment engagement is key.
Facebook — Facebook is huge. Now that we got that out of the way, you need to know that there’s a difference between fan pages and personal profiles, which make life difficult for networks. If you’re intending to grow your visibility primarily on Facebook, you’ll want to get a fan page and do the majority of your interaction through this profile, because it is easier for brands and networks to track your activity… It’s a privacy issue and alleviates the follower cap problem associated with hard limits on personal friend network size. Other Facebook tips?
- Join as many relevant groups as you can and stay active in them; post and comment on other’s posts — like/share content and you’ll find your content getting liked/shared in return.
- Go live! Until it is ubiquitous, Facebook is algorithmically preferencing going live, which means if you have an idea for a quick live video, this is a fantastic way to keep top-of-mind and improve the probability of getting shared to a broader audience. A caveat though is to not abuse this format; going live with videos that nobody wants is a quick way to losing followers and digital friends.
Instagram — Instagram is currently our most popular network for a few reasons: it is very easy to use, imagery has a high consumption rate, and ecommerce brands in the fields of fashion, cosmetics, health, etc can’t get enough influencers to satisfy demand. Growing visibility here is easy:
It’s all about the hashtags. Unlike Twitter and its 140 character limitations, Instagram’s larger limit means you can use significantly more hashtags on your content. This comes into play in three ways:
- You should be following as many relevant tag searches as you can, to get a better sense of what is popular for your interests. Leave relevant comments and like as much as you can without being perceived as a thirsty spammer. Follow as many of those posters as you can [there are daily limits, so be aware that getting too aggressive might earn you a temporary suspension].
- Produce as many high quality posts as you can, using those same relevant tags. Interact with the comments left on your posts.
- Shoutout to slightly bigger and slightly smaller accounts. Shoutouts are the closest thing to sharing Instagram has at the moment; you can shoutout to whatever content you wish, but peer psychology effects will be greater if you’re of a similar size…it’ll help you grow faster.
- Add all your existing professional contacts. This should go without saying.
- View profiles of your professional peers — we’re all egoists on some level, and people like knowing their profile was special enough to be viewed. A certain percentage of those people will friend you; unless the account is spam, accept it. Most people don’t share frequent updates on LinkedIn, so there’ll be less pressure to constantly share. This isn’t Facebook after all (sorry, pet peeve).
- Write articles for LinkedIn Pulse; LinkedIn no longer accepts applications to become an influencer, but Pulse is the next best thing because the posts are very easy to share within the LinkedIn ecosystem, and thus become network expanding. If you do get a big enough following, it is still possible to become and influencer… Just not easy.
- LinkedIn groups are a thing. While the activity is barely an echo of what occurs on Facebook groups for comparable subjects, some can be gold, with members directly friending each other. It can be a hidden gold mine to vastly increase your network size.
Pinterest — similar to Instagram, Pinterest’s focus is on very visual elements. The main difference is user focus. Our contention is that Pinterest is for saving imagery more for personal use, internally focused, whereas Instagram’s default nature is to share with the world. The overlap is significant and some of the brands focusing on Pinterest (primarily food and fashion) are doing quite well, but don’t write it off as a niche only female-centric network. It is far more diverse. Ramya Menon has some great tips for this. Paraphrasing from her post:
- Curate your actionable content from your blog (if you have one). Appropriately name it for SEO purposes: pinboard name, recipe name, full description.
- Join as many relevant boards as possible.
- Create looooooong pins — don’t just drop an image in a pin and move on; load it up like a mini-blog post.
- Follow relevant pinners and boards, engage with them, and you’ll receive the same in kind.
Twitter — Want to reach as many people as possible the quickest? Twitter is still king for this. It is the social network that skews more towards topic/interest than friend network. In this manner, if you’re able to latch on to a trending topic, the potential for building a network fast is incredible. Just ask Ken Bone who went from pretty much nothing to 237k in a week or so — had controversy not cropped up, who knows how big his audience might have gotten. How can you increase your visibility on Twitter?
- Hashtags are even more important than on Instagram. Due to message size constraints one is forced to use only the most relevant hashtags, so tag use tends to be a bit more focused. Like, follow, and retweet as much relevant content as you want initially from the core tag searches you identify.
- Once you have a little bit of an audience, start producing your own thought-provoking tweets. Quote tweets also count for this — their use has shifted from providing commentary to more public commenting in a new thread. Keep using relevant hashtags in this comment and you’ll start to build up a following to those passionate about the subject.
- Partake in Twitter chats; on a daily basis, there always seems to be a focused Q&A chat occurring. If such chats exist for your core focus, partake in them as you would in your hashtag co-opting, and your audience should continue to grow as the best answers end up getting retweeted and featured in blog recap articles.
YouTube — YouTube can be the trickiest network because the time component of content production is the steepest. If you have a great camera presence, YouTube might be right for you. Assuming you know how to create a channel and upload videos, how do you go about increasing your visibility here?
- Comment on relevant videos. The YouTube community is fragmented in producers and non-producers; if you’re leaving thoughtful and intelligent comments on videos related to your subject material, you’re going to draw attention, which is important for later.
- Quality matters. The beauty of Twitter is the time required to push out 140 characters and have it be useful is minimal; if you’re a makeup vlogger though, you have to put time and thought into setting up the concept, script, production, and post-production. Quality videos are very much appreciated though, leading to subscribers.
- Collab — leading into the next segment of the article, collaboration is massive on YouTube. The ability to engage with other influencers in the creative process is very synergistic and is how a lot of the major channels keep growth constant. When you’re new, start by producing reaction videos; as you pick up an audience, you can then pitch other creators on ideas for collaborations.
The more you engage with other influencers, in a collaborative and supportive fashion, the more likely you are to have success. When I’m writing material relevant to influencer marketing, I want someone like Lee Odden seeing it, due to his role in the industry. Likewise, by interacting in a positive manner on his material increases the likelihood of success. The group success improves individual success, and thus the incentive for altruism exists.
It’s very difficult to be a top tier influencer on every single major social channel, yet alone all social channels. However, it is possible to maintain a presence on all the major channels, the goal being to push the audience towards your preferred channel. If you want to be top tier on YouTube, there is nothing wrong with reposting videos on Instagram, embed posting on Facebook, and sharing the video on Twitter — so long as you are genuinely active on the other channels, you can use them as capillaries to funnel traffic to where you want attention the most.
The same can be even said of bloggers; when I post this blog, I’ll end up reposting on LinkedIn Pulse, in Quora, Reddit, Inbound, Growthhackers, maybe a Slack channel or two, and will share on Twitter and Facebook — if I don’t remain active in any of those channels, the efforts will be meaningless, but by being active I can ensure that attention is drawn and the channels will help to improve the audience where I want it most. You can do the same.
Joe, CEO and Co-Founder of Intellifluence, has over 25 years of experience in SEO, leading several successful marketing companies and providing expert consultation. He is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Using Influencer Marketing, which is available as an eBook or in print.