How to Become an Influencer on Instagram
Since statistics from June 2023 reveal that in the United States alone, there were 177,000 influencers boasting follower counts ranging from 10,000 to 50,000, while more than 5,000 influencers had amassed over one million loyal followers, we can definitely state that the Instagram influencer market is booming.
So, if you've decided you want to join the Instagram party, become an influencer, and make money on Instagram, you're in the right place. Besides providing you with the 7 steps on how to become an influencer on Instagram, we'll also write about other useful stuff. We'll explain how the Instagram algorithm works, what skills you need to become a successful creator and much more.
Table of Contents
Instagram in 2023
In 2023, Instagram continues to be a social media giant with over 2.35 billion monthly active users, ranking as the 4th most popular platform globally in terms of MAUs. Projections suggest that this number is set to grow to over 2.5 billion by the end of the year. Impressively, 47.84% of the world's 4.18 billion smartphone users access Instagram each month.
It's worth noting that Instagram is the preferred platform for individuals aged 16 to 24, even surpassing TikTok in this age group. Additionally, the platform's appeal extends beyond the younger demographic, with a 63.6% increase in male users aged 55 to 64, highlighting its diverse user base that caters to a wide range of generations.
After this brief statistical overview that shows how popular Instagram really is, we'll write a couple of words on the way its algorithm works.
The Instagram algorithm plays a crucial role in determining the content users see on the platform. It primarily relies on several key factors. Firstly, the general algorithm considers the relationship between the creator and the viewer, the user's interests, and the relevancy of the content. Moreover, the frequency of platform usage, the number of users a person follows, and their session time also impact the content they see, making it essential for businesses to actively engage with their community.
Regarding the feed, the algorithm takes into account factors like post information, the user's interaction history, and their overall activity across the platform to predict post interaction. Similarly, the Stories algorithm prioritizes content based on Story information, the user's interaction history with the creator, and their recent activity on the platform. Finally, the Reels algorithm aims to engage users with relevant content by assessing their activity, history of interaction with creators, Reel information, and the popularity of the person who posted it.
We have to highlight, though, that Instagram did announce certain changes in its algorithm for 2023. In 2023, Instagram is addressing user concerns by balancing the focus on photos and videos, aiming to treat them equally. They are also emphasizing content that inspires conversations, favoring posts with meaningful comments. Original content will receive a higher ranking, emphasizing creativity over reposted material. These changes reflect Instagram's commitment to improving user experiences and promoting engaging and original content.
Instagram business account
Opening an Instagram business account unlocks many valuable features to facilitate business growth. Business account holders gain access to free business tools, including the ability to view insights that provide in-depth knowledge about their business's Instagram engagement.
The Professional Dashboard offers a centralized hub to monitor performance, access professional tools, and explore curated educational resources offered by Instagram. Business account users can also display or conceal their business category and contact information on their profile, allowing for enhanced customization.
How to open an Instagram business account?
To create your Instagram business account, you'll follow a straightforward process. First, ensure you have either established an Instagram account or are using an existing one. Then, the steps to set up your business account include navigating to your profile, accessing the Settings and privacy section, and selecting "Switch to professional account." After confirming your category and contact details, you can connect your business account to a relevant Facebook Page, which is optional but can simplify the use of business features across Meta.
Additionally, you can fine-tune your profile by choosing to display or hide business information through the "Edit profile" option. This process empowers you to leverage Instagram's tools for improved online visibility and audience engagement.
How to Become an Influencer on Instagram - 7 Steps
1. Pick a niche
Selecting the right niche is the first step in your journey to becoming an Instagram influencer. Choosing what you're passionate about is only one part of the equation. You also need to check out what market is potentially underserved, and what's trending.
Some niches have proven to be more profitable on Instagram due to their widespread appeal and lucrative opportunities. Travel is a highly profitable niche given the travel industry's vast reach and the desire of modern travelers to share their experiences on social media. With travelers regularly posting and seeking travel inspiration, travel bloggers can leverage Instagram to make a living.
Beauty is another thriving niche, with a significant influence on the beauty industry. Beauty influencers can create content like tutorials, makeup hacks, and product reviews to connect with their audience and boost e-commerce sales.
Moreover, the fashion niche is always popular, and it offers immense opportunities for fashion enthusiasts to showcase trends and collaborate with brands to promote products. Influencers like Caroline Daur, with millions of followers, demonstrate the immense potential within these profitable niches.
