Home » How to Become an Instagram Influencer: The Crux of it in 2024
Apr,2024

How to Become an Instagram Influencer: The Crux of it in 2024

Learning how to become an Instagram influencer is more respectable now than it was just a few years ago. Back then, the definition of “influencer” often included the assumption of an over inflated ego along with random product features they “just love!”

But now, the term is used to encompass growing a large following and creating an influential platform on Instagram.

Learning how to become an Instagram influencer is now a logical, and productive, use of time for business owners, authors, speakers, and anyone who wants to use a platform to share a message.

Now, more than ever, Instagram and other social platforms are effectively being used by thought leaders to grow an audience that can support that person’s goals. Of course, this is well known now, and in fact, most people are seeking to become an influencer on Instagram.

Which means competition is on the rise.

Or is it?

In order for it to be competition, they first have to be competitive with you. But the large majority of those trying to become an influencer aren’t going about it the right way.

You will. Because you have me, and I’ve been in marketing and social media for over a decade, and will share analysis and breakdown to help you go viral and learn how to become an Instagram influencer.

Here are the methods I’ll use:

  1. Qualifications of an influencer
  2. Virality in a nutshell
  3. Creative Side of Influencers
  4. Technical Side of Influencers

What qualifies as an Instagram Influencer? Followers, or something else?

There seems to be an unclear definition of what makes someone an “influencer” on social media.

Technically, if you have any followers, you’re an influencer of some kind, right? Because if you can influence someone, you’re an influencer. But that’s not what most people think about when they consider an influencer.

In order to qualify as an influencer, you have to have a fairly large following while, at the same time, sharing aspects of your life to such a degree that these followers want to know what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and through what means. Oftentimes, influencers are categorized as “lifestyle” instead of pertaining to a singular niche, though you’ll find some who fall under categories like fitness, beauty, food, etc.

While influencers can work for certain businesses, or even have their own, their income is often more closely tied to revenue from affiliate sources or paid advertisements from companies.

Therefore, the qualifications that make you an Instagram influencer are those: engaged audience who wants to know how you life your life, and are willing to buy products and services you recommend to them. They are influenced by how you depict your life.

But gaining a following that will make you an influencer is more than just sharing your day to day life. There’s a component of creating content that garners attention to begin with. This is a bit different in 2024 than it has been before.

Virality in a Nutshell

Why talk about going viral in a post about how to become an Instagram influencer? Well, because virality is how you grow your profile on Instagram.

“Viral” being used fairly loosely from what the term used to mean.

Back when the internet was new-ish and content was just getting made, going “viral” meant that essentially, everyone knew about it and had seen it. You would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t know of a thing that went viral 15 years ago.

Nowadays, it refers more to how many views something got rather than how many people in everyday life have seen it.

So if a video gets more than 100,000 views, for example, many would consider that “going viral.” And at the end of the day, that is enough to boost your followers, especially when you start posting and sharing several videos a week that get that type of viewership—which is easier to do now than it ever was before.

Thanks to an algorithm update in the earlier days of Instagram that determined users would see content from anyone similar to their interests, and not just accounts they follow, Instagram has been a hub of rapid growth, as well as viral content.

The idea that even if people don’t follow you, they might see your video and hit “follow” is one anyone learning how to become an Instagram influencer should be excited about. Because once you get the following, that is what makes you an influencer.

You have to have people to influence, right?

So let’s break down two distinct parts of the content creation process on Instagram that work together, but should be prepared differently.

The Creative Side of Learning How to Become an Instagram Influencer

As much as you can employ strategy to grow a following, you also have to be creative. The process of content in general is creative. Sure, you can slap some words on a quote template from Canva, but that won’t make you stand out. Not over time, at least.

So what are the creative sides of learning how to become an Instagram influencer? These are:

  • Message
  • Branding
  • Content Types
  • Visual Display
  • Sound

Does some of this not matter all that much? Yes. “Branding” is a great way to waste time if you’re not aware of the important factors of branding. These have more to do with tone, voice, and message than they do fonts and colors. But that’s a topic for this article on personal branding, though I’ll outline some tips, along with the rest of the creative pieces of influencers on Instagram, below.

