In this digital era that we’re currently living, people from all walks of life are successfully creating a career for themselves on social media. Thanks to interactive platforms like Periscope, Instagram and Twitch, the days of being limited to only a Tumblr blog and a Twitter account have come to an end. The popularity of social media means there are real opportunities out there to earn a living (or at least make some side income) from creating content. If you have a passion for all things #digital and #social, read on to discover three potential career paths.
In recent months, Instagram overtook the (formerly) ubiquitous Facebook as the most popular, global platform. To date, there are over 800 million active monthly users — a significant potential audience for both brands and influencers alike. The good thing about Instagram is that it’s a platform open to anyone from any background, and popular influencers like Rachel Brathen (aka @Yoga Girl) have been able to build real lucrative careers from scratch by taking advantage of this.
So, what do you need to do to become an Instagram influencer? Firstly, you need to decide on the focus of your channel. Choose something that you authentically have a love for, be it food or travel, or maybe even DIY or arts and crafts. But make sure that your posts reflect your interests, as there’s no faking it to make it as far as Instagram is concerned. Stand out from other users by telling your story and what makes you unique in your bio, then curate your posts so that all the photos and videos follow a similar theme or style. Before you can tackle brands, you need to build up a substantial base of followers, so get out there and interact: follow similar accounts, engage with content using your preferred hashtags, etc. Once you have a sizeable audience, you can start to tag brands in your content directly, or even reach out and send them a pitch via direct message.
There’s a massive global audience for live streaming, with millions of people, as it turns out, wanting to sit and watch people going about their lives, even during activities like playing video games. Twitch, the most popular live-streaming website, has over 15 million daily viewers who tune into the channels of the site’s two million (and growing) streamers. It’s one of those platforms where anything goes, even the most boring or bizarre streams seem to find an audience. However, as far as successful live streams go, one topic that is on the rise right now is that of online poker. Twitch streamers and professional poker players like Lex Veldhuis have been able to generate a lucrative income by live streaming the games they play in online platforms and poker rooms. Then there’s RPG streaming, live podcasting, movie & TV reviews, the potential is endless!
If you want to become a live streamer on a platform like Twitch, you will need a few crucial items of hardware and some software to do so (as well as skills in the discipline you want to play). A decent PC is a must if you’re going to be streaming video games. However, in the beginning, it is possible to live stream using a laptop. A clear microphone so followers can hear you above your gameplay, gaming headset and camera are necessary, too, as is the best graphics card that you can afford to buy. You’ll also need to install live-streaming software, XSplit and the free-to-use Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) are the most reliable.
Social Media Consultant
Alternatively, if you have the social media know-how but want to go down a different career path, becoming a social media consultant might be the career for you. Businesses, both large and small, always look for help with their online presence, and there are so many opportunities within the field to start a consultancy, including strategy creation and implementation, systems management, community development, research and even coaching.
The trick to finding success as a consultant, however, is to work within your skill set: define the services that you can provide and let businesses know what distinguishes you from other consultants. Focus on one niche or industry first and do as much research as possible so that you can understand the needs of the businesses operating within it. Most importantly, however, make sure that you build your distinctive brand: your online presence should speak for itself!