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11 Steps on How to Become an Instagram Influencer

By Dustin Howes
December 30, 2021
Dustin Howes discusses how to become an Instagram influencer

Have you ever wondered how to become an Instagram Influencer and what it really takes to do it for a living?

First step: Do not quit your day job. If you Googled how to become an Instagram influencer, you have some learning to do first. Instant fame from a viral video or photo is a unicorn situation. Most Instagram influencers do not become instantly popular and grind out a following through years of hard work creating unique content.

Or some people can just look hot for a living and just gain enough fame to start making a living doing that.

I'm not in that category. :/

So for the rest of us, this article on how to become an Instagram influencer will be going to go through some key steps to maximizing your efforts for the long haul. Be ready to use these shortcuts to attain the goal of quitting your job in 2023.

How to become an Instagram influencer?

Although growing an Instagram account in 2021 is challenging, there is hope!

As brands discover the power of smaller, authentic influencers you can score brand partnerships even with a smaller account. Let's get into how you can get started.

1. What are you passionate about?

Is there a particular topic that you can not stop thinking about? Or a subject that you find yourself talking about all the time? Now is your chance to build a community around that topic and to grow an authentic brand! 

It could be fitness, fashion, or home decor. Whatever the topic, it should be something that you can work on over the long term. 

With that being said, identifying one or two areas to focus on can be tough when we have multiple interests. Ask yourself the following questions to narrow down your options:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What strengths do I have?
  • Can I do this over the long term?

Once you have a niche selected you can begin developing content and establishing yourself as an authority figure in this area.

For example, The Sorry Girls have chosen to focus on DIYs, sustainability, and interior design. Three topics that they have focused on for over 10 years and that they are clearly passionate about. As you can see, their feed strikes a balance of posts relating to all three of these areas.

2. Keep Your Bio Fresh.

Your bio is the first thing people see. It should give people a clear and concise idea of what they can expect. 

Think of your bio as your hook for prospective followers (and prospective brands too). It is crucial to write a compelling and clear bio if you want to become an Instagram influencer.

You want to keep your bio easy to scan and understand. Short and sweet!

Outline who you are and what your account is all about over two lines and/or with the use of bullet points. Below that description, you can add contact information and links to your product or services. 

Ree Drumond is a great example of exactly this. In two (and a quarter) lines she makes herself personable and lets you know you can expect from her page all while keeping the bio light and funny.

Lastly, you only get one link, so use it wisely. I suggest using a website that has a list of all the products you suggest. I personally use PrettyLinks in my profile.

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3. Share Your Stories.

Give people a reason to keep coming back.

An aesthetic feed and amazing photos may be enough to earn a new follower but without a story behind these posts it will be difficult to keep that follower engaged.

For a cooking account this could mean explaining how one night you threw together a quick meal using leftovers in the fridge and how that became a family favorite.

Or for a fitness account this could be sharing the struggles you experienced on your journey and why you now choose to share your knowledge with others.

Without those stories it is easy to become “just another fitness influencer” instead of the person that makes working out approachable. Take the example of Kanoa Greene:

Kanoa is a trainer, cyclist, yoga instructor, and fitness influencer that makes working out approachable and exciting for those that are plus size. She started by sharing her experiences and has since grown to offer valuable solutions (tips, workout programs, resources, etc.) for those that experience the same problems.

As a fitness influencer, both Kanoa and other's in the industry promote products and services that make use of affiliate programs. To best manage all of these different links, PrettyLinks is the way to go.

4. Make Your Instafeed Appealing.

People come to expect a certain consistency in your content and your posts are no exception.

To keep the look and feel of your page similar you can use apps like VSCO or lighthouse for quick edits and color grading or you can stick with Instagram filters and editing instead. 

Having high quality photos with a similar look and feel will help your audience know what to expect and make them feel more comfortable with your content.

Research has actually shown that color influences consumer buying decisions by up to 85% and that it can increase brand recognition by 80%. If you have a brand, logo, or presence on other social media sites, you can incorporate those pre-established brand colors into your posts.

Since consumers judge a brand within 90 seconds of seeing it for the first time and up to 90% of that judgment can be based on color it is worth taking into consideration the look and feel of your account.

For example, as an influencer that specializes in lego you would want to avoid creating a page that feels dark and dreary.

To get started you can:

  • Create a pinterest mood board
  • Create a first color palette using
  • Create a content plan for your stories and posts that follows a similar theme

5. Post Content Consistently.

As with any brand, people want to feel comfortable and connected. They want to know what types of content they can expect and when they can expect that content. 

Take your favorite influencer – how would you feel if they were inconsistent in their posting? 

It would be difficult to build those feelings of trust and credibility that are so important to building a relationship with your audience. 

We recommend that you post 2-3x per week and no more than once a day to your feed. During Instagram’s content week in June 2021, head of instagram, Adam Mosseri recommended posting 2 times a week with 2 stories per day for optimal growth.

You can put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think about how often they would want to hear from you.

Tools like Agorapulse can help you schedule and automate your posts over the course of the week to free up your time.

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6. Choose the Right Hashtags.

Just because you can include 30 hashtags on a post does not mean that you have to use all of them. With many influencers and larger accounts choosing to skip hashtags, we recommend using a smaller amount, anywhere between 2-7 per post.

The number of hashtags can change based on your niche and we recommend testing to see what works best for you.

You might be wondering, what sort of hashtags should I choose?


