Want to know how to become an Instagram influencer?
Before influencer marketing became a thing, influencers referred to celebrities, models, actors, and athletes. The inventors of cool and ambassadors of the good life. They were whom we all aspired to be: rockstars and royalty or anyone striking enough to make it to Time Magazine’s annual most influential list.
At present, after two decades under the influence of the Internet, anyone with an Instagram account can become an influencer. Literally, anyone.
If you think “influencing” is only for the young, think again. Nonagenarians– or people in their 90s– like Baddiwinkle prove that there is room for the elegant and elderly to shine in the vast and ever-evolving Instagram universe.
Source: Baddiwinkle on IG
So what exactly is the measure of one’s influence online?
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, one-third of Americans who earn more than $75,000 a year use Instagram to buy products or services and subscribe to all kinds of exclusive content online. That’s where influencer marketing comes in. More than 200 million Instagram users visit business or brand profiles daily and the numbers continue to grow today.
When a population with that much purchasing power is glued to their phones, endlessly scrolling through feeds, all it takes is the right influencer with the right messaging to land another sale.
This is why brands, from small town start-ups to multinationals, are paying influencers a handsome sum for promoting a wide range of products and services – from beauty products, fashion apparel, tech gadgets, and even mobile apps on their accounts.
“Nano influencers” or those with less than 5,000 followers can get $40-$100 from just a single post. “Micro influencers” or those with less than 30,000 followers can command $250 per post. Imagine the price that those with millions of followers can command.
So how exactly does one start to accumulate this so-called influence?
If you’re dead set on graduating from “awesome feed” to full-fledged influencer, here’s a round-up of how to become an Instagram influencer in 9 definitive steps.
1. Use Your Voice For Something Good
Now, this is the most important step in learning how to become an Instagram influencer. If you get this right, the rest will come easily. This first step can either make you or break you so listen well.
Most digital marketing sites will tell you generic advice like pick a niche or find something you enjoy doing. This is good advice, however, becoming an influencer entails more than just showcasing a hobby, a lifestyle, or trend.
You have to mix passion with purpose.
Source: 5 Minute Beach Cleanup
The 5 Minute Beach Cleanup account started as a page that documented quick 5-minute cleanups while walking along the beach. Today, it has amassed a global following, launched a foundation of the same name, and partnered with many ocean health organizations and brands to start ripples of change in beachfront locations worldwide.
A good influencer can point you toward a good product or service. But great influencers will point you toward a new and meaningful way of life.
If you are still looking for ideas on how to become an Instagram influencer, consider asking yourself these questions:
- What is one thing you want to improve in this world?
- What is your heart drawn to? What excites you the most?
After answering these, hopefully, you’ll find a clearer path to your calling. If you still need a bit of help, here are popular “niches” that you can tap to help you and your followers lead a more fulfilling life.
- Organic Food Gardening
- Sustainable Design
- Sustainable Fashion
- Simple Living
- Healthy Lifestyle
- Social Awareness
- Skills Sharing
- Plant-Based Cooking
Dr. Anita Vandyke uses her Instagram account to share zero-waste tips and other special do-it-yourself techniques to lessen your carbon footprint.
Just keep exploring what interests you and follow that thing that strikes a chord deep in your heart. When you start from a place of wanting to do good, your influence will be valued no matter how many followers you have.
2. Be Consistently Authentic
After identifying something that drives your passion and purpose, you now have to put in the work. Learn everything you can about your chosen niche. Being an influencer isn’t just about how your posts look online. It’s about whether or not your online presence is authentic.
Today, audiences are good at spotting fakes. If people find out that you are a phony, you’ll never be able to scale your account.
The most foolproof way to have a genuine voice online is to learn how to be consistent. You can’t call yourself a foodie if you never dine out. You can’t call yourself an artist if you don’t invest your time creating new artwork. And you definitely can’t call yourself a yogi if you’ve not done your research about Yoga’s rich tradition and history.
Take up online classes at Udemy or Skillshare. Subscribe to YouTube channels and Spotify podcasts. After putting in actual hours of study and practice, you will be able to widen your influence.
3. The Subtle Art of Batching
Learning how to become an Instagram influencer will introduce you to the art of batching.
After you’ve spent time learning more about your chosen niche, you will inevitably have a lot of great ideas for content.
So what post should you begin with? What kind of content should you put out week after week? How do you sustain your feed and ensure that your content is engaging and worthwhile?
The secret is planning ahead so you can produce content in batches.
Allocate a few days of the week to content production. Schedule when to head out and where to go to take pictures or videos for your account. Invite a friend or two to join you. These are just a few of the ways to produce great content.
Finally, you should practice uploading your content by batch as well. You can use a scheduler app so you can review and upload your posts in one go. Then you just wait for them to turn up on your feed as scheduled.
One of the most useful features of a scheduler app is previewing your feed via an actual grid view. This will make it easier for you to implement different Instagram feed styles, colorways, and other visually pleasing techniques.
4. Make Your Captions Meaningful
We are in the digital age’s most discerning time yet so take extra care in crafting your post captions. Emojis are good when used properly but you need actual writing skills to elucidate a point.
