As part of an ongoing series, Branding in Asia talks to influencers across the globe, learning more about how they got started, what has driven their success, and other insights to inform both brands and agencies as well as aspiring influencers.
This week we feature Anthony J James. Along with being CEO of Innovation & Growth at Trinity Consulting in Australia, James enjoys a massive audience of nearly 1.5 million followers on his LinkedIn profile, where he engages them throughout the week with posts and commentary focused on innovation, tech, and creativity.
When asked what inspired him to become an influencer, unlke many others in the field, James said it sort of just happened. “People on LinkedIn started to like my content, some posts you could say went viral on the platform and the following grew from there,” he told us. “Some days I still scratch my head to understand how it happened.”
Name: Anthony J James
Age: is just a number
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Current Location: Sydney, Australia
Platforms You Appear On & Number of Followers: LinkedIn – 4 Million
Date of your first post: First serious post – August 2014
Agency Representation: InfluencerActive
What were you doing before you became an influencer?
I was responsible for sales and marketing activities for large corporate enterprises as well as leading global creative and digital teams on the agency site. LinkedIn really started to take off when I was in the role of Chief Innovation and Growth Officer for DBB Asia Pacific. Today, I still run my own innovation and digital consulting business.
What inspired you to pursue it as a career?
I wasn’t really inspired… It sort of just happened. People on LinkedIn started to like my content, some posts you could say went viral on the platform and the following grew from there. Some days I still scratch my head to understand how it happened. More and more requests were coming in to share and engage on content.
The tipping point was the industry recognition from LinkedIn in 2018 as the number one power profile for marketing and advertising in Australia and the Asia Pacific’s most influential voice. This spurred me on to do more in the influencer space.
As you were building a following, was there a particular post or posts you felt pushed you to the next level?
My domain space is technology, innovation at the intersection with creativity and marketing.
A post I did on a Bill Gates speech started the push forward. While it did not get massive engagement at the time, it caught the attention of some very senior people at Microsoft and LinkedIn – including the CEO at the time Jeff Weiner.
This inspired me to go further. Now some innovations like magnetic buttons are getting millions of views and significant engagement.
What do you love most about being an influencer?
I truly love that it fits into my lifestyle and my consulting engagements. I can get up in the morning, make a coffee, and check my InfluencerActive inbox for the bookings I have. After a quick review I select the booking I want to work on and make a few posts. Then it’s into the workday. I can make posts at the gym’s cafe or anywhere I happen to be.
Plus, given my proven track record, I like when clients trust me to make the post – briefs like “here is our content library” choose what you want and work your magic” are the best!
What do you like the least?
Not being able to control algorithms and drive massive engagement for every single post! It’s social media and very much out of my control. I am lucky that I have such an engaged network.
How do you decide which brands to partner with, and how do you ensure that sponsored content resonates with your followers?
The most important thing is the brand and content needs to fit into my domain space – innovation, tech, and creativity. Often we see brands looking at the follower numbers and just go after the high-level reach. But it is important for an influencer to help create the context – not just push out a message.
It’s hard when you have to reject bookings. But staying consistent with my “own brand” and what my followers expect is important. There’s a bond of trust that needs to be maintained longer term – so we need to treat all with care and consistently create value – that is what works for brands, our communities, and networks.
It’s also important to remember that just because I have a large following, it does not mean that every post and every piece of content will work. Most times we need to build engagement over a period of time – which is why I take multiple bookings. There’s more of a story I can tell.
What inspires you to consistently create new content?
There is no better buzz than when a new innovation post makes people say “WOW”. When you touch those hidden or concealed needs that people have, it builds new followers and very happy clients.
Any tips do you have for someone who wants to become an influencer?
My simple 3 tips:
- Be consistent, post consistently, and continue to post
- Engage. You can’t just post and expect others to engage. You need to engage with meaningful and insightful comments on other people’s posts. Plus it’s a great way to get noticed
- Stick to what you want to be known for, it’s the best way to build your personal brand and influencer status on social media
It’s worked for me… Hopefully, it can work for you!
MORE: Influencer Insights – Sophia the Robot on Being an Influencer, Working With Brands, and More
Are you an influencer or know someone that we should feature? [email protected]