How to become an influencer on Instagram?

Nowadays, many people have a dream to become an influencer on Instagram. However, it probably looks very easy to people who only see the tip of the iceberg: just posting pictures and videos on Instagram, getting paid for it, or receiving free products from different brands – it looks like a fun hobby, right?

What many people don’t know is the hard work that content creators put into building their accounts – it’s just like any other business that needs a lot of time, effort and to be taken very seriously. So, if you are ready to be dedicated to start building your own business, we’ll be happy to share some advice on becoming an Instagram creator!

1. Find your Instagram niche

The first step that will be the base of your influencer career is figuring out your niche and defining your target audience based on that. You have probably seen it pretty much anywhere, and it may sound like another “drink a lot of water to be healthier” that you also hear from everyone, but it actually is really important and will help you out a lot.

The niche could be related to fashion, DIY, motherhood, fitness, cooking, and so on. It would also be a smart idea to niche down at first, meaning, if you want to make fashion-related content, narrow it down to a concrete style: it could be street fashion, second-hand clothing, vintage, etc. Doing that will help you reach followers who actually care about your content and are excited about your new posts because they are interested in the exact theme that you are posting about.

It would be best if you could find a niche that doesn’t get much coverage yet. If you start with something where competition is already quite tight, it will be a bit difficult to stand out from all the other accounts. So try to stay completely yourself and not copy or imitate anyone! On Promoty, we have seen that content creators who are the most authentic and real definitely grow the fastest!

Considering your niche, think about the target audience you want to reach – the age, gender, location, interests, etc. If you define it precisely enough, it will be easier for you to reach out to an accurate audience!

Liza Lind @lizalindd Wolt influencer collaboration photo

Liza Lind (@lizalindd) x Wolt collaboration photo

2. Make sure that Instagram is the right channel for you

There are so many social media platforms in the world – Instagram is not the only one! The second step for you is to choose a platform considering your skills and interests:

• If you are interested in taking photos, editing them, and creating short videos, Instagram would be a great place for you;

• If you are proficient in mainly creating videos, like trying out new effects or enjoy talking in front of the camera, choose YouTube or TikTok;

• Like writing a lot? – Twitter or a blog may be for you;

• Not so much of a writer, but you are great at having conversations? – you could think about starting with your own podcast.

Ideally, it would be smart to choose at least two platforms – if you build the business on just one platform, and, in the worst-case scenario, it goes bankrupt, there’s a risk of you losing basically everything (think we all know what happened to Vine). For example, if you end up starting your social media influencer path, you could consider creating a website or a LinkedIn account to use as an additional platform for your brand.

If you have already started with your new desirable career, but it’s not going well, maybe you are not focused on the right social media platform.

lemettikatja Instagram influencer campaign photo on Promoty
Belief campaign photo on Promoty

3. Set up your Instagram profile

The next step is to make some changes to your profile that you want to improve (or set up a completely new profile). So, what are the points that you should pay attention to?

• Profile/cover photo. As your profile picture is the one thing that attracts people to click on your username when they see your comment on Instagram, make sure it looks flattering or eye-catching! If you are on a platform that requires a cover photo, take notice of the appearance of that too – check if the profile and cover photos look good together!

• Informative bio. In the bio / “about me” section, you could mention what your content is focused on and where you are based; maybe add something fun as well that expresses your personality!

• Add a keyword to your name. In your bio, you are able to write your name, but we definitely recommend adding a keyword according to your niche next to it. That way, when people search for that keyword on Instagram, there’s a higher chance that your account will end up in the results.

• Flattering feed. If you already have some posts on your profile, make sure they look appealing altogether – are they accurate to the niche that you chose? Do they represent the kind of image of you that you want to reflect on others?  Does it look like you have put effort into your pictures? People often decide on whether to follow someone based on the attractiveness of their feed.

• Contact information. On Instagram, we recommend influencers setting up a creator account that gives you some essential features, such as growth insights and adding buttons that instantly take others to contact you. It’s kind of essential to add your contact details (email, website, other social media accounts, etc.) to the bio – that way; it will be easier for others (including brands) to reach out to you at any time!

4. Instagram was made for socializing – so be social

It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason! If you want people to find your content and socialize with you and your followers, you need to put in the effort and start conversations yourself first!

You could do that on others’ profiles – leave comments, like their posts, and answer questions on their stories. That way, you are not only being visible and reaching new followers but also supporting your own community!

One thing is liking and commenting on others’ Instagram posts; another, maybe even more important, is engaging with your existing followers. If they take the time to engage with your content, find the time to engage back: ask questions in your captions and stories, like and reply to their comments, and make sure your replies to the DMs are thorough and kind! It will show your followers that the time they afford you actually means something to you, and you appreciate it.

On another note, if you see your followers are not really engaging with your content, figure out what could be the reason – could it be the quality of your photos? Maybe you should try to ask some questions in your captions. Maybe you are posting too frequently? Or are the posts too similar? Think about your followers as your clients – what do they want to see, hear, or learn about?  Try to change things up a bit, and don’t give up!

5. Don’t stress about the numbers

This is an important thing to remember: don’t care too much about the number of your Instagram followers. You don’t really need a massive following to be successful. Instead, it’s a lot smarter to start off with a small fanbase who are actually interested in your content, who read through your long captions, like the new posts, answer the polls on stories – these are the followers who matter.

