Exclusive: Snapchat guru Dan Knowlton shares his secrets for social media success
Snapchat guru Dan Knowlton was ranked 12 in the top 100 digital marketing influencers on Twitter last year - not bad for the guy who came within 1pc of failing his first year at college.
With over 28,000 followers currently on Twitter alone, Knowlton's success story from academic lows to digital marketing highs is one to take a closer look at.
Ahead of next week’s Social Media Summit where he will be guest speaker, we have an exclusive interview with the social media king.
From an early age Dan says he was always interested in business and he credits his dad as being a big influence on him growing up.
After completing school, Dan undertook a degree in business management with marketing at Brighton University, however the student lifestyle almost got the better of him and at the end of his first year Dan came within 1pc of failing the course. This he says, was a wake-up call, he put his head down, started working really hard at university and graduated with a first.
From university, Dan started working for a blue chip company in London, where he was quickly promoted. The job he says “very stressful, with crazy hours” but it was a role that he learnt a lot in. After making the decision that this career was not for him, Dan left the job and went travelling.
It was not your typically backpacker holiday though. While travelling in Thailand Dan started thinking about what he really wanted to do and started reading more and more about marketing.
Building up a social media following, Dan started to try out different marketing ideas himself, figuring out what worked and what didn’t. From this he started to build up a massive social media following, as he talked about marketing and shared tips on what he was learning. On this return to the UK Dan founded KPS Digital Marketing two years ago.
Initially, Dan says he started working with very small companies, sharing what he had learnt. Quickly, he says, he started working with bigger companies, and his brother Lloyd joined the KPS Digital Marketing team.
When it comes to how the company works, Dan says,
I share as much as I can for free, and I really engage with the community as the community has been very loyal. Also I am really passionate about what we are doing and that helps at lot."
Given his incredible social media success, I asked Dan to provide us with some tips for wannabe influencers. There are, he says, loads of tips that he could give, but his top three pieces of advice would be to firstly stop trying to become an influencer, people try fake it and become an influencer, don’t do this he advises, instead become a practitioner and get good at your task.
Secondly, provide value for consumers/followers, anything you learn share it, give it all away, this will help fast track you, rather than charging people money – influencers need to think in longer terms.
And thirdly, have patience – when you are starting out and learning a lot it is difficult to think longer-term, but you need to think about how you can help companies in the long-term, rather than looking at a short-term win.
We move to the topic of advertising rules and how these are impacting on influencer careers. “Overall the rules have impacted everyone is a good way,” Dan says, “influencers will be more authentic and ethical which is good for consumers, and while it will have a negative impact on the short-term income of influencers, in the long run it is good for influencers as consumers will warm to them more”.
We discuss the changes in media and in particular social media,
social media is the media now"
Dan says, “everything is online now, and media companies will produce content relative to the audience. It doesn’t matter what the platforms are just as long as the media understands them. People get romantic about various platforms be it print, radio, Facebook, and they are slow to change when something becomes less relevant, but we need to focus on where the attention of consumers is going.”
Dan will be giving a masterclass on “Snapchat and Storytelling” at the Social Media Summit where he will give tactical, actionable advice. “Attendees will leave the masterclass with a plan of what platform is right for them and how they can effectively use the platform to grown their business” Dan says.