It’s unbelievable what has happened in recent years. The explosion of social media has meant we’ve seen the rise of travel and lifestyle influencers. It wasn’t long ago the people would laugh at those who filmed themselves and documented their daily lives. Now, though, it isn’t uncommon to hear a kid saying they want to be an ‘influencer’ when they’re old. It’s funny to think that being an influencer is now an accepted, realistic, and viable ambition.
So, how do you become an influencer? In this article, we’re going to look at the steps you need to take in order to build an online following in the travel industry, more specifically on Instagram.
Instagram and Travel
Instagram has long been the place where you go to look at stunning images of people’s travels. It’s a source of envy for some and inspiration for others. Now, with over 700 million active users, Instagram is a platform which simply shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you intend to make a living from documenting your life.
Deciding to grow a large and meaningful following on Instagram is a thought which runs through any semi-creative outdoor lover’s mind. The truth is, it’s not easy at all and it takes time. We’re going to run through some of the key steps it takes.
You’ll often hear advice on how important it is to find your niche, to find something that makes you stand out, and to create a plan. However, far more important than any of that is just starting.
I actually believe there’s a strong case in most aspects of life for starting things without a real specific plan. Too many people get caught up in the idea of making something perfect and in the act of doing so, they create nothing at all. It’s so important to dip your toe in the water and then find out how the water feels, rather than ponder.
Of course, goal setting is important, but if planning and perfectionism ultimately mean you end up not doing anything, then it has had no purpose. One step forward is far better than standing still and worrying about what could happen.
Documenting Your Truth
Another key area people worry about is what to post. You should always aim to document your truth, rather than imitating what others are doing. Some people get away with it for a while, but imitating others is actually much harder to sustain over the long term and people won’t buy into you as much.
So, rather than thinking about what content you should create, simply document your life as you see it. Now, quality of content is important and shouldn’t be completely overlooked but striving for perfect content every time will hinder growth.
Growing Your Following
After having a “just start” mentality, you’ll begin to naturally fall into your truth. You’ll discover what you enjoy posting, a style, and what people react to best. After this, you should get really serious about growing.
Impact of an Interaction
One of the most important aspects to remember as you grow wide is to also grow deep. That’s to say, if someone comments on a photo, you should reply. It’s absolutely crucial to grow deep into your community by providing real value and meaningful engagement. Never lose sight of the meaning and impact of an interaction as you chase growth.
It can be mind-numbing, however, doing this day in and day out will allow you to make a huge impact over one, two, or three years. If your Instagram is all about sharing stunning images of California, search the ‘California’ hashtag and take the time to engage with every single image you see. One by one, you’ll begin to build meaningful relationships with a select community and you’ll see the follower count rise.
An Instagram DM is a ‘direct message’ and it’s a very powerful tool. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of curative accounts with tons of followers. Every day you should be getting in touch with them, with the sole intention of offering them something and not just asking for a ‘shout out’.
It might even be giving them a compliment or offering a service for free. You’ll get more rejections that positive interactions here, but the ones you get can send loads of followers your way.