Over the past few years, foundational components of the marketing world have shifted drastically. Traditional forms of media, like print and radio, are fading rapidly as consumer tastes move away from the static, ‘mass marketing’ style that so many marketers have relied upon for years. Customers expect and demand more.

The rapid growth of social media is arguably the largest driver of this industry-wide disruption. Viral consumer platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, are replacing legacy systems because they simply provide an all around better experience for both the public and businesses.

Brands and marketers, especially, are going all in on social. The ecosystem not only provides a larger reach than traditional outlets, as it now houses over 3 billion active social media users internationally, but also a suite of tools that help marketers fine tune their communication efforts and improve their return on investment. With advanced targeting capabilities, brands and influencers can reach literally millions of engaged users in just a few taps.

This is not to say, though, that finding success on social media is by any means easy. In fact, the low barrier to entry, and resulting market saturation, with over 91% of retail brands now using 2 or more social media channels, has made it harder than ever to differentiate.

Perhaps the only advantage you may have in this competitive space, given the ubiquity of resources, is your own experience and ability to pattern match success. Luckily, I sat down with one of the best in the industry, Nikki Giavasis, a Forbes and Entrepreneur top Influencer, accomplished speaker, entrepreneur, and recognized agent for some of the world’s most popular celebrities and influencers, to learn more about what it takes to build a social media empire.

Here are 5 of her very best tips that can help you create a serious social presence:

  1. Invest in the long term game.

There is no such thing as overnight success in the industry. To be successful, you really have to be dedicated for the long run. Giavasis explains that “it is really important to stay relevant among your followers.” Given the transient nature of many digital interactions, being forgetful, and “leaving your social media page sitting too long without any new posts will assuredly diminish the power of your following.”

Rather than leave things to spontaneity and chance, develop a sustainable content plan that you know you and your team will be able to execute upon.

  1. Do not be afraid of being different.

The only way to stay connected to your audience, digitally, is to differentiate your brand and be memorable. Otherwise, you are likely to get swept away by the hundreds of millions of different users.

Giavasis does this really well. “I have differentiated myself from other influencers in multiple ways. From first glance, my followers usually think that I am a typical model, but then they read my captions, learn who I truly am, and then are shocked, literally in disbelief often times, when they learn that I’m a mother of a 20-year-old and a 17-year-old. I differentiate myself by focusing on what I and my followers care about – my family, my brain, my spirit, and my entrepreneurship. When I first got on social media, my kids were children.”

  1. Be positive.

“Social media is a virtual escape from reality,” Giavasis explains. Users turn to the digital world to avoid dealing with “the mundane stresses of our daily responsibilities. When we take these short little mental getaways, it is because we like to be entertained or be taken to an enjoyable place visually and mentally.”

Acute brands invest in developing content that aligns with this context, developing content that is both visually and audibly appealing and positive in nature. “You can easily make your followers’ days by posting something lovely, like an adorable picture of a happy baby or a cute puppy.” This is small, but something your fans are likely to remember.

  1. Listen to your customers.

One of the biggest reasons that marketers fail is that they intertwine their ego with their work. “They think only in terms of what they themselves would enjoy, rather than taking a broad perspective of what their audience really wants to see,” Giavasis says. You can end up wasting an incredible amount of time and money building out the wrong type of branding – all because you could not see the difference between your own preferences and that of your customers.

It is important to make this distinction and truly listen to your customers.

  1. Avoid being someone you know you are not.

While our instinct may tell us to follow the crowd, it is important, especially in the social media world, to try and find unique and creative ways to brand your presence. Rather than build up a fake persona, be yourself.

Giavasis, from experience, has seen “Too many spam posts or advertisements instead of authentic organic content lead to mass unfollowing movements.” Rather, “it is best to keep things fresh and interesting with high quality posts that stimulate engagement from your followers.”

Rather than pretend to be someone she is not, Nikki simply demonstrates her true, authentic character that her fans have come to know and love. She promotes, “activism, holistic wellness, and, above all else, what it means to be a true family” in her genuine style of content.

 Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

David is a professionally accredited leadership and marketing coach who works with young founders and early stage teams to help them navigate through emerging marketing opportunities with a current focus on artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Using the identification of new technological innovations that give way to different paths that can effectively reach customers, David is able to make marketing departments more effective, adaptable, and progressive.