2. Set up an account
Setting up an account is the next step, and this also has to be done properly. There are a couple of elements you have to consider when setting up an Instagram account:
- profile picture: in a way, a profile picture is your first impression, so you would definitely want to have a clear and high-quality image of yourself (more often than not influencers use headshots that clearly show their face);
- username: if you manage to choose a username that's memorable, easy to spell, and reflects your brand or niche, you're off to a great start (think along the lines of @gypsea_lust, @bryanboy, and @sincerelyjules);
- bio: in bio, you'll provide a brief description of you and your account, so we can't stress how important is it that you do it the best way possible. Be concise and creative. For example, here's NASA's Instagram bio: "Exploring the universe and our home planet". It's simple, straightforward, it sounds good and explains what NASA is all about. We'll give you another example, the one by National Geographic Travel: "It's a big world. Explore it through the lens of our photographers." As well as NASA's, this bio is well-written, and it contains a call to action, which is usually a good thing.
Also, an Instagram bio is where you can post a link. If you don't have your webshop, you can easily create one on Recommend. You can put all your favorite products in your online shop, share a link to the shop in your Instagram bio, and earn money every time one of your followers buys a product from your shop!
3. Post great content - and be consistent about it
This is the core element of your entire strategy. You can have the best profile photo, and the most compelling story behind your brand, and you can have skills and knowledge you'd like to share, but without great content (posted consistently!), it just won't do it. Content has to be visually appealing, and interesting, it has to resonate with your audience and, if possible, engage them. It also has to reflect your niche and your brand.
Besides the quality of content, there's another key to your long-term success: consistency. A consistent posting schedule keeps your audience engaged and aware of when to expect new content from you. Creating a content calendar is a common approach, and here's how it can look:
- Monday: photo related to your niche (travel snapshot, outfit of the day);
- Tuesday: quick tutorial;
- Wednesday: educational reel;
- Thursday: user-generated content;
- Friday: interactive story poll;
- Saturday: carousel of images with content related to your niche;
- Sunday: personal or motivational post that connects with your audience on a more emotional level.
4. Explore all Instagram options
Exploring all of Instagram's features is essential for diversifying your content and keeping your audience engaged. Instagram offers a range of tools to create different types of content, and we'll say something about each of them.
- Permanent posts: Regular grid posts are the cornerstone of your Instagram presence. These permanent posts create a visual representation of your brand and showcase your expertise and creativity.
- Stories: Instagram Stories allow you to share ephemeral content that disappears after 24 hours. They're perfect for sharing daily updates, behind-the-scenes glimpses, quick tips, and interactive content like polls and quizzes.
- IGTV (Instagram TV): IGTV is designed for longer video content. That's why it's ideal for in-depth tutorials, product reviews, and vlogs.
- Reels: Instagram Reels are short-form videos, usually 15 to 60 seconds long. They are a fantastic way to create entertaining, engaging, and shareable content. Reels can showcase your creativity, humor, and storytelling skills. They often appear on the Explore page, which means they can reach a broader audience.
- Live streams: Instagram Live allows you to connect with your audience in real time. Use it for Q&A sessions, live tutorials, product launches, or simply to interact with your followers and answer their questions.
- Instagram Shop: if you want to find out how to open a shop on Instagram, read our detailed guide here!
5. Engage with your audience
While the number of followers on Instagram is often seen as a measure of influence, it's essential to understand that having a large follower count doesn't necessarily equate to a strong and engaged community. In fact, a high engagement rate with a smaller, more involved following can be far more valuable than having a massive number of passive followers.
That's exactly why you have to pay special attention to engaging your audience. Respond to comments, use interactive features like polls and Q&A sessions, share user-generated content, conduct giveaways, give shoutouts in Stories, engage in direct messages…
6. Contact brands
Reaching out to brands for collaborations is the logical next step of your influencer journey. There's no general rule on when exactly to contact brands, but we think you should do it when you feel your account is mature enough and that you have a decent portfolio to showcase.
You can consider starting with smaller or local brands to gain experience and testimonials. As you successfully collaborate with these brands, with time you can aim for some bigger fish.
Once a brand expresses interest, engage in negotiation, discussing terms such as compensation, deliverables, and timelines. Always formalize the agreement with a contract to protect both parties and ensure clarity. It's essential to deliver on your promises, execute the collaboration as agreed upon, meet deadlines, and provide high-quality content.
