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How to Become an Instagram Influencer

By Catherine Hodder, Esq. | Last updated on

Instagram started as a fun way to share personal photos or funny videos. It has now exploded into a massive business for social media influencers trying to reach the market of 2.3 billion Instagram users. An influencer is someone who posts on social media platforms, attracts followers, and advertises products or sponsored content for which the influencer receives compensation.

You can start as a micro-influencer with less than 100,000 followers and grow into a macro-influencer with 1 million followers. To start, you should create an Instagram account and marketing campaign to attract an engaged audience.

Before Getting Started

It is a good idea to plan how you will develop your Instagram profile and what content you want to feature before setting up your Instagram account.

  • What is your passion? What subject can you talk about for hours and not get bored? As a content creator, you will post content focused on one area, so focus on what you enjoy. For example, if you love beauty products, you can do makeup tutorials and showcase your favorite brands. You can review hotels, restaurants, and attractions if you are a travel buff.
  • What is your expertise? What type of content can you offer that will attract followers? If you are into food and health, you can demonstrate how to make easy and nutritious meals.
  • Who is your potential audience? Once you determine your expertise, determine your target audience. You should know as much as you can about your Instagram followers, such as their age, education, background, and location. The more demographics you know about your audience, the easier it will be to engage them with relevant content.
  • Who are your potential sponsors? Once you decide on the subject matter of your content creation, think about how that can tie in with brand sponsorships. So, from the example above, if you showcase beauty products, you can link up with beauty and skincare brands. If you focus on food and nutrition, you can feature brand foods, cooking tools, etc.
  • What is your personal brand? Think about the image you want to portray to your audience. Funny or professional? What colors or images will you use? Keep consistency so people can easily recognize your content.

The more you understand what you want your Instagram to promote, how it will look, and who you want to reach, the more successful you will be. Now, you are ready to set up an account.

Creating an Instagram Account

It's simple to set up your new account, and we've laid out some steps that should help get you started.

Choose Your Settings

You can choose between an Instagram Business Account or a Creator Account. The business account is designed for companies promoting their brands. The creator account is set up for influencers and content creators. If you currently have an account, you can change the settings.

Set Up Your Instagram Bio

If you have other social media accounts such as TikTok, LinkedIn, or Facebook, use the same image or profile picture for all to create brand recognition. If you are a blogger or have a website or podcast, include the link to it in your bio.

Develop a Content Strategy

This is where you use your personality and creativity to attract views. Use Instagram stories or reels to engage your audience. Stories are short videos (under one minute) posted to your profile for 24 hours. Instagram reels are longer videos that stay on your account until you delete them. Develop high-quality content and set up a posting schedule.

Use Analytics

Use Instagram analytics, called Instagram Insights, to find out how well your account is doing. The metrics show your number of followers and how many "likes" your post receives, among other information. You can learn about your followers and craft content for them or look for new ideas to attract a new audience. At the same time, consider collaborations with other influencers to help boost each other's visibility.

Dos and Don'ts of Instagram Influencer Marketing

Here are some tips for Instagram influencers:

Dos

  • Be authentic. Followers engage more with “real" people, not overly filtered people or images that may mislead. Successful Instagram influencers show their authentic self.
  • Post consistently. The Instagram algorithms may lower your rank if you wait too long between posts. Set up a posting schedule for new content.
  • Create an identity. While you do not want all your posts to look exactly alike, think about how you can create your image or brand so followers will instantly know an Instagram post is yours.
  • Use hashtags correctly. Hashtags can optimize your post by appearing in more searches. Instagram limits hashtags to 30 for posts, but that is too much. Aim for ten or fewer relevant hashtags.

Don'ts

  • Buy followers. While it may be tempting to boost your numbers, this is against Instagram's policies, and they may suspend your account.
  • Ignore comments. Engagement with your followers is critical. Respond to comments to build relationships with your followers and increase engagement rates.
  • Use copyrighted material. Check that you have permission for any images, songs, or photos you use on your Instagram.
  • Be “spammy." The best way to attract brand deals is by developing loyal followers. Your follower count will decrease if your Instagram feed features nothing but advertisements. However, if you genuinely like a product, there is nothing wrong with giving it a shoutout.

Protect Yourself from Lawsuits

If you are serious about turning your Instagram influencing into a profitable venture, consider creating a limited liability company (LLC). An LLC is a business entity that separates your business profits and liabilities from your personal assets. If someone were to sue you for something you did as your Instagram business, they could only go after your company's assets and not you personally.

What could you be sued for? Some areas where social media influencers may get into trouble arise from:

  • Defamation: This is the publishing of an untrue statement damaging someone's reputation.
  • False Advertising: This occurs when someone makes untrue claims about a product to mislead others.
  • Copyright Infringement: The use of someone else's work product without their permission.

Also, if you promoted a product and it injured your followers, they may try to sue for negligence. However, under negligence theories, they may be unsuccessful.

Whether you are a full-time influencer or post as a hobby, it is wise to set up and run your social media management to protect yourself from any liability arising from your digital marketing on Instagram.

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