Looking for success on social media? Five of the Bournemouth area’s biggest names on Facebook, Instagram and more offer some of their secrets to becoming an influencer…
Social media was already big to begin with. The worldwide pandemic only made things bigger, and caused a surge in the number of content creators. Indeed, Ofcom reported in June 2020 that 40% of adults and 59% of older children use video-sharing sites and apps to share original, shortform content. That report also concluded that 17% of adult content creators receive revenue or gifts in return. So, it’s fair to say there are incentives in becoming a content creator or a social media influencer. However, if it was that easy, we’d all be doing it.
Over the last couple of weeks, HQB News has been reaching out to influencers from Bournemouth and the surrounding areas. People who have made names for themselves on social media creating a wide variety of content across a number of fields. We asked them what their advice would be to likeminded people, looking for success on social media.
JAMIE WEBB, VIDEOGRAPHER & PHOTOGRAPHER
Jamie Webb is a student at Bournemouth University and also the founder of a freelance media company JKW Media. He currently boasts a following of over 23,000 on Instagram, plus another (what he estimates to be) 18,000 on LinkedIn. He has only been on the latter platform for a number of months. So we asked him:
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS “THE SECRET” IN BUILDING SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS? AND BUILDING A FOLLOWING IN SUCH A SPEEDY WAY?
“There are lots of ways of doing it. Constant high-quality content is obviously key, or your audience won’t be as engaged as it should be. Also, create content that people can actually share about. Build engagement and get it out there as much as you possibly can. One example: I made a homelessness documentary where I live near Windsor, and I put that on Facebook and Instagram. And because people could relate to the cause, they would like it, then share it, and that brought more and more attention to my pages. That did very well views-wise.
“Hashtags are important as well. I put those under my posts. I’m not sure who told me, but there’s a Golden Rule of ten or 11 hashtags – no more, no less. Don’t know if it’s the algorithm or something like that, but that seems to build more engagement.”
LUKE STONES, TRACEUR
Often at the top of local influencer lists, Luke Stones is a traceur. In other words, he practices parkour. And he hasn’t done badly out of it, either. Alongside getting opportunities as a stunt performer and suchlike, he has a 50,000-strong following on Instagram alone. We kept it generic with him, and asked:
WHAT TIPS OR ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE LOOKING TO BECOME A SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER?
“My advice would be to have something to speak about. My genre is sport, and more specifically parkour. You have to find your niche for what you want to put out to the world. And really practice your craft until you become really good at it.
“If you want to be good at social media these days, you have to be so active with it. Constantly putting out your life. In a very natural way, as well. If you put out a fake persona, the audience is going to be able to perceive that. So you need to put out your genuine self. Because if your fans or followers ever meet you in real life, and you’re nothing like this persona, then it’s going to be a real awkward moment.”
BRANDON MOSS, PHOTOGRAPHER
Photographer and fledgling influencer Brandon Moss also supported the idea of creating a genuine persona when we spoke to him. Again, we kept it relatively generic and asked:
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE SECRET TO SUCCESS ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS?
“Authenticity. Don’t copy others and be true to yourself and your content. As soon as you try to copy others’ style, then you have lost the game. Be original, be bold, and, most importantly, enjoy it.”
KATE LIANA GREEN, FOOD BLOGGER
While she may have more of a modest following on Instagram, Liana’s Kitchen creator Kate Liana Green has made an absolute killing on Pinterest. Over 1,600 followers on that platform, plus a further 1,100 on Facebook. Like many an influencer, her success did not necessarily occur on purpose. In her case, she started with successful cookbooks; readers of which began to probe her with questions that she decided to answer in blog form. The result is the Liana’s Kitchen platform.
Our question to Ms Green was:
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ANYONE LOOKING TO START SHARING THEIR HOBBIES ONLINE, AND TO GET INVOLVED WITH SOCIAL MEDIA?
“My advice would be to don’t delay your dreams a day longer. It may seem daunting to start a blog, especially if you don’t feel confident with technology. But when it is broken down into steps, it is very possible to do for anyone.
“You do need commitment and resilience. It takes time to gain traction. It wouldn’t be fair for me to not mention that blogging is hard work, and it has taken me a number of years to generate a full-time income. During the early stages of starting a blog you will most definitely work very long hours for free. This is why it’s important to pick something you are passionate about, so that you don’t lose heart.
“During my earlier years of working online (in various different businesses), I used to work evenings at a local supermarket and then come home to work on my business until the early hours of the morning. Before getting up to look after my young children. It was a lot of hard work at the time — I hardly slept!
“But it was well worth it because I have now managed to grow my blog into a full-time job with an income, which has enabled me to pick the hours I work; I can choose what I work on and when. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I have a business that provides me with so much freedom. I started it all for free with no background knowledge in marketing or web design – I literally taught myself everything I know.
“If anyone has any questions on how to get started I’m happy to point them in the right direction. There are certainly a lot of overpriced courses out there with promises of overnight riches. These, I do not
ROSIE-MAY BARTLETT, MAKEUP ARTIST
As we found out in our chat with her, makeup artist Rosie-May Bartlett doesn’t think of herself as an influencer. And doesn’t label herself as one. In her opinion, she is just sharing what she loves. Still, that hasn’t stopped her garnering over 2,000 followers on Instagram and the same on TikTok. We had a couple of questions for Rosie, the first of which concerns having a Unique Selling Point as a content creator:
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT USP AS A MAKEUP ARTIST?
“For my USP right now, I like to think there’s something in my content for everyone to enjoy. I don’t stick with the same thing. But I think people forget that an audience doesn’t just follow influencers for their content. It has a lot to do with you as a person too. So I’d like to think my USP is simply myself as a person and creator.”
Rosie cited brand recognition as one of the keys to her large following. In January, makeup brand Morphe reshared one of her Instagram posts to its 10 million-strong audience, which bolstered her social media presence. So begged the question:
ALONGSIDE BRAND RECOGNITION, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE SECRET TO SUCCESS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
“I think there are things that help you to succeed on social media. Namely consistency, investing in quality, building a personal connection with your following and making sure you’re someone people can relate to, unique content, and approaching brands.
“However, I don’t think there is a particular key to success. Everyone has their own definition of what success is. For some people, it’s as simple as getting up in the morning and getting dressed. For others, it’s building an empire. Both are worthy of celebration.
“Everyone’s journey also moves at a different pace to others. Don’t let the rate of someone else’s success make you doubt your own. And it’s important – as cliché as it may sound – to love what you do. Because it shows. If there is a secret to success out there and someone finds it, we’d all like to know.”
RYAN SPICER, FASHION BRAND AMBASSADOR
Ryan Spicer took to Instagram in 2013, growing his reputation organically. Travel-related content and focusing on hashtags are what helped him reach his 11,000-strong following. Now, he has worked with over 70 fashion brands as a model. We asked him:
ARE THERE ANY TIPS YOU CAN GIVE TO ASPIRING INFLUENCERS?
Don’t give up on the dream! Because in this game it’s not about what you do or how you look, it’s generally about being consistent and to never give up! Keep messaging and reaching out to brands, keep messaging photographers asking for TFP, get that content in!
Nowadays, people just use the latest iPhones and get good quality photos! Use 30 hashtags in every upload! Create content on TikTok use Instagram reels too! Always be sure to stand out by just being yourself. Don’t take it too seriously, have fun and don’t take anyone’s opinions to heart!
Do you know a social media influencer that HQB should have spoken to? Leave their name or a link to their channels in the comments section, or otherwise send them to email@example.com for consideration.