How to win followers and influence people
If the pandemic proved anything, it’s that society is constantly hanging on by a thread. Branding has replaced truth, retirement is a story you read about in fantasy books, and Bitcoin billionaires are revered as geniuses while real work has lost all value.
But this is a comedy blog, so let’s not think too much about all of that. Instead, let’s learn how to become an influencer by building an audience and landing a sponsorship deal with a hip brand! When nothing else can get you through these uncertain times, your growing follower count surely will. Yes, it can be daunting to put yourself out there in front of the world every day, but the fulfillment you’ll get from turning your creativity and passion into a means to sell someone else’s products will feel amazing.
Ready to get started? Here are five steps to take to grow your social capital and achieve the max rank of Influencer.
You know what isn’t boring? Drywall repair.
1. Be (better than) yourself
If you’re struggling to produce interesting content, consider the possibility that the problem is you. Your fake Slack job isn’t giving you any chance of making influential* inroads with important audiences. Put simply, you’re boring.
But you know what isn’t boring? Drywall repair. I have watched countless minutes of POV videos of contractors and handypeople repairing light damage to interior surfaces. And let me tell you, it was captivating.
Being but a dream for most Millennials and Gen-Zers, we absolutely eat up any content related to homeownership. This stuff is our porn, especially for those of us over 30 and unemployed. Drywall repair is one of those Goldilocks-zone tasks that is neither too easy nor too complicated, which means our oversaturated brains have no trouble absorbing it in 15 to 60-second chunks. This is a prime content opportunity right here, and you’d be remiss to ignore it.
Takeaway: Spackle and dazzle, baby, spackle and dazzle.
2. Trends bring friends
OK, so maybe you don’t care about pumpkin spice lattes, center parts, march madness, or this summer’s number one jam, but everybody else does. If you’re not creating content around popular trends, then you may as well be submitting your theory of everything to peer review by the family of raccoons that lives in your dumpster. That is to say, it doesn’t matter how important your message is if nobody’s listening.
Keep your message to something succinct, like a banal reassuring sentiment.
Hmm, wait. That was a bad analogy. “Theory of everything” is absolutely a trending topic within the armchair science community, whose members greatly outnumber those of the actual science community and are a formidable audience that any influencer should hope to envelop within their web. Coincidentally, raccoons are also pretty dang trendy.
Takeaway: Find a quantum theory of gravity.
3. Sign language
Cardboard, paper, balloons, graffiti — whatever the medium, writing your message on a physical object in the real world and photographing it will multiply its impact by a factor of 1,000 compared to simply typing it directly into your social media app of choice. Since handwriting is hard and attention spans are short, keep your message to something succinct, like a banal reassuring sentiment. Here are some examples I worked up in about 30 seconds.
Takeaway: I’m surprised nobody has written an entire book by printing out each page, posing for a photo with the pages one-by-one, then combining all those photos into a new book. That would definitely make it more fun to read!
4. Listicles are legiticle
Listicles are undoubtedly the most-read articles on the internet. You’re reading one right now — and I bet you’re feeling pretty dang influenced. You’ve made it to item number four and are already over 600 words into an article you likely would have stopped reading after the introduction if it weren’t for the way it was organized into digestible chunks, like dog food for your brain.
This listicle works because I keep hitting you with sassy and satisfying H2 subheads that draw you in to punchy and to-the-point paragraphs. A little alliteration never hurt, either. Say “a little alliteration” seven times fast.
It doesn’t matter what you put in your listicle, but people tend to gravitate toward money-making how-tos or pictures of cuddly animals. Think, “7 ways to start your own Ponzi scheme” or “These photos of men with carp have us swimming to swipe right!”
Takeaway: Urban Dictionary defines “legiticle” as a portmanteau of “legit” and “testicle.” This is why I look up every word I use in a blog post before I publish it, even when I think I’m making them up. Of course, I still used the word, so you will from now on think of testicles whenever you read listicles. (As if you didn’t already.)
5. Just switch to TikTok already
Look, I don’t know what to tell you, but if you’ve been putting down TikTok as a collection of cheap thrills, it’s time to change your tune, buddy. I can put hours into a photo I share on Instagram and am rewarded for my work with 23 likes and losing two followers. I have 940 followers on Instagram (and falling).
But on TikTok? I upload some stupid video of me tiredly reading an email before I’ve finished a cup of coffee in the morning and it gets hundreds of views from people I don’t even know. I have seven followers on TikTok.
Say what you will about an algorithmic timeline, but there’s clearly a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it, and it’s become increasingly evident who’s doing it the wrong way.
Also, drywall videos are all the rage on TikTok right now. So hot!
Takeaway: Time is running out for Instagram. TikTok… TikTok… TikTok…
*I just realized that while “influence” is spelled with a c, “influential” is spelled with a t. Shouldn’t it be “influencial?” Like, what the heck? Providence. Providential. Nope, I take it back, that’s just the way English works. I’m 36 years old. Cool.