Linktree X VidCon: How to find your true fans

Words By Elle Juliette6 mins

Ever wondered exactly how exactly content creators grow from a few hundred followers to millions overnight? 

 

The answer? Fanatic followers. 

Last week, Linktree made waves at VidCon. In between hosting happy hours and handing out prizes, we ran a panel where we asked four influential content creators to share their success stories and everything they’d learned along the way. 

Our panel, hosted by Julian Burzynski (TikTok comedian with over 2.9 million followers), included Mythical Kitchen’s Josh (Forbes under 30 honoree), Arianna Hailey (12 million followers on Tiktok), Drew Afualo (Viral feminist content creator), and Alejandra Tapia (a TikTok chef with over 6 million followers). 

During the 45-minute session, our panelists shared insights on everything from building an engaged audience of loyal followers to monetizing as a creator without alienating your audience, and the misconceptions most people have about creators. 

 

There’s more to it than being yourself 

Most creators know that authenticity is key to standing out in the competitive world of content creation. 

But, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes planning and strategy that needs to be balanced with originality if creators want to keep their audience’s attention and transition into creation as a full-time career. 

Specifically, Josh was quick to add – you need to think about how you can monetize and grow your community past just getting likes on TikTok or Instagram. 

“I wouldn’t say there’s a secret recipe, per se,” said Josh. ‘But there’s more than just being yourself and being authentic. There’s a ton of people out there who are themselves, who are authentic… and their community doesn’t grow. 

“You have to build a space for your community. You see a lot of people doing that with Discord, and various Patreons or fan sites – giving your fans tons of places to grow that community.” 

With your Linktree, you can give your audience more ways to connect with you and spaces they can get personalized content or connect with your other fans, like, as Josh suggested, a Patreon or a discord. 

Engaged followers make a fanbase 

Another common mistake among aspiring creators is measuring success by likes or follows – instead of by engagement. 

But, creating a community of true fans (followers that are loyal, engaged, trust you, and help you grow) comes as much from the quality of how you interact with fans as from the quality of your content. 

“I’m very into engaging in the comments. I literally am always talking to them and laughing with them and liking their comments and that goes a long way. I feel like you build trust with your audience, and they follow you somewhere else.’ – Drew 

If your goal is to turn content creation into a career, or even a side hustle – the end goal is monetization. And for most creators, being able to monetize is directly linked to building trust with their followers. 

A common theme during the session was how vulnerability and sharing your story with your audience, usually leads to a more personal relationship with followers. 

When asked where she engaged most with fans, Alejandra answered “My Instagram stories. I can be myself there, I can show more of my family and what I do there, and I feel that there’s a lot of moms out there who kind of relate to my struggle.”

Monetizing as a creator

When it comes to monetization, the idea of authenticity and building trust is key. “You really have to do research,” Drew said. “Also, keep doing your organic content – sometimes when people get signed, they do nothing but brand deals and your audience will lose trust and faith in you.” 

One of the most common ways our creators said they were able to monetize was through sponsorships or brand partnerships. 

We know that brands prefer to work with micro-influencers for that reason – the quality of engaged followers is higher for small creators. As a smaller creator, capitalizing on your reliability and nurturing your relationship with followers will help you monetize faster and attract better brand deals. 

“Brands like to see someone who can make it an ad, but not an ad – and they’ll spend a lot of money for that because it will get a lot more exposure on the explore page.” – Arianna 

 

The biggest myths around content creation 

When it comes to the biggest misconceptions surrounding content creation, the ‘it’s not a real job’ ideology is a hot topic.

“We have a lot of fun at our jobs, but we are all there because we work incredibly hard, we’ve all really studied the industry, we know how to make money, how to engage fans, and how to keep ourselves sane in the process.’ – Josh

But, something crucial that most content creators don’t think about was the sudden shift creators often have to make into ‘celebrity status.’ 

Arianna, who amassed a following while still in high school, said it changed her relationships in unexpected ways. “When you become an influencer, you have to rearrange your entire life – your friends, who you let in, who you boot out, what you want to post when it comes to your personality – you have to think about all that.” 

If you’re an aspiring creator, this is something that you might want to consider before making this your whole career. 

Anyone who exists online with an audience is open to criticism, hate, trolls and, unfortunately, an invasion of privacy. It doesn’t mean it’s not a rewarding and exciting career – but it’s something to plan for and keep in mind. 

 

Although the unstoppable growth of the creator economy is good news for both creative thinkers and hungry audiences – it does mean that growing a following is increasingly difficult. 

You need to be strategic in your growth, make it easy for followers to find you and give them other spaces to grow into a community. 

By adding a link in bio that gives followers more ways to connect with you and a more personal experience, you’re giving yourself an edge in the competitive world of the creator economy. 

Credits

Words By Elle Juliette

6 mins

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