5 Tips for Growing Your Online Following

So you’re a foodie, a food photographer, blogger, influencer, or otherwise have an interest in food and social media. Welcome to a new series on tips and tricks for growing your online presence, gleaned from more than a decade of experience as a digital marketer and social media influencer.

Let me start by making clear these recommendations and “tips,” are being provided mainly to individuals. If you’re a brand or business looking for tips, get in touch for a consultation.

Before we get started, please consider that your content is likely most valuable to a business or brand as “social proof.” That is, for prospects considering the brand’s product and close to making a buying decision, your content may just provide the proverbial proof in the pudding.

Authenticity and transparency are key. “Hey look at that, a real live person using this product or service in an everyday situation.” So keep in mind about who you’re really serving–BOTH the customer, and the brand. It’s not just your honest opinion that counts, it’s your value to the brand by providing validation as a buyer yourself. That’s the ultimate definition in my book of an “influencer.”

Without further ado, here are 5 tips to get you started. Check back for more on each soon!

1. Content is King. No matter if you’re posting on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok or another channel — the content you share is what attracts the audience. Without quality content that grabs and holds attention, you’ll likely continue to flounder in obscurity.  The fastest way to improve is investing in better concepts and quality. Research equipment for photography or producing videos, and take some tutorials to help you master writing better copy. A smartphone with decent camera and editing will get you started. Look for tips soon on professional quality software and product recommendations — or leave a comment below, and I’ll happily provide some.

2. Engagement is the currency of the realm. If you aren’t engaging with other users, and just broadcasting your content like it’s god’s gift to the masses, you’re doing it wrong. It’s called social media for a reason. Be social. Find your tribe through searching related hash-tags, locations, or looking at followers of accounts you like and admire. Use those same hash-tags to help like-minded folks discover you. Like their content. Leave comments. Share their posts. Respond to stories and posts with a DM. Tag yourself using a brand’s products. You might just get a re-post! But seriously. If you’re not investing the time in building a community around yourself, you’re probably not seeing the results you’d like.

3. Find a niche and own it. Are you jumping between BBQ and luxury products? (Pellet grill owners, that might be one and the same, disregard, lol) Are you reviewing grilling products one day, and talking cigars, kayaks and fishing equipment the next? You might be jumping around too much. If you’re a wild game chef — OK, that’s a niche. If you’re a backyard griller, that’s a niche. Trying to be all things to all people is a tough sell. The more you grow and develop in a niche, the more your engaged community is going to expect that content from you. Own what you’re good at, what you know a lot about, and share your experiences accordingly. Most importantly, be authentic.

4. Understand your audience. Ask questions. Solicit feedback. Look at insights. What are the frequently asked questions coming your way in DMs and comments? Requests for recipes? Time and temp for a cook? How to use a certain product? Oh my, it’s like you can read people’s minds — they’re telling you what they want. Don’t leave them hanging. Respond and then start including these kinds of details pro-actively in your captions, video reviews, and blog posts. Be responsive to user DMs and comments. Brands who may want to partner with you want to know you have clout influence. They’re likely to check your recent content and see how you interact with your audience.

5. Create and post regularly. It goes back to content. Can’t grill every night? Get that smoking in on the weekend, and save up your content into a library. Then roll it out during the week, and keep people engaged! Be transparent and honest about your posting — flash backs, throwbacks, and the like are all fair game. Let brands know you’re open to collaboration, and disclose partnerships appropriately.

Like these tips? Leave me a comment or send a note, and let me know what else you’d like to see! And sign-up for my newsletter to get exclusive tips and tricks, recommendations, and more content on a regular basis.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s