7. Analyze your data
Finally, it's also very important that you analyze your data so you can make fully informed business decisions in the future. Focus on metrics like engagement rate, reach, and follower demographics to gain insights into your audience. By analyzing these data points, you can tailor your content to better resonate with your followers, optimize posting schedules, and refine your overall strategy.
Other tips for Instagram influencers
Besides the aforementioned steps on how to become an influencer on Instagram, there are some additional tips we'd like to share with you.
To effectively use hashtags on Instagram, research and select them carefully, focusing on relevance and a mix of broad and specific options. Create unique branded hashtags to build a sense of community, limit the number of hashtags used per post, and regularly analyze their performance to refine your strategy and boost post visibility and engagement.
Collaborate with other influencers
Collaborating with other influencers can be a strategic move to expand your reach and influence. It allows you to tap into new audiences, leverage each other's strengths, and create engaging content that resonates with a broader spectrum of followers. Additionally, collaborations can foster a sense of community among influencers, leading to mutual support and valuable insights for growing your individual influencer journey.
Running giveaways and contests
Giveaways and contests create excitement among your existing audience and attract new followers who are eager to participate for a chance to win prizes.
Cross-promotion on other platforms
Cross-promotion on other social media platforms is valuable for diversifying your online presence and reaching a broader audience. By sharing your Instagram content on platforms like Facebook, TikTok, or even a personal blog or a webshop, you can direct traffic to your Instagram account and attract new followers who might not have discovered you otherwise.
Track trends and adapt
Tracking trends and adapting is essential for Instagram influencers to stay relevant and maintain audience interest. Instagram's landscape is ever-evolving, with new features, content trends, and algorithm changes. By staying current and adjusting your content strategy accordingly, you can seize opportunities, remain in sync with audience preferences, and continue to grow your influence in the dynamic world of Instagram.
What skills do you need to have if you want to become an influencer on Instagram?
Video and photo editing
Instagram is a very visual platform. If you want to succeed as an influencer on Instagram, you simply have to learn how to edit photos and videos.
With strong editing abilities, you can fine-tune colors, lighting, composition, and overall aesthetic. This will result in visually stunning content that distinguishes you from the competition. Editing also empowers you to weave compelling narratives through your visuals, using elements like music, text, transitions, and effects to engage and resonate with your followers.
For photo editing, you can explore Adobe Lightroom for its advanced features and presets, VSCO for on-the-go enhancements with filters, and Snapseed for professional-level editing right from your mobile device. When it comes to video editing, Adobe Premiere Pro stands as a powerful option for professionals, while iMovie caters to Mac users looking for a user-friendly yet effective tool. Final Cut Pro X provides even more control and precision for advanced Mac users. InShot offers a versatile suite of editing tools for mobile video editing, and Filmora (Wondershare Filmora) is an accessible choice for both beginners and intermediate video editors.
Whether you're promoting products, sharing personal anecdotes, or inspiring your followers, strong copywriting ensures that your captions resonate with your audience, encourage meaningful interactions, and contribute to your overall influence on the platform.
Social media management skills
Proficiency in scheduling, analytics, and engagement management is crucial for maintaining a consistent and strategic posting schedule, tracking the performance of posts, and effectively engaging with followers. Social media management skills enable influencers to optimize their content strategy and build a loyal following.
SEO and content strategy
SEO and content strategy skills are increasingly important for Instagram influencers. While Instagram is primarily a visual platform, incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) principles into your content can enhance discoverability. This involves using relevant keywords, hashtags, and descriptions that align with your niche and content.
Adaptability and resilience
Since the world of social media is changing all the time, adaptability and resilience are critical attributes for Instagram influencers. Instagram frequently introduces new features, algorithm changes, and trends. As an influencer, you must be adaptable to embrace these changes, pivot your strategy, and stay up to date.
In conclusion, this guide has covered the essential steps to becoming an Instagram influencer, from niche selection to engaging with your audience, and the vital skills, including video and photo editing, copywriting, social media management, SEO, adaptability, and resilience, needed for success in this dynamic field.
Aspiring influencers should be motivated to embark on their Instagram journey, armed with the knowledge and strategies shared here. The world of Instagram influencer marketing is constantly changing, and while challenges and changes are inevitable, the potential for growth remains limitless, offering a rewarding and dynamic path for those willing to adapt, persist, and continue making their mark in the digital world.