Here’s a very interesting question that I received via email from a friend. While she wasn’t directly asking how to become an online influencer, her question did get me thinking about what it takes to create an influencer platform on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, or even TikTok.
I’d be curious to hear how others feel about the growing profession of “digital influencer” or “online influencer”. Be sure to share them via the comments below.
I am continually entertained by the ridiculousness that is the @InfluencersInTheWild Instagram channel. Do these people really make money doing this? Is this a career path that younger generations are choosing because they understand social media better than older generations? Can they actually earn a full time living being an Instagram influencer?
Inquiring minds want to know.
As I said, interesting questions.
Is The Role Of Influencer Anything New? Did It Start With Channels Like Instagram And TikTok?
As social media continues to evolve and grow as platforms that influence behaviors, the roles that influencers play in driving consumer behaviors is going to be analyzed and scrutinized. While some might find it odd or even distasteful to have a career where the primary role is to influence the online behaviors of others, is it really that different that other traditional roles of influence?
Think about it for a second:
- Teachers influence the educational behaviors of our youth and adult learners
- Coaches influence the athletic capabilities of their athletes or teams
- Career coaches influence the career growth of professionals
- Parents influence the behaviors of their children
- Lawyers influence the behaviors of the individuals or companies that they represent.
Are these roles really that different than the role of online influencer or digital influencer? Those folks who have chose a career path of influencing others online have simply chosen to create a platform where they share aspects of their lives that might help others in making purchasing decisions.
Some choose to influence where their audience wants to travel to. Others have the goal of shaping consumer purchasing behaviors like makeup or watches. Some have even chosen to leverage their pets as the Instagram influencer.
Other influencers might have the goal of changing societal or political beliefs. There are entire charitable organizations that were created to change society’s beliefs about animals or the environment or even who to send to Congress.
Regardless of whether the goal is oriented toward behaviors, societal attitudes, or purchasing products, the intended outcome is that members of the audience make a change. They buy, they vote, they donate, or they engage in some activity that was encouraged or discouraged by the influencer.
…and it’s not something new. The role of influencer didn’t evolve based on the launch of social networks like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or TikTok. We just didn’t refer to these folks as “influencers”. Instead, we called them:
Regardless of what they were called, their job was to sell something. Just take a stroll down the cereal aisle of any grocery store and you’ll see influencers selling their sponsors products. Soap, cereal, shoes…the role of influencer has been around for a long time.
How Do I Become An Instagram Influencer?
In today’s world, social media has become the new hub for launching people and products, providing a reach of millions all over the world. That is, when it is properly done.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms setting up careers of so many individuals and enterprises and pretty much anyone can create their influencer platform by following a few basic steps:
Step 1 – Choose A Niche Or Area Of Focus That You Are Passionate About
The first step toward developing an online platform and attracting an audience is to choose a topic that you want to pursue. Choosing something you love and are really passionate about helps a lot. As an influencer, it’s going to become a substantial part of your life.
Can you imagine me writing and maintaining a blog about social media if I didn’t have background experience with it or a passion for it? It would likely get really old really fast and I would have abandoned it years ago.
It’s really important that it’s not just something you like, but also something you understand or want to learn a lot more about. You don’t have to already be an expert, if the goal of your channel is to learn as you go and help others learn along the way.
It is important, however, that you are sure you know and have an idea about what you are doing. Fumbling about with a topic isn’t going to help your target audience learn and it likely isn’t going to influencer any behavior other than encouraging your audience to click the “unsubscribe” or “unfollow” button.
The key is to be able to show your passion in your work and help inspire enthusiasm for the activity or product in your audience. You can choose from anything you want, be it photography, filmmaking, surfing, content creation, acting, fixing cars, etc.
Social networks and blogging platforms like WordPress, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram all provide the platform and tools you can use to express yourself through your work, share your passion for the tools, products, or knowledge that you leverage and encourage others to engage in the desired activity.
Step 2 – Focus On The Quality Of Your Content And Not Always On The Quantity
This one is really important. There are way too many content channels out there just pumping out content for the purpose of volume. They are operating under the impression that more content is the best approach. Here’s the problem, though. A lot of bad content is just a lot of bad content.
People don’t like bad content, and they certainly don’t like to be bombarded with bad content.
Once you start, it is important to keep working and posting pictures, videos, and stories so as to let people know you and your work. However, the posts must maintain certain standards and quality to be effective.
As you get started, invest more time to create more meaningful and quality posts instead of flooding your wall with below standard content which might give you a bad name instead of attracting more people. This does not mean that you should limit the number of posts to very few in an attempt of creating the best content. Maintain a standard number of posts but do not compromise quality for quantity.
Step 3 – Learn About Instagram Hashtags
If you have used Instagram before you might already know the importance and popularity of Instagram in promoting content. The hashtag is somewhat similar to an account that you can follow on social networks which lets users tag their posts so posts with a specific theme or content are easily available for the users.
If you want to be successful on Instagram, hashtags are a critical component. Without them, you are missing out on opportunities to expand the reach of your content. Use them in your posts as it helps them reach people who have similar interests and might find your work interesting.
