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How to Become a Successful Social Media Influencer

Rule the social kingdom with these expert tips.

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Building a large social media following can transform your life. With access to a huge network, you can unlock resources, revenue streams, and, of course, the potential to get your big ideas out into the world. Establish yourself strongly in a specific market—and become an “influencer”—and brands will even start seeking you out (and hooking you up with free swag) in hopes of getting some love in your social streams. Of course, ascending to social media royalty isn’t easy. It’s a vast battlefield out there. But with a strategic plan of attack, and the best technology, you can capture your niche and reign over it with pride.

Pick Your Battles

The British tried to rule the whole world and eventually failed in spectacular fashion. Remember this as you consider your personal social media strategy, because you can’t engage on every front. If you try creating content for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, and Vine individually each and every day you’ll find your kingdom collapsing around you. Either you won’t have time to do anything else, or your efforts on each platform will be weak and unfocussed.

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Start by identifying the type of content you’re primarily producing and sharing already. This can be pictures, videos, written text, or blog posts— even audio recordings, music, or podcasts. From there, you’ll need to figure out which social network and audience best matches your style. Facebook is great for connecting with friends, but if you’re a visual artist you need to be on Tumblr. Comedians have found great success on Vine and YouTube. Writers seem to love the confines of 140 characters on Twitter, and it’s the perfect
place to share links to things you’ve written as well.

A great way to maximize your exposure is to focus on smaller or niche sites where your content can really take off. While people watch billions of hours of video on YouTube every month, new channels are lucky if they’re able to garner even a few dozen subscribers. But if you’re dead-set on making videos, a smaller niche site or app might be the ticket. Ever heard of Socialcam? For a time it was the hottest new network on the planet, an “Instagram for video” years before Instagram actually added video. I have 1.6 million followers there, because it matches my skills perfectly. My background is in video, and I’ve honed my on-screen presence contributing to the Today show, CNN, HLN, and Fuse. I leveraged my advantage by putting my skills to work on the small screen and producing killer (if I do say so) mobile videos. As a bonus, because I started on the network early, I was able to produce content day after day to stand out and build a large following there. Don’t be afraid to be an early adopter of new social platforms.

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