While the pretty pictures you post on Instagram might lead your followers to believe otherwise, you know being an influencer is a lot of work. If your online growth is stagnant and you’re not sure what your next move should be, it might be time to expand your specializations.
Specializations are an influencer’s bread and butter. It’s their knowledge and authority on a particular subject combined with the way they are able to communicate it to their audience.
The best influencers in the game have broadened their brands and doing so has paid off big time. To become a better influencer, you need to branch out to try new things. That resume and media kit aren’t going to write themselves.
Of course, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about expanding your specializations. You need to apply a strategic approach in order to get the best possible results. A reckless expansion could play poorly with the audience you’ve worked so hard to get, so it’s important that you have a plan in place.
The secret to growing as an influencer lies in growing your area of expertise.
Build upon what makes you special
Before you jump headfirst into expanding your specializations, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the brand you’ve built up to this point. A good place to start is looking at your social media insights.
Within the Instagram app, users with a business profile have access to insights like where their followers are located and when their audience is most active. It’s essential to know who you’re already attracting so you can brainstorm complementary target audiences. Brands will ask for this information to see if you fit into their influencer marketing strategy.
For example, if you’re an English-speaking travel influencer with lots of followers in Mexico, perhaps you could expand your specialization by posting your content in Spanish as well.
Beyond basic demographic information, you should investigate which pieces of content resonate the most with your audience. After noting what content has generated the most likes and views, you can make a plan to double down on these previous wins. As you expand your specializations, keep this content in mind. Set out to recreate it with a new twist.
In addition to the wealth of information social media insights provide, you can directly ask your followers why they follow you, what kind of content they enjoy the most and what they would like to see more of on your accounts. When asking questions or conducting surveys, it’s important to be clear and concise. Not only will it drive engagement, but the answers may surprise you and could open your eyes to new possibilities.
Spread out to other platforms
One of those new possibilities could be spreading out to other platforms. As an influencer, one of the best ways to grow your following on one platform is to expand your presence on another.
For example, if you want to increase your Instagram following, start a YouTube channel. Invite your YouTube subscribers to follow you on Instagram and vice versa. The platforms will feed one another and create a cycle of growth. Your target audience is likely on multiple social media platforms, so you should be too.
According to a Pew Research center study on social media use, many Americans use multiple social media platforms. Of the people surveyed, approximately three-quarters of both Twitter and Snapchat users said they also use Instagram. The research revealed that 95% of Instagram users are also on YouTube.
When you’re deciding what new platforms to try, consider investing your time and energy into one that gives your followers a more unfiltered, behind the scenes look. On the whole, people are tired of overly-polished content and want to follow influencers with a more authentic brand. Platforms like Snapchat allow you to share more raw content and connect with your audience in the moment.
Additionally, look for new platforms to join as they’re released. Influencers abound on tried-and-tested platforms like YouTube and Instagram, so why not give a newer social media app like TikTok a chance? With fewer content creators to compete with, it will be easier for you to stand out and grow a following.
Learn new content creation skills
YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok: Are you noticing a trend? When it comes to content, video is king. When HubSpot researchers surveyed consumers and asked what kind of content they want to see from brands, 54% said video. If you haven’t started to incorporate video yet, it’s time to learn some new content creation skills.
One of your primary goals as an influencer is to secure marketing campaigns. From creating content for their blogs to providing valuable social proof, brands are counting on you for compelling content that will draw in consumers. Your unique voice is your influencer secret sauce, and there’s no better way to establish a connection than through video.
The best influencers have an audience who likes, knows, and trusts them. If you’ve tried to establish that type of relationship through writing and photography only, you need to turn your attention to video content. There is power in showing your face on camera and letting your audience hear your voice.
While many industry experts agree that influencers should concentrate their efforts on video, other content creation skills worth learning include blogging, graphic design, copywriting, audio editing, and photo editing. The more you can do, the more marketable you become.
Don’t lose your unique voice in the process
Hopefully, you’re feeling inspired to expand your specializations and become a better influencer. But as you learn new content creation skills, spread out to other platforms, and set your sights on new target audiences, be careful not to lose your unique voice.
At its core, being influential means standing out from the crowd. No one will notice you if you’re just copying other influencers. Your one-of-a-kind personality is essential, and you must infuse it into every aspect of your brand.
As you expand your specializations, keep in mind that you don’t have to be everything to everyone. With each step forward, remember who you are, who you serve, and what makes your brand special. Your authenticity is what got you where you are today, and it will take you to the next level.
Armed with a crystal clear understanding of what makes you unique and a plan for expanding your specializations, you’re sure to find influencer success.