In the age of the internet, a big name can rake in the big bucks. Social media influencers have become the bread and butter of Instagram, allowing brands to connect with their audiences on a more authentic level.
This new, relatable approach to business has proven fruitful for the social media generation. In fact, 94% of marketers believing that “transparency and authenticity” are the golden keys to online marketing success. Looks the model isn’t slowing anytime soon either; the industry is expected to reach $10 billion by 2020.
Being paid to gush about your favorite products, places, or lifestyle choices online sounds like the ultimate “millennial-preneur” dream, so it’s no wonder that plenty are aspiring to the role full-time.
While the road isn’t an easy one, it’s absolutely possible – with enough hard work.
Below, we cover the step-by-step guide to becoming an Instagram social media influencer, taking notes from some of the website’s best.
Craft Out Your Brand As An Influencer
The first step to becoming an Instagram influencer is to pick a niche or an idea you stand for.
Are you a die-hard foodie? A curious traveller? Passionate about spreading your knowledge on wellness and healthy living?
Choose a topic, a concept, or interest that inspires you. You’ll be spending a huge chunk of your effort and time towards this, so choose wisely. This will be the driving force behind you as an influencer. It will shape your brand and be the reason behind why people come to you for your content.
For example, author and entrepreneur Andy Frisella takes to Instagram to share to his uphill journey towards professional and financial success.
Since business, career, and self-improvement are his prime motives as a content creator, his Instagram feed is composed of uplifting quotes and inspiring photographs. But that’s not all – Andy also makes sure to fill up his captions with plenty of meaningful advice, encouraging his viewers to chase their goals and live their best lives.
Create An Instagram Business Account
Your second step to becoming a social media influencer on Instagram is create a Business Account.
Compared to personal accounts, Instagram’s business profiles provide you access to plenty more analytical tools and features to up your marketing strategy.
For instance, you’ll be able to display your e-mail address underneath your bio, providing viewers with a quick option for online contact. You’ll also be able to promote posts as ads, getting your content seen on more feeds of your target demographic.
But most importantly, you’ll gain access to “Instagram Insights” tool. Here, you’ll be able to keep track of how well your content is doing.
This backend feature is categorized into “Content”, “Activity”, and “Audience”.
Use the “Content” tab to view how many posts you’ve shared within a time period, and which ones have gained the most engagement. You’ll also find insights on your Stories and promoted content.
Your “Activity” tab is useful for analysing your content strategy, as it reports back on your weekly post reach and interactions.
“Audience” reveals information on your followers, displaying data on their geographical locations, age range, gender, and most active online times.
Each of these tools are critical to polishing your marketing strategy as a social media influencer. They help guide you in your content creation for better future engagement.
Set Up A Schedule And Stick To It
Becoming a social media influencer full-time can be fun, but if you’re planning to make this your livelihood – you better start treating it like a serious job.
This involves creating a feasible content schedule and being consistent with it. Some Instagram influencers post on the daily, while some only post a few times or once a week. Find what works for you and make it a disciplined habit.
This not only shows your audience your active presence as an influencer, but helps boost your reach and engagement. More likes and comments can lead to more followers, gaining you more exposure and thus, growing your name on the platform.
According to recent studies, influencers should aim to post between one to three times on Instagram per day. Large brands have been found to post at least one or two times a day.
While these numbers have been proven effective, it’s always best to experiment and find what’s best for your brand.
Having a “quantity over quality” mindset may get more content out there, but it could potentially damper your user engagement. If you find that less posts will amount to better overall quality for your audience, work with that.
You could also make use of third-party apps that schedule your Instagram posts ahead of time, saving you the trouble of having to do so manually (and remembering to, for that matter).
Online tools like Later, Buffer, or Hootsuite are among the most popular social apps for managing your social media content schedules.
Generate Engaging, Consistent Content
As mentioned, you can’t command your status as an influencer through mindlessly sharing empty content – you’ve got to create posts that intrigue, engage, and provide value to the viewer.
Finding Your Voice As An Influencer
One of the first steps in doing this is crafting a brand personality that’ll appeal to your audience. No matter what niche you pick, if your posts exude zero personality, you aren’t going to rake in the followers.
Instagram influencers in the motivational field, like Andy Frisella, go for that strong, assertive, inspirational character that can effectively deliver their messages to the audience.
Beauty influencers like Lauren Gores take on a conversational, “best friend”-type voice with her posts, establishing an image of authenticity that viewers can trust.
In a similar vein, comedians like the YouTube duo h3h3productions exude the same laidback, goofy personas in their content, connecting with their audience through shorter-form entertainment.
Creating An Overall Visual Theme
Once you’ve decided on a voice, it’s time to craft out your content. Not only should your brand personality be consistent with your posts, but it’s best they adhere to constant visual aesthetic, too.
You can be vibrant, monochromatic, or stick to one dominant colour (or two). Best-selling author (and now Netflix star) Marie Kondo does this well with her feed, keeping to simple whites, greys, and pastel colours that suit her overall minimalist vibe.
Establishing your influencer aesthetic makes your brand distinguishable from the rest – and with Instagram as a primarily visual platform, it’ll be candy for the eyes, too. Plenty of apps like VSCO, Lightroom, and Inshot are available for all your editing needs, including the built-in filters included on Instagram.