Capture your audience by writing with intention. Scrap the cutesy one-liners or the grabbing of quotes from Google. To widen your influence, you must also widen your vocabulary. You must write with style!
That may seem like a tall order especially if you think you’re not any good at writing. So take up an online class or two, or better yet, read a book. Any book about your chosen niche. Feed your mind first. The words will follow.
It also helps to have grammar assistance apps that can give you writing tips on the go. But remember that no amount of AI will take the place of real and sincere human writing.
A good caption format to follow looks like this:
- A catchy opening one-liner
- Scroll-stopping body of text or narration
- Details that support your caption
- Finally, a call-to-action
Remember to speak in a conversational tone (because anyone can spot a faker) and ask your audience for their insights. We’ll get into how to interact with your followers through comments a little later.
5. Make Your Instagram Bio Work For You
Let’s say you’ve spent months mastering the first 4 steps. Chances are you’ve already touched base with like-minded profiles and brands who share your vision. If you haven’t been contacted yet, take time to review your Instagram profile.
This is one of the commonly skipped steps when learning how to become an Instagram influencer. Don’t waste the text space and the single website link (bio link) that you can post on your bio. Fill these areas with details that will work for you.
Let’s take a look at Baddiewinkle’s Instagram bio again:
Catchy one-liner? Check! Way to contact you for partnerships? Check!
It is important to make your email address visible so that brands can send you formal proposals right away. Got a website? Make sure to link it to your bio link– the only clickable link that Instagram allows.
6. Don’t Just Create a Following – Build a Community
This is why it’s important to respond to comments and direct messages on Instagram. When you reply to your followers, a feedback loop is created. Then this opens up a way for your followers to start talking to one another, which lays down the foundation for building a community.
Bretman Rock is known not only for his fabulous persona and kickass lifestyle, his Instagram following is absolutely thriving. One post can generate millions of views and comments in those posts can rack up to thousands of likes and comments. And all that engagement is organic; it is all willfully happening on its own accord.
That is the definition of a community actively participating with your influence, which boosts your online presence. So if you are invested in knowing how to become an Instagram influencer, you also have to brush up on your people skills online.
7. Work On At Least One Freebie or Giveaway
Let’s go back to your chosen niche. What type of product can you give away in exchange for new followers and engagement? Can you create an ebook? Perhaps a how-to explainer video, a recipe, or a tutorial?
If you have tips you want to share with your community, come up with freebie content in the form of free downloads or even sponsored products, if you have them already.
Then share that freebie in exchange for engagement and shares. Remember that the more value you offer to your followers, the more your following will grow naturally.
For example, Filipina artist Sofia Cope saves tutorial clips to her Instagram Highlights so that her followers can return to her Adobe Photoshop tips at any given time.
Many Instagram influencers think about the ways to monetize their profiles even if they’re just starting out. Organizing a giveaway can be a good option to start your business and spread the word about it. For example, if you want to design and sell t-shirts online, you can create several brand freebies with your merchandise and give them away as the prizes. Why not look into starting an online store in the process as well? Not only can you give your winners an opportunity to test your products for free, but you can also promote your product without being salesy.
Think of valuable or highly usable information or products that you can share with your followers. Run a giveaway contest and watch your numbers grow. The best part is that there are even contest creation apps that can help you manage your promo campaign of choice with just a few simple clicks.
8. Embrace Networking and Grow Your Presence Outside of Instagram
This tip may sound counter-intuitive but it’s not. In fact, this is one of the most effective ways to grow your Instagram following.
But before you dive into the world of ambassador marketing, make sure you have a kickass Media Kit on hand.
A Media Kit is used to introduce you to culture-fit brands and other potential partnerships. What should you include in a good kit? Here are the essentials:
- Your social media handles
- Your website
- The size of your audience across platforms
- Your target demographics
- Sample imagery or a personal mood board
- Brands you’ve worked with in the past
9. Create Visually Stunning Posts
Now, the fun part! Influencers may get a bad rap for being obsessive about content creation and curating the overall look of one’s feed. But the truth is, being an influencer is a creative job!
Treat your grid like a canvas and your content is the paint. In order for you to achieve a visually stunning and creatively cohesive feed, you will need an artistic editing app to tweak your images and videos.
You can download editing software like Adobe Photoshop to your laptop but we recommend that you also install a handy mobile editing app so you can edit on the go.
Most editing apps will allow you to resize your photos and adjust their settings. You will need an app that will also let you explore your artistic side by combining collage layouts, adding your own borders, layering patterns, text, filters, and so on.
Be aware of graphic design trends so you know which “aesthetics” are considered cool. Classic filters like vintage film effects, light leaks, and Polaroid borders are some of the most popular editing styles no matter the time or season.
Find your own visual editing style and apply it to your photos and videos before uploading. Remember that your feed is your canvas– every post matters!
How to Become an Instagram Influencer
Now that you know how to become an Instagram influencer, remember to go back to the first point in this article– you have to use your influence for something good.
Focus on the message you want to share using your platform. This is your main selling point. If you don’t speak with a clear voice (and a cohesive feed to match), you won’t be able to cut across the clutter.
Why do it if you won’t even try to make a difference?
So go on, find the one thing you want to change in the world! Spread your wings and share your light.