The influencer lifestyle has captured the imagination of millions in the United States and around the world. Traveling the world, living on your own terms, and discovering new things have become staples of the influencer experience, which is why many people are thinking about trying their hand at it as well.
And the demand for influencers is there, too. 17% of companies spend more than half of their marketing budget on influencers, and the industry is set to grow to around $15 billion by 2022. Now’s the best time to invest in influencer marketing, and brands are eager to jump at the opportunity.
However, while the opportunities are there, breaking in isn't an easy task. Millions of people are trying to become the next big influencer in their niche, so you need to have a structured plan of action if you're going to succeed.
To help you get started, let's look at how to become an Instagram influencer. But first, let's figure out exactly what a social media influencer is.
What is an Influencer?
Before we can dive into the specific strategies that go into succeeding as an influencer, we must first understand what defines one so that you have a better understanding of what to strive for.
In essence, an influencer is defined by two key traits.
First, they must have an audience that is engaged and actually participating in their social media feeds. This is a crucial part of the equation, and the size of your audience will be one of the deciding factors when companies consider working with you.
Another essential factor is your authority. Just having a large following is not enough, as you also need to have a rapport and a relationship with your audience that translates into them being interested in the products or messages that you post.
As you post relevant, engaging, and informative content, you will become better at both of these critical attributes of a successful influencer, which will help you start generating attention.
Let's look at some of the most important strategies and decisions that you'll need to make along the way.
Choose Your Niche
No matter which social media platform you choose to work on, you will have to compete with millions of other content creators for your audience's attention.
Because of that, one of the most important steps in the process is to figure out how you can make yourself stand out from the crowd and make people want to follow you.
And the best way to do that is to niche down into a more narrow area where you can provide specific value to your audience. This way, you won't have to compete with the Kardashians and Selena Gomezes but instead can create your own tribe of loyal followers who will want to hear from you.
At this stage, many novice influencers make the mistake of pursuing a niche based on its size, thinking that it will give them the best chance of success. But in reality, the only thing that the size of the niche will tell you is how many people are already creating content on the subject.
So, a much more reliable approach is not to overthink what area you want to pursue, but consider what you're interested in and what makes you unique as a person.
That way, you can choose a niche that you're passionate and knowledgeable about, which will make the task of posting regularly and engaging your audience much more enjoyable.
Don't be afraid that you won't be able to build a large following in some niches. Having a few thousand highly-engaged followers can sometimes be better than having hundreds of thousands of followers that don't respond to what you have to say.
Learn About Your Audience
Once you figure out a niche or an area that you want to focus on, you need to consider another crucial part of influencer success - your audience. Choosing the right niche is important, but you need to have a deep understanding of your audience if you are going to cater to their needs.
Knowing your audience will dictate every decision that you make as an influencer, so this is a crucial step that you should spend as much time as necessary to do well.
The easiest way to get started on the process is to take a deep dive into the social media platform that you want to work on. No matter what niche you choose, there are probably people who are talking about it already, so you just need to find them and tap into those conversations.
In fact, there are probably influencers in the field, too, so you should carefully analyze what they post, how they interact with their followers, what types of products they promote, and what their personal brand is all about.
This should give you plenty of ideas on how you could position yourself, and might help you discover unique ways of presenting yourself that aren't being done by anyone else.
Consider Your Personal Brand
Even though an influencer isn't technically a business, it can often operate and market in similar ways. Because of that, you need to define your personal brand and what it stands for if you want to remain consistent in your posts and audience interactions.
The first step of the process is simply being present and easy to find online. That means that if you use multiple social media platforms, they should link to each other, and you might also want to consider a website as you start becoming more prominent.
Another crucial part of a personal brand is having a consistent voice. That means not only how you write and talk, but also your imagery, colors, and styles. Everything must be consistent and serve as a larger part of your influencer persona.
Remember, the personality that shines through your brand is one of the primary reasons why followers will follow you, so strive for authenticity as much as possible.
Create Top-Quality Posts
No matter how you look at it, the quality of your posts will be at the very heart of your Instagram efforts. Once you figure out the details discussed above, your success will largely depend on how frequent and how good your posts are, so you should take a strategic approach when planning them.
One essential consideration is the quality of the pictures and videos that you create. With so many influencers competing for the same audience's attention, there's a certain threshold for quality that you must maintain if you want to even be considered.
Sure, the actual contents of your posts matter a lot, but if the quality of the images or videos is lacking, you will not seem professional and will have a hard time attracting followers, not to mention sponsors.
When creating posts, it's also essential to provide them with as much exposure as possible. That means you will need to master hashtags and other social signals to help your audience find you.
Finally, you need to make sure that your posts come on a regular basis. Instagram and other platforms reward regular content creators, so as a micro-influencer, you will need to take advantage of this opportunity to get more exposure if you want to get noticed.
Interact with Your Followers
Since you want to figure out how to become an Instagram influencer, you probably follow at least a few people yourself. And as you've probably noticed, the most successful influencers don't just post content; they go out of their way to interact with their audience as well.
Engagement is a two-way street, which means that while it's natural to expect your followers to interact with your posts, you should make an effort to interact with them as well if you want your audience to be responsive.
You must find ways to encourage conversations under your posts, as the comments and reactions will fuel your visibility and help you reach more people.
And there are a few effective ways to do that.
One of the most useful things you can do is set your posts up for high engagement by asking questions, creating polls, or requesting feedback. This way, you will condition your followers to not only view your posts but to respond as well.
You should also interact with your followers by responding to comments, answering questions yourself, and sharing insights.
Leverage Your Influence with Collabstr
One of the best things about Influencer marketing today is the wide range of opportunities to leverage your following and turn it into sponsorship deals.
Using influencer platforms like Collabstr, you can partner up with businesses in your niche and earn money by promoting their products or brand. At Collabstr, you can find companies looking for Influencers already, so you will have a much easier time showing the value you can provide.
You'll find more than 500 brands that are constantly trying to find influencers to promote your products, so you're all but guaranteed to find the perfect match that's ideally suited for your audience and your personal brand.