When I first started my social media page, Farm Babe, over five years ago, I had no idea it would eventually grow into hundreds of thousands of followers and turn into a full-time career. It started as a hobby — a way for me to share what we were doing on the farm and a creative outlet to debunk myths and talk all things food and agriculture. In a world where so many people are trying to blog, have a following, or become an influencer, it becomes important to share some tips and tricks to help grow your audience.
DO have realistic expectations. Building a following takes time, and can sometimes take years to monetize or build your brand/channel.
DON’T believe you’re going to hit the ground running out of the gate. Having goals for yourself is fine, but if you expect to have, say, 10,000 Instagram followers within six months, you’ll most likely be very disappointed as that could be a very difficult goal to attain.
DO have a memorable name that’s catchy and easy for people to remember. Sometimes a new blogger can have the best content ever, but if someone doesn’t know how to spell their name or it’s long and drawn out, it may be difficult for people to key in on.
DON’T be afraid to stand out! With so many influencers out there, what makes you different or unique? Do you have a specific niche? Personal branding expert Phil Pallen explains, “When you appeal to everyone, you effectively appeal to no one.”
DO stay true to yourself. There are many social media platforms out there, but which one is your favorite? If you find you’re good at video, go ahead and rock that YouTube channel! If you’re into photography, Instagram might be a better fit. For quick links, snippets and short convo, opt for Twitter. Facebook is my personal favorite since it’s so versatile for all of the above.
DO find people who inspire you and build on those relationships. Are there people online you currently follow who you really admire? Give their content a share! Be active in their comment sections and show them you’re a memorable fan! When you are support them, there’s a good chance they’ll remember you and follow/like/comment/share and support you too.
DON’T take someone else’s content and try to pass it off as your own. People work hard to create content and credit should always be given where it’s due, especially when monetization is involved. Lying and stealing is wrong on any front.
DO include a watermark or logo on your content. If you created content and don’t let people know that you created it, it becomes too easy for anyone to screenshot, share, and repost — and your effort quickly gets lost in the shuffle. Viral memes are everywhere! Ever play a game of “telephone” where someone says something and as the message travels, it gets lost in translation? The same can happen for photos. Including a watermark or logo on your photo or meme helps to protect your brand. If you allow your work to be downloaded and/or shared on social, a logo quickly lets people tag you to give you credit; if you don’t want your work reused by others, a logo or your name on an image helps limit misuse and ensures your copyright. People who’d share your photos or memes without crediting you generally aren’t doing it to be malicious or ill-intentioned, but the internet is the internet, and things like this do happen.
DON’T forget to tag! Tag, tag, and more tags. Hashtags, mentions, shares are all great ways to include others in your messaging. They then receive a notification that you mentioned and tagged them, which will most likely result in more shares of your post as they’ll most likely be very thankful you mentioned them or properly shared their content. It’s a great way to build relationships online! Sharing is caring.
DO reach out to brands you love. Ask them if they work with influencers and explain why you think you’d be a great fit and why you love their brand or product. There are also many agencies you can work with that can help you get more gigs.
DON’T sell yourself short. Navigating the world of social media influencer monetization can be a confusing one, but often times larger companies and brands have big budgets set aside for advertising and marketing. Influencers are a modern day extension of that. Instead of yellow page ads or billboards, maybe they’re now preferring digital brand ambassadors to help get the word out about their product or service. New to influencing and don’t know what to charge? The site www.socialbluebook.com is a great place to start to know your worth, prepare a media kit, and learn about the digital marketing industry overall.
DO vary that content! People love to laugh! Hot topics and humor or memes tend to go over quite well. Ask yourself if it’s a post that you yourself would want to share? Would it go viral? With every share comes more exposure and a stronger following.
DON’T forget to have FUN! Run your page how it works best for YOU. Some people blog when they have the time. Others prefer a schedule. Some want to be on every major platform (recommended), but others prefer to stick to one or two major ones like TikTok or YouTube. Find what works for you so you love it where it isn’t a daunting chore for you and you can deliver truly valuable content in a way that best fits your personal style.
Michelle Miller, the Farm Babe, is an Iowa-based farmer, public speaker, and writer, who lives and works with her boyfriend on their farm, which consists of row crops, beef cattle, and sheep. She believes education is key in bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.