Message

What you have to say is creative. It’s unique to you. It’s usually very vulnerable. Thought leadership content in general is creative and formulates the message you have to share.

This doesn’t have to be deep in order to be impactful. Most importantly, your message is what’ll differentiate you from other Instagram influencers. Whether it’s a very simple message or one highly specific and complex, you do have to come up with one.

Because your message will dictate most of what you create. It’s one of the best things you can do when learning how to become an Instagram influencer.

But didn’t you just say that an influencer is lifestyle based?

Yes. But it’s what that lifestyle encompasses that ends up creating the message itself. Many influencers turn into business owners or speakers and even get TEDx talks that do really well based on their influencer platform that’s crafted from the message they live.

And that’s the hint: you’re living it without really knowing it.

You have something you want to say. You wouldn’t be learning how to become an Instagram influencer if you didn’t. The process of pulling that message out of you can take time. If you want help with this specific process, click here to schedule a call with our team so we can help you get to the bottom of it.

But if you want some examples for now, take a look at these Instagram influencer bios and the message clearly embedded in them:

examples of instagram influencers messages in their bios

Messages of each Instagram influencer pictured above:

  1. Become a part of Nature, become a force of Nature. (but you already are)
  2. If you don’t like my veggie garden, get out of here.
  3. Where scale, simplicity & freedom exist together
  4. Helping you increase your financial literacy. Education: not advice
  5. Infusing Modern-Day Business Principles with Ancient Wisdom
  6. Evolve or repeat
  7. Dad. No ads, funnels, big following, long hours, and no BS

You can already get a feel of these influencer’s branding as well. So let’s touch on that.

Branding

We can talk about fonts and colors, which we will below, but this isn’t necessarily about those things specifically.

Instead, branding is how you say your message, and how people can understand what your message is about without actually hearing it…yet.

Branding is the feeling someone is left with after seeing and interacting with your content. They should have a pretty good understanding of the tone and mood. Your style, if you will. The colors, font, phrasing, angle, and even visual imagery you use will help convey that.

But first, you have to ask yourself what the voice is.

Here are some questions you can answer to help discover the voice:

  • Is it light-hearted or more serious?
  • Do you joke or are you direct in the copy?
  • If your brand were a person, how would you describe their personality?
  • What kind of language and tone best reflect this personality?
  • How can your brand’s values be reflected in its voice?
  • How does your messaging align with the values?

Even if you have a similar message and purpose as another Instagram influencer the manner in which you go about it can be completely different. That branding difference will often dictate your audience.

Take these two for an example:

example of how to become an instagram influencer of the same niche, but different branding

These accounts were both found when I searched “holistic lifestyle” as one of the top 10 results. While they have a similar influence in the field of holistic health, they will attract very different followers based on their branding.

One is warm, earthy, and nature-focused. The other is cool, crisp, and more professional and driven in tone and message.

They both approach holistic lifestyles, but in very different ways. The way they do it is in their branding.

Also notice that both of these accounts have the message in their bios:

  1. Become a part of Nature, become a force of Nature. (but you already are)
  2. Evolve or repeat

More on why this matters in the technical section below.

Content Types

The type of content is a creative endeavor. Whether you choose to create more images or videos is completely up to you. This is the really fun part of learning how to become an Instagram influencer, if you’re interested in design. If not, this could be a headache.

But first, to understand that your message and branding will be used in these content types. So your feed will have a specific look and feel, no matter what type you use.

Here are the options of content types on Instagram:

  • Reel
  • Image
  • Carousel
  • Story
  • Long form video (not a reel)
  • Live Video

You can also “collaborate” on any posts you add to your feed, which will also appear on the other person’s feed.

How each of these content types will look depends on what you want the visual display of your Instagram to have.

Visual Display

There’s a reason some influencer’s feeds look so drastically different from others. If you want to become and influencer, you will have to decide how you want yours to look and feel.

All of this will be informed by your branding. However, the actual visuals you choose to use to dictate your message can vary greatly, and each produces a different feel.

Here are visual display options:

  • Illustrations
  • Animations
  • Stock photos
  • Photography you took
  • Quotes and other text graphics
  • Pictures and videos of you

There is not a right or wrong way. It depends on how you want your account to feel, and who your audience is. And of course, which do you like more? You can build an audience on many different types of visual displays, but it helps to stick with a certain type.

