We’ve previously published an article here at the Kenji blog detailing the methods of becoming a successful social media influencer for Instagram in 2019. There, we covered the bare basics of influencer marketing and the essential strategies for building one’s brand in the online world.
For those just starting out, the article delves into a step-by-step process aimed to help newbie influencers find their footing. Once you get the ball rolling, however – it helps to have a few extra tricks up your sleeve.
In an incredibly saturated platform of over 1 billion users and counting, users are pressed to find bigger, better ways of standing out from the crowd. It also pays to have a sound knowledge of online marketing, and the various tools at your disposal.
Below are some of the most popular, tried-and-tested ways of gaining more views, engagement, and followers on Instagram as a social media influencer. Most cost nothing to implement into your Instagram strategy, and you may be surprised by just how easily they’ll give your profile the boost it needs.
How to Become an Influencer on Instagram #1 – Be Authentic
This new age of Instagram has ushered in the latest trend among the most successful businesses, brands, and social media influencers: authenticity.
Those picture-perfect, meticulously-modeled photos that were once the pinnacle of Instagram clichés are now waning in favour of a more genuine, personable approach to content. Big-name influencers of the younger generation are making themselves appear more “quirky”, unfiltered, and accessible – displaying themselves as your “average person” rather than an untouchable, flawless celebrity model; an ideal that has dominated the platform in the years past.
Even large companies are opting to collaborate with smaller social media influencers, giving them a chance to communicate their messages through relatable human representatives, rather than behind a logo or a polished online ad.
By appearing more authentic, brands are better able to cultivate feelings of trust among their consumers. This, therefore, helps create a more positive relationship with their audience – leading to higher content engagement and the potential of drawing in more viewers.
How to Become an Influencer on Instagram #2 – Master The Art of Hashtagging
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: optimize your hashtags.
If you want more eyes on your content, taking advantage of this native feature is one crucial place to start. By applying trending or industry-specific tags to your posts, you’re helping them reach the right users from your target demographic. Even the use of one hashtag can gain you 12.6% more engagement than a post that fails to use any at all.
It also pays to know the exclusive terms and slang your industry uses for their specific hashtags – makeup gurus, for example, use popular phrases such as “#makeupofinstagram” and “#makeupslaves” when tagging their posts. For help on discovering these unique tags, take time to browse through the “Related” hashtags displayed on each hashtag feed page.
Each Instagram post has a maximum limit of 30 hashtags, though studies show that those with 9 receive the most engagement. This can vary among users however, so it’s best to experiment and find out which amount works best for you.
To determine the effectiveness of your tags, visit your Instagram Insights for data on the post “impressions” you’ve gained through the hashtags you’ve used so far. Use this information to then tweak your strategy as needed – perhaps you’re better off experimenting with other tags, or you’re currently on the right track.
How to Become an Influencer on Instagram #3 – Cross-Post On Other Social Media Platforms
Chances are, if you’re a social media influencer, you’ve maintained yourself a presence on other social media platforms.
If you don’t, then perhaps you’d benefit from doing so. It grants you the opportunity of tapping into a wider Internet audience, thus boosting your brand visibility.
Cross-Sharing Your Ad Campaigns
This also helps when running campaigns for new products, events, or services, as advertising your business image across a wide range of social channels can help establish relevancy and credibility. Mediakix suggests that having brand-sponsored content shared across prominent online platforms can help breed familiarity, and thus, trust, among most audiences.
At the same time, making use of different social platforms can also help influencers determine where their followers are engaging from most, and alter their online marketing strategy as necessary.
How to Become an Influencer on Instagram #4 – Post Frequently And At The Right Times
A primary reason for hitting that blue “Follow” button is to see more of the user’s content and the message they have to share. Therefore, it’s best to keep your followers engaged and wanting more, by uploading posts on the regular.
Research shows that there isn’t a magical number for how many times a profile should post each day or week, but consistency is key. As a social media influencer, you should aim to maintain a posting schedule that’s realistic – one that you can naturally stick to.
Maintain Social Media Relevance
According to Neil Patel, accounts that start out strong by posting a batch of posts per day, only to slow down to a few posts a week, may start to see a decline in followers and engagement. Thus, influencers should work to keep followers hooked, through a posting consistency that they can keep up with.
Determining the optimum times or days for best engagement can also be done by reviewing your Instagram Insights. Under “Audience”, the data should show you the specific hours and days of the week your followers are most active; aim to schedule your posts during these times hit the optimum amount of interactions from your audience.
How to Become an Influencer on Instagram #5 – Host Contests
Contests are not only a fun way of keeping your followers engaged. They’re also effective for spreading your brand name as an influencer.
Hosting an Instagram competition can be done in a number of ways – the most popular format taking on the form of a giveaway. Participants enter by liking or commenting on the user’s post; using a specific hashtag; or tagging the brand’s account. These people are then incentivized with the potential of winning free products or services and a possible feature on the user’s account.