Let’s maybe explain it in numbers:

• you have 10 000 followers, but the engagement rate (ER) is 15%, meaning that you have about 1500 followers who like and comment on your posts regularly;

• you have 5000 followers, but an ER of 30%, so in that case, you would have 1500 active followers, as well.

This clearly shows that you could have double of followers, but if they just stand there and basically skip your posts, do you really need them?

By the way! Since micro-influencers usually have quite a high engagement rate and a better connection with their followers, brands are starting to look towards smaller Instagram influencers more and more!

Therefore, remember, don’t try to get just any followers so you could see the number grow – be slow and consistent, put in the effort to find the perfect matches for you. You will definitely see it paying off! Your job is to influence people, so find people who want to be influenced by you!

Velomarket and Asproduction collaboration photo on Promoty
Anastasia Vasilievna (@asproduction) x Velomarket campaign photo

6. Share good content on a consistent basis

Being honest, open, and engaging with other accounts aren’t the only requirements for building a following on Instagram. One thing that beginner influencers often don’t emphasize enough is consistency.

It’s important to plan out your upcoming posts so that you’d post content regularly, not leave your followers “hanging.” A little hack is making a structure for yourself: what kind of content you should share every day – for example, as a fitness influencer on Instagram, you could share something motivating on Mondays, explain some exercises on Wednesdays, share healthy recipes on Saturdays, etc. It helps to keep your content variable and generate ideas for cool posts at the same time. The most successful influencers, especially the ones on the rise, have strict content schedules!

For instance, our Head of Campaign Success @annirahula said she had 7k followers for a very long time, but when she created a plan for herself and started posting regularly, she reached 10k in a few months!

7. Level up your Instagram content

When talking about the content that you are planning to post, make sure it’s high quality! Quality photos with good (can be basic) editing will look appealing and show that you know what you are doing. If you do your job professionally, people will stick around and get happy when they see new content from you!

Quality doesn’t mean that your pictures should be taken with a professional camera by a professional photographer; it simply means that you keep the lens of your camera (phone is totally fine) clean, pay attention to the background and lighting, keep the horizon straight and do a little color correction at the end.

Apps that influencers on Promoty use the most for their Instagram content:

• Lightroom – by far the most popular photo editing tool among Promoty users! We also have our own free Lightroom presets that you can download. You can also find a tutorial on how to use presets from there!

VSCO – also has great features and quite many filters to choose from

Snapseed – has brushes that can be used to make certain parts of the image blurry, lighter, darker, add or remove saturation

Unfold / Canva – great for making your stories look more unique

Capcut – influencers’ favorite video editing app that integrates easily with TikTok. Alternatively, you can use an online video editor.

Any MP4 video editor that supports high-quality video and audio playback, and allows you to add special effects to your videos.

Since high-quality photos without content behind them can be quite meaningless, it’s a must to pay attention to the quality of the content that you post, too: each of your posts should be inspirational, educational, or entertaining.

You could share recommendations on your favorite products, helpful tips & tricks, fun stories, life lessons of yours, etc. (everything according to your own niche and style). Think about your target audience once again and why should they follow you; what do you have to offer them?

P. S. We’ve also compiled a list of Instagram marketing tools that you will need – check it out!

Eleriin Sild and Farmi campaign photo on Promoty
Eleriin Sild (@eleriinsild) x Farmi campaign photo

Getting your first brand deals on Instagram

Once you have figured out all the tips and tricks above, you have gained a little following, and your engagement rate is high enough, you could try reaching out to small brands you think would be interested in cooperating with you!

There is no magic number of the right amount of followers or reach you should have – if your values match the brand’s perfectly, you may not even need 1000 followers to start with. Bear in mind, as a beginner; you have to prove yourself a lot, not get any money at first, do only product deals, cooperate with smaller local boutiques instead of big international retailers, etc. – that way you can show how good you are to bigger brands in the future.

Remember to only work with brands whose products and services you actually like and use. Be sincere! The amount of brand deals or collaborative posts you make doesn’t determine how good of an influencer you are! We would say quite the opposite: the more carefully you choose your partners, the less you have them, and the more valuable content you share (your own recommendations, honest opinions, personal stories), the more trustworthy you will seem and the greater the value of each cooperation!

Summary: how to become an Instagram influencer?

So, remember, being a social media influencer doesn’t mean posting content whenever you feel like it or receiving products from brands out of the blue. It’s not a casual hobby but a full-time job like any other: building a business, having a strategy and a vision, thinking many steps ahead, and having a goal. So, be dedicated to what you do, and don’t expect to be a successful content creator in the next or a few days. We wish you the best of luck! 🤍

What is it all to do with us?

Promoty is an influencer relationship management platform that allows brands to manage all their (potential) influencers, collaborations, chats, and content in one place. Here’s a short demo video of how it works! 👇🏼

Using Promoty’s Influencer Discovery, you can search for influencers worldwide, filtering by their social media metrics or audience data. Additionally, you can see detailed account insights for every influencer – which helps you to find the right TikTok and Instagram influencers for your brand. 🤍

Additionally, you can use our influencer CRM to manage your current and potential collaboration partners, detect branded content, and chat with influencers. Create a free account to get started!

Get detailed profile analytics for every influencer.

More on that topic: