If you want to find your voice, grow a bigger audience, get more collaborations with your brands and become an influencer on Instagram, then sit down, grab a pen and paper. Follow along as we share some important content creator tips on how to create better content and grow your Instagram!
I Getting started as a content creator
Before you even start collaborating with brands, you should already have built up an active account: cohesive visual style, aesthetic feed, followers and an engagement rate that is high enough.
“I will start posting more when I get more collaborations’’ is a totally wrong attitude: your Instagram should be all about your content not your collaborations.
👉🏼 The engagement rate basically shows how much your followers have liked, commented and saved your posts. You can see your engagement rate on Promoty when you log in. As a small influencer, a good engagement would be around 10-20%
That’s how you see your engagement rate on Promoty app
1. Create an Instagram strategy
This content creator tip may seem like a lot of work but being strategic can help you grow faster and save time in the long run. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself to get a better idea on how you want to look on Instagram.
🙈 This is the part where the pen and paper come in handy!
▸ How much time do I have to dedicate to Instagram?
▸ How do I stand out from the rest?
▸ What are my values?
▸ How do I want others to talk about me?
▸ How do I not want others to talk about me?
▸ How often should I post new content?
Describe the vibe you want to give off: write down 10 adjectives. For example: fashionable, creative, romantic, fresh, nostalgic, natural, fun, artsy, sporty, comforting,
💭 Try to think of those adjectives every time you create your content or before you post and ask yourself: “Does this post match at least one of those adjectives?”
2. Know the message you want to convey
If you want to be a content creator, you probably have a reason for it: you either want to inspire, educate, be relatable or create funny content. At Promoty, we always encourage beginner content creators to think about the message they want to share. No one follows random people on social media– we follow those whose message resonates with us.
Therefore, it is important to think through your main message and build up your content based on that. Unquestionably, you can share everything you think is important – however, defining your own niche and sticking to it will help you grow faster. If you constantly post on the same topics, your followers will learn to listen to you and trust your recommendations – and that’s why brands in this area will want to work with you!
3. Make valuable content
When we asked for some guidelines from the top content creators in Estonia, most of them emphasised that it is important to stay true to yourself.
Talk about what you are interested in. Educate your followers on topics you have read about. Ask questions and be sincerely interested. Answer to comments. Be vulnerable and authentic so that your followers can relate to you. Talk about things that others are scared to. Recommend products and brands you really use and love. Create a community around you and earn your followers’ trust
Make sure that you don’t only post selfies. Share something that inspires you and don’t be afraid to try something new. Instagram has so many cool features to try, like IGTV and Reels. Stay active on your Stories as much as possible.
👉🏼Most people look at Instagram stories first and then scroll their news feed.
When you are totally out of ideas, search “Content ideas for social media”. Pick some and put your own twist on them!
Here are some good lists to take ideas from:
4. Create high quality visuals
The quality of your photos is a big factor. You can take really good photos with your phone – just make sure to have a lot of natural light when you’re taking them. The light from indoor lamps can be quite unflattering and yellow. Try not to use your phone’s built-in flash, it can really flatten your image. When the light comes from the same angle as the lens, you’ll be left without any of the scene’s natural shadows.
Find a fresh perspective, try out different poses, locations and angles. Zoom with your feet and get closer – zooming in with your camera can disrupt the quality of your image.
The background is as much a part of the picture as the subject so make sure that it is not messy and cluttered. Keep that in mind every time you start taking your photos. Remove all objects that don’t add anything to your photo.
Another, more important skill is editing – you can do so much by just adding an easy filter, a little bit of light and correcting colours! There are dozens of free apps to edit your photos: Promoty’s influencers’ favourite seems to be Lightroom, but many also use VSCO and Snapseed.
Photography is a skill like any other and only gets better with practice. 📈
5. Be consistent and plan your feed
Becoming an influencer doesn’t just happen overnight. Behind every account with thousands of followers are two to three years of constant posting, important life lessons and setbacks. Another content creator tip to grow your audience and get a bigger reach is to stay consistent and find a posting schedule that works for you. If you have trouble with time management, here are some extra tips that can help you.
5.1 Remove all distractions
For some people getting in the work mindset can be difficult. If you have trouble focusing and get distracted easily, try to remove distractions. For example, turn off your phone and find a place you feel comfortable. Getting enough sleep beforehand can also help you focus better. Don’t be afraid to take short breaks and reward yourself.
5.2 Plan your content at least a week ahead
This will make your life so much easier, plus it will be time-saving. Try to write down all the content ideas you have and if possible, create multiple posts’ material in one day. You can use a scheduling tool like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Later.
Later – Visual instagram builder
Planning your feed ahead can help you get more engaging content. Your account will stay active even if something unexpected happens. It also gives you more time to interact with your followers. To plan your feed, you can use an app like Feed Preview.
5.3 Don’t leave things to the last minute
Coming up with unique ideas can be challenging at times. Try not to leave things to the last minute and start thinking about the project as early as possible. This will give you more time to come up with a creative idea. When you have acknowledged the project early, you will get a chance to process it and find inspiration from your everyday activities.
For brand deals, try to visualise the post as close to detail as you can. This will make sure that everything runs smoothly and your pictures won’t look rushed even if the product arrives late.
