In the past few years alone, social media has undergone rapid change. As global attitudes evolve, technology advances, and the social landscape changes, it’s easy to feel left behind. You may be feeling like the market is already oversaturated or that you’re lost to an algorithm before you even sign on.
We’re here to break down barriers and to provide key tips on what it takes to thrive as a successful social media influencer in 2021. Use these strategies to dominate your online space and build your personal brand.
A common misconception is that your public life should be free from mess, conflict, and struggle. But that myth couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, vulnerability is often key to connection. To be vulnerable takes courage and honesty - two qualities commonly found among influential people. Now, we’re not suggesting that you share every intimate detail of your life online. But you don’t need to hide your imperfections. Vulnerability and imperfection build connection.
True authenticity sometimes means putting your real self, and those who are close to you, on public display. So, it’s important to maintain strong boundaries and guidelines surrounding content and access. Some of the most open social media personalities limit or moderate commentary within controversial postings. Another strategy is to publicly highlight toxic or negative commentary in response to vulnerability. This strategy uses hurtful commentary as a teaching tool.
Being mindful of social media as both a vulnerable and a public space, it’s also important to schedule dedicated down time for self-care. Some influencers don’t post on certain days or they schedule formal breaks or vacations from posting. Authenticity and vulnerability take emotional work. Make sure that in response, you regularly practice self-care. Otherwise, you run the very real risk of burnout or major distress.
Most importantly, it’s wise to be well-versed in online safety and to take proper precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. We recommend keeping key information such as your home address, exact birth date, identification numbers, passwords, financial information, phone numbers, and vacation dates inaccessible to the general public. It’s important to balance authenticity with personal safety.
Clear, consistent branding is key in 2021. By branding, we mean the style and look of your feed. Is it light and airy? Raw and earthy? Dark and moody? Your pictures tell a story. That story is your brand.
We recommend consistently using Lightroom presets to ensure a signature look when editing your content. A signature look pauses people in their scrolling and it easily connects them back to your personal brand. When developing your brand, consider mobile-friendly Lightroom preset collections that speak to your overall concept, brand palette, and the aesthetic atmosphere you aim to cultivate for your audience.
Have an idea of the look you want, but don't know where to start? Our Transform your Feed with Luxe article functions as a quickstart guide for taking your content to the next level, and all from your mobile device!
It’s important to identify your niche and hone in on your unique audience. Instagram also offers free analytics about your followers. Under ‘Insights’, go to ‘Audience’. You’ll be able to access basic information such as age range, gender, and location.
Outside of data tied to your account, one of the easiest ways to identify your audience is to follow, engage with, and study users that promote the same values as yourself, are working toward the same goals, or who have already achieved a status or position that you're after. In doing this, trends among those you admire become quickly apparent, as well as trends among those in their following.
You can learn a lot about your target audience by looking into your competitors’ Instagram audience. Take a closer look at their followers and posts. The Phlanx Influencer Auditor for Instagram is an excellent free resource to investigate other influencers that may share key audiences.
Once you’ve defined your audience, you’ll be able to apply relevant social connection cues like hashtags. It’s critical to use the right hashtags so that the right people can discover your content. Instagram also prioritizes those who utilize multiple relevant hashtags. High relevance results result in the greatest organic growth.
Once you’ve defined your audience, you’ll want to make sure that the content you produce is approachable, reliable, and relatable. Pay special attention to how your audience engages with the content you deliver. Additionally, take notes on how your favorite creatives, brands, and influencers behave in response to specific types of content.
Once you have your branding and content locked down, you’ll want to develop more active engagement strategies.
Deliver content that caters to Instagram algorithms to optimize the reach of your posts. Ask questions and encourage feedback from your audience. Engagement is typically an easy way to get rewarded by a standard algorithm. Another way to increase engagement is by direct invitation: Tag other users in your post. Or share posts from other influencers and tag them.
Timing is a huge factor in determining how much engagement any piece of content gets. Posting when your audience is most likely to be active means that your posts are more likely to be seen and engaged with. Posting on a regular and predictable schedule also increases engagement via consistency.
As you grow, you'll connect with others through private messages, shares, tags, and collaboration requests. On platforms like Instagram, you may even find yourself joining a Pod or a group-chat with multiple likeminded accounts. Here, you can gather together to take advantage of the Instagram algorithm by actively engaging with each other’s postings. Networking is invaluable and leads to growth, active engagement, and real relationships.
No matter when, where, and how you decide to take the plunge and own your space on social media in 2021, just know that we at The Luxe Lens are rooting for you and wishing you much success in this new year! Be it the beginning of your social media career or a re-inventing of your brand, we believe that you have the power to do great things and we have the tools to make your content look pretty while you do it!
Featuring Images by: Georgia De Lotz, Brooke Cagle, Stacey Sutcliffe, Maddi Bazzocco and Ohtilly edited with Luxe presets.