Influencer: If you love Instagram and want to become an influencer, you’re certainly not alone! While becoming an influencer is not a science, you can take certain steps in that direction by establishing your brand and curating your account to reflect a certain theme or attitude. You’ll also need to engage with your followers to slowly build your account up.
1.Pick an interest you enjoy. The best Instagram accounts have a focus, and yours should, too. However, you shouldn’t just pick something out of the blue. Base your account around something you enjoy. If you’re passionate about it, your followers will know!
- Really, it’s up to you what you focus on. You can do food, makeup, travel, embroidery, poetry, or even slime. As long as it has a visual component and it’s something you enjoy, go for it!
2 Narrow your idea. While you don’t want to get too narrow, as your posts will get old quickly, you should have a focus. For instance, “sports” may be too broad, but “tennis balls” may be too narrow. The idea is to carve out an area that makes your account unique so people will want to follow it.
- For instance, Instagram has a wide range of food bloggers, but you could still find your own niche within that. Maybe you want to review food in your city, for instance, or maybe you want to focus on the food you make. Just think about what makes you unique and how you can apply that to your account.
3. Make your bio short, sweet, and catchy. Your bio appears at the top of your photos when someone clicks on your account, so you don’t want to write a novel. Keep it to 1-2 sentences at most. In fact, some bios are just a few words. However, it should be enough to describe what you’re doing and catch people’s attention.
- For example, if you’re writing about the food culture in Oklahoma City, you might write, “looking for the best eats high and low in OKC.” That shows that you like all kinds of cuisine and that you’re focusing on Oklahoma City.
4. Invite your friends and family to follow you. While this won’t get you famous, it’s certainly a place to start! Instagram generally suggests people you can follow from places like Facebook, so you can start with those names and work outward.
- Look for the “suggested” friends section, as it usually pops in the middle of your feed.
5. Pick a feed planner for your account. These apps help you manage your account. You can upload photos to post later, edit photos, track followers, and a whole host of other things through these apps. They make it easier to manage your Instagram page.
- The editing tools in these apps are much more sophisticated than what you have on your Instagram account. They also allow you to do things like edit videos, and in some cases, schedule posts for a later date.
- For instance, try VSCO, UNUM, Preview, or Planoly.
6. Take photos that fit your Instagram focus. Now it’s time to get to the fun part! Start taking photos every day of the things that fit into your account. Get a week or 2 built up before you start posting, so you have lots of quality photos to post on your account.
- You can use your smartphone or you can spring for a more expensive camera. Whatever feels right to you!
7. Create a unified feel for your photos. Once you upload your photos to your feed planner, rearrange them as needed to make the page feel more cohesive and organized. Think about how the photos look as a whole on the page and play around with different filters. The feed planner lets you apply a filter to all the photos at once, and you can also move photos around so that the layout of the whole page looks planned. Try to pick 1 filter for all your photos so that they will all look like your brand.
- Try applying partial filters by adding the filter and lowering the percentage halfway. Don’t use more than 1 filter for your photos.
8. Add genuine and interesting captions to your photos. A photo alone isn’t enough to get people to follow you. They want to hear the story behind the photo, even if it’s just a short quip. The key is to be as open and genuine as you can, as your followers will feel when you’re being genuine and want to connect to that.
- For instance, if you post a picture of your breakfast as a food blogger, you might write, “Real talk: every morning can’t be omelets, bacon, and Belgian waffles. Sometimes, a simple bowl of plain yogurt and fruit hits the spot. Plus, I can grab it when I’m running out the door!” With a caption like this one, you’re admitting that every meal you make isn’t fancy, which helps humanize you to your followers.
9. Use up to 4 relevant hashtags. Hashtags help categorize your pictures, and in fact, some people crawl through hashtags to find new accounts to follow. Therefore, choose carefully. Basically, you can use any word or phrase without spaces as a hashtag by typing the “#” followed by the word. As you type, pay attention to the number of times each hashtag has been used and pick the one with the highest numbers.
- For instance, if you post a picture of your cat, look at the hashtags “#cat” and “#cats.” One likely has more uses than the other, so choose that one and leave the other off.
- Don’t use too many hashtags, as Instagram may bury posts that are flooded with too many.
10. Click a location for the photo. Location tags make your post more visible because people may dig through locations. You can pick a specific location, such as a restaurant or a park you’re at, or you can make it more generic, such as a section of your city.