Mixing illustrations and stock photos and pictures of you, for example, will look messy and inconsistent.

Consistency builds the sort of fanbase indicative of influencers.

Sound

Thanks to the video component on Instagram, there’s also a lot you can do with sound. The creative piece of this comes in when you make videos and how you choose to create them.

Will there be background music?

Will it be a trending sound?

Are you going to use original music?

Will it be the sound from another video that you use?

The type of music, style, and when you use sound can make a huge difference on the overall tone and feeling of your profile.

For example, if you’re a holistic lifestyle influencer and you use heavy metal music, you will likely reach only a segment of that audience who enjoys that. It certainly gives you a more niche approach to how you influence. But this is something to think about depending on what you’re going for.

On the other hand, a holistic lifestyle influencer with content largely nature-focused would probably use a soothing instrumental type of sound in videos and posts. It fits well, and those who enjoy the nature aspect of your profile will probably like the calm of that sound.

It all depends on your branding, messaging, and the audience you want to attract.

Just don’t underestimate the effect sound has on learning how to become an Instagram influencer.

Creativity aside, there are other technical aspects of becoming an Instagram influencer to think about.

The Technical Side of How to Be an Instagram Influencer

This could also be called the section that combines the technical with the strategic. Essentially, there’s the creative aspect of making the content, but there’s also the type of content made, how often, what type, and most importantly, why it’s made.

There’s a lot that goes into the technical side of learning how to become an Instagram influencer, and we’ll cover these:

  1. Searchability
  2. Engagement
  3. Parts of a post
  4. Insights

In order to become an influencer, you have to gain the audience. Being strategic about these technical aspects will help you get there a lot faster.

Searchability

Depending on your goals for learning how to become an Instagram influencer, you may want to make yourself searchable for specific keywords. The hope is that if people want to find influencers in a certain space, they can easily discover you.

It works similarly to any search engine, but Instagram also uses some of these factors to show your account to people who follow other accounts set up similarly to yours. There are some primary areas you want to be intentional about the words you use and the account settings.

Here’s what to focus on and how to optimize your Instagram for search.

Handle: This is your handle, the name of your account that will have a permanent link on Instagram like Instagram.com/username. Most people learning how to become an Instagram influencer will use their own name if it’s available. Others like to use words that line up with the type of influencer they want to be, or include something related to their message, as is the case below with OnEarthWithLisa. There are examples below of how to utilize your handle along with the visible name.

Visible Name: This is what will be shown as your name on Instagram. Most influencers will choose to use their full name, but you can also use this space to add keywords related to your field and what you want to show up for in search. I wouldn’t recommend using the keywords before your name, as one influencer did below. It’s an option, but your name first will help people remember you. The best formula for this is something simple: Your Name, Keyword.

Here are a few examples:

example of instagram influencer bios, highlighting the handle and visible name

Account type: There are certain account types on Instagram, and if you want to be an influencer, definitely opt to turn your account into a “professional” account. This can be done in your profile options. Go to your profile page, hit “edit profile” and you’ll see the option there:

how to change to a professional account on instagram for influencers

Bio: Your bio is a big deal. It should accurately depict what you do, your message, and the overall tone people can expect in a short and concise manner. Focus on only including a few aspects of not who you are, but what your profile will show. Take a look at the images above, there are plenty of examples of great bios.

Hashtags: Utilizing hashtags is important in your posts. You might not think they’re effective, but you’re essentially telling the algorithm what’s in the content you’re sharing, which will trigger it to share that content with those who have liked other posts with those hashtags. Don’t overdo it. A few hashtags will do the job.

Alt Text: This one is almost always skipped, and it’s very useful. Go to the advanced settings when you create a post, and fill in the option to create “alt text”. This is a word or phrase description of the image or video. The algorithm can “read” text and understand what it is, which can help place it with similar content and increase your reach—and searchability.

Here’s how to do that:

how to write alt text on instagram

Engagement

These metrics are important for anyone learning how to become an Instagram influencer. Swapping to a professional account will give you access to see these as insights, but we’ll cover that specifically below.

Right now, you just have to understand that there are certain actions users can take that will increase the likelihood of your post being seen by others.