Hosting A Successful Instagram Contest
When hosting a contest, be sure to have a clear statement of your guidelines, from how to enter to how the winner is chosen. You may also benefit out of cross-promoting on other social media accounts or marketing your post as an Instagram ad (another handy influencer tool that we’ll delve into later).
Contests are also an effective way of acquiring user-generated content (UGC). A common activity is to have your audiences enter a photo competition, which therefore provides the opportunity to feature some of the best works on your own feed.
This helps you foster positive, loyal connections with your followers, helping them feel valued and appreciated. They’ll likely be more inclined to engage with your future content as a result.
How to Become an Influencer on Instagram #6 – Take Advantage of Instagram Stories
The advent of Instagram Stories has provided brands, businesses, and social media influencers with the opportunity of allowing audiences behind the curtain, giving them a sneak peek of daily happenings beyond the grand events and business sales.
We’ve discussed the importance of brand authenticity, and Instagram Stories allows for just this: a channel for candid, on-the-go updates, and with all the fun stickers and customization options included – it’s also a flexible space for displaying more of your brand’s personality.
You can be as creative and silly as you’d like with this feature, adding an effectively personable touch to your profile. Due to the temporary nature of Stories, it’s also the ideal option for announcements or updates that don’t quite make the cut for your standard feed.
As one’s homepage is instantly updated with the newest user Stories, it’s also a handy method for staying relevant and visible among your followers.
How to Become an Influencer on Instagram #7 – Go Live
Instagram Live is another popular method of reaching out to your audience in a more personal manner. Like Stories, these videos have a temporary lifespan – only accessible within your activated live session, and 24 hours after it’s published.
Because of their momentary availability, Live videos create a sense of “FOMO” among your audience. This can, therefore, draw more of them to tune in, curious about what exclusive updates you have to share.
Hosting a Successful Live Video
Brands and influencers commonly implement Live into their strategy with Q&A sessions, answering business questions along with receiving any customer feedback followers have to share. Other times, they’re simply used as a way of allowing audiences to get to know you better, behind the razzle-dazzle influencer façade.
Live videos can also be used to stream big events or offer exclusive behind-the-scenes footage – such as with musicians Nat and Alex Wolff below, who live-streamed an exclusive Instagram performance in promotion of their latest album.
The unfiltered, unstaged nature of Instagram Live allows influencers to cultivate that necessary feeling of trust and genuinity among followers, whether it’s through face-to-face interactions or exclusive content on the fly.
How to Become an Influencer on Instagram #8 – Foster Connections With Other Users
Reaching out to others in your industry can be an easy marketing method of getting your name out there, along with developing strong, valuable business relationships that can help you and your brand growth in the long run.
By commenting on posts of other influential figures in your niche, you’re not only likely to get their attention, but those of their followers, too – other users who may potentially be interested in your business and what you have to say.
Social Media Influencer Collaborations and Takeovers
If you manage to strike a conversation with another user, this could open up the opportunity for collaboration. Teaming up with another influencer allows you to tap into their audience and gain further exposure. Social media influencers also tend to partner up with larger brands, acting as an ambassador for their products and services – with the possible incentive of freebies and commission.
You may also find the opportunity of doing an Instagram “takeover” for a brand, where you get to publish content on behalf of their business. This grants you exposure from the large following the brand is likely to have, and they benefit from having an authentic, trustworthy voice endorse their name.
How to Become an Influencer on Instagram #9 – Engage And Connect With Your Followers
Along with interactions among other users in your Instagram community, it’s also important to maintain a close, loyal relationship with those who follow you.
Be sure to reply to comments or direct messages (when appropriate), ensuring an active, responsive presence with your audience. Not only does his help your followers feel appreciated. it can also boost your engagement score for new posts, helping it rank higher under hashtags, people’s homepage feeds, or the Explore page.
If you’re selling a product or service, replying to or addressing customer inquiries can also bolster brand loyalty, and thus, engagement with any of your future content.
How to Become an Influencer on Instagram #10 – Promote Your Best Posts
Finally, it’s time to talk about Instagram ads.
These guys are a native feature on the platform, designed to boost your content and profile engagement by getting your posts under the eyes of more potential followers. They appear as “sponsored content” on the homepage feed of your target audience and also provide a CTA link to your profile, direct messages, or website.
Users are encouraged to “boost” their most popular posts as Instagram ads, banking on its potential to gain even more views and engagement. Creating an ad is an easy four-step process – simply tap on the blue “Promote” button underneath your post, then identify your CTA link, target audience, budget, and method of payment.
The ad will then be sent to Instagram for review, and once approved, will start appearing on the feeds of potential customers or followers.
Ads are an easy way of gaining exposure, and also come with insights on the most engaged demographics, the types of interactions it received, and the number of people reached.
Be Patient – Becoming an Influencer Takes Time And Creativity
You won’t become an Instagram star overnight, but these tips can hopefully accelerate the process. Like most alluring careers and lifestyles, being a social media influencer doesn’t come easy. You’ll need the right blend of business smarts, marketing tactics, and creativity to stand out from the diluted crowd– but with exceptional ideas and a good amount of hustle, growth, and success will surely come.