We live in an age where you can make a lot of money documenting your daily life. Does it sound like something exciting? The advent of social media has come with a lot of benefits. There are people that make a full-time living out of these social platforms. You might have thought about becoming an Instagram influencer but don’t know where to start. In this mini-guide, we’re going to highlight how to become an Instagram influencer. It will only be a matter of time before brands start knocking on your door.
Who is an Influencer?
Before answering how to become an Instagram influencer, it is vital to understand who an influencer is and what are the types of influencers. An influencer is an individual with a following in a particular niche with whom they engage actively. They can affect their audience’s lifestyle and purchase decisions due to their position and knowledge on a subject and their relationship with their fans. Influencers actively post content on blogs, YouTube, podcasts, or social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Because of their unique relationship with a potential follower base, an Instagram influencer is valuable to businesses for marketing, improving brand recognition, and, eventually, sales. Even the most niche businesses can find several influencers that garner enough attention and trust to increase their brand’s prestige.
Instagram Influencer Types
Influencers on Instagram can be divided according to their reach into the following categories:
- Mega-Influencer: With at least 1 million followers, these are grade A celebrities, such as athletes, supermodels, fitness experts, tech reviewers, podcast hosts, TV or movie actors, singers, other media personalities.
- Macro-Influencer: Boasting 40 thousand to 1 million followers, these influencers on Instagram are B-tier celebrities from the same categories mentioned above, just not as famous or on the come-up.
- Micro-Influencer: These are regular people who have managed to attain 1 thousand to 40 thousand followers due to their knowledge and content related to a specific niche. Despite having a smaller audience, these individuals often have more significant sway on their followers than mega and macro-influencers.
- Nano-Influencer: While they have less than 1 thousand followers, nano- influencers are experts in lesser-known, very specialized fields. Because of their small closely-knit communities, these influencers are of great importance to firms who make products related to these categories.
Social media has allowed an unprecedented number of people to become influencers over the past decade. This is because influencers are born due to a sense of community with their audience. Instagram fosters the growth of this community due to influencers and their fans’ ability to interact with one another. Instagram is perhaps the most crucial platform for influencers, thanks to its 1 billion monthly active users and the highest user engagement rates across all social networks.
Pros and Cons of Being an Instagram Influencer
An Instagram influencer’s life can be one that many people dream of. Here are some of the biggest perks:
Far too many people suffer tedious 9 to 5 office jobs just to support their desired lifestyle. These conventions don’t bind Instagram influencers. They can pick whatever niche they enjoy and make a living covering it without any limitation on workload or work hours. An Instagram influencer who focuses on topics like travel, fashion, or food aren’t even limited to a particular location – they could be traveling all around the world as long as they have their smartphone/ laptop, a camera, and an internet connection.
While many influencers choose only to show the positive sides of their lives, that is far from necessary. Being successful as an Instagram influencer is all about garnering the trust of your followers. Being authentic and truthful goes a long way in achieving that. You can be perfectly candid and show your genuine emotions and feelings. Share your highs, but also let your followers know about your past struggles or ones you are going through at present.
Creating a Community
As an Instagram influencer, you can bring people that are seemingly different together under the umbrella of common interest. What can be more rewarding than sharing your content and stories with hundreds or thousands of people and receiving love and validation in return? You wake up to encouraging comments and messages and have the ability to engage with your audience, spreading inspiration and bringing positivity to their lives.
Potential to Make Money
Since Instagram influencers command a great degree of clout in their circles, they are invaluable to businesses. Brands will often pay them lump sums to put out sponsored posts related to their products or services. Alternatively, businesses also pay Instagrammers a commission on sales generated through their influence.
Depending on the influencer’s follower base, these sums could add up to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars. Some individuals with a huge following on Instagram charge seven figures for a single Instagram post! Not only that, but brands may also provide their products (makeup, clothes, watches, etc.) or experiences (free international trips, etc.) to encourage them to promote their company.
While it is true that as an Instagram influencer, you can enjoy several benefits, there are some downsides to the position as well. As an aspiring Instagram influencer, one should be aware of these cons. Here are a few of the major ones:
Building a Community Isn’t Easy
You can only become an Instagram influencer if you have a large audience, and creating one is far from easy. For starters, this isn’t exactly a new idea, and the world is full of failed entrepreneurs due to the intense competition in this field. You need to identify your target audience and share unique and engaging posts regularly to gain a following. It takes planning, hard work, and sometimes pure dumb luck. Even once you start developing a community, hate and negativity can be just as common as the positive comments. Not everyone is built to ignore or handle that sort of pressure.
It’s Difficult to Find Consistent Work
While people are typically exposed to the glitz and glam of an Instagram influencer’s life, there is an entire business world that goes on behind the scenes. You have to network and develop connections with relevant brands and make yourself accessible. This can be quite hard as there may be several individuals just like you in that particular niche. What’s to stop companies from going to them instead of coming to you? This is made more challenging because an influencer has to be selective in terms of the brands they do business with, as these partnerships could affect their long-term reputation.