Write Appealing Captions And Master The Hashtag Game
Last, but certainly not least: engage your followers by taking time to write out smart, descriptive, or witty captions.
They can be as funny, inspiring, or as laidback as you’d like them to be. Just be sure they’re consistent with the overall personality you’ve created for your online image.
Captions are the perfect storytelling tool for further connecting with your audiences. Use them to help viewers better understand your mission, goals, and character as an influencer. At the same time, they’re useful for boosting your engagement rates, since they keep viewers occupied on your post for longer.
With a good caption also comes a good set of hashtags. Hashtags are an absolute must in getting your content out there as an Instagram influencer, as they help the algorithm get the right eyes on your content.
Experiment with the popular hashtags in your niche to get the attention of your target audience. Though Instagram allows for a maximum of 30 tags, research has shown that nine is the sweet spot for highest engagement.
There are also several online tools that can help in generating the right hashtags for your content. If you’re new to the whole hashtag business, these should help you get started.
Share Your Daily Stories As An Influencer
Optimizing your Instagram stories can be just as important as maintaining your regular feed updates.
Stories give your viewers an exclusive look into your day-to-day as a social media influencer. While an ideal tool for sharing your business updates on the fly, they’re also useful for connecting with audiences on a personal level.
Since they’re a lot more casual than a regular post, there are also plenty of customization options that bring touch more “fun” and pizzazz to the content.
Use your Instagram Stories on the daily to keep present on your followers’ radar, as well as get discovered on those who don’t follow you.
Just like regular Instagram posts, Stories have tagging and hashtag features to grow your visibility as a user. If you’re captivating enough, you’ll have people waiting on your next story update – raising both engagement rates and your power as an influencer.
Hone Your Social Media Influencer Marketing Skills
It should go without saying as an influencer on any social media platform, but it’s critical step that can’t be missed.
As an Instagram influencer, it’s imperative you have the know-how to market yourself. This involves not only creating entertaining, inspiring content that bring value to viewers, but knowing how to get your name, your voice, and your image out there.
Engaging With Your Followers
You can’t build influence without trust, and you can’t build trust without establishing genuine relationships.
Your followers engage with your content as they share and support your mission. Since the prime objective of being an online influencer involves connecting with those who care about your message, take the time to engage with them back. Answer their questions, respond to their comments, or even ask for their opinions in your captions.
Build a community with those who support you, and they’re sure to spread the good word about you and what you do.
Reach Out To Other Brands Or Influencers For Collaborations
And now come one of the most important aspects of being an Instagram influencer – partnering up with others on the platform.
Whether you’re approached by a brand or your reach out to other users for collaboration; working with other influential figures can help you reach new audiences and build successful business (or even personal!) relationships.
Collaborative content is also a great way to attract audience attention. Since two well-known brands working together is often exciting – or at the very least, intriguing – viewer interest increases, and so do your engagement rates.
Beauty bloggers like NancyDreamin often work with makeup brands to promote her favourite products to viewers. The brand benefits from her product promotion and her post gets shared on the brand’s Instagram feed, getting her on the radar of their large audience base.
Share Your Content On Other Platforms
While Instagram is the prime hub for optimum influencer marketing, sharing your content on other social media websites will help get you seen by more people.
Be sure to plug your Instagram account as you cross-share these posts, so those on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube are informed of your Instagram presence. Chances are, they’ll take to the app and give you a follow through their own Instagram profile
Be An Influencer Offline
While this may be the hardest step of all, it helps to take your social campaigns into the offline world, too.
Now, this doesn’t mean your idea has to be completely off Internet limits, but integrating a bit of real-world activity can not only pique high levels of interest – it can do wonders in spreading your message, too.
For example, the ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ in 2014-2015 was wonderfully effective in spreading awareness of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease, challenging people to douse themselves with ice-cold water and post their video online.
Each video then encouraged the viewer to donate to ALS associations, which ended up raising over $115 million. Needless to say, this was an incredibly successful campaign that involved both the virality of online videos, and the offline participation of supporters.
In 2018, Adidas turned to real-world billboards, using them to shout-out specific Instagram influencers, driving social discussion among both online and offline audiences.
Rather than typically sliding into the DM’s of their favourite social media stars, they called these influencers out on each billboard, directing them to an Adidas store for a free pair of shoes.
It’s expected that these influencers then use their gift to create a promotional post on their feed, establishing what may be one of the most creative Instagram collaborations to date.
Starting Your Life As A Social Media Influencer
Becoming an influencer on Instagram isn’t the easiest career path. But if you’re social media-savvy, creative, and willing to put in the hard yards, you’re sure to reap the benefits – both socially and financially.
It’s all about knowing your way around the platform, the type of content audiences crave, and knowing how to sell yourself in both the Internet and real-world space. Think you’ve got what it takes?
Finding followers can be one of the trickiest stages of building an online brand. Fortunately, apps like KENJI help in boosting your online growth by helping you target the right people on the platform.
By simply entering your hashtags, KENJI works to find your optimal audience group on the platform. It’s a quick, simple way for small businesses or influencers to get their feet off the ground.
Now that we’ve armed you with the full handbook on becoming an influencer on Instagram, get started on getting your message spread – you may just be the platform’s next big name.