Achieving a following of over 1,6 million people on Instagram is no easy feat. And once you’ve gotten there, there’s the round-the-clock responsibility of keeping your community interested and engaged. Local songstress and celebrity, Simphiwe Ngema says that it’s a big job being a personality on social media.
“I was lucky in that my audience formed over a period of time when I was on local television often, and people were learning my name. As my fame grew, so did my profiles, and I’m lucky that for the most part, my audience is loving, encouraging and positive,” says Simphiwe.
Simphiwe offers aspiring social media influencers a few tips on improving their following and brand:
- A brand takes planning
“Firstly, take the time to decide what kind of brand you want to become and stick to it,” says Simphiwe. “Find your image and the type of work you would like to do and build on that basis. It also helps to work with brands that you believe in and admire.” Simphiwe references her relationship with fragrance brand Gold Series, amongst others, for which she is an ambassador.
- Be authentic
Simphiwe says that she has always remained 100% authentic to who she is across all of her social media platforms. “I’ve shown the good and the bad – and whilst it ultimately is about attracting following, it’s critical to be yourself at all times.”
- Don’t go quiet
Simphiwe says that over the course of her career she’s always kept her followers updated. “You need to remain active – your followers come to expect certain patterns in your communication, or at the very least, a certain amount of updates in a week. Decide on what that will be and stick to it.
- Keep it interesting
This seems like an obvious one – but pay careful attention to what you choose to share, or keep private. “You need to have a line defined in your own mind that dictates what you keep private and what you share with your audience.” During the COVID-19 lockdown, Simphiwe went live with publications like Glamour Magazine on Instagram to have a candid chat with their online editor about being a Gold Series brand ambassador, how she keeps busy during the lockdown, how she keeps fit, happy and helpful.
- You can’t control everything
You can’t control everything when it comes to social media: you will have fake accounts, you will have a lot of negative comments and a lot of direct messages (DMs) that you won’t always have time to respond to. The key is to stick to what you can control: reply to comments where you can and block unnecessary or nasty responses.
Simphiwe says that it comes down to having fun and enjoying yourself. “Managing your own profile online shouldn’t feel like a task. There aren’t a lot of “ do’s and don’ts” in the industry these days, I think you should always do what you are comfortable with and only publicise what you want the public to see.”