It would be nice living off photos of your self, trying different products for free. Influencers look like they have an easy life. A few snapshots and some video clips of themselves with a product, and then they get money. But before they could be asked to partner with brands, they had to establish followers. And this is the hurdle not all aspiring influencers could get over.
Not all influencers have the face and stats of models. Neither are all talented. But there is something about them, or their posts, that people gravitate towards. What is it that convinces ordinary people to follow and like these people’s posts without knowing them in person?
Thanks to the Internet, popularity is no longer limited to movie and television celebrities. Some became popular, eating an entire bucket of chicken. Another got popular spoofing celebrities. But what we want to know more about are those whose lives are no different from ours, and yet they have hundreds of thousands, even millions, of followers.
Let’s learn from these epitomes of content marketing and see what their posts are showing.
They portray ‘a lifestyle’ not ‘their lifestyle.’
Social media could easily feed our egos. We could be fooled to believe that our lives are important enough for people to want to get the dibs on what’s happening with us every day. We like posting what we eat, wear, and do almost every hour. But pay attention to the accounts of many influencers. Their posts are not as random as ours.
The fruits they had for breakfast, the quick run they did that morning, and the beautifully styled salad they post are all images of a healthy lifestyle. Another influencer might be posting about the waves, bikini of the day, and martinis by the beach. Again, there’s a theme to what they’re engaging in.
Only celebrities post random events happening in their lives, although these are curated as well. Most unknown influencers have consistently composed feeds.
They could make pretty the mundane.
Beyond the filters, it’s how they could arrange their cutlery, so their snacking on an apple or a piece of bread with jam looks more delicious than what we have in our kitchens.
To be a social media influencer, you must first and foremost have an eye for photography. Or have an assistant who does. No one would like to follow an account with photos that are askew, blurred, dark. Look at the photos of influencers and compare them with your shots. Theirs are clean. You don’t see random people poking their heads at the background. You don’t see some selfie sticks protruding near their faces.
Similarly, they know how to project well activities that we normally do. Somehow, they look happier riding a bike than we ride our bikes. They are lying on a lounge chair more comfortably than we could. They are even walking along hedges more gracefully than we could. Of course, these illusions are still attributable to mastery in photography. The perfect angling, lighting, and position are what make their activities look extra.
They repost or do shoutouts of accounts that mirror their lifestyles or themes.
Influencers also share a community. It isn’t easy to be a straggler in social media when you have too many competitors for fame. In Instagram, various groups foster some level of the community by asking members to like each other’s accounts and occasionally interact. That’s how they try to ‘organically’ build followers at the start. Since most likely they would end up liking accounts with similar content, the community builds from there.
Interesting captions accompany photos.
Models could get away with just posting their faces. But those who are not so blessed with superior appearances exert a little more effort by entertaining followers with stories. A post of a chair and a table is much more intriguing if there’s a hint of a story in it. Maybe it’s about waiting. But it could also be as trivial as telling how they ran into a friend at the grocery while buying the oranges in the photo. Some could even get away with mini reflections that have nothing to do with their photos. These little stories give followers an illusion that they are getting into the personal lives of the influencers, or at least have an inkling about how they think.
Becoming an influencer does not happen just because someone’s opinions and photos on social media happen to appeal to many people. All posts are premeditated. They are planned to get the attention of specific people. Anyone can try their hand at it, but not everyone would succeed.