The term “influencer” has gotten a bad rap lately.
Probably because we see endless posts from Instagram models and Bachelor contestants–who I’m starting to believe only go on the show to land free Coachella tickets and sell magic hair-growing gummy bears–all over our feeds, generating a facade to gain our fandom and sell us more stuff.
But not all influencers are created equal. Beyond celebrities, there are also food bloggers, popular journalists, subject matter experts, connectors, and so on that are genuinely fun to follow.
But what about the career influencer? This particular brand of micro-influencer is someone who has built an impressive personal fan base around who they are, the things they are passionate about, and how they achieve their professional goals (think of them as an ambassador to their industry).
Enter Omar Madani, AKA @justaconstructionguy.
Omar is the Austin contractor-turned-career influencer whose daughter actually turned him on to this whole Insta-fame fad.
Capitalizing on his love for family, coffee, and his construction gig, he created the influencer-spoofing account, and thus his quirky personal brand was born. The ‘gram was LOVING his array of brunch-friendly posts mixed with goofy construction industry shout-outs. He had the Instagame down.
So much so that it was almost too good to be true…
Later in June, Cuvée Coffee and ad agency, Bandolier Media were busted as the real geniuses behind the anti-influencer campaign, which set out to exploit the average construction worker’s love of coffee in return for Instagram exposure–but not before they had already managed to gain hundreds of thousands of personal brand fans for Omar.
And we have to admit, they really had us there for a minute. But why?
Because Omar (who is actually a real person) felt authentic. He had a backstory, a real career, relatable interests, and what seemed like the ultimate dad joke-turned-reality. He was openly living every Instagram user’s modern American dream…or so we thought. Hard hats off to you, Bandolier Media.
It’s time to take some notes.
If Omar can become a career influencer, so can real leaders across a multitude of industries! These are 4 things we can learn from Omar and the Bandolier agency about creating a fan-worthy personal brand that will promote your career influencer status:
- Choose your handle wisely. A lot of power lies in the words that follow the “@” on Instagram. Your handle and your username are the most searchable elements in relation to your account (may we suggest something that has to do with your industry?).
Don’t forget to mix your strongest brand building keywords into your account handle (i.e. @justaconstructionguy) and back them up with an honest, descriptive bio that keeps potential followers hooked.
- Tag in others to boost social proof. Social proof has been a driving force in marketing strategies since the ‘80s. The gist is that people want to be like the people and companies they like–simple, right? For example, if you basically take your coffee in an I.V. from a specific place to hype you up for the day’s projects, tag them in a post and give them a shout (well played btw, Omar). This is a great way to forge brand relationships, gain exposure, and build street cred.
- Post regularly with scroll-stopping captions. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean you should be stingy with posts or ditch descriptions. Setting and following a regular cadence with a variety of personal and career-centric posts will attract and engage more people, more often–especially when there’s a 2-4 sentence caption explaining what’s going down or why this content is important to you and your goals. If you’re feeling extra, don’t be afraid to experiment with creative emojis.
- Play on pop culture. You don’t have to be an Instagram spoofer to jump on trending content and make it your own. Put your Insta scrolling to use and play on your favorite personal brands. Just remember–there’s a fine line between inspiration and imitation, so find a way to tie your interests, career initiatives, and brand back to the message.