- Location suggestions pop up under the caption box when you’re on the last page before posting your photo. Pick one that seems right or suggest another.
11. Turn your phone or camera horizontally. With a smartphone, it can be tempting to always shoot in square mode or vertical mode. Even though Instagram typically uses square mode, you’ll have a better chance of capturing everything in the shot if you use horizontal mode. You can always edit it down later.
- Horizontal mode even works well for portrait shots, as you can capture more of the background.
12. Take quality photos with preset modes. When you’re first starting out, don’t be afraid to use your camera’s preset modes. For instance, try using “portrait,” which uses a wider aperture and dampens the colors a bit. On the other hand, “landscape” uses a small aperture, and it amps up the color. In addition, make sure to stabilize your camera, either using a tripod or even something like a beanbag on a flat surface. A stable camera will take a much clearer photograph.
- Don’t be afraid to play around with different settings. See what works best for the shots you take!
13. Apply the rule of thirds to your photos. Basically, this rule says you don’t want to center everything in the middle of the photo. Instead, imagine the photo has 2 vertical lines and 2 horizontal lines that divide the photo into even thirds each way. When you’re “centering” the main subject of your photo, aim to place it along one of the lines or at an intersection.
- For instance, if you’re taking a picture of a person, set them off to the right or left in the photo instead of dead center.
14. Try the flat lay angle. For this type of photo, stand above your subject, typically on a chair, to get a wide shot of whatever it is your photographing. This type of shot works especially well for artistic shots of food or things like table decorations and the like. Lay out your items or food on a flat surface with a neutral background.
- Tell a story with this type of photo. That is, if you’re taking a photo of a book you’re reading, such as Harry Potter, try laying out items in the picture that fit the theme, like a wand, lightning bolt, glasses, or a scarf in house colors.
- Don’t be afraid to leave some areas blank for this photo. You can still use the rule of thirds.
15. Create a cohesive photo with colors and textures. When planning out your photo, try to limit it to 2-3 colors to tie the photo together. At the same time, incorporate different textures in the photo to add visual interest.
- For instance, add something silky and something made of rough wood. You can also mix old and new. Get creative!
16. Experiment with other angles. Take multiple shots from many different angles. You’re not likely to get the perfect shot in one photo, and using different angles will up your chances of getting a great one.
- For instance, try taking a photo from below your subject and from above. Try shooting from the left and the right. Look at different ways you can frame the shot with things in the background.
17. Use natural light for your photos as much as possible. Natural light is the best light for creating glowing, beautiful photos. While you can’t take every photo in natural light, try to do as many as you can.
- For instance, if you want to take a photo of something you made for lunch but your kitchen table doesn’t have much natural light nearby, move the setup to a window or door where you get soft natural light.
18. Pick the most important photos to post. You could flood your Instagram account with 10 photos a day, but you may start to turn some followers off, particularly if the photos are all similar. Instead, opt for the best quality shots you take and pick the ones that have the most significance for you and your account.
- Try to post at least once a day but don’t go over 2-3 photos a day unless it’s a special event.
19. Analyze what draws you to Instagram accounts. Try to look at your photos and captions objectively. Would you follow your account? If you wouldn’t, it may be time to rethink what you’re doing. There’s always room to learn and grow!
- Typically, what draws followers to accounts is clean, colorful pictures with a certain style or emotion that ties them together. Interesting captions are also important.
20. Pose questions with your photos. Simple questions encourage your followers to comment on your post. More comments mean you’ll be put higher up in people’s feeds. You want your posts to show up as often as possible, so the more exposure you can garner, the better.
- For instance, you could ask questions like “What’s for dinner at your house?” or “What song are you listening to?” You could also try something like, “Pomegranates: Love or hate?” Even comments with 1-word answers are good!
21. Reply to comments left by your followers. When your followers leave a comment on your post, try to “like” or reply to as many as you can. That helps create a relationship between you and your followers, as it makes them feel included in what you’re doing.
22. Follow accounts you like and interact with their pages. Focus on accounts that are similar to your brand, as you’re more likely to get people to follow you in return. Then, like and comment on their photos. That will encourage them to check out your page, too.
- Try clicking on hashtags to find photos similar to your page.
23. Find a network that will hook you up with brands. You can find many websites that offer a way to meet brands. You can look through offers and work with the brands that fit your niche, so you aren’t promoting something you don’t believe in!
- These networks are usually websites off the main Instagram account. You can search online to find one.