II How to collaborate with brands?
When you feel that you have found a personal niche and created an engaged audience to whom you feel like you could recommend some products and get paid for it – then you can consider doing your first collaboration posts.
1. Choose brands to work with
There has been a lot of disapproval by marketers because many influencers accept collaborations without considering if it would fit with their brand. To keep your followers’ trust, it’s important to carefully choose the brands you work with.
Just like all your content, the collaborative posts should reflect your principles, values and goals. If you promote different products all the time, you might lose your followers’ trust and brands do not benefit from this kind of collaboration. Dare to say no. If you work with brands you actually like and whose products you use, it is sincere and brings the expected results to the brand.
2. Know how brands choose their content creators
Choosing influencers for a campaign works relatively similarly on and outside Promoty-like platforms: the important metrics are demographics, social media related metrics and if the content creator fits the brand.
Demographics: age, gender, location and other. Most marketers have defined their main target group based on the age and location: for example premium brands usually target content creators that are older than 25 and restaurants located in Tallinn target creators living in Tallinn.
Social media related metrics: number of followers, engagement, price for a post and other. Under secrecy, we can say that there is one thing more important than the number of followers – the engagement rate. A high engagement rate shows that your followers care about your content. Another important aspect is that the price of your collaborative post should be compatible with your followers’ number and engagement rate: the price must bring brands at least as much benefit as the brand pays you. It is especially important for smaller brands.
The quality of the content, influencer’s personal story and suitability with the brand. It is really difficult to put these metrics into numbers. Brands make the final decision by looking at the content creators’ profile, the quality of the photos and at the values that the person shares in their posts.
Content creators who constantly share photos of pizzas and burgers are not a good fit for a fitness brand campaign – doesn’t matter how good the motivational letter they wrote is. Likewise, the brand will not choose a content creator to their campaign if they have promoted a competitive brand in the past.
On Promoty, the brand determines the criteria which influencers they want to include in the campaign (age, location, number of followers, etc.) when setting up their campaign. Only the content creators who match the criteria can see the campaign and apply to it. After that, the marketer chooses the creator, considering their application, Instagram statistics and previous posts.
3. When applying to a campaign, describe your idea
If you apply to a campaign on Promoty, you should always include your idea about how you’d like to introduce the product or service. This doesn’t have to be long, but it is important to bring out why you want to collaborate with the brand and what kind of campaign photo you would take. If you have some previous experience with the products, you should definitely mention it! In this case, you can add what you value about the brand and why you would recommend it to others.
As most campaigns have more applicants than actually can get into the campaign, many brand representatives automatically decline influencers who don’t write a message to the brand when applying. Therefore, adding your idea will increase your chances of getting into the campaign multiple times!
When writing your idea, you shouldn’t overthink. You usually have an idea of the photo you would take – just write it down! If you really like the brand, it will also be reflected in the description of your idea and it will increase the likelihood that the brand will select you. That’s why we encourage you to work with brands that you really like.
4. Write a sincere and personalised caption
If you want a collaborative post to look genuine and authentic, try to add as much emotion as possible to your caption. Here are some options:
- Explain your relationship with the brand: whether it is a new brand you tried or your favourite brand for years. When it comes to a new brand or product, you can add what your first emotions were.
- Tell the story of how you came to this brand – for example, “I’ve always had x problems and tried out a lot of products, but haven’t found one that suits me. Now x recommended me x products and… “
- Educate your followers: for example, in a food-related post you can share a recipe or talk about the benefits of different nutrients.
- Describe in your own words (not with the help of the text copied from the website!) How this brand / product differs from other similar products.
A good collaborative post is not too promotional –
@Itsjusttix x HairLust collaboration post
Write as you would actually recommend the brand to your friends – if the emotion is sincere, your followers will see it in the post!
Be sure to also pay attention to spelling and the correct use of commas so that the brand representative won’t need to correct you.
5. Ask for a fair price for the post
Promoty has three options for rewarding content creators: a) monetary reward, b) free products-services, and c) a combined option: monetary reward and free products-services.
For campaigns with monetary reward you can set whatever price you want. Promoty always encourages content creators to not underestimate their value and always ask for a fair price.
👉🏼 Read more about influencer pricing
6. Use the right hashtags
Instagram’s own advertising policy requires that sponsored content has to be marked accordingly. This includes any content that highlights a product, brand or a business in return for payment – whether it’s a monetary reward or free products or services.
When doing a collaboration through Promoty, #ad will be added to the hashtag list of your post’s caption automatically. Of course, if you work with brands outside of Promoty or any other influencer marketing platform, you can choose the appropriate hashtag by yourself – whether it is #advertising, #collaboration, #collab, etc.
7. Keep your promises and deadlines
Finally, there’s a basic but very important piece of advice: if you’ve promised the brand to post by a certain deadline, please do it. If something happens and you can’t do it, let the brand know via messages. Sometimes, the campaigns can be extended.
On Promoty, you can see the deadline for each campaign: by that date, content should be submitted to Promoty, approved by the brand and posted on Instagram. Therefore, we do not recommend leaving posting your content to the last minute – it is possible that the brand will not be able to approve your post and you will not be able to participate in the campaign. It is also worth remembering that brand representatives take weekends off and do not accept posts during this time.