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Few people would argue with the statement that people like Beyoncé, Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian are some of the most powerful social media influencers on the planet. Love them or hate them, you have to respect the time and effort that they have put into building their brand, and how they have proved remarkably proficient in adapting a wide variety of social media platforms as part of a comprehensive branding strategy.
As a result, someone like Selena Gomez can now command a price of $550,000 per Instagram post. Kendall Jenner gets anywhere from $125,000 to $300,000 per post. And Kim Kardashian – the prototypical social media influencer – gets $200,000 per post. Here are 3 reasons why they are winning as a social media influencer.
Key 1: Be authentic
One important lesson, according to Kardashian, is that influencers can’t embrace anything and everything that they are asked to promote. At one point, she concedes, she might have over-extended herself by being willing to promote things that she didn’t really like or care about. That’s forced her to reconsider what it means to be “authentic.”
As a result, her new policy is that she will only promote things that she really uses in her everyday life. She must use it, like it and be loyal to it. Moreover, she now takes a much greater effort to understand the owners of a brand, and what their values are. It’s all part of being authentic, which is a key component in building engagement and loyalty. Your fans have to believe that you are being completely transparent with them.
Key 2: Make people feel special by sharing your world with them
There is a unique psychology of being a social media influencer. Despite influencers having millions of fans, each fan truly believes that you are somehow a “best friend” and someone who “gets them.” As a result, says Kardashian, she actually spends a lot of time debating what to post, and what to show fans. She wants to make them feel special, as if they are part of her world. It’s the difference between “showing off” and inviting your best friend back stage and having them meet all the fabulous people in your life.
Key 3: Understand the key attributes of each social platform
While many might characterize Kardashian as being shallow and superficial, she does display remarkable business acumen. In any interview, she will immediately tell you the pros and cons of every social platform, and why she uses them the way she does. For example, she often uses Twitter as a “focus group” to see what her fans are thinking about. She’ll use Snapchat to provide glimpses into her everyday life. And she’ll use Facebook whenever she needs a click-through or a sell-through.
While it’s possible that a social media agency could be hired to take on all the heavy lifting of updating social media accounts, the really top influencers try to do as much of it themselves as a way of maintaining “authenticity” with fans.
One example that Ms. Kardashian gives is a recent trip to Japan with her husband Kanye. The two were jetlagged and having trouble sleeping, so they left their hotel room in the wee hours of the morning to photograph all the amazing lights in Tokyo. That’s just not something you would be able to coordinate with a social media agency – it has the spontaneity (and, let’s admit it, glamour) that only a top influencer could pull off.
Ultimately, the best way to win as an influencer is to understand that it’s not just about relentless promotion (and making money off that promotion) – it’s also about connecting with fans, having conversations with them, and understanding what they are thinking about. That means posting regularly and across a wide variety of platforms, and doing it all in a way that’s authentic and in-the-moment.