PERSONAL BRANDING

How to Become A Social Media Influencer

Beca AlexanderFacebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter–keeping up on social media can certainly seem overwhelming, but having that online presence is undoubtedly important in the communications industry today. We chatted with Beca Alexander, the Chief Influencer Officer of Socialyte Collective, about avoiding common social media mistakes, tips for building your own online “brand.”

How did you first come up with the concept for Socialyte Collective, and what was the biggest challenge turning it from an idea into reality?

I launched Socialyte over six years ago with my partner Daniel Saynt. In the beginning, we worked with a small group of blogger friends who needed help managing incoming opportunities. The requests were becoming more complicated and our experience in running FashionIndie.com, a fashion news blog we launched years earlier, had taught us not only how to manage deals but how to build a digital brand in the fashion industry. In our days as fashion bloggers, we became consultants for brands like Louis Vuitton, Tiffany’s, Mercedes Benz and Gucci, teaching these major leaders how to navigate social and the growing influence of front row bloggers. When we first launched, there was very little money in the space, convincing brands to spend on bloggers was not easy; it took years for brands and agencies to realize the impact of these creatives.

We were the first agency to launch influencer to brand services, long before it became the popular thing to do. Being early in the field, we didn’t make much money for years; we bootstrapped the company and ran it from our apartment. It was a major challenge to convince brands to spend large budgets on bloggers, but even more difficult to attract senior salespeople and people willing to work from our kitchen.

What are some of the most common mistakes you see professionals–both people and brands–make on social media?

Not posting enough high quality content. People assume that being an influencer is easy, that anyone can take a picture and post on social. That’s not the case. You really have to look at content from an editorial eye, and while most of these influencers were not trained to be photographers, or stylists or models, they’ve managed to grow and maintain an audience that follows their every move. In order to grow, one must post at least 3-5 times daily on each social platform, and that content must be engaging, I tell aspiring influencers that you have to train yourself to see the world in Instagram likes.

How important do you think it is for young professionals in the communications industry to develop a “personal brand” online?

While resumes and experience are still very important, many companies, especially in the fashion, digital and communications space, ask for potential hires to provide them with links to their social platforms as the content posted is very telling about that person. Building a personal brand for an audience, whether personal or professional, is crucial in today’s world. It’s more than what you can do or what you’ve done; it’s about who you can impact and what influence you have that separates top professionals from the rest.

Why are you excited to be a part of NYWICI, and is there one thing you hope to convey to its younger members?

NYWICI’s mission aligns with my desire to help women, especially the young talents we represent, discover the impact they can have in communicating the messages of clients in a filter catered to our sisterhood. We have long been ignored in media and misrepresented in advertising and PR. It’s important to fight to have our voice heard and to ensure our children don’t face the inequality many of us face in our careers and society. [For younger members], I believe it’s crucial to realize the importance of self-branding, to ignore those who say a woman who’s proud to present herself in social is somehow shallow or self-absorbed, and to accept that building your influence is possible through working hard and dedicating yourself to your passion.

Colleen Hagerty

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