If a user takes any of these actions, it’s considered “engagement” on the app:

  • like
  • share / send
  • comment
  • use the original sound from a reel
  • follow
  • reply to story
  • replay (time watched)

It’s important to create a strategy around posts for the purpose of eliciting these actions from people on the app. But don’t try to have these all done on a single post. It’s overdone and ineffective to say “like and follow for more!” in your posts.

Instead, work on crafting posts that fulfill each of these purposes, all catered around your message or the topic at hand.

The engagement goals then become the action or purpose of that post. The more you can do this intentionally, the more you’ll grow your views and follows. Which, ultimately, is what makes you an influencer.

This might look like creating a post with the specific purpose of getting viewers to rewatch it. This is considered a “replay” by Instagram’s metrics, and an action the viewer is taking (rewatching) that indicates they like the content.

The strategy behind this looks like creating a short video, with a longer text on screen. In order for the viewer to actually read the whole text, they will have to “replay” your reel.

This is just an example of how you can do this. There are many other techniques you can employ. Pay attention when scrolling and you’ll see how to remake some of these videos. For example, you can also create a very short video, with text on it that says something like “if you want to learn…[what they’ll learn]”, then have the text change to say “read the caption”, and write a longer caption that fulfills the promise.

In order to read the caption in full, the reel will be replayed many times.

This is an important one to know for growth. A user replaying your reel will cause Instagram to push it to new viewers.

Parts of a Post

There are many parts of each post you create. Each plays a role in visibility. The more people view your posts, the more you influence. This is part of learning how to become an Instagram influencer. For this section, we’ll exclude stories and focus on published content.

Here are the various parts of a post:

  • Image
  • Caption
  • Video
  • Music/sound

Bonus:

  • Alt text

Be intentional about every step of what’s in the post. What type of visual will you be using? Refer to the section above. The caption can include targeted keywords and hashtags in order to help with visibility. The music can also aid in the ability for your post to capture attention, so don’t skip that!

Don’t just create a post with no caption. And don’t throw a plain background on a quote when something more eye-catching is an option.

Focus on all of these metrics, and you will increase your insights, which guarantees growth.

Insights

These are the engagement metrics, essentially. It’s the data of how well your strategy is working. When they move up, you grow. As you grow, you become an Instagram influencer.

These are the metrics you’ll see:

  • Views
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares / Sends
  • Saves
  • Accounts reached
  • Reel interactions
  • Profile activity
  • Initial Plays
  • Replays
  • Watch time
  • Average watch time
  • Audience retention
  • Facebook plays and reactions (this is in beta currently, but Instagram is sharing reels on Facebook)

This is how it looks broken down in the actual insights settings on Instagram:

instagram reel metrics in the app

These metrics matter. It’s very difficult to produce a video that has high marks in all areas. But focusing on specific ones will help with long-term growth.

For example, creating a video specifically to gain new followers should produce results in the “profile activity” section under “Follows”. When you create enough videos with this purpose and you aren’t seeing this number go up, you’ll know to alter your strategy.

The same is true for videos you want to be replayed (which will boost its visibility). You should see more “replays” as well as increased “accounts reached”.

Be strategic! Don’t try to hit all metrics with every video. Variety will help you learn how to become an Instagram influencer at a much higher rate. You’ll lean more about what works and what doesn’t.

Rinse & Repeat to Learn How to Become an Instagram Influencer

Take all of this and do the upfront work. Then just keep doing it. You can’t expect to become an Instagram influencer overnight. It will take time and consistency.

Review your brand message regularly and make sure the content you create aligns with what and who you want to influence.

The more you show up and create content around your influence of choice, the more you’ll attract the right people who will want to continue seeing you. Keep at it and over time, you’ll become an Instagram influencer!

You can also fast-track the process by using virality to your advantage. This could mean getting a TEDx talk, working with a coach, and formulating your message and getting on a reputable stage that will do wonders for your credibility.

Click here if you want to get started with momentum!

Author

Bella Rose Pope
I'm a multi-creative in pursuit of doing exactly whatever I want in life. Former speaker of book things, fiction author in progress, life figure-outer in progress, societal rule breaker extraordinaire. Smells like: homemade bread, book paper, potted plants, & potential.

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