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How does a 22-year-old college student build a Twitter following of more than 100,000 people? Or perhaps a bigger question: How is he making money from his efforts? Trevor Norris, a graphic design major at the University of Southern Mississippi, says it all started during his freshman year when he discovered the app Vine, which enabled users to post short six-second looped videos.
“Vine was popular then,” said Norris, “and I began to idolize the kids around my age making a better life for themselves, so I tried to do it too.”
While his Vine following never took off, Norris moved to Instagram where he was more successful and began making videos. He also gained social influencer knowledge from friend Brittany Renner, a social media star and fitness model with a following of over 3 million.
Norris’s Twitter and Instagram success come from his daily comedic videos and content. Norris now has about 72,000 followers on Instagram. Like other influencers, Norris has turned his following into income. He has earned money assisting others in branching out and through sponsorships from multiple clothing companies.
Norris said it’s now second nature for him to think of ideas that go viral. After years of working to grow his following, he has plenty of advice about becoming successful through social media platforms. Here are 10 tips:
- Know your audience. It’s important to know what demographic you want to attract. For example, if you’re beauty influencer, the majority of your target audience is going to be women. It’s important to know who is interested in your content or products.
- Find what you’re good at. It’s equally important to know what you’re good at doing or creating in order to build your following. “Some people are good at videos and taking pictures, while some people just make memes,” he said. It takes good quality and consistent content.
- Pay attention. Anyone with Twitter or any other social media knows how fast trends come and go. It’s important to keep up with trends if you want to stay relevant without boring, outdated content. It’s also important to pay attention to what’s happening in the world when building a following.
- Stay true to yourself. “Stay true to yourself and keep working to better your brand if you actually want to be known,” Norris says. Being true yourself is crucial in building a following because you want your followers to know who you are. You don’t want to create an unauthentic image. Being yourself also means your content will be unique, which is significant if you want your following to keep up with what you create.
- Avoid the negative. Aggression across social media platforms has grown as the popularity of social media has grown. Anyone with a large following is constantly bombarded with hate, but Norris said the best way to deal with negative attention is to let it go. “You can’t get caught up in negative attention,” he said. “Just let it be overpowered with love.”
- Realize the internet is forever. It’s important to understand the internet and what you’re posting. What’s posted on the internet can live there forever. Don’t post content that may come back to haunt you later in life. Be responsible.
- Network with other influencers. Many social media influencers like Norris meet other social media stars and influencers and collaborate with them to build their following and gain knowledge. Networking with other users with large followings is a major key in gaining clout.
- Reach out to other influencers. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to other social media famous users and ask them how they came up,” Norris said. He is a prime example, as he was advised by Brittany Renner. Learning how someone else built their following can help with your success.
- Always return the love. “Always show love back to whomever supports you,” he said. “Don’t get lost in your ego.” It’s always important and respectful to return the love to those who help you, and the same goes with growing your following. If someone assisted your growth, show them the same support and love they showed you.
- Support other influencers. Norris said branching out and helping as many people as you can is another way to grow your following. Becoming involved with other influencers and even people with a smaller following can give you exposure.
Story contributed by Rex Revita, II, a student in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media at the University of Mississippi.