While you may land lucrative contracts that pay a steady stream of income, there could be long periods where you earn nothing at all. In these periods, it could be hard to maintain your quality of life and your content may suffer as a result. You may be forced to stop short of your goals- failure is indeed a genuine possibility.
It’s a Lot of Responsibility
It isn’t all rainbows and butterflies once you become famous. With great power comes great responsibility, and that is especially true for an influencer. The larger your audience gets, the bigger the microscope is on your life. One wrong post or even one ill-advised action offline could undo the years of effort you put into building your reputation.
Because your followers trust you, they are likely to try a product you recommend. It will be on your conscience if the product they spend their hard-earned money on turns out to be low quality or one that causes harm to them. Many dubious brands will be willing to throw exorbitant sums of money at you to promote them. Still, it is your job as an influencer to maintain your integrity and only recommend genuinely worthwhile ones. And this is easier said than done.
How to Become an Instagram Influencer
Now that you have explored the role of Instagram influencer and the perks and downsides of being an influencer, let’s move forward: how to become an Instagram influencer? If you’re aspiring to become an Instagram influencer, here are a few factors you have to consider:
Identify and Define Your Niche
Many factors go into becoming a successful Instagram influencer. While a lot has to do with intangibles like luck, you can give yourself a fair shot by being smart and setting your goals before you begin your journey. What do you hope to achieve by becoming an influencer? Perhaps you want to get famous so that big-name brands can approach you. Maybe you want to use the influence you eventually get to propel a future business venture. What niche do you want to explore? Do you have a passion for traveling? Are you a talented fitness expert? Or someone with a strong understanding of consumer technology? These are the kind of questions you should ask yourself before you begin.
You need to identify with a brand, topic, or a belief. You want to be unique in your own way. There are already a ton of Instagrammers doing the same thing. Finding and defining your niche is crucial if you’re to become successful on Instagram as an influencer. You want people to genuinely follow you because they’re interested in the content that you’re providing. You can only target like-minded individuals when you focus on a particular niche.
Determine Your Target Audience
Once you have a firm idea of your goals and niche, the next step in how to become an Instagram influencer is to identify your target audience. Yes, in an ideal world, you would like to have as many different people following your page as possible. But this isn’t usually feasible. Is your field meant for teenage students? Maybe it’s meant for middle-aged single mothers? Make sure you are aware of your desired audience’s age, sex, job, and other demographic factors. These demographics help you determine what angle to take in your posts and other things, such as which brands you wish to align yourself with.
Creating a Memorable Bio
The bio section of an Instagram account gives Instagram users an idea of what you’re all about. Your potential audience will want something that is memorable and that they can relate too. Don’t overthink when coming up with the bio. Make sure to keep it simple, as you don’t want to be misunderstood. It is through the bio that potential followers will come to learn about who you are and what you stand for. It is through the brand that you get to tell the stories. While the brand factor is the most important piece of the puzzle most people will forget about it when growing their Instagram audience.
A good bio for an Instagram account will include keywords that are relevant to the targeted niche. It will include important links to other platforms on which to follow you, such as a YouTube channel or blog website. You should update your business account bio regularly so that anyone who lands on your page knows what you’re up to at present. For example, a travel influencer on Instagram will have the word ‘travel’ in their Instagram profile bio, perhaps a link to their YouTube travel Vlog channel and a blog about the most recent place they visited.
Due to the platform’s visual nature, aesthetics are at the forefront of any Instagram business account. You don’t want to post boring photos. Your Instagram profile has to be aesthetically appealing so that the followers have something to look forward to every time you post. But should you simply post anything you think looks good? The answer is no. You have to think strategically and picture what your grid will look like over a long period. Ideally, it should look like a coherent story with each post as a chapter to that story. Avoid sharing posts that may look good in isolation but stands out like a sore thumb on your grid. Everything from the pictures’ composition down to the color palette has to be consistent throughout and fall in line with your persona.
If you want to become a fitness Instagram influencer, bright, vibrant, and energetic color combinations will make more sense than the more muted alternatives. Conversely, a travel vlogger may focus on calmer colors to elicit the desired emotions. The content doesn’t, by any means, have to be monotonous – rather quite the opposite. However, it must be consistent.
Gaining a following on Instagram is a grind. When it comes to how to become an Instagram influencer, you have to be regular in posting pictures and videos to see an increase in your followers. You can’t afford to slack if you want to become an Instagrammer and stand out from the competition in your niche. You need to have a schedule in place for posting as it is easy to get overwhelmed. The time you post also matters. The Instagram algorithm rewards those accounts that post regularly and consistently. There is also the competition to worry about in your particular niche.
