How To Become an Instagram Influencer and Make Money From It

I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard of the word “influencer” before and you’re probably wondering what it means or what does it take to become one. You may even be following a few of them on Instagram…

But what really is an Instagram Influencer? 

An Instagram influencer is an individual who shares his or her “passion”, things that he or she likes, places that he or she visits, and so on through Instagram. An Instagram influencer normally has a significant number of following and “influences” his or her followers in their buying decisions, thus the term “influencer.”

When I first started blogging back in 2011, Instagram was fairly new. I had it but it was not the platform that it is now. It has definitely evolved and gotten big and it’s become a lucrative business to those who have started early and made hundreds of thousands of or even millions of followers in the network.

An Instagram influencer is not necessarily a blogger unless he or she also has a blog. If that makes sense. However, a blogger normally has an Instagram and some has a significant number of followers enough to be considered an influencer.

In my case, I am a blogger first and my Instagram is just an extension of my blog.

Is it really possible to make money off of Instagram?

It sure is possible. Personally, even though I may not have hundreds of thousands of followers, I have made a significant amount of money off of Instagram. Famous influencers have made six figures and some charge $25,000 upwards per post.

Why Instagram? 

  • As of April 2017, there are 700 million Instagram users.
  • As of May 2017, there are 400 million DAILY users.
  • As of January 2017, there have been 40 billion photos shared.
  • It’s easy to start your brand.
  • It’s free.
  • You can make money through the platform.

Who can be an influencer?

  • Fitness enthusiasts
  • Crafters / DIYers
  • Fashionistas
  • Foodies / Cooks
  • Car lovers
  • Wanderlusters (Frequent Travelers)
  • Mommy or Daddy
  • Beauty lovers
  • Cats (Handled by owner)
  • Dogs (Handled by owner)

How to create and build your brand on Instagram as an Influencer? 

  1. Determine what you would like to use Instagram for.
    – A personal brand just for fun or hobby?
    – A personal brand to later on turn as a business or make money from.
    – Or BOTH.
  2. Pick your niche.
    Choose what you’re passionate about or have vast knowledge of – whether be it local places to visit in your town, fashion, food, cars, parenting, fitness, beauty, etc. Don’t go into something that you’re not necessarily knowledgeable just because someone else you follow or think is making a lot doesn’t mean that you should get into that niche as well. Stay in your lane. Find your passion and do just that.
  3. Create a REAL and business profile.
    I’ve recently just converted my Instagram profile from personal to business. Reason being is that a business profile provides me some insights/analytics tool for me to help me grow my platform. It is okay to start with a personal profile though if you wish. You can always convert to a business but either way, both are free, so you might as well start with a business profile.Be sure to spruce up your profile with information that is readily available for potential brand collaborators such as  email address, website, location and what you do (i.e. corporate by day, influencer by night, etc.)
  4. Create fun and creative photos related to your brand.
    – Set a theme:
    Some have semi black and white / dark theme.
    Some have a bright theme like mine.
    – Bright photos tend to work well on Instagram. It’s easier on the eyes and project    happiness and fun.
    – Some have unicorn, mermaid, fairy tale, all things pink
    and fancy theme.
    – But DON’T LIMIT yourself to a theme. You don’t always have to post every single one of your post related to your theme. Sometimes, people  like spontaneous, random, real life fun stuff (and this in and of itself can be your theme).
  5. Post photos that are aesthetically pleasing. 
    Instagram is a visual platform, thus, 100% of the time, you capture your audience with your photos.Here are some tips:
    – Taking photos is 75% lighting and 25% composition. Study composing your photos, even if it’s just a selfie.
    – Natural lighting is ALWAYS better. Depending on what you’re shooting, find the best natural lighting that works for you. If you have a photographer, then you don’t have to worry about this a lot of times but it’s always good to be skilled with this.
    –  If you’re doing fashion and flat lays, use plain white or link pink stock card or marble
    wall paper like this.

  6. Use popular hashtags that are related to your niche or brand.
     Do your research on the popular hashtags that are related to your brand.
  7. Create fun, funny, authentic, relatable, relevant caption.
    – People follow people that they can relate to in everyday life.
    – Do not be afraid to be authentic and true to your brand in your caption but always be
    mindful on setting a good and positive example.
  8. Post consistently.
    Some swear by 3x daily postings made a difference / increased their followers. Find what works for you. I normally create my posts days ahead of time and plan it.

How do you monetize your brand on Instagram?

There are three different ways you can monetize your Instagram account.

  1. Through content creation/partnership with other brands.
    Most legitimate influencers are creative people who love producing their own content for their followers. This way, they can also control the aesthetic of their photo gallery. You get this gig as an influencer mostly through the brand directly reaching out to you or through a PR (public relations company).When you’re approached for a “campaign” or an insta project, the brand or PR company normally has a set of requirements for the campaign and you create your content based on those requirements.
  2. Through affiliate marketing.
    So far, the only affiliate marketing platform that can work directly with Instagram is Rewardstyle which is an invite only network for fashion/style, lifestyle, and home decor bloggers.However, there’s always a way around this such as posting the affiliate link on the caption. The only downside to this is that it is not clickable and can often turn away potential affiliate sales. Another way would be to post the affiliate link on your bio. But if you’re an affiliate for multiple products, this can be tedious.

    If you’re following some fashion bloggers, you will normally see a  #liketoknowit hashtag which means their post is linked to a brand that pays a commission when someone purchases any of the items they are showing  through their link or post.

  3. Through shout outs.
    This is kind of similar to content creation or partnership with a brand. But often, with shoutouts, the material is provided. This type of project is normally accepted by accounts that only use other people’s photos and give them credits. If you are okay to using the brand’s photo and caption, then you can do a shoutout.

Becoming an Instagram influencer is not an easy feat anymore, most especially because of the algorithm changes. As you may already know, in order for you to be considered an influencer, you must have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers. But not only that, the engagement (number of likes and comments versus your number of followers) in your account is also looked into when brands and PR companies are considering to work with you.

But don’t lose heart, with a very consistent work and a strategy to grow your account, it is possible to become one. Follow the tips above and develop your own workflow as well. Eventually, brands and PR companies offering projects will discover your account.

Consider becoming an Influencer a business. You will have to make your own investment at first – time, effort, money. The return on your investment can be very rewarding.

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1 Comment

  1. March 26, 2018 / 9:45 AM

    great post! Right now I don’t really feel like being active on Instagram, but I do agree that it is the place if one wants to become an influencer.

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