Imagery by Vanessa Lovos
To be Followed we Pray. Amen
What a time to be alive. In this day and age, when faced with the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” more and more kids are answering “social media influencer”, a term that didn’t even exist 10 years ago has now taken the world by storm, and rightfully so, the few that have managed to make a full-fleshed career out of their online presence seem to always be traveling to exotic places, buying designer clothes every season, and getting paid ridiculous amounts of money for a single post, who wouldn’t want that life... Your follower count is almost like currency, in a weird way, the more you have the better you are perceived, by most people anyways (kinda sad).
I too have fallen victim to this desire of being “seen” and “followed”, and if you clicked on this post it probably sparks interest in you as well, which is absolutely fine I must say! For me social media is more of a creative outlet, and as a creator, all I’ve been trying to do for three years is for my content to gain exposure, all my hard work to be seen by a massive audience. I want my voice to be heard!
There’s no blueprint for success and I’m definitely nowhere near where I want to be, but I can tell you what has worked for me in the years I’ve been creating content. The results will vary and this you can’t control, but what you can control one hundred percent is how much work you put into it!
1. Find & Master Your Niche
You will get genuine engagement from someone if they can connect with you on a specific niche or talent you may have and they identify with, trust me they’ll keep coming back! Start with this, find what you want to post about, and stick to it, become a master of your craft. Fashion, sports, beauty, whatever it is you want to post about be the absolute best you can be. People who share the same interests and passions will find you by searching hashtags, by sponsored posts (will get into this one later) and it is more than likely they will hit the follow button if they feel you’re someone they can look up to you, draw inspo from, etc. Again, be the best you can be.
2. Set Yourself Apart
The days of people making it to the discovery page and gaining thousands of followers over night are long gone kids. Instagram is very saturated and in my opinion it has plateaued. There is so many people doing the same post, wearing the same sneakers, and the same Gucci snake t-shirt. Be extra if you need to, I recently started changing the way I pose for pictures and it has helped my engagement a lot! Everyone is tired of the same ol pose, its time to stand out and set yourself apart from the crowd. Check out this post about how to pose for pictures it might give you a better understanding of what I’m trying to say here.
Consistent quality content. Probably the most important step to take towards gaining followers, keep it consistent, and keep it good. This is where you’ll have to put in the most work. I personally shoot on the weekends, and I plan ahead of time what outfits i want to shoot, what location, what time of day, you get the picture. I pin (Pinterest) photos I’m drawn to and want to recreate, with my own twist of course, so that I can have an idea of what I’m going for instead of panicking last minute and not knowing what concept you want for your pictures. I also change in my car and on to the next outfit and location. Anything to keep a constant stream of pictures lined up to post.
Another huge way to gain exposure is through collaborations with other accounts, brands etc. It works the best if the account shares the same niche as yours, that way their followers will be more prone to follow you. Basically a shout out for shout out type of deal. Most of my favorite bloggers and people I look up to I have discovered through this method, someone I was already following shouted them out and their content caught my attention.
Everyone whose ever asked me how I’ve gained my followers hates hearing this, but paid promotions, if coming from a big account with real, organic engagement will most likely get you tremendous exposure and with exposure comes followers. Think about it, brands pay for commercials, paper ads, billboards, you name it! Specially if you want to be a full-time online content creator you really need to consider this one, you have to see yourself as your own brand, as a business, and businesses need promotion, heck even Madonna needs promotion, periodttt.
Consider setting up a budget just for this, trust me, it works! So whether you pay for “sponsored” posts (through Instagram promotion services) or a huge account with genuine engagement you are guaranteed to see results, at least that’s been my personal experience.