There is no denying the fact that valuable consumer attention can be found by advertisers on social media — the majority of the population is active on the most popular platforms daily. Brands that figure out how to use a combination of organic posts, paid ads and influencers on social media are experiencing great results.
The people and organizations that own and manage social media profiles with large engaged followings are also doing extremely well. The demand isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, and with Instagram’s latest effort to put an end to automated growth and engagement, it’s going to place a premium on accounts with authentic followings. After Instagram’s announcement, many accounts started to see their number of followers plummet, as fake profiles were deleted from the platform.
There has always been a huge opportunity for those that have focused on building a strong following or a network of accounts with large followings.
My brand development agency is always networking and collaborating with individuals as well as agencies that control large networks to promote our brands. Here are four ways to turn a large network of social media followers into a viable business.
1. Use your network to share content and push traffic to websites and offers.
It’s one thing to have a large social media following, but it’s another thing to have a large loyal following that is eager to engage with the content that’s posted. Receiving a lot of impressions doesn’t produce a return — it’s the profile visits, follows and website visits that are valuable to brands — actions that have the potential to eventually turn into revenue.
You have two options — you can charge a flat fee, or you can seek out affiliate marketing relationships that give you a cut of the revenue generated. Many people will make the mistake of promoting any product or offer for a quick payday, requiring little to no effort aside from posting the content, but often times this has a negative impact on their following.
Too many spammy posts or content that is irrelevant can push your followers away, causing them to unfollow your account. It’s often better to seek out niche-specific offers that you know will perform well for the given audience and work out a rev-share agreement.
2. Create original branded content featuring product placements.
When influencer marketing first started to gain popularity, brands were paying for generic product placements. Today, the same approach just isn’t effective. When influencer marketing was new, followers were buying what was being posted, so very little if any creativity was required. Now, consumers are immune to vanilla sponsored posts. The only way it works now is by integrating a product into original content that the influencer or account has full control over, creativity-wise.
This approach is a win-win situation, for both the account and the brand paying for the placement. The creator gets to maintain the look and feel of their account without appearing overly promotional, which will help them retain the majority of their following. The brand is going to also win in this situation, as their product is going to be seen by more people since it’s integrated in a way that makes it feel native.
3. Purchase and license viral content.
This is a new trend that many large accounts are leaning towards. There are so many individuals creating content daily, with a lot of clips with massive viral potential. With so much available inventory you can purchase the rights fairly inexpensively and then use your platform(s) to distribute it and offer to license it.
So many large meme, comedy and viral accounts are in need of content. They need a consistent source of content, because if they stop posting their accounts will lose momentum. This is one of the most lucrative opportunities right now if you are able to build a strong network on both ends — in terms of suppliers and end-buyers.
Early adaptors can take full advantage of this opportunity — there is no shortage in sight of accounts that need to constantly pump out new content.
4. Use your positioning to help other brands and influencers grow their audience.
Everyone — individuals and brands alike — wants a larger social media following. This has created a huge market for shoutouts and virtual endorsements from larger authority profiles.
While it can be lucrative, you need to really make sure the particular person or account is one that you want your name or brand associated with. Shouting out an account or suggesting to your followers that they also follow a particular account is essentially endorsing them.
Is this a person you feel comfortable being associated with? Is this a brand you want your name linked to? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before agreeing to help another account grow. Remain on-brand and stick to the same audience when providing shoutouts and you can do very well.