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There seems to be an infinite supply of people calling themselves “social media strategists.” They tend to have a blurry header image on their Twitter, and a bio explaining their love for dogs and caffeine. However, when you scroll through their feed it’s difficult to get a sense of their focus or specialty.
The real social media marketers are the ones who have used their influence and built an audience around the knowledge they share. They don’t read articles about best practices — they’re the ones writing them.
For example, Nicole Reyhle, founder of Retail Minded and co-founder of the Independent Retailer Conference, is recognized as a retail thought leader and contributes regularly to Forbes and Entrepreneur. Nicole started a blog to share her thoughts on how independent retailers could improve their business.
Nicole talked with us at the Text100 Rochester office about her experiences as an influencer. Here are some of the key things she had to say.
The difference between consistency and oversharing
What made Nicole’s following jump from 100 to more than 20,000? Consistency. This is key when you’re an influencer. You have to keep your followers engaged with your content.
Some people think being consistent means obsessively posting. Someone with 1 million followers may have thousands of tweets, but they made be automated, which means they may not be as engaging as someone with less followers.
Although someone may have less followers, if they are engaging with their audience and not just posting for the sake of posting, they will ultimately be more successful.
It’s not about who does the most, but about doing your best.
Consistent content also helps drive results. An influencer’s audience expects content in a certain format or voice; that’s why they follow that person in the first place.
What influences an influencer?
The main job of an influencer is – you guessed it – to influence others by sharing thoughts and opinions that shape the industry. The question is, though, what influences an influencer? Nicole says brands are her biggest influence, which is no surprise considering she’s a retail influencer.
Brands build recognition because they are constantly influencing customer engagement; retail is defined by consumers. Personal testimony can make or break the retail industry, so brands and their consumers will always be important.
Lifestyle experiences are also influential in this industry. Nicole spends a lot of time in stores watching how customers are interacting with the store, the employees and more.
It’s also important to respect other thought leaders in the same industry, read their work and collaborate with them to share thoughts and create movements.
Choosing and working with clients
When approaching an influencer, it’s important to make sure they sit well with your company’s goals. Take into account the amount of exposure received – although a project may have a smaller budget, there may be future opportunities or email lists that mean more exposure.
Nicole also cautioned that clients should expect to review the content she produces for accuracy, but they shouldn’t expect to heavy-handedly shape an article. Clients partner with influencers for their authenticity and voice; they and they alone know best how their audience will respond to content.
After the discussion with Nicole, it is evident that there are many unique approaches to brand engagement today – and we will probably see many more creative ways to enhance brand engagement in the future. One thing is for certain, though: developing a long-lasting relationship with an influencer can have a influence on the right audience.