The Ultimate Guide To Becoming An Instagram Influencer

The Ultimate Guide To Becoming An Instagram Influencer

Are you interested in becoming an Instagram influencer?

Have you ever wondered, while scrolling through Instagram, how some users receive free products and get paid to promote these products?

Brands are spending a ton of money on influencer marketing nowadays.

If getting paid to post content on Instagram is something that interests you, keep reading for the ultimate guide to becoming an Instagram influencer!

An influencer is someone who has created an online reputation that others enjoy to follow.

Followers look at influencers as “trendsetters” and trusted experts on the products they’re advertising. Instagram is a very powerful platform where there are around 800 million active monthly users.

This means that if brands can put their name and product out there on a platform like Instagram, lots of people will either scroll past their advertisement with the help of an influencer.

1. Find brands that interest you

Being an Instagram influencer is much more than just posting pictures of yourself with products.

There are a lot of steps that need to be taken to ensure that the products are branded as the company wishes. One of the first steps in becoming an Instagram influencer is to find the type of brand or products that interest you.

This could be food, beauty products, household items, fashion, fitness, any lifestyle product, the list is endless!

One of my favorite Instagram influencers is @fashionablykay. Her Instagram feed is focused on fashion and where to find some of her favorite products, including designer bags, outfits, shoes, and jewelry.

Makayla Jividen

Her Instagram influence works so well because you can tell that she’s passionate about the products that she’s advertising and actually uses them.

2. Stick to a brand aesthetic

Another very important step in becoming an “Insta-influencer” is to choose and stick to an aesthetic along with posting content consistently.

Your photos should be visually appealing and adhere to an overarching theme. Also, make sure your page is public and add your email to your bio so people can easily find you! 

@fashionablykay, for example, has a neutral tone to all of her pictures so when you view her profile overall, the pictures match up beautifully.

Makayla Jividen 2

Having a theme for your pictures guides your audience comfortably from one photo to another. There are many different ways to pick your aesthetic.

Download an app such as VSCO, Lightroom, or AirBrush to pick your favorite filter for your picture… BUT you should try to keep the same filter for every picture you post.

This will make your feed look cohesive when being looked at as a whole.

3. Create high-quality content

It’s important to make sure that your photos look like they were taken professionally, using plenty of light. Use a high-resolution camera or a smartphone with a nicer camera.

You could also hire a photographer to make sure the pictures of you are as professional as possible.

Your audience isn’t interested in a blurry picture of food or a pixelated picture of a beach. The quality of your content depends on how many people will engage with your content.

4. Find ways to engage with your audience

Adding a question in your caption engages your followers to respond in the comments.

Spending time responding to your comments and DMs will intrigue your audience and leave them wanting more. Followers want to feel like they are listened to!

Instagram stories are another great way to engage with your audience. Instagram stories allow you to produce:

  • Polls
  • Question/Answer
  • Hashtags
  • Countdowns
  • Locations

Instagram Story

You could ask your followers where you should travel to next with either a poll or question/answer or even ask advice on what to wear to an event (add the location of the event, use a poll). Make sure your audience knows their opinion matters.

5. Collaborate with other influencers

There’s a lot of influencers out there who are on the smaller side with 3,000-5,000 followers and who are trying to expand their following base.

Finding other influencers of the same following base (or larger) and asking them to do a shoutout for a shoutout or collaborate with you on a giveaway will be one of the best ways to expand your following base.

Usually, when influencers produce giveaways they will have a list of things for their followers to do before they can be entered in the giveaway. Here’s a recent giveaway by @gabbygoessling.

Here’s what she told her followers to do in order to be entered!

  1. Follow @vitaeapparel and @gabbygoessling
  2. Like this post
  3. Tag as many friends as you can! (Each comment is an entry)

Gabby Goessling

6. Prioritize your followers

I conducted an interview with a smaller influencer on Instagram, @emilyannexox. I reached out through direct message and asked her how she decided on her aesthetic and how she decided she wanted to be an influencer.

She responded that it took her a really long time to decide on a theme for her page and she went through a ton of different looks.

There are some looks that are really dramatic and some that leave your pictures looking natural. Emily wanted one that was natural-looking but still gave her feed a warm feeling for her followers.

