How to Become an Influencer: Serve a Purpose

This is #2 out of a 4 part mini series I've been wanting to share about how anyone can be a Personal Brand and Influencer. You can read about how Authenticity is the key component of being an Influencer here.

Hi, my name is Sam- also known as 'Sam is Home' to my +100k followers on Instagram. I've always been documenting life through the lens of my interests in fashion, flatlays and my home which has been Hong Kong for the past 9 years. To most industry people- the PR and advertising agencies- I'm called a 'KOL', 'Influencer' or 'Instagrammer' (insert puke emoji) but I'm not here to debate, so for simplicity's sake I'll call myself an "Influencer". But really, all I am here is to share my personal insight in how to build brand in this digital age:

Be Informative about the Macro and the Micro

I'm assuming you're not a hot model who can gain social traction just by posting selfies- nothing wrong with that but most of us have to rely on a skill set to market ourselves.

Over the years, regardless of new/old social media apps, my content always revolved around the same themes: Hong Kong, coffee shops, flatlays and travel. I've always informed people where they could enjoy afternoon tea with rooftop views or simply photogenic buildings in Hong Kong. I do this to build expertise and also to continue the social dialogue around matcha lattes and hotels with fantastic infinity pools.

What do you completely obsess over? Is your passion creating snow globes from baby food jars or creating social media strategies for advertising brands? Share both the macro and micro details of your passion. For example, if you're a mommy who is passionate about home schooling, create a Facebook interest group that expresses your mission in designing an educational but fun curriculum for kids (macro) but also sharing practical tips like "Alphabet Activities You can Do in Less Than 30 Minutes with your Toddler" (micro). Use your passion as a parameter in which you discuss everything about it. You're communicating how much you love this one thing by going in depth and sharing the breadth of your knowledge in that subject. If you want to be an influencer, you've got to attract the right crowd who shares a love for that niche with you (or perhaps are genuinely just curious and loves your positive energy in that subject!).

Be As User Friendly as Possible

This is SO KEY! The premise of my content is that I assume everyone who follows me wants to know where to shoot in Hong Kong, want to feel inspired by a city that is otherwise known to be congested and polluted or are coffee addicts/tired travelers and want to know where to get a fine cup of latte art.

To be informative means you genuinely want your end consumer to find some practical use in the tips and advice you're offering them. You're prompting them to a 'Call to Action' whether it is to check out a new light exhibition or to listen to a podcast for small businesses. I created the hashtags "#samishomekong" that focuses on beautiful spots in Hong Kong and "#samishomecafes" that serves as a rolodex of visually appealing coffee shops and local cha chaan tengs.

Due to mobile technology and the benefits of using Instagram's 'save function', I imagine the end user could use this as a Hong Kong travel guide that constantly updates itself as I add new images. Seriously who buys travel books anymore except to flatlay and 'gram next to their coffee? For the coffee shops, I also embed the geotags in each post so the end user can simply switch from Instagram to Google Maps and instantly be able to visit if they choose. Did I mention this also saves me time whenever someone DMs me for a list of Hong Kong coffee shops? Here you go, please search #samishomecafes for my comprehensive list. This method allows followers to have an easy access to my topics of interest, saves me time from sending separate lists to people and there's always a dynamic guide of my recommendations that never becomes irrelevant or outdated.

If you want to be an Influencer in your sphere, serving a purpose in your niche is your number 1 priority. You can do this by being informative and going both depth/breadth in your category AND being as user friendly as possible by considering how your end consumer reads/watches/categorizes/saves/listens to your content.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and hit me up on my Instagram if this helped you!