Earlier this year, entrepreneurs Kate Toholka and Monika Berry launched The Influencer to resounding success – so much so that it took even them by surprise. An online training program designed to teach aspiring influencers how to build their personal brand and business, The Influencer received widespread press thanks to being a first of its kind.
Now, they’re back for Round 2 – with an even better offering (and a capped number of spots available, so anyone interested – you’d best be quick!). But before we take a look at what can be expected from The Influencer 2.0, we thought we would tap into Kate and Monika’s expertise in the influencing arena to discover the 10 key things EVERYONE should be doing in order to build their community on the social media platform.
Read on to discover their top tricks and tips…
1. Join The Influencer Program! There’s more to building a following than simply having a beautiful feed. The Influencer program takes you through the complete process of establishing yourself as an influencer – from your personal brand to the strategies to hack the Instagram algorithm. The popular influencers make it look easy, but in reality – there’s lots of strategic planning and scheming going on behind-the-scenes.
2. Develop a clear objective: The best Instagram accounts are the ones that have a singular focus. It needs to be clear from a first glance what kind of content people will expect to see. Are you a stylist? Then keep your feed to fashion. A makeup artist? Then keep your feed to makeup. Of course you can do a stray interest post now and then, but 90% of the content needs to be focused on your main interest. Don’t try to be everything at once.
3. Create a consistent feed: Much like above, your feed needs to be visually consistent. That is – same filter and same aesthetic. A cluttered, messy, unattractive feed does not convert to followers no matter what you do to drive people to your feed.
4. Publish Stories daily: Stories are huge on Instagram now and a great tool to use to grow your following. Stories that generate high engagement have a higher chance of being featured on the search page, so be sure to encourage any form of engagement as much as possible on your stories. For example, using the Poll feature or encouraging followers to send you a DM.
5. Understand how the algorithm works: The more you understand how the algorithm works, the better you are positioned to make Instagram work for you. [In March 2016, Instagram changed its news feed format from chronological order – e.g posts ordered in the time they were published – to using an algorithm that saw posts ordered according to what Instagram believed audiences “care about the most”.]
6. Get professional photos: The only way you’re going to get a following on Instagram without high quality content is to either be a celebrity, date a celebrity, or go on a reality TV show. If that’s not an option for you, then make your content better. Have a professional photoshoot once a month to create a months work of high quality content.
7. Encourage conversation: Social media is social, so be social. There should always be a conversation between you and your followers. This means spending time commenting on your followers’ post, writing back to comments, and responding to Stories. It also means encouraging conversations on your posts (and Stories) by asking a question to your followers. This not only boosts your chance of getting on the search page, but also encourages your followers to tell their friends about you. Even better, they may tag people they know on your photos.
8. Give before getting: It’s an unfortunate trend but we do see a lot of aspiring influencers asking for new followers or employing ineffective growth tactics such as following and unfollowing accounts, without doing the hard yards first. Growing a quality following takes time, commitment and perseverance. Show that you are worth getting to know by showing up, engaging and providing good content first. Then the followers will come.
9. Connect with other influencers in the same industry – even better, collaborate: Connecting with other influencers in the same industry doesn’t just give you moral support and connection, it also puts you right in front of the people you want to be in front of.
10. Get offline: Go to as many social events as possible and meet others in your industry (regardless of their influencer status). The more people you know, the more likely you’ll connect with the right people. And if you attend an event that has a popular hashtag, for example #vamff, be sure to use that hashtag as people now have the ability to follow hashtags. Events are hot on Instagram right now, so it’s a great way to get in front of new followers.
While that might be all for the tips, if the above advice inspired you and you want to know more about gaining an Instagram audience – then read on! We’re digging further into the brains of The Influencer co-founders to find out what to expect from Round 2 of the program…
You’re getting prepared for Round 2 of The Influencer program. How did Round 1 go?
It went great! We got almost double our predicted intake, which was both great and daunting at the same time. Thankfully it has been well received and the feedback has been really positive. They are loving the format of the course, the content, and the opportunity to reach out to us at any time.
What has been some of the results you’ve seen coming out of Round 1?
We’re seeing our aspiring influencers develop a more cohesive brand and a better understanding of how their positioning as an influencer will help them. Members are producing better content and many have informed us that either their websites are on the way or they’re in the process of updating their websites and brand to reflect the direction they truly want to go in.
“Monica and Kate have so much knowledge and expertise between them, this course gets better and better as you work through it!” – Kirsty Cassidy, Geelong Fashionista @gfashionista
Why should influencers/brands look to sign up for Round 2?
It is the only course of its kind that looks at the career of an influencer from humble beginnings all the way to influencer stardom. It covers everything from developing your personal brand, identifying clear business or career goals, establishing a beautiful visual identity, creating high quality content, and growing your following (or as we prefer to call it, community) strategically. There’s thousands of Instagram growth courses but they miss the full picture – plus they are normally focused on short term rapid growth which usually promotes icky tactics and purchasing of followers (which are not good if you want to work with brands in the future!).
“Unlike other courses out there that bombard you with information that becomes overwhelming, each module in The Influencer course is concise, considered and straight to the point” – Aleczander Gamboa @aleczandergamboa
What can people expect from Round 2?
Same incredible content, but with the added bonus of a weekly check-in and unlimited email support from us for four weeks. In Round 2, we’re going to be even more hands-on with our members during the first module – which is all about developing the strategy behind their personal brand and business or career goals. This does mean we are now capping our enrollments so everyone gets the attention they deserve. We currently have a waitlist so we encourage anyone who’s keen to join to get on the waitlist sooner rather than later.
We’re also in the very early days of developing our talent management services (having signed our first talent last week), so we’ll be giving our influencers an exclusive sneak peak behind the development of that (a very real-life, in-time case study!)