Steps to becoming an Instagram influencer
Influencer marketing isn’t just a buzzword; it’s becoming at a quick pace one of the most effective strategies for brands to connect with advertising-weary audiences. According to a study, nearly 95% of marketers who employ an influencer marketing program believe it is effective.
Younger audience members are leaning away from traditional ads, preferring content that portrays life and brands in more realistic and relatable ways. Consequently, influencers like Gigi Hadid. Kardashian/Jenner sisters and Jake Paul are able to offer brands rare access to highly engaged audiences. Similarly, influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk and Guy Kawasaki help business-oriented brands appeal to senior executives.
These influencers have created notable Instagram followings and strong personal brands, which attract the attention of many companies and you too can become a successful influencer.
1. Identify an ideal audience that you’re passionate about
It goes without saying that it would be challenging to become the next fashion idol or beauty influencer. Since those markets are already saturated with Instagram influencers who have already put in their time and racked up a massive, passionate following of people. However, it is 100% possible to quickly become an influencer within a specific niche that’s being underserved.
Start brainstorming on your areas of expertise. What are you an expert in that only a few are(experts)? Then go and conduct keyword or hashtag searches to see if others are as passionate about this subject, or some variation of it.
For example, there are a number of well-known marketing influencers already on Instagram. However, there are fewer B2B marketing influencers on Instagram and even fewer B2B enterprise marketing influencers. While there are few niche influencers for the topics mentioned, there are thousands of Instagram users who are likely interested in mastering these topics.
2. Get good at telling stories
As an influencer, your personality and your ability as a storyteller are your greatest assets.
Gary Vaynerchuk is an influencer who really knows how to tell compelling stories to his audience. He always posts visually compelling Instagram content and uses the captions to elaborate on the meaning behind the photo or video.
3. Learn from the best
There are literally countless successful influencers that you’re able to learn from. Plus, if you chose a target audience that is underserved the content they want then these other influencers actually aren’t competitors; rather, they’re potential mentors.
You should follow influencers that you respect on Instagram to learn how they go about creating content as well as stories that engage their user base. Equally learn how other influencers work with brands in ways that actually add value to their audience, instead of making the influencers’ followers feel like their favourite social media star “sold out.”
Take it a step further, directly contact influencers after following them for awhile and getting to know their craft. Many influencers will be willing to offer advice if you are polite and persistent.
4. Be the best at knowing you’re audience
Whether the area of interest is makeup, business or computer programming, your target audience will often expect that you are a master of the subject in question. While becoming a true expert might take longer than you’d like, it is important that you constantly improve your knowledge with regard to your niche.
Some influencers are able to successfully create content about their quest to become more knowledgeable in their field. In the example above, a software engineering influencer who goes by the name Codergirl shares that she is teaching herself more about data science. The post earned over 2,000 likes and many encouraging comments from engaged followers.
5. Make amazing content
According to one study, about 95 million new photos and videos are shared on Instagram each day. As an Instagram influencer, it’s your job to create amazingly compelling content that stands from the mass noise of any social media platform. To make really good content, you have to be sure to vary the mediums and formats you use. Mixing up and varying the type of content you put out will definitely help you engage your followers and keep things fresh.
6. Understand the Instagram algorithm
Instagram has a bunch of algorithms that can make or break your hopes of becoming an influencer. Mastering these algorithms and educating yourself on the platform will help you quickly grow your audience while engaging the followers you already have.
Something you should know is that the Instagram feed isn’t solely chronological. Rather, Instagram tends to usually order content based on the likelihood that the follower will engage with the content. Content that is potentially more compelling is placed higher in the feed. A similar system is in place when determining what content reaches the Explore tab.
As an influencer, ensuring that existing followers engage with content can be an effective way to increase your presence on the platform. That’s because Instagram uses engagement as a key factor in placing content throughout the platform.
7. Build relationships with brands
If you’re interested in becoming an influencer who works with brands to create compelling posts, then you should start building relationships with brands. It’s never too early, really. Start by researching the brands that are attempting to appeal to your niche audience.
One way of going about this is by interviewing some of your followers to understand which brands they’re interested in and whether they relate at all to your area of expertise. Also, you should be reading publications like AdAge and AdWeek to see how brands are adopting their marketing strategy over time.
Equipped with this information, you’re able to begin reaching out to social media or partnership marketers at to some of the brands you’ve researched previously and discuss opportunities for collaboration.
8. Instagram analytics
Instagram analytics can help you determine what content is most likely to resonate with your target audience. Detailed analytics can also help you to pitch potential clients by giving brands insights into your audience demographics, growth and engagement.
You can use social media analytics tools, such as Socialblade, Iconosquare and Hootsuite to track data on engagement, growth, competitor behaviour and optimal post time. This information can dramatically accelerate your success as an influencer.
9. Multi-platform approach
Instagram is an amazing first channel to launch your personal brand. However, we live in a multi-platform world, with multiple options for social media. Your followers are (most)probably using platforms like YouTube, Medium or Facebook, and it’s super important that you create content for those platforms too – so you’re able to reach as many fans and potential fans as possible.
Many Instagram influencers will tease content on Instagram and publish long-form pieces on one or more of the platforms mentioned above. This is a great way of using a multichannel approach to meaningfully engage with followers on their platform of choice.
10. Behind-the-scenes content
Behind-the-scenes content is a terrific way to build deeper relationships with your followers. Since social media platforms are inherently personal(ironic), and followers love to learn what their favourite influencers actually do in their day-to-day lives.
11. Think like a media company
The saying is – Content is King. Content is what enables influencers to connect with followers. Given this is the reality, it’s a good idea to start thinking about every move you do like a media company.
Consider how you can use content to connect with audience members across different channels. Develop preplanned content pieces with story arcs that keep followers engaged over a long period of time. Think about how to create content that is related across channels, while remaining unique for each platform(making it actually worthwhile).
Once you’ve developed an engaged following, you’re then able to form brand partnerships (just as media companies do) to bring brands closer to your followers in a way that adds value to both parties.
Becoming an Instagram influencer will definitely take time, dedication and lots of trial and error. To begin, identify an underserved niche audience that is hungry for content. Then hone your ability to create amazing content with a compelling story. Equally, consider learning from other influencers to determine best practices, and don’t forget to invest in an Instagram analytics platform along the way.