Eight rules every influencer needs to abide by

The world has changed. Today, leaders take on all sorts of shapes and sizes. From a sports captain, to a political spokesperson, right through to millennials running fast growth start-ups. One area that has seen huge growth in recent times is that of the social influencer. The YouTubers and Instagrammers making a name for themselves with an avid following of fans that reaches into the millions.

Yet, despite the variances in geography, language and industry, there are some clear and common traits when it comes to evoking a trust, engagement and loyalty from those you are communicating to. Here are eight that we see regularly:

  1. Authenticity. Influencers that are authentic and candid with their audience, that share real insight into their lives, build loyal followers. When an audience is able to relate to you they engage on a much higher level with your content. The trust you build with your audience is what makes your word valuable.
  2. Persistence. Have a regular schedule and persist. It takes influencers years to get turn online content creation into a career, just like it takes a leader years to reach the top. Casey Neistat until this past week posted a daily vlog every single day for 578 days alongside his regular weekly films - his channel benefited massively from this regular publishing schedule.
  3. Consistency. Social media algorithms like it when you’re publishing schedule is consistent - and so do your fans. Whatsmore, a regular series of content such as Hazel Haye’s Tipsy Talk are a draw for audiences and brands - they know what to expect!
  4. Stay Informed. It’s incredibly important to listen to relevant conversations playing out on social media and in the news. Successful leaders and influencers seize the opportunity presented by conversation on trending topics and become part of the conversation. From the success of Stranger Things and Pokemon Go, to the Ice Bucket Challenge and Brexit.
  5. Thick Skin. The fact is that when people have the relative anonymity of sitting behind a computer screen they feel they can say horrible things. Know they are the minority and brush their jealous comments aside. Likewise, being a leader doesn’t mean keeping people happy all the time. Sometimes, you will upset a few people.
  6. Target a niche. Like any great business idea, becoming an influencer in a niche is far easier in some areas than others. Cater to it well and you’ll be interesting to brands even with a relatively small following.
  7. Network. With other influencers and brands. Follow the ones you love and get in touch. Collaborating ensures your content reaches new audiences and vice versa. Spencer Owen of YouTube channel SpencerFC dreamt of playing on the pitch at Wembley with his YouTuber friends, reached out to EE to discuss and the phenomenally successful EE Wembley Cup was born taking his channel from several hundred thousand subscribers to 1.6 million.
  8. Learn from others. Look at what people have done before you and how people reacted. Although today, this is much easier to do online. You can assess your analytics to identify patterns - the best time of day, day of week to post. Look at who your biggest audience is, are they male or female, 18 or 35 create content that caters to them and their life experiences. With leadership, sometimes the feel is more 'gut'.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details.

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