I’ve spent my post-college life working in digital advertising, specifically 5 years as a social media manager at two colleges and a small advertising agency. I’ve had the privilege to work on viral campaigns (including outlets like E! Entertainment, Buzzfeed and Business Insider), crisis communications due to social media threats, and paid advertising all on social media. These days, I focus more on advertising operations with a sprinkle of paid social QA and A/B testing. But the more I work with local influencers in Kansas City and begin blogging myself, I see the similarities between managing social media for an established brand and building a brand for yourself.
Stop focusing on likes, start focusing on content:
I’m in several Facebook groups for smaller, newer bloggers like myself. Every day I see the following statement in some way, shape or form:
“I’m so close to having 1,000 followers, will you go and follow me?”
“I used to get 200 likes on my photos, now I’m only getting 193. Why?!”
The fundamental flaw is focusing on outcome before process, the pearl before the grit. How would you act if a friend who was losing weight asked you the following?
“I’m 16 pounds away from my goal weight. I’m so close. Will you go eat my healthy dinner and run 2 miles for me?”
Your response would be to tell them to get to work! That’s what good bloggers are doing every day, for months or years on end until they hit those follower milestones. They’re constantly improving their craft with content, creating content calendars, working on their websites and social media accounts.
In other words, build it and they will come. But how do followers know if they should? Read on:
Build Local Connections:
Every single high-profile social media campaign I’ve ever worked on has one common tenet: the local media played a major role in communicating the message. Most bloggers won’t need to worry about getting the local news to cover their spring OOTD, but most successful bloggers have a strong connection with their local blogging community.
From the Chicagogrammers to smaller groups near you, there’s a group for every blogger. Make a point of going to local blogger meetups. Volunteer with an organization that needs a social media coordinator. Don’t miss marquee events like local fashion weeks or fun events in your city. Join professional development groups like Style Collective. In other words, to be successful in the blogging and influencer worlds, you have to be willing to make connections and give back to others!
Know When to Pay to Play:
A little part of my former social media manager self dies when I see a blogger with 11,000 Instagram followers but averaging only 100 likes on posts. That is the mark of buying followers, which can usually be confirmed with a quick glance at tools like Socialblade which chart follower changes over time. Girl, we see you.
I know that you believe it will pay off because number of followers = more influencer offers. It will catch up with you soon, and I mean soon. The Influencer Podcast did a great interview with Fohr Card CEO James Nord, during which he talks about tools that many larger brands are using to verify how many followers an influencer truly has. Technology and brand strategy is catching up and catching on, how will you fare when the time comes?
I should note, I think there’s a time and a place for small, refined paid social media campaigns. I don’t think the ROI is there to run advertising to gain social media followers, but it could be something to offer brands as a supplemental benefit of partnering with you.
Want to learn more about refining your career as a social media, digital advertising or blogging professional? Register for my workshop Make Your Social Media Career Take Off, hosted by Social Media Club of Kansas City on May 4 by clicking here.