Building an Instagram following helps build your brand and attract customers. To build that following and become an Instagram influencer, you should follow key practices, which include choosing a specific topic and creating targeted content, building a niche audience, optimizing your content for Instagram’s ranking algorithm, and engaging with your audience over time.
Don’t expect instant success—it takes time and effort to become a social media influencer. The good news? Once you’ve done the hard work and developed a large enough following, you can tap into the power of influencer marketing to further build your brand.
In this post, I take a deep dive into each best practice for optimizing your Instagram presence and building a following.
Best practice 1: Choose a topic
To become an influencer on Instagram, choose a specific theme on which to focus and consistently align your photos with that theme. For example, post pictures of travel and target your account toward that niche. Each post should feel aesthetically consistent, so apply similar filters and approaches when taking photos. Focusing on a particular theme and ensuring consistency in your photos helps establish a personal brand—essential for becoming a social media influencer.
Best practice 2: Build a niche audience
Creating engaging, interesting, and focused content forms the foundation for becoming an Instagram influencer. But that content goes nowhere without a community of followers eager to engage with it. To build a following, help users interested in your content discover your account by tagging your photos with hashtags related to your Instagram theme and the image itself. In addition, look through related hashtags to follow similar accounts and engage with users who post similar content. That exposes more people interested in your type of content to you and your account.
Best practice 3: Optimize content for Instagram’s new algorithm
Instagram’s content ranking algorithm will soon switch from ranking content based on a user’s number of posts and followers to the level of user engagement. With the new algorithm, the more that people like or comment on a photo, the higher its ranking and visibility. Now rather than posting as much as possible, you must focus on increasing the quality of your posts.
So how do you increase post quality? Give people a sense of who you are and tell a story with your images. Create content that your specific niche audience will enjoy. If you’re not sure what they’ll enjoy, step back and look at your post from a third-party perspective. Are you likely to engage with the content? If so, your audience probably is, too. Do these things to generate interest from your audience, encourage them to engage with your content, and earn higher rankings and visibility to your feed.
Best practice 4: Engage with your audience
To become a social influencer, you must build relationships, listen to your audience, remain approachable, and provide actual value to your audience. A recent study by Augure backs up those assertions by highlighting characteristics common to social influencers: 79% say they can mobilize opinions and create reactions; 73% have large online communities with a focus on targeted topics; and 62% have significant share of voice on a given topic.
By the way, social influencers provide a great resource for building your following. Actively recruit individuals with status in the Instagram world to engage with your content and draw over some of their followers. Tools such as Repost and SnapFluence can further boost your follower numbers.
Best practice 5: Tap into influencer marketing
Once you have applied the above tactics and become an Instagram influencer, increase your brand engagement even more. According to a recent survey, social influencers with between 10,000 to 100,000 followers often more effectively increase brand conversion than those with even larger numbers of followers. The reason? These individuals, called “micro-influencers,” tend to have a more targeted audience that views them as subject matter experts.
A quick recap
You won’t become an Instagram influencer overnight—it takes patience. Take the time to develop a genuine following that actively engages with your content. Be authentic, focus on building a consistent personal brand, and focus on the content itself. Keep working at it—the rewards, especially if you reach the level of micro-influencer, can be exponential.
Are you interested in becoming an influencer on Instagram? If yes, why? Share your answers and thoughts in the comment section. Other readers and I would love to hear from you.