Being able to post consistently yet always have original posts for the next time takes a fair bit of planning. It would be best if you sat down, pulled a calendar out, and set out a detailed routine. You may even take the help of third-party apps to create a timeline, fill out any gaps, and see how the results will look on your grid.
Bring Yourself in the Focus
The role of an Instagram influencer is quite different from other Instagram users. While other pages can focus on photography, poetry, or even reposting user-generated content, a business account needs to have them as the center of attention. Here an example: Instead of an artist posting pictures of their art, they should post pictures of them while painting or next to a finished painting- i.e., it’s more about them than the art.
There is a good reason for this. Firstly, people are more likely to interact with images with human faces, increasing engagement in the form of comments and likes, and faster growth. It is also a great way to exhibit your ‘influence’ as your followers are more likely to trust and relate to you if they have a face to go with the name. People want you when they follow your page, and you should give it to them.
This focus on yourself starts from the profile photo, which should be a good, clear picture of you rather than something like a logo. And the one thing you must not forget is to make sure the consistency continues into your posts.
Humans are social animals, and this holds particularly true in the context of how to become an Instagram influencer. People are more likely to feel connected to you if they can relate to your story. Don’t ever pretend. Your loyal followers will always appreciate authenticity. You will have to decide which aspects of your life you want to keep private. This can be a challenging endeavor since everyone is programmed differently. Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of entertainment. The advent of the internet has made it easy for people to tell their stories. When you tell your stories, you get to engage with your audience, which creates the credibility necessary to become an influencer.
Remember that at the end of the day, you need to feel confident and happy about your Instagram posts. It’s perfectly okay to set boundaries for what aspects of your life you are willing to show and what topics you are comfortable discussing. Nobody should force you to bring up your family, religion, or political inclinations if you don’t want to. Being authentic doesn’t require you to expose all your skeletons and secrets when trying to influence on Instagram. Keep hard limits, and don’t be ashamed in sticking with them.
Engagement is Key
While there are many other social media platforms with more users than Instagram, none of them matched Instagram when it comes to user engagement. That is why Instagrammers foster a greater sense of community and clout than any other social media network. For influencing on Instagram, it is vital to avail your fans’ willingness to engage by interacting with them. Give them calls to action such as asking for Likes with captions such as “Like if you think….” Encourage comments by asking open-ended questions- “What are your opinions on….” for example. Request them to use a specific hashtag and ask to be tagged in their posts. All of these activities will help you to become an Instagram influencer with more followers.
It is just as vital to respond to the engagement as it is to ask for it. It is a good idea to use Instagram stories to create engagement and interact with your audience. After you post a picture or video in Instagram stories or as a post, stick around for a bit and reply to comments and messages. This makes your fans feel like a genuine part of your community rather than some irrelevant beings and increases both the number of followers and engagement rates.
Make Smart Brand Partnerships
Sponsorships are the primary means through which an influencer makes money. But it’s not as simple as jumping onto the first opportunity you get. An influencer spends months to years building a reputation and profile geared towards specific brands and products, and it is essential to stick to your game plan. Is the product something your followers will find useful and appreciate? Does it fit in with your niche? An ideal brand is one you can effectively market while increasing your own image and fame in the process.
While it is essential to pay the bills, don’t sell out your reputation or create content just for commercial purposes. Make sure to do your due diligence and review the brand before you do business with them. If you sense a nefarious activity, steer clear. Consult a lawyer before signing any binding agreement or contract and ensure every detail is in writing. Remember that people follow you for your genuine content and not to always see sponsored posts. Thus, your promotional posts have to be subtle and few and far between. Don’t put yourself in a position where your posts are diluted because you signed too many partnerships or ones that require constant promotional posts.
Dealing with Negativity
Our answers to how to become an Instagram influencer may seem easy, but remember that the cons of an influencer’s life are vastly underrated. At the start, many individuals let the overnight fame get to their heads, making them egotistical and unpleasant to be around. There is a life outside Instagram, and you should always keep that in mind. Spend quality time offline with friends or family members who love and support you, yet keep you grounded. Remember never to take yourself too seriously but enjoy the process if you want to become a successful Instagram influencer.
It’s important to stay even-tilted regardless of what people say about you online. Never take comments and messages too seriously or personally – good or bad. Just as positive comments can build your ego, negative ones can break you down if you take them to heart. And trust us when we say there will be negativity! Haters and trolls will come at you with taunts, bullying, harassment, and maybe even threats.
Because you put yourself out there as an influencer, it can be extremely disheartening and depressing to see people targeting your biggest insecurities. But, it’s crucial to acknowledge that you can’t please everyone but move on. Ignore the bullying but focus on genuinely constructive criticism that can help you improve your content and Instagram influencing.
Now that you know how to become an Instagram influencer, it’s your turn to get started!
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