From Mr Kate’s post you can see that influencers typically follow a few guidelines:

  • Keep it short and simple
  • Make the hashtags relevant
  • Have clear hashtags (easy to understand)

7. Get a Business Account.

Over 90% of instagram users follow a business account and more than ½ are more interested in a brand when they see ads for it on instagram.

People crave a personal connection and using a business account can give you access to instagram insights to see what people truly enjoy from your posts or stories. Instagram provides you with access to that data and many other great features, such as:

  • Links in your stories
  • Inbox organization
  • Quick replies for your DMs
  • Instagram shopping
  • Auto publish content
  • Ability to boost posts 

You can see how to set up a business account on instagram or how to change your personal account into a business profile here

After getting all set up, make sure that you monitor your follower demographics and interaction metrics as these will be valuable to gain a better understanding of your audience. Moreover, this is valuable information when pitching to brands for partnerships.

This is a critical step towards becoming an instagram influencer and will help provide you with the right tools to succeed.

8. Leverage Instagram Stories.

Over 500,000 people use Instagram stories everyday! Talk about a great way to reach your audience.

You can post interactive stories in the forms or polls, Q&A’s, and to give your follower’s a glimpse into your life. This is a fantastic way of building a genuine connection with your followers and getting more people on your profile.

In addition, if you have over 10k instagram followers and a business account you can use the “swipe up” feature for outbound links. This makes it easier to do brand partnerships and to sell your own products or services. 

With the use of stories you can also tag other accounts or give them shout-outs. This is a fantastic way of building and maintaining relationships and growing your following. Chances are some of those accounts may return the favor, helping you increase your visibility.

Don’t sleep on stories!

Short video clips have been taking the world by storm. If you find yourself enjoying Instagram stories and reels you can learn more about how to apply your skills to build a following (and monetize it) on TikTok here.


9. Engage Meaningfully.

“The truth is, the way to win on social media is to actually be social 😉” – Gary Vee

Gary is a successful entrepreneur, internet personality, and CEO of VaynerMedia who shares his success and tips via social media, with over 34M followers across his different social platforms.

He credits much of his social media growth to what he calls the $1.80 strategy. “This translates to leaving your personal .02 cents on the top 9 trending Instagram posts for 10 different hashtags that are relevant to your brand or business every single day.” 

It is important to not only build influence but to also build a community with which you engage meaningfully every day. 

This is especially important when your account has <1000 followers. With a small audience, the focus should really be on establishing your brand and building relationships with other creators that can help lift you up. That may mean less posts on your feed and more comments on other posts as you first get started.

As you grow and get more engagement, we recommend that you reply to comments and interact with your followers via your stories and posts.

This means that outside of the $1.80 strategy you can also:

  • Create your own hashtag
  • Include a call to action in your bio
  • Host giveaways and contests
  • Leave meaningful replies in your comments

10. Tag Relevant Brands and Contact Them.

Step 1: grow an audience and create a community.

Step 2: solve a problem for that community (can be done in parallel with step 1).

Step 3: monetize.

So far, we have shared 9 tips on how to become an instagram influencer and grow your presence on the platform (steps 1 & 2). This 10th tip focuses on monetization (step 3).

Once you have grown your audience to be over 1,000 followers and have strong engagement in your niche you can begin monetizing your brand.

Before reaching out to brands it is best to decide on your rates. We found a useful guide for determining your pricing here and a calculator based on following and engagement here

Once your pricing is established you can reach out to relevant brands directly via DM or email and pitch a brand package that could include sponsored posts and stories (or perhaps a smaller sample to get started and form a relationship).

Brands continue to trust instagram as an effective format for influencer marketing and so long as you can show brands the value that you deliver, it can lead to a great partnership and the start of an additional form of income.  


11. Do Not Buy Followers.

You might have seen “how to become an Instagram Influencer” and thought: “easy, let me buy an audience to get started”.

Unfortunately there is no easy road to success. 

Buying paid followers does not improve your engagement or reach. It can destroy your credibility and engagement rates. Instagram can recognize fake followers and remove them which defeats the purpose of buying them in the first place.

With purchased followers and low engagement, the instagram algorithm may choose to not show your posts making it even more dangerous to go down this route.

Instead of buying likes or followers, focus on creating quality content and building a strong community.

If you are serious about becoming an Instagram influencer you will need to do it the right way.


How do I become an instagram influencer?

To become an Instagram Influencer:

  • Choose a niche
  • Create a clear, concise, and scan-able bio
  • Share genuine stories
  • Create an appealing Instagram feed
  • Post consistently
  • Choose the right hashtags
  • Use a business account
  • Engage meaningfully with your audience
  • Build relationships with relevant brands

Do Instagram influencers get paid?

Yes, they do! Typically companies will pay $100 for every 10,000 followers. This amount can increase in niche markets or may increase with higher engagement on your posts. 

Brands will take into consideration your engagement, the campaigns length, and other factors. 

How many followers do you need to be an Insta influencer?

Typically influencers need 1,000 or more followers to get started.

  • 1,000 to 5,000 followers is considered a nano influencer
  • 5,001 to 100,000 followers is considered a micro influencer
  • 100,001+ followers is considered a macro influencer

How do you become a paid Instagram influencer?

  1. Create authentic content
  2. Develop a strong community
  3. Engage meaningfully with your followers
  4. Use the algorithm well
  5. Perform brand outreach

Is it hard to become an Instagram Influencer?

Yes, it takes consistency, patience, and a lot of time to grow a following.

Becoming an Instagram influencer doesn’t happen overnight. For many of the most successful influencers it took years to grow their accounts.

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