Being a social media ‘influencer’ is now a real, viable career option, but exactly how do you get into this next-gen role? Here, model, entrepreneur and digital influencer, Taryn Williams shares her expert advice on how to get into the influencer game.
When the term ‘influencer’ first started being used to describe social media’s emerging stars—the Kardashian-Jenner crew, Aimee Song, Chiara Ferragni—who with their huge, dedicated, loyal followings, could put a brand on the map by simply posting one filtered snap on their social channels of themselves wearing that label, it seemed as though being an ‘influencer’ couldn’t possibly be a proper ‘job’ for a regular person, but rather just good genetics, great lighting and access to fashion contacts.
But then being an influencer exploded across all lifestyle areas from beauty to food to health to fitness and became an actual thing. As in a real, actual job that you can make a career out of, instead of something that makes your friends and family laugh and say, “Jokes aside, what are really planning to do with your life?”
‘Influencer’ is now a legitimate career goal and for those at the top of their game, like Chiara Ferragni (her recent wedding was basically an exercise in branding), it looks effortlessly easy. Branding opportunities undoubtedly just fall into her lap and she can pick and choose which she wishes to share with her 15.5 million Instagram followers. But for someone with an eye on the social media influencer prize of an Insta-worthy life/career, where do you start? How exactly do you build social media influence?
Vogue spoke to Australian social media expert Taryn Williams, who aside from being a global ambassador for Max Factor’s new Radiant Lift campaign, is the founder of two successful businesses, modelling agency Wink Models, and two-sided agency The Right Fit, which connects brands with influencers, about how to build social media influence. Read on for Williams’s six lessons in building influence.
When and how did you get your start as an influencer?
“I never really intended on becoming an 'influencer' or really think of myself that way now! But, essentially I think people relate to and are inspired by my journey as a business woman, entrepreneur and transition from a model, to [a model] agency owner, to [a] tech founder.”
What do you think are the keys to being a successful influencer?
“I think it’s incredibly important as a key opinion leader, online or offline, to respect your audience and followers, and only to work with brands or organisations that are truly aligned with your values. It really should be mutually beneficial and add value to your audience, who trust you with their time, and value your opinion. It's also important to understand that if you are engaging with a brand as an ambassador or content creator, to understand the objectives, deadlines, and measurables so you can add value to the campaign.”
What do you consider the biggest challenges in engaging with social media audiences and gaining a loyal following?
“For influencers, I think the saturation of the market means you really need a clear point of difference—whether this is a niche, or the creativity of storytelling—and you need to commit to creating high quality content on a regular basis to build and maintain an engaged audience.”
For budding beauty influencers out there, please share how the Max Factor opportunity came about?
“Max Factor reached out to me and explained the campaign, and that they had been following my journey for quite some time (that in itself was a pinch-me moment!) and asked if I was interested in being involved. I love that they are promoting beauty with depth and [I] am flattered to be included alongside such extraordinary women, globally. I'm one of their global ambassadors, as part of the launch of their new range Radiant Lift.”
As a female social media role model, what advice would you give other women hoping to build their profile as an influencer?
“To stay true to their audience and know and own their niche. Be consistent, create great content with authentic stories, and only work with brands you feel the relationship feels natural.”
What are your golden rules for social media?
“Social media is not a space for advertising. Its for connection, storytelling, education, entertainment—people don’t want to be sold to in such a personal medium. Both brands and influencers need to remember that when crafting a campaign.”