Steps to Becoming a Social Media Influencer in the Travel World
So, you want to start influencing the travel industry? You want to start showing people the top places to explore? You want to reveal the next big destination or festival? Great. Unfortunately, you're not alone in that, which means you're going to need to start channeling your globetrotting to become a figure people listen to and follow. Here's how…
Step one to becoming a good social media influencer in the travel world is always going to be proper planning. If you're determined to break into the fabled sphere of free press trips and gear, or continuous comments on your blog and having a say in where's the next big destination, then it's important you set out clear goals and aims from the get go. That could mean laying down just how many followers you want to have in one year's time, or planning daily targets for outreach to travel companies. Or, it could mean focusing in on one area of the travel sector, whether that's adventure travel, eco travel, beach life, yoga travel – the list goes on.
Know what it is you want
Photo by Fyeyewear
Many people think of being a social media influencer but are never really sure what that actually means. It's important to have a definition of the term outlined in your head before you start approaching the task of achieving it, especially when there's so much conflicting info out there on the confangled interweb. To begin with, being an influencer is about having an audience that listen and value what it is you say. Later, it becomes about actually affecting the trends of the travel industry. Some responsibility, eh?
Nothing says 'copy me' like an innovative trip and untried travel idea. People want to discover and experience the unknown. People want to be the first (or at least one of the first) to do something other globetrotters haven't even thought of. That means the journey to becoming an influencer is bound to be a creative one. Get brainstorming ideas for that next jaunt, whether it means braving the dunes of the Sahara Desert on a horse or diving with multicolored jellyfish in some untrodden Asian island. Oh, and don't forget to film it, blog it, photo it and the like – of course!
Network, network and network some more
Networking in the travel sector is one of the most tried-and-tested ways of gaining a professional following. You can attend global travel conferences, blogging get-togethers, digital nomad meet ups and more, all of which now occur all over the planet, from the backpacker hubs of Chiang Mai to the cityscapes of London and New York. Also, don't shy away from talking about your travels, blogs, vlogs and output in those hostel dorm rooms and communal areas – SM influencing often starts from the ground up.
Use a diverse range of social media channels
It might seem obvious that to become a social media influencer you're going to need to use social media. However, too often do budding travel gurus stifle their growth by focusing on just one or two channels. Much better is to diversify and use a whole range of different social media. It might be a little more work at the beginning, but later you can whittle it down to discover which ones work best for you and which ones aren't so great.
Engage with real stories
There's nothing worse than stock replies, and it's not a currency you're going to want to be dealing in if you're trying to grow an organic following in the social media world. That means you'll need to pay attention to your audience and really get to know them. But most importantly, you'll need to engage them with real, human stories that can not only be believed but also show that you're worthy of emulation. Today, SM is well-primed for such things. Snapchat stories, Instagram days, Facebook albums and more all lend themselves to human interaction of this sort, it's just about knowing how to use them.
Tag in established influencers
Hash tagging and tagging already established social media influencers is a great way to scramble up that ladder, especially if you're just starting out. The way to do this is to create some great SM travel content that you're sure a huge audience would love to see, then post it with your credits and tag in major travel gurus, publications and portals. If you get featured, you might just go viral. Then it's just a case of sitting back and watching the follow count clock up. Nice.
Be location independent
Being location independent is an essential feature of life for those aiming to become social media influencers in the travel sector. It's essential mainly because the lifestyle affords you the flexibility to head wherever you want, whenever you want. That's gold dust when the newest trends and destinations, the hottest cafes and the coolest festivals are spread all over the globe. Just think, you could post one blog from Bangkok by morning and have an Instagram of your evening meal in Paris by night. That's the world we live in folks!
Stay in co-working spaces
Being location independent means you're going to have to plan a lifestyle that's a little different to your typical gap year traveler. You'll need to remember that your globetrotting is also your professional life, which means partying in hostels and sleeping in grimy bunkbeds might not be the best idea. No worries though, a whole new world of co-working spaces aimed precisely at digi nomad workers is now popping up all over the globe. We've got our very own one in Nicaragua, offering all the amenities you could need for a comfy life on the road: super-high-speed internet; plush rooms; a pool (okay, so you might not need that, but still).
Market you brand wherever you can
We've already mentioned how networking with other travel bloggers and established social media influencers is super important on the way up the ladder. We've also already said how productive it can be just having the odd conversation with fellow backpackers you meet on your travels. However, your marketing should also go beyond just the hostel dorm room. You should also be spending time outreaching to other people online trying to make it as an influencer, whether that's to swap tags on important posts or point each other's followers in two directions.
Of course, there are loads of other top tips and steps to becoming a social media influencer in the travel sphere. If you'd like to add any more, feel free to jot them in the comments below. Or, if you're interested in hitting the digi nomad co-working space we've been working on, be sure to get more info at nomad.life.