The rise of Influencer Marketing in South Africa has seen a lot of growth in the industry with more individuals making a living as Influencers and bloggers because brands have finally caught up and taking notice. Being an Influencer is not about being a celebrity but having the numbers and being able to command the attention of your audience that trust your content.
One of the many reasons I wanted to share this post with you, is because the digital marketing industry is fast growing in South Africa, especially in other cities but seem to be quite slow in Durban. We have seen a rise in influencers & bloggers in Johannesburg and Cape Town, but not a lot in Durban. Actually, not a lot of opportunities are there for people in Durban. We miss out on a lot of things that usually happen in the other two cities but never come our way and when they do, Joburg people are usually brought in to do the job and that alone annoys a lot of people including me, but then again, that’s a topic for another day.
Being a Durbanite that loves this city, I would really love the industry to take notice of the talent we have. This will not only open up opportunities for a lot of people but will also help the city see the rise of a lot of major events and opportunities that never seem to make it on our side.
I truly believe it will take us to make and see the change. To demand to be noticed and appreciated. I remember when I used to run my old blog and PR agencies would invite me to launch events and they will always have to ask if I knew any other bloggers who they can invite too. It’s so hard for brands to even identify bloggers & Influencers in our city, yet there are quite a number of people who have the audience but don’t actually know how to use it to their advantage.
So if you would love to turn your Instagram account to work for you, get you noticed and also make you some money in the process, this blog post is for you. Please also note that you don’t have to be a blogger to be an Influencer. Yes, blogging gives you a larger audience, but let’s be honest, blogging takes a lot of work & commitment. So if you are good with running your Instagram account and can see the desired results then stick to that and don’t worry yourself about creating a blog that you will fail to keep consistent.
Have A Cohesive Profile
This has to be one of the most important parts of getting your Instagram account noticed by brands and also to gain followers. Instagram is all about pictures and people follow accounts with good quality pictures, a profile with great content and a consistent profile.
Being an Influencer means being a commander in whatever industry you are passionate about. And although the fashion & beauty industry has got this on lockdown it shouldn’t stop you from having an account about food, traveling, sports or even technology. There are brands who look for individuals to work within all types of industries.
You need to identify the type of look you want for your profile and make sure it’s consistent with that theme. A lot of people think having a perfect Instagram is to have it a curated feed that sticks to one color or theme, which I believe is a lot of pressure. A curated or themed feed can stop you from sharing a lot of pictures and not as much as your followers would like to see your content. Your feed is just as perfect no matter how you post your pictures, just as long they are good and of high quality.
Below I show you 3 of my favorite feeds, that are quite different but are consistent and immediately tell you what each person is about.
Produce Unique Content
Although you have grown your followers by just being yourself and sharing your day to day life, things change when you treat your account as your business platform. Now that you want brands to notice you and you have a large audience, it’s now time to work on unique projects and creating out of the box content around your passion. This will show brands you have the ability to run with campaigns professionally. This could be anything from collaborating with other creatives in the industry, like photographers or designers. This will also be good to build your contacts with other creatives around your city.
Invest in your Passion
When starting out it’s very crucial that you invest in items that will take you to the next step. Shop around for products from the brands you would like to work with, if your feed is about food and travelling, visit restaurants or make time to travel. You invest in these things first, will allow brands to notice that you are a loyal customer and want to work with you and also send you their products.
Tag to Get Noticed
One of the major things that people tend to shy away from is tagging brands on their pictures. I always see people who usually post their OOTD (Outfit of The Day) pictures, but never tag where the item is from and even when people ask they just ignore them. Tagging where you are and where you bought something, if the brand is on Instagram, gives you exposure. This allows brands to know about you and put you up for consideration for future campaigns if you fit the criteria. Also sharing information with your follower’s gains you trust and grows your reputation as an industry expert.
Use the right Hashtags
Hashtags are the best way to grow your audience and expose your work to other people, people who might not be following you. Do your research to find out the popular hashtags in your industry and use them wisely when posting pictures. This will expose you to a lot of individuals who are interested in your content and also grow your followers fast. Make sure you don’t use a lot of them, which can create confusion, you can even create a unique one about you or your personal brand.
Engage With Your Audience
You can create all your amazing content and be consistent with your profile, but it will not get you anywhere if you don’t engage with your audience and build trust with them. Make sure you thank them for any compliments, answer their questions and never be insulting. It’s also important to note that you don’t have to respond to every comment because we all know there can be some mean people who just want to get your attention in the wrong way. Make sure you ignore them cause you don’t want to be seen saying bad things that will make brands not want to work with you. It can be hard to keep up with comments sometimes if you have a large audience but try by all means to engage with your followers.
It truly takes a lot to be an Influencer. It takes up a lot of your time and can sometimes be stressful, especially if you have a lot of opportunities coming your way. My best advice would be to do it because you are passionate about it, not for fame or for free things. You need to be able to balance everything, especially if you have school or work because it can get a little overwhelming. It can be quite a rewarding experience because a lot of people internationally do this as a full their full-time job and slowly it will be like that in South Africa as well, baby steps.