How to be an influencer: Part 2
In the second of our series, travel and lifestyle editor and writer Lynette Botha shares her thoughts on influencers.
Last month, we spoke to Tech Girl about being a micro influencer, how to grow your following on Instagram and how to create meaningful content. Now, we continue the conversation with another micro influencer (someone who has between 1,000 and 10,000 followers on Instagram): Lynette Botha.
Lynette is a travel and lifestyle editor and writer who says she was a late adopter of Instagram but joined Twitter about 10 years ago when she first worked for ELLE magazine. Now she has more than 4,300 followers on Instagram and over 25,000 followers on Twitter. Here are her secrets to success.
What would you say has successfully helped you to grow your following on Instagram?
I think my following grew due to my title (as beauty editor and then assistant editor for ELLE magazine) and involvement in the fashion, beauty and media industry. I do not actively try to grow my Instagram account – it happens organically – but my content focus has changed over the years. Now I am predominantly a lifestyle and travel writer (and a vegan mom!), so my account mirrors that.
‘Influencer’ is a term that cannot be ignored in the digital space. What are your thoughts on influencer marketing and why do you think it is a helpful tool for brands?
I think that if the influencer you are collaborating with is the right fit for your target market, they create brand awareness and hopefully encourage their audience to engage with your product. You may also be able to tap into an audience that the brand has never been able to before via the right influencer’s channel. Approached correctly, an influencer will be able to generate more meaningful content around your brand or product than, say, a generic advert. People who follow influencers do so because they are interested in their content and what they have to say; they trust this source and value their input and suggestions.
What does the number of followers mean to you and how does one get paid work in your field?
For me, I am not really concerned about the number of followers I have (or likes that I get). What is important to me is the feedback that I get from a client or a place I have recently posted about. For example, I was away at an incredible place recently (which was actually a paid-for weekend away, but nevertheless) and I posted about it to share my experience. Afterward, I received a message from the owner saying: ‘There’s a marked jump in enquiries [since your visit]; it’s SO MUCH APPRECIATED.’ For me, that means I am doing something right … it’s not about 20k followers and 900 likes; it’s about me making a difference not only to the ‘client’ but to the people who are trusting my review and feedback of a place or product. I definitely do think that a strong follower count and being active on Instagram (and Twitter) helps me to get work, though.
What is your approach in creating content for your Instagram account? How important is it for you to go about it this way?
It is always spontaneous because I feel that is more authentic. I’m not over-filtering images or spending hours researching the hashtags that will get me the most engagement. I’m sharing honest content, shooting from the hip, and I believe those who follow me know this. I am first and foremost a writer – I do not actually regard myself as an influencer, but I do understand that what I have to say and share does have influence due to the industry I work in and the opportunities I am afforded. For example, being able to experience incredible places as part of my job and give honest feedback on them so that other people can make informed decisions about whether it is the right holiday/outing/weekend away for them.
What’s your tip/hack to creating content that will get the desired engagement?
I do not want this to come across as conceited – it is just something that I have noticed over the years – but people respond more to photos with me (or a person) in them than they do to a beautiful scenery shot, for example. I don’t generally post at a specific time. As I mentioned above, I post spontaneously, but having said that, I have picked up that during the week, if I post around midday by the evening the post has gained a lot more traction than if I post first thing in the morning or late at night. On the weekend, early morning posts seem to do very well for me. I guess this is dependent on your audience though … what time are most of your followers scrolling through Instagram? If I am on a hosted trip, I use hashtags and these definitely increase engagement on my posts.