Pro Tip: Managing your Instagram hashtags can be challenging. Typing in 30 hashtags for each post can be time consuming. Here’s a tip that can help you more easily manage your Instagram hashtags.
With the right combination of hashtags complimenting the different attributes of your posts, the reach of your content increases exponentially. So learning to use hashtags properly can help in promotion and lead you to a loyal group of followers.
Step 4 – Do Some Homework About Digital Marketing
To make profits from your Instagram account, you must have some basic knowledge of digital marketing. You can take up any of the various courses available online for free or learn from tutorials on YouTube.
Your knowledge in digital marketing will help you sell your content better, learning new techniques, and increasing your reach. Endorsements and sponsors will also help you in getting revenue. These and various other tactics although seemingly simple help you go a long way and make you somewhat more professional in your approach.
Step 5 – Always Focus On Enhancing Your Skills
In our modern ever-changing world, you can always learn more. People with new and fresh content pop up everyday and the secret to keeping up is to keep learning. Even after doing these for several years, most popular Instagram personalities will agree that there is always more to learn.
New styles can come up, new methods, or even new features. Instagram is always adapting and changing the platform. When it started, you really only needed to understand how to post to the Instagram feed. Now you need to understand private messages, Stories, Reels, etc..
You can survive and thrive on Instagram only if you keep learning and adapting and enhancing your skills. If you become stubborn and refuse to adapt, you might have a hard time engaging with your Instagram audience and growing your following.
Step 6 – Learn To Read The Trends
On social platforms like Instagram, the popularity of certain topics increases at certain times making them trend. This means that more Instagram users are posting and talking about the trending topic and creating posts related to current trends can give you extra views and exposure.
Tying in your content with trends makes it more relatable and popular among masses gaining more shares too. It also helps you keep your content fresh and up to date.
As a result, it is important to learn to read trends, evaluate which trends are rising, and which trends are losing popularity. Then, you need to determine whether the rising trends are applicable to your audience and create content that educates or engages your audience about the trend.
Keeping up with trends at the right time can help you gain a lot of popularity and reach a lot of viewers. It’s one of the best ways to grow and Instagram account and following.
Step 7 – Make Your Brand A Reflection Of Your Personality
Although a certain level of professionalism is often required in your posts, a personal touch is also important. It makes your posts more down to earth and relatable, making your viewers feel you are one of them, instead of just a fake, plastic, and cold being only focused on making money.
People share content they relate with and this helps broaden your reach. Reflecting your personality in your content helps your viewers get to know you better and understand you on a more person basis. This often creates an emotional connection and makes them more loyal to you and your channel.
The result is often a lower unsubscribe rate and an active audience that supports you and your content. Thus, you become your own brand ambassador and this makes promoting your content easier. As your audience grows and supports you, they will share your content with their followers, expanding your reach.
Pro Tip – Be careful when it comes to using humor as part of your Instagram personality. What’s funny to you might not be funny to others.
Step 8 – Engage In Interactive Sessions With Your Followers
Apart from reflecting your personality in your brand and creating content that you passionate about, you need to think about how to engage with your fans and followers. Interacting with followers continues to grow the human connection between you and your Instagram fans, and also makes them more supportive and loyal.
Using tools like live sessions and discussions, stories polls, and even just replying to comments can make a huge difference in engaging your audience and help them become part of the experience. Active engagement brings you closer to your followers and viewers and helps you get more followers.
Pro Tip: Actively engaging with your fans and follows is a great way to generate new content, as well. Your audience may ask you questions that you can create content to help answer their questions. If you want an example just scroll back to the top of the post and look at the question that sparked this entire blog post.
Step 9 – Learn From Other Successful Instagram Accounts
The best way to learn how to be successful on Instagram is to learn from other successful Instagram personalities. Every successful personality was once at your place and you can learn a lot from their journey and their experiences, learn what to do, what mistakes to avoid, and how to react to certain problems.
This doesn’t mean copy what they do, but it does mean you can observe what content works to drive engagement, how often they reply, and how they use tools like Instagram stories and polls.
Remember, your audience is likely different from theirs, so you have to find what tools, behaviors, and content work for your audience.
Step 10 – Have Faith And Patience And Be Persistent And Consistent
Even after following all the rules, there is no definite way to tell how long it will take you to reach the kind of popularity and outreach you crave. It might happen quickly if you are lucky, but in most cases it takes a lot of time and energy to grow and Instagram following.
You need to be patient and have faith just keep in mind that if you work hard, you will get your results in the end.
Pro Tip – Do NOT ever buy Instagram followers. There a lot of accounts doing this and many of them get away with it. As the Instagram algorithm advances, it is becoming more and more successful at identifying accounts that have purchased followers. You don’t want your account flagged, disabled, or blocked for buying a fake following.
Wrapping It Up
These are the basics that any beginner on Instagram needs to follow to start growing your Instagram following and, possibly, starting a career as an Instagram influencer.
There will be a lot more to learn and essentially a lot of hard work and you will get to know it all once you start. Just keep on producing content that aligns with current trends and engaging with your growing Instagram audience and you might just end up becoming the next top Instagram sensation.
Have additional tips that you have found useful in growing your Instagram following? Be sure to add them as a comment so others can benefit from them.