Although ‘influencers’ are often mocked for ‘not having a real job,’ you can’t deny their online selling power. Whether it’s someone famous like Kim Kardashian, or a non-celebrity micro-influencer promoting their latest travel destination or interior design fad, somebody will always click the Buy button afterward. So if you want to become an Instagram influencer, how do you do it? How do you make millions per post like Ronaldo or Kardashian? Is making millions of dollars even possible?
To become an Instagram influencer, you first have to pick your niche (or sub-niche). Set up a business or creator account, research your competitors, and begin posting regular high-quality images and short videos. Once you have accumulated a minimum of 1,000 followers, you can start pitching your services to brands.
JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS
Pick a niche
If you want to be an influencer on Instagram, you first have to decide what you want to influence. You can’t influence everything. You have to establish yourself as an expert in a particular niche subject. However, if that niche subject is hyper-competitive, then you need to drill down into a sub-niche. So, for example, instead of women’s fashion, consider teenage women’s fashion. Or drill down even further and do teenage women’s fashionable accessories, such as cellphone cases.
Once you have your niche, you must stick to it and not jump to another niche. Otherwise, people will ask what it is you actually stand for and are an expert in. If followers are confused, so will brands you approach for potential sponsorship.
Create a business or creator account
The next step is to get the right kind of Instagram account. You need to approach this as a business. Therefore, a personal account just isn’t going to cut it. At the very least because you will not get the extra free essential features that come with a business or creator account.
So what is the difference between a business account and a creator account on Instagram? On the surface, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of difference. However, Instagram recommends a creator account for influencers, and my colleague Curtis Joe sums it up in the chart below.
Research similar content accounts
The next step is to research the competition, and see how they do things. There are many reasons for doing so.
- You need to find out how potentially difficult it will be to stand out from the crowd.
- Studying their methods will give you valuable insights into what’s working and what’s not.
- Looking at their followers’ lists can give you clues into the kind of people and brands you should be focusing on.
- Watching their videos and looking at their photos can inspire you, but at the same time, help you not to do the exact same as them. One of your biggest selling points to brands should be your uniqueness. If brands see you’re merely copying other people, then they won’t be interested. So look at your competitors and see what they’re not doing — and do that.
Master shot-form video and reels
Although Instagram is an image-heavy platform, there’s no denying that social media is moving heavily in the direction of video. When people scroll through their Instagram feed, they may prefer to see an influencer holding a product and talking about it to the camera.
Therefore, you need to learn how to make short-form videos, live streaming, and Reels. They’re easy enough to do, but you should obviously be comfortable talking to a camera. Saying that, many people have said that they prefer watching uncut, unpolished, unedited videos. It makes the whole influencer experience feel and sound more authentic. So while you should still learn video editing skills, don’t get too hung up on making “the perfect video.”
Oh, and don’t forget to add captions. Videos and Reels are muted by default.
Create and post quality content frequently
The key to building up a loyal follower base, and getting on the radar of brands, is to post frequently, basically every day. But you shouldn’t rush out sub-standard quality work. Your Instagram account is your portfolio, by which brands will judge whether or not to work with you. Potential followers will look at your work and choose whether or not to follow you.
So, you need to take time and care to produce the best work possible. Do a lot of work on your descriptions and hashtags. Create standout graphics with Canva.
Interact with your audience and build a community
People love conversation and interaction. If not, it wouldn’t be called social media, would it? So an engaged influencer, replying to questions, chatting, and asking their followers’ opinions, will go the furthest. Not only are you showing you care about your followers, but Instagram’s algorithm rewards posts with high engagement activity, boosting you higher in search results.
You can do things like Instagram Stories, polls, giveaways and contests, and bring followers onto an Instagram Live stream as a guest. When it comes to approaching brands for sponsorship deals, seeing evidence that your followers are enthusiastic and engaged will be a strong advantage in your favor.
Pitch to relevant product brands
Once you’ve reached a minimum of 1,000 subscribers (although more would be highly recommended), you can start putting out feelers to companies to gauge interest in sponsorship.
There’s no such thing as overnight success, so be prepared to put in the hours and the graft. But with a lot of luck and a lot of charm, you’ll get there eventually.
Read more: How to link and unlink Facebook to Instagram
How difficult it is, depends on a lot of factors — the niche you choose, your competition, the level of interest in that niche, and how much work you’re willing to do to reach your goals. If you choose highly competitive niches like fashion and cosmetics, you will have a very difficult time breaking through, because you will have world-famous celebrities as your rivals.
Either the relevant brand comes to you with a sponsorship offer, or you approach the brand and offer your services. Whether or not they accept you will depend heavily on how many Instagram followers you have, as well as the quality of your past posts.
As of September 2022, that would be Cristiano Ronaldo, who has over 440 million followers, and can therefore demand up to $2.5 million per post. Obviously, he owes that success to his football career.
Micro-influencers on Instagram are those with a small and dedicated following of between 1,000 and 100,000 users. They tend to grow their following around a niche with visual appeal, such as food, fashion, consumer goods, and travel.