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How to Become an Instagram Influencer? (Earnings & Followers)

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What is an Instagram Influencer?

Instagram influencers are creators who share content and build communities around niches and topics. Since Instagram is a visual platform, visually dynamic content showcasing beauty, fitness, fashion, food and travel tend to have great popularity. 

Top celebrities such as Kylie Jenner can make $1 million or more from just one post to her 200 million followers

However, you don’t need to be super famous to become an influencer. Micro influencers with 1,000 to 100,000 followers can still create engaging content and attract sponsorship deals. 

So, if you’ve been wondering how to become famous and like the idea of sharing your life on social media, becoming an Instagram influencer could be a great gig for you. 

How Hard is it to Become an Instagram Influencer?

If you’re thinking about how to become an Instagram influencer, you need to be prepared for the time and patience needed. Growing a following is not an overnight thing. Successful influencers took years to grow their accounts. So, you will need to have the frame of mind where you will not become frustrated by consistently posting without seeing measurable results. 

You will need to regularly post high quality content and continue to promote your account. Like a blog, it can take 18 months or more and lots of hard work before you start seeing the follower numbers that will attract sponsors. 

How Much Money Does an Instagram Influencer Make?

Your earnings will vary according to your sponsorship deals. Generally, if you have less than 10,000 followers, you can expect to average up to $88 per post. However, in many cases, accounts at this level tend to receive free products or discounts as compensation for their posts. 

When you have 10,000 to 100,000 followers, you can expect this average to increase to $200 per post. 

How to Become an Instagram Influencer?

Your first step in response to how to become an Instagram influencer is to choose your niche. Most successful accounts have a specific focus, which will help you to establish your target audience. This could be fashion, food, health, travel, interior design or even comedy content. 

Just be aware of your own passions and strengths when you choose your niche. You will be creating content in this niche day in and day out for months or even years. So, it is important that you don’t just look for the highest paying topics. If you have no interest in fashion, this will come across in your content. This means that you’re unlikely to garner a loyal following. 

Set up your business account

You can now make a business Instagram account. If you already have a regular account, you can convert this into a business account. Business accounts on Instagram provide analytical tools to offer insights into audience preferences, demographics and other useful statistics. 

Post regularly

To become an influencer, you will need to regularly post engaging content. Your photo quality needs to be top notch and you need to have a particular aesthetic that is consistent throughout your images. This will help you to create an overall design for your profile. 

In addition to good quality photos, you need to include relevant hashtags and interesting captions. You should keep posting regularly on Instagram stories. But, be sure to take follower feedback. This will help to guide you on what they like and what’s not hitting the mark. 

Pitch to brands

Once you increase your follower base, you can start pitching to brands who may hire you for their marketing. Consider what products or services mesh with your profile design and content. 

Write to the companies and let them know what you’re offering. You should detail who your Instagram followers and other stats such as your page engagement levels. This will help the companies to decide if you’re a good fit.

Promoting Your Instagram

Promotion is crucial to a successful Instagram influencer account. You should:

  • Optimize your profile: Optimizing your profile is crucial for your visibility. You’ll need a compelling bio, clear profile pic, trackable URL and branding hashtag. 
  • Cross promote: In addition to relevant hashtags with each post, you should cross post using your other social media platforms. This will help you to bring Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn followers over to your Instagram account. 
  • Consider paid promotion: Instagram has a promotion function that can help you to garner attention. It operates on a CPM (Cost per 1000) impressions basis. So, you’ll pay a specific bid amount for every 1,000 people that see your post. This feature is only available for business accounts. You can set it up under the ad option. You can set your objective, ad format and target audience. You’ll need to decide your budget and how long your ads should run. 
  • Collab and host giveaways: Collaborating with other influencers is a great way to help both accounts. Your collab partner will need to be one compatible with your account aesthetic, so your target audiences will be similar. You can also host giveaways that will help you to gain traction. 

5 Tips to Become a Successful Influencer

Identify Your Content Pillars

When you’re scrolling through the Explore page, you may come across a beautiful travel image. If you love to travel, you’re likely to visit the profile. When you reach the profile page, you’re far more likely to follow it if it is packed with equally stunning images rather than random selfies and images of flowers and pets. 

People visiting your page want to know what to expect when they follow you. They need to feel confident that you will consistently produce this type of content. 

