Are you an Instagram influencer? Are you working to become one? These six to-do items are key for success!
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Building and maintaining status as an Instagram influencer requires a lot of work. After all, your ability to achieve high engagement rates and find new followers depends on your ability to provide engaging content day after day.
But beautiful photos aren’t the only way you are going to build a large following and a successful career as an Instagram influencer. Taking care of some additional to-do’s will help your profile and posts deliver the results you need.
1. Use hashtags wisely.
As an influencer, hashtags are a crucial addition to your posts, as they enable your content to show up in searches conducted by other users. It’s a simple addition that can lead to significant growth for your personal brand.
As Kicksta, a company built on helping automate natural, authentic Instagram engagement, recently reported in its latest guide, while posts with hashtags average a 12.6 percent increase in engagement, influencers must qualify which hashtags in their niche will help them grow:
“The biggest mistake with hashtags is using ones that have way too much or far too little traffic. You’ll want to find hashtags that have about 4,000 to 800,000 posts associated with them to get the optimal amount of exposure.”
For best results, choose hashtags that are specific to your niche so you can reach relevant potential followers who will regularly engage with your content.
2. Fine-tune your bio.
Potential marketing partners and fans alike will often turn to your bio when determining if you are worth a follow or not. First opinions of a brand are formed in two-tenths of a second, so telling your story in a clear, compelling matter is essential.
Short text containing keywords highlighting what you do (such as “travel blogger” or “foodie”) will tell audiences what to expect from your content. Consider using bullet points to make the content easier to read.
Finally, include a call to action. As Christina Newberry explains in a blog post for Hootsuite, “Give visitors clear direction. What is the first thing you want people to do after they visit your profile?… Make sure your call to action supports your Instagram marketing goals and aligns with the clickable link in your bio.”
3. Be prepared to pitch clients.
In a blog post for Softonic, Grace Sweeney explains that Instagram influencers must often initiate brand outreach, particularly when they are still growing their following.
“In the beginning, getting work means doing a ton of pitching. You’ll send thousands of emails and InMails, and direct messages. But before you start blindly emailing brands, do a little nurturing … Get on their radar by posting about the brands you want to work with, well before you reach out. You’ll also want to engage with those brands directly. So try posting comments or positive micro-reviews of products you’ve tried.”
Do your research to find relevant industry contact points. In an article for Entrepreneur, fashion influencer Simonetta Lein noted that “only 24 percent fall sales emails are actually opened.” Keeping your pitches short and direct will be vital for getting a response — as will a willingness to face rejection as you are initially building your following.
4. Know when to pass on an opportunity.
When pitching clients, it is essential that you focus on brands that reflect your niche as an influencer. Posting irrelevant content because it gives you a single sponsorship opportunity will only hurt you in the long run.
In an interview with MediaKix, travel influencer Chelsea Kauai offered these insights for selecting brand partners: “Is it relevant to my life and to my audience? Is it something I actually believe in and would I recommend it to my friends? I think that helps keep things more natural. Some of my favorite clients are Canon, DJI, KEEN, and the National Parks — all are things I truly love and am proud to represent.”
She continued, “I also try to maintain an exceptionally high level of creative control — it probably makes me annoying to work with, but I feel my greatest obligation is to my audience. If that means walking away from an opportunity, that’s okay with me.”
5. Find new ways to monetize.
We often think of Instagram influencers as individuals who earn money through sponsored posts, but these are far from the only ways you can make a living through your influencer platform. A case study published by the Huffington Post noted that many Instagrammers leverage their skills into freelance photography, photo licensing and even creating and marketing their own products.
Cassey Ho, founder of Blogilates, leveraged her success on YouTube and Instagram to launch her own clothing line and a trademarked pilates program.
These multi-million dollar successes grew from finding products and services that best appealed to her niche audience. If you don’t want to rely on sponsorships alone, consider new products or services you could use to further monetize your account.
6. Switch to an Instagram Business Account.
Strong audience engagement is crucial to becoming a successful influencer, and the ability to prove that you have an engaged audience will often be necessary to land sponsorship opportunities. Switching to a business account gives you access to Instagram insights, which lets you evaluate your engagement so you can fine-tune your posting strategy and present hard data to marketers.
A business account also allows you to categorize your profile by industry, schedule posts and even promote your own content to expand your reach, all of which will make it easier to manage your account.
Become a master Instagram influencer.
You don’t have to have millions of followers to be a successful Instagram influencer. Even those with followers in the tens of thousands can earn money with sponsored posts or sell their own products to a highly engaged audience.
By using these tips to improve engagement and foster continued audience growth, you will be better positioned to truly be able to make a living through Instagram.