11 April 2018 by The Freelancer Club It's hardly news to state that being an authority in your field leads to more work, better rates, and broader opportunities. Pre-social media, freelancers would earn influence through hard work, experience, reputation in their field, networking and positive PR. Today, all of that can be achieved with a smartphone and an internet connection. Social Media Influence Employers are starting to consider social media influence more and more when choosing a freelancer for a project. Companies are looking to get as much value from their freelance hire as possible and they recognise the power of an engaged social following to help promote the content created by the freelancer. Particularly in the visual sectors like photography, videography, makeup, hair, modelling etc... clients expect their team to promote the brand they are involved in. Knowing how to leverage this influence is all important and can be the difference between getting a job or not. It can also be the difference between an average day rate, and a big payday. Micro Influencer If you're thinking 'I don't have 2 million followers so what's the point?', you're in luck. It's not all about big numbers. For many employers, they look for influencers with a niche audience and high levels of engagement. There has been a surge in employers using multiple micro influencers (1,000 - 50,000 followers) instead of mega influencers (influencers with a large, broad following). Fake Followers Clients are also getting savvier about fake followers. There are many free tools on the market to help them check. Twitter Audit is one we like. The easiest way to gauge whether or not an influencer has positive engagement is to simply look at a few posts to see how many likes, authentic, comments, and interaction they contain. Look out for Bots - they can be tricky to spot at first. These tend to bump up the engagement rate but add no value to the client. A good engagement rate is 5% or more. A really good engagement rate is around 10%. Your Brand Understanding your brand, your audience and the types of companies who may want to align themselves with your community is vital. A styled Instagram account focusing on travel photography would be wise to target tourist boards or travel companies. Not only would their followers appreciate that type of imagery but the client would receive the promotion to their core demographic. This is largely good news for creative freelancers, many of whom post work on their social media channels on a regular basis and have a defined style already in place. Check out how Allan Hinton, travel photographer, built his Instagram following to 167,000, in our interview with the man. One word that will dramatically help you build your followers and increase engagement - 'consistency'. Photo: Allan Hinton Be A Leader Away from social media, building your reputation in your industry can fast-track a freelancer to a position of authority. This process can take years and requires experience as well as a consistent level of excellent work. However, there are ways to expedite this process. If you've got the budget, hire a PR to help you get coverage in publications. If doing this yourself, try to find a story that papers, magazines, or blogs would like to write about. Talk at events on your specialist subject and produce articles on respected websites or publications in your industry. Never stop learning. Keeping up with the latest trends, kit and going's on in your area will keep you ahead of the game as well as improve you as a freelancer. Align yourself with others of authority and influence. That may result in a partnership, cross promotion or a co-hosted event with another freelancer or brand doing well in your industry. We recently spoke with visual storyteller, Mr Whisper, about his style, influence, and brand. Well worth a read if you're interested in style and brand. Photos: Mr Whisper How to wield your influence when applying for jobs on The Freelancer Club (sound required) To learn more about influencers, marketing, branding and everything else in between, download our Essential Freelancer Guides.