Wait, what? Please hear me out. I believe the way we’ve been going about growth these past few years has distracted us from why we’re here in the first place.
By gaining followers quickly, we lose sight of what we want to actually do. Share knowledge, educate, entertain. We as creators have something to say and we don’t just want to say it to someone. We’d like active participants in our mutually beneficial experiences. Fancy way of saying, we all want to belong.
Our goal shouldn’t be “to be an influencer”. You already are influencing someone. And if you can “influence” a new person once per day for 10 years, you’ll gain 3,650 followers.
You do 10 hacks, tips, tricks… whatver — each day.. you’d have 36,500 followers in 10 years.
So many blog posts, youtube videos, Instagram stories are about how to gain a huge number of followers in 1 day. or 24 hours or 48 hours.
Sure you can trick people into following you, but do you want to?
Sure you can hack your way through a forest but you’ll be cutting down a lot of beautiful trees in the process.
Probably the biggest culprit is a youtube video titled “How to Gain 100K Instagram Followers in 48 Hours” — How? They bought or traded for shoutouts from accounts with Millions of followers. To be honest this is a method I’ve used to gain followers. And I’ve built an entire site around getting regrammed.
Tips, Tricks and hacks will get you followers. I’ve nearly guaranteed it to dozens of clients. But what it won’t get you is fans. That’s up to you. I can teach you every trick. I can change the way you think about Instagram and I can even teach you how to do it yourself. But You’re not going to be doing the thing that you want to do. You’ll be hacking your way through the jungle instead of creating your own forest.
So You Want to be an Influencer
Here’s my recipe for success
- Learn Photography — every single Instagram post has one thing: a photo.
- Learn Graphic Design — Learn aspects of graphic design that aid in building a brand. That includes: Color theory, Alignment, Repetition and much more. Colors evoke certain emotions. Use that to your advantage.
- Learn P.R. — Yes Public relations. Pitching and getting press will help your career and your follower count. Don’t rely on a P.R. firm to create you. If you have success in P.R., then you’ll know you can invest a large sum of money into a P.R. firm to do even better work.
- Co-habitate, co-mingle, and collaborate with other creators — Not just Instagrammers and Not just influencers. Push the boundaries of who you meet and who you hang out with. You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you’re around even three other people who are reading similar but different things as you and you communicate with them purposefully, you’ll learn three times as much. Which leads to the next.
- Learn “Best Practices” Purposefully — Ditch the terms: Tips, Tricks, and Hacks. Instead of haphazardly reading about and then attempting to do each and every hack or trick you hear of, develop habits and skills. Blend a trick into your every day existence. Instead of just reaching out for shoutouts, come up with a systemized way to collaborate. Instead of just tagging nonsensical hashtags that are spit out of an app, go and explore Instagram like a normal person. Analyze your own actions to develop growth through channels you already use.
- Work on Projects — I like calling them projects because there’s less pressure than “new lines of business” or “revenue streams”. I’d recommend attempting to do short projects. Work on weekend projects that can be done within 4 hours and then spend the rest of the weekend marketing it.
- Work on team projects — sure, you can call it collaborating. Work on projects that others are passionate about and you support them. Figure out why they are passionate about it and help them execute. Or do something together that each of you can excel at. Example: Create a whole new instagram account based on a shared theme with a group of 6 others (Each of you post once a day) Another example: If you’re a model, try being an extra in someone’s short film. yes this may take time (months) to gain traction but find a reason to keep doing it other than followers and you won’t burnout.
- Learn how to write — Writing allows you to communicate beyond a photo or a post. Writing allows you to communicate deeper. Deeper connections breed bigger fans who will become ambassadors of yours. Write a book. Seriously the best advice. Get your favorite book: and type it out word for word. Just open a google doc and write the first page. I’ve typed out first pages of Kerouac, Hemingway, Thompson, and Adams.
- Learn SEO — The basics can be learned in a day. It takes a lifetime to master. But not just overall SEO, basic keyword research. Finding out the exact words people use can help your growth incredible as you use words that matter to people, which matters to search engines.
With all that in mind. It’s hard to know how far you can get by just creating. I’ve made it a personal mission to educate that a “Build it and they will come” mentality will not work. Many of those are marketing.
I take it for granted that each person reading this will know exactly what they are good at. If you don’t have a thing, feel free to reach out. If you do have a thing and find it hard to grow, reach out too. I still offer growth services for a fee and I am always creating free resources for people to grow their following.
Are you an influencer or poised to be one? Enter your email to get weekly insights in to the influencer marketing industry at Influence Weekly.
Heavily influenced by: Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years http://norvig.com/21-days.html