by Katie Powell Bell
This may sound a little bit crazy but let me say: You don’t need a huge social media following to make an impact.
Hear me out.
Countless online articles and social media posts are dedicated daily to this very topic. You don’t need to search long to find “5 ways to triple your social media following” and “Proven tactics to gain more followers.” In an age where influencers on Instagram dole out advice and discount codes for their favorite go-to products and have thousands of followers, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the “more is more” way of thinking.
So many of us dream of making the world a better place, but oftentimes we get so bogged down with the vast challenge that we end up defeated, abandoning all efforts. What good can you really do with a smaller platform, if any? The truth is, small change affects big change, so just by doing something within your reach will positively affect the lives of those who follow you – in turn, making this world a better place.
You don’t have to be verified by a social media platform to be an influencer and honestly it’s not about the number of people who follow you. It’s about the impact you have on the lives of those in your orbit. Here are some tips for tapping into your influence today to make a positive impact, no matter the size of your social media following.
In a world where so many are striving to be more like someone they have deemed more successful or beautiful or brilliant, dare to be yourself. Being genuine is key to connect with followers as now, more than ever, we are seeking authentic experiences and holding others accountable for their content. My followers know they will never see a professional, highly photo-shopped photo of me as a work-from-home publicist because the reality is less shiny, more yoga pants and coffee. Other accounts prefer those types of posts and that’s okay – but not me. Be leery of bandwagons, and hold fast to your moral compass and grounding beliefs. Sure, it’s hard not to look at what others are doing and feel the push to create similar posts. However, this isn’t the way to go, instead make sure your content is uniquely you and your mission – your people will appreciate you for being yourself.
In a world where everyone is only showing a highlight reel - carefully curated, filtered moments - it’s easy to get bogged down by the comparison game. While these seemingly perfect people who always have their hair styled and kids smiling while doing a Montessori-approved activity are fun to follow for a while, we quickly lose interest as we grow weary of only seeing perfection we know deep down isn’t the whole story. No one’s life – business and family included – is without struggles or low moments. If we’re brave enough to share the good and shiny along with the tough, mundane moments of life our followers will be all the more engaged, knowing you’re a safe space for them. Be the warm, inviting friend who offers a word of encouragement and is quick to let others know they’re not alone.
No matter the size of your following, show gratitude for those in your world and value them walking with you. Try to keep a balance between personal sharing and sharing things that are interesting or useful. Sure, I love sharing pictures of my two kiddos but strive to balance those strictly mom posts with broader posts of encouragement I know will bring sunshine to someone’s day in a profound way.
In the same vein of being thoughtful with what you post, avoid posting empty content that doesn’t match your mission or serve your community. Make sure you really think through the value a post or story will have for your audience before posting.
As children, we love being read to and learn countless lessons from picture books with unique stories. If my years of working in the public relations space and being a mom have taught me anything, I’ve learned that we never really outgrow this love of a good story. It’s amazing how effective a well-timed and well-told story can be, so be willing to share, and tell, compelling stories to those in your online community to let them in on your day to day. Whether it’s sharing about a random act of kindness you encountered in the coffee line or profound parenting moment, stories connect us as humans, tethering us together in a deeper way.
Katie Powell Bell is a follower of Jesus, mother of two, veteran book publicist and chocolate enthusiast. She is the VP of Publicity of EPIC Agency, based in Nashville, Tennessee. You can follow her on Instagram at @KatiePowellBell.