Emily Anne

It’s important to keep your followers in mind throughout creating your page because they’re ultimately the ones who will decide to stand behind you or not with what you choose to promote.

Now that you have decided what you want to promote and your Instagram looks and feels comfortable to an audience, it’s time to find brands to work with.

You want to look for brands that are similar to the things that you enjoy, like beauty products, fitness, etc. If you try and promote something that isn’t something that’s close to your personality, your audience will fall confused and will lose trust in you.

For example, an Instagram influencer who usually promotes beauty products most likely wouldn’t be interested in promoting something like motor oil.

During my interview with @emilyannexox, she said that as much as she loves creating content for her page and being an influencer, she doesn’t like to do too many promotions.

She only includes things on her page that she actually believes in and would use because it’s hard to enjoy a feed when Instagrammers do too many. It can make you seem inauthentic and like you’re “selling out.”

7. Join influencer marketplaces

You can reach out to brands that appeal to you directly through Instagram, e-mail, or Twitter to try and negotiate a deal, but without a background in influencing this might be difficult.

You can also list yourself on an influencer marketplace to make it easier for brands to discover your page.

Some of these marketplaces require you to have a certain amount of active followers to be eligible and some cost money, so be sure you’re aware of the requirements before signing up.

Here are a few influencer marketplaces that may spark your interest:

  • Shoutcart: Allows you to find influencers that match your niche and schedule a shoutout from a top influencer. 
  • Fohr: A platform that allows you to find influencers and receive all their analytics on followers, find stats on hashtags, brand names, or interests. You can also make offers and send emails to influencers. Connect your profiles and create an influencer card to show all of them for potential partnerships. 
  • Grapevine: Collaborate with influencers and expand your audience if you have 5000 or more followers. 
  • Crowdtap: Available only in the US, great for profiles with small audiences. Earn rewards through sharing your content and opinions. 
  • indaHash: Connects you with 906,613 social media influencers. Post a picture with the hashtags given on Instagram and you can get paid if you have at least 700 engaged followers. 

Although influencer marketplaces can make it easier for brands to find you, they’re not necessary for success in becoming an Instagram influencer.

In fact, in my interview with @emilyannexox, she said that she had never even heard of influencer marketplaces.

She became an influencer by simply tagging brands that she wanted exposure from in her pictures and engaging with accounts that were similar to hers.

“Once I started tagging brands I realized how far I could reach which was when I realized that I wanted to work with brands that I really believe in” – @emilyannexox.

8. Post consistently

After you have found a brand to collaborate with and have negotiated a deal, you want to make sure that you brand their product exactly how they want.

A great way to enable your content to be found by other users on Instagram is to use hashtags.

9. Use hashtags to your advantage

Hashtags are essentially Instagram’s way of organizing content. An Instagram post with at least one hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than a post without any.

Since the content you are posting is sponsored by a brand, it’s important to use the hashtag “sponsored” to keep the trust of your audience.

If you’re worried that having sponsored content will drive your audience away, don’t be!

About 69% of influencers say that “Being transparent about sponsorships didn’t affect how consumers perceive their recommendation.”

Aside from using the “sponsored” hashtag, you should look for hashtags that have different sized search volumes. Use ones that maximize your chances of appearing in “top searches.”

Some top hashtags of 2020:






10. Don’t get discouraged!

All of these things are a great start to becoming an Instagram influencer but it definitely will not happen overnight.

Don’t get discouraged if it takes a little longer to grow your following base.

Remember to post consistently, post content that you think your audience will enjoy, and stick to an aesthetic.

@emilyannexox grew quickly from 1,500 followers to 3,000 by posting consistently and doing shoutouts for shoutouts on her Instagram story. Once she did a big giveaway with some of her blogger friends she eventually got up to over 8,000 followers.

It’s a super slow growth but steady and definitely worth it in the end if being an influencer is something you’re passionate about.

Additional articles you may be interested in:

The Ultimate Guide To Becoming An Instagram Influencer

Carly Hancock is a blogging and social media intern at LadyBossBlogger. She’s currently in her senior year at Minnesota State University, Mankato studying Communication Studies and English Literature. She is looking forward to having a future in writing or social media. She enjoys learning new things about beauty products and fashion, and Instagram is her favorite social network!

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