Brett and Eddie play the violin. They have become Instagram influencers that make money from fiddling.
Playing a violin is not the traditional path to becoming an influencer. The harsh reality is that mastering a violin often plays second fiddle to the influencers in beauty, health, fitness, and fashion.
But Brett and Eddy (who are known as “Twoset Violin”) are shaking up the world of classical music, armed only with a musical instrument and a sense of humor.
They have nearly 1 million followers on Instagram, 4.24 million YouTube subscribers and 1.48 billion YouTube views.
To succeed as influencers they had to give up their day job playing violin in an orchestra.
And it was that “aha” moment that took them from safety and security to influencer success.
Is failure an opportunity?
At a violin competition Eddy didn’t make the final because one judge said that he didn’t look at the accompanying pianist enough. Who would have thought that a furtive lingering glance at a piano player was needed to win.
His parents thought that event was a failure. Not winning.
But for Eddy it was an opportunity.
His internal response was visceral. “If that really is the difference between a winner and a loser, I am out of here”.
Code for: I’m over your old rules and I am going to create my own path.
He resigned from his safe career at the state Symphony orchestra and set up a video studio at home with his friend Brett and started creating online videos that they shared on social media. Their parents thought they were mad.
They are now on a 10 state tour in the USA.
Creating your own path
Becoming an influencer is not about following the normal career choices but finding a way to get your art and creativity out into the world.
Classical music is bound by centuries of tradition.
But Brett and Eddy added their own twist. Humour and their personality.
10 key steps to becoming an Instagram influencer
These steps should not be seen as prescriptive but as a guide. We would all like a template for success and there are some key principles but in reality the prescription and the path is messy.
Step 1: Identify your niche
Paris Hilton managed to be one of the first to succeed at getting on the front page of newspapers and making money just from being famous. She became famous for her “Hilton Sex Tape”. She made “be famous” her naughty niche.
The Kardashians copied that sex tape success script and turned it into a billion dollar empire.
But…that approach is not normal and something to strive for.
Wanting to be famous for the sake of being famous is not a niche.
Some people have cracked the code for getting attention without having any skill but having a genius for “attention seeking”.
Often it involves being on a reality show and appearing in a sex tape. So….choose a specific area you are passionate about, have expertise in, and are willing to invest years of your life to achieve.
Brett and Eddy are passionate about music and the violin. They also had a high degree of skill and expertise. That was their niche.
Expertise, passion, hard work and their own creative twist added the x-factor.
Step 2: Optimize your profile
Create an engaging bio and profile. In less than 10 seconds you need to describe who you are, what you do and why people should read the next line or watch the next video.
An optimized profile gives your audience a quick overview of who you are, what you do and that should give them a powerful reason to follow you. This is just the start.
The content that inspires, entertains and informs is what really matters.
Step 3: Produce high-quality and “engaging” content
Content needs to be many things; chiefly entertaining, informative and inspiring.
Written content was cool at the start of the social media revolution in 2009 when blogs were hip. This in part was due to the fact that uploading images and videos was compromised due to the slow speed of the internet.
But in 2023 short videos are the best way to capture attention in a world of short attention spans.
Creating great content is hard and time consuming. But the world of AI is helping make this faster and easier.
Remember, don’t try to be perfect. As an influencer that publishes you are now an artist.
“The goal of art isn’t to achieve perfection. The goal is to share who we are. And how we see the world”. – Rick Rubin, The Creative Act
Step 4: Publish regularly
As you build your fans and followers they will want more of you and your content. Maintaining a consistent posting schedule is a discipline and a routine that is key to making sure you are not forgotten.
The catch phrase here is “Think like a publisher” where your audience gets a weekly fix, a daily update in their inbox or a bit of fun inspiration in their feed.
Step 5: Test and experiment with different Instagram features
There are many different features and tools to gain attention and trying them out to see what works and what doesn’t is part of the fun of experimenting and testing.
Leverage Instagram’s features such as, Stories and Reels to enhance engagement. The challenge in being a digital publisher is being ubiquitous. Everywhere.
Step 6: Engage with your audience
Engage is a suitcase word. It means many things and needs to be unpacked.
Respond to comments and messages, and engage in conversations. Fans are one thing and Superfans are another.
Feeding the feed with your authentic feedback is key. The big challenge is as you get more known, or even a bit famous that you can’t do this on your own.
Scaling yourself becomes the secret to growing your online brand as an influencer.
Step 7: Utilize hashtags
Use relevant and targeted hashtags to increase reach. Hashtags can start trending and latching onto the wave can give you visibility that takes you from zero to hero.
Step 8: Collaborate with others
Partnering with other influencers and brands in your niche may seem like you are giving your hard work away. But co-opetition works in a digital and social media world.
Step 9: Analyze and adapt
Having intuition on what to do next and how to adapt is great. But the analysis of data will also tell you in raw data terms what is working and what isn’t.
The social media world and technology is fast moving and an update that changes the platform algorithm can reduce your traffic and attention from hero to zero.
Use insights to understand what content resonates with your audience. Intuition is one thing but data is the real thing. Using data analysis to find what works and what doesn’t can provide the insights to keep growing.
Step 10: Stay authentic
Authentic is another “suitcase” word that has been used a lot and many Instagram influencers have a polished page that screams I am always happy. We need to know that behind many happy faces are humans that struggle and hurt.
Being genuine and maintaining transparency is a real challenge. And can often seem like a cliche. Be brave enough to show the real you and don’t try to be perfect. Being vulnerable has real power.
If you succeed in becoming an influencer on Instagram don’t rest there. Go everywhere. Publish on TikTok, YouTube shorts, Twitter (Now “X”), Snapchat, publish on your blog and maybe even Facebook. Be ubiquitous. Be everywhere.
So you have attention and followers, but how do you make money as an Instagram Influencer?
All the steps outlined are about getting attention and building an audience. And that’s important. “Attention first and money second” should be the mantra for any successful Influencer.
Get that nailed and the money will come.
Want to know how to make money as an Influencer? Here are “5 Ways to Make Money as an Instagram Influencer”
Embarking on the journey to becoming an Instagram influencer involves dedication, creativity, and a strategic approach. You need to think of it as a long game. It is a marathon and not a sprint.
By following these steps, you give yourself a great chance to build fans and a following, engage with your audience, and potentially turn your Instagram presence into a rewarding career.
And mostly it starts with a driving authentic passion. That will be needed to sustain the long journey.