A few years ago, sisters Amra and Elma Beganovich had good, albeit self-described “unexciting,” careers.
Not for long.
By Steve Strauss
As Georgetown Law grad Elma told me recently, she was a former Capitol Hill intern, Department of Justice clerk and was busy practicing securities law. Amra was an economist for the World Bank.
Smart? You bet. Glamorous? Not so much.
My, how times have changed.
Today the sisters:
► Have well more than 2 million total social media followers on various accounts.
► Run a top digital marketing agency that helps other influencers “make their brand explode.”
► Are a trending online brand themselves — actually, two brands, Club Fashionista and Amra and Elma …
… And they have an incredibly popular fashion blog, create viral content and get paid big bucks to travel the world and post about it.
Not a bad gig, not at all. Definitely not boring.
And that begs the questions: How did they get from where they were to where they are (let’s find out), and can you do the same? (Yes.)
Elma and Amra started out by doing what entrepreneurs are always counseled to do — something they loved. In their case, almost on a whim and in their “spare time,” they started blogging and posting about fashion, travel, makeup and so on. That they had a great eye and sense for what people liked didn’t hurt. Within a few months, they started getting more than 100,000 visitors to their blog. Their visually striking content struck a nerve, big brands noticed and the sisters soon realized “this could be a business!”
As their blog and brand grew, so did their social media following. Back then, you could get Amra and Elma to tweet about you for $99. These days they command $20,000 per sponsored Instagram post and up.
But here’s the deal: These are not just two smart and charming women who found a niche (though that is true, too), they worked hard, took calculated risks and learned their craft. Example: As their empire started to take off, the sisters went back to school to learn how to code. Sure, they could have hired someone to do this for them, but notably, they didn’t.
So, can you, or anyone, become an influencer in your industry? You bet. Here are a few tips Amra and Elma say make a difference:
1. Decide on a brand that is different, better: As you create your online persona, the question to ask and answer is, how are you unique? How can you stand out from the crowd? Especially in today’s crowded social media marketplace, this is vital.
2. Remember, content is king: The old maxim is true, Elma says. And if you look at their content, you know that they take this rule seriously. In their case, it is a matter of taking and posting great images — images that engage and are inviting (nowadays, they have a team of top photographers to help them.)
But, Elma suggests, having good content is not enough. You have to get people to notice it.
3. Engage: How do you get people to notice you and your content? Elma suggests that you have to post it and be where they are online. Who are you targeting? What websites do they frequent? Your job is to figure that out and post your content where they can easily find it and share it.
Additionally, she suggests, “Follow the influencers you want to influence and give them a compliment or a shout out.” Engage with the people who follow you. For instance, if you tag followers and influencers in your posts, they will be more likely to share your content, and, when that happens, then their followers will learn about you and can begin to follow you as well.
These days, there is a lot of competition for eyeballs. Everything can seem so busy and calculated. But the story of these two sisters proves that people still notice and appreciate quality, hard work and creativity. Offer that and influence can be yours, too.
Steve Strauss, @Steve Strauss on Twitter, is a lawyer specializing in small business and entrepreneurship and has been writing for USATODAY.com for 20 years. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about Steve at MrAllBiz.
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