If you want to be successful as a Creator, then you probably already know that you have to post consistently — there are a lot of other people offering content, so if you disappear for any length of time, your followers will jump ship in favor of someone else who’s actually active. But posting consistently isn’t the only area you need to tackle in order to grow as a content creator. Here’s what else you have to avoid and do well if you want to really make it as a Creator.
Creators are going to change over time just like anyone else. But if you work really hard to create a specific personal brand tone, physical style, product identity, color scheme, and so on, then people are going to expect that. They’re going to come to you because they like what you’re doing and relate to it in some way. If you wake up one day and throw everything you’ve been doing out the window, then you roll the dice on whether you’ll surprise your followers in a good way — or leave them shell-shocked and unfollowing your new brand identity.
Do followers want you to be authentic? Of course. But being a Creator is also your business. And in order to succeed in the digital space, it needs to be treated as such. At the end of the day, people don’t want to see personal drama all the time or get too deep into how you’re evolving personally. Most often, your followers are coming to your page to look for the unique style, messaging, or other content they like — whatever it may be about your brand that first caught their eye and persuaded them to follow you in the first place.
Think about someone like Kylie Jenner. If she decided tomorrow that she was going to be an awesome athlete, then many of her followers would jump ship. Some might stick around for a little while to see what happens. But after a while, they’d bail, because they came to her first for her makeup, glamour, and lifestyle content — and suddenly that would all be gone.
It’s what happened when Michael Jordan tried baseball. People wondered what he was doing, questioned and critiqued his decision, and eventually he went right back to basketball. He couldn’t effectively rebrand and get people to come along with him on his new venture.
So, if you want to change things up, that’s fine. But there has to be a gradient or gradual shift to it. Otherwise, you’ll shock your followers right out the door.
When you’ve built a brand, you can’t just throw in random promotions for the paycheck. Because those promotions don’t match what followers associate with you, they can see right through it. They know you’re just in it for the money, and it doesn’t work because it comes off as inauthentic.
If you are going to conduct brand deals, then make sure that they’re in the general market space you’re working in and known best for. Ideally, make sure it’s something that you believe in. This way, the deals actually seem relevant, and your followers aren’t going to be surprised by what you promote.
The key here is to remember that if you keep some variety in your brand, then you’re going to have more brand deal options to branch into and monetize. Don’t get so tightly locked into a niche that you have zero room to work with different types of sponsors. If you promote every brand in one specific field, then you actually become less appealing to leading sponsors in the category. Nobody wants to sign with a Creator who has over-saturated themselves as well as promoted every competitor in the space, so be calculated. This will let you grow a long-term relationship that’s ultimately more financially valuable than your smaller deals with every possible brand would be.
Now, keep in mind, you gain much more opportunity by going cross-platform. For example, you can share content you put on Instagram over on Tik-Tok and vice versa, creating multiple sources of income by cultivating large audiences on both platforms. And it’s possible to do something a little different on various platforms, as well. You could be known for your dance videos one place and your pranks on another. But, those different sides of your personality still have to match your overall brand. That way, if people look at your different accounts, they still feel like you’re authentic and get what they expected.
Your followers can change just like you do. The content they really enjoyed at the start with you might not be what they want to see a few months down the road. So you have to see your shelf life and pay attention to the trends, even as you work on being yourself. If you don’t try new content or platforms or understand new algorithm shifts, then followers will leave you behind or just stop seeing you in their feeds.
Even though people don’t come to you as a Creator to see your drama, they do like feeling like they’re involved or included in what you’re doing. Showing some behind-the-scenes shots or videos of a shoot (or another aspect of your day-to-day) goes a long way to bringing them into the reality of what your life is like as a Creator. It can build anticipation about your campaigns, and it helps them see how much work you’re doing and the professionalism in it. So, let your personal life and brand come together in a way that’s natural.
When it comes to monetizing, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not learning the basics, like how contracts work or when to delegate to someone trustworthy, like a lawyer who can help handle such things. More than one Creator has signed a huge deal without realizing what they were giving up, just because they wanted to get out into the spotlight so badly.
Creators sign 360 deals with labels, give away rights to their intellectual property, and hand their revenue streams over to agents without even knowing what they’re doing, all because of their lack of business knowledge in the space. All Gas, No Breaks on Youtube from Andrew Callaghan is an example of this happening and he’s having to start over from scratch because of it. Sometimes people are even having deals flood their inbox left and right, and they don’t bother to do something as simple as check their email — ensuring they fail to see those opportunities.
Know what you’re getting into and stay aware.
Influencing can be a fulfilling, financially rewarding job within the social media space, but you have to approach the work in an intelligent way. If you do your homework, stay authentic across partnerships and platforms, and are willing to make gradual changes that acknowledge trends, then you’ll have a solid foundation for earning a long-term, engaged following and appropriate pay for your efforts along the way.