Because of this your content pillars are vital. Although you may have chosen your niche, content pillars help you to define your brand. They can be subsections within your niche or help you to organize your page theme. 

Remain Consistent

In the past, it was possible to sporadically post to social media or a blog and still enjoy consistent growth. Today, it is a different story. With so many platform users, you need to attract and keep the attention of your target audience. Forget to post for a month or two and you’ll be quickly forgotten. 

So, pick a schedule for your feed posts. This could be Monday to Friday or posting every day. Whatever you choose, set your schedule and stick to it. This will ensure that your audience knows when they can expect to see your new content. 

Regardless of your posting schedule, you’ll also need to show up on Instagram Stories every day. This is becoming increasingly important for Influencers. It has become the norm for Instagram users to watch stories rather than just scrolling through the Instagram feed. 

One of the challenges of consistent posting is having enough content. However, you can get around this by batching your content. Dedicate one or two days each week to shoot an entire week of content. Before your shoot day, you can list all the pictures you want to take and organize your props and outfits. You can then schedule your content and get on with the rest of your week. 

Cultivate a Community

Although your engagement rate and follower growth are important metrics, you need to maintain focus on cultivating your community. You’ll need to maintain a balance between the depth and breadth of your account. 

If you have a hyper focus on breath, you may have a large audience. But they’re not likely to trust your advice, as you’ve not spent time establishing it. 

On the other hand, with a hyper focus on depth, your audience is likely to  trust your recommendations and follow you on other platforms. 

While this may seem daunting, there are a few tips to help you:

  • Be conversational: After you post on your feed, hang around on the platform for a while. This will provide time to respond to comments. It’s also a good idea to check back later and respond to more. Be sure to always respond to DMs and strike up genuine conversations. 
  • Get Your Audience to Talk: While responding to comments is great, you won’t have a solid community unless other people are also talking. So encourage your audience to get talking to each other. Ask for your followers to help each other out with other tips, ask opinions and even encourage debate. 

Learn About Your Following

Basic demographic information is a great starting point. However, if you want to be a successful influencer, you’ll need to know more about your following. Do you know the brands they love, their goals, their struggles and how they spend their time? 

These details will help you to create content that resonates and will perform well. It will also help you to partner with brands that are likely to appeal to your followers. 

Additionally, if you’re thinking about creating your own product one day, knowing the interests, struggles and desires of your following will be incredibly helpful. 

The best way to learn about your following is to interact with them. Don’t just post and forget. Spend time reviewing and responding to comments.

Create Meaningful Captions

Studies show that since 2016 the average caption length has increased by at least 2x. Today, followers want more out of their influencers than a short, cute caption and a pretty picture. 

Your captions offer a superb opportunity to spark a conversation and start meaningful community connections. They are also an ideal point to provide inspiration and value. 

To maximize engagement consider microblogging captions. Essentially, this is like a mini blog post. 

For example, if you’re a fitness influencer, you could have microblog captions about the superfoods you add to your morning smoothie and why. 

There are a few considerations for creating meaningful captions. Firstly, anyone scrolling on Instagram will not be able to see the entire caption unless they press “more”. So, your first line needs to grab the attention, so the user will stop to click and read it. 

You can use key phrases such as:

  • Five things you should know…
  • The best….
  • The ultimate guide to…
  • Five ways to…

Secondly, you should end your captions with a compelling call to action. This is an invitation to comment and start conversations that relate to the caption. 

Finally, ensure your caption is fun and easy to read. Break it up into smaller paragraphs. There is nothing harder to read than one massive long and solid block of text. 

If you’re unsure about your captions, keep checking your metrics. You may find some forms of caption generate more clicks than others. This will help to guide you to the style that most appeals to your following. 

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Is an Influencer a Real Job?

When you start to investigate how to become an influencer, it may seem like a make believe job. After all, many of these people seem to live an unbelievable lifestyle, where they jet around the world and hang out in cool places. 

However, being an Instagram is actually a real job. It is actually far more challenging than just lounging around trying out new fashions, eating great meals or traveling to exotic locations. 

There is a lot of work involved in being an influencer. While it may start out as a side hustle, you can build it up into a full time job that requires a great deal of time and effort.

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Kate Starr


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