While the life of an Instagram influencer may look glamorous and easy, there’s a lot more to it than latte art and filtered sunsets. And if there’s one lesson that can be learnt from the dumpster fires that were Fyre Fest or Millie Bobby Brown’s skincare tutorial snafu is that faking-it-till-you-make is pretty much a bad idea.
In other words, relying on social scams, fake followers and other hacks is no longer a viable tactic, especially with the recent changes to the Instagram algorithms. If you want to be successful on the platform, you’re better off turning to real talk, representation, relatability, transparency, and good old-fashioned dedication.
In this article, we will not be offering any shortcuts. Rather, we will be giving you tips on how to get Instagram famous the authentic way.
Use a Personal Profile Photo Rather than a Logo
Your profile photo is what Instagram members see before clicking on your story, interacting with your posts, or visiting your profile. It’s important to remember that Instagram is a personal platform, and that people come on Instagram not to be sold to by a corporation, but to be entertained. They want to know the person behind your account. Give them the person, not a logo.
Remember Who Your Followers Want to See
People may follow influencers for their perspective, photography skills, parenting advice, travel hacks, and more. But ultimately, people want to see you. A study by the Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs found that photos with faces in them are 38% more likely to get likes on Instagram.
Keep Your Bio Fresh
It’s easy to forget about your profile bio after writing it, but that would be a mistake. Tell new visitors who you are, what you do, and what you like to share. Add colour and save space with evocative emoji. You can also consider adding keywords, but make sure to weave these keywords naturally into your bio. Working on a new project? Drop the link in your bio. If you’re a travel influencer, tell people what country you’re currently travelling in. Doing this tells prospective followers what kind of content they can expect from you, and keeps current followers informed on your latest updates.
Find Your Niche
When it comes to the content you share on Instagram, the cardinal rule is Do you, since no-one else can. What does this mean? Simple – find what you’re most passionate about sharing and document it with photos and videos.
Define and share what matters to you, whether it’s a penchant for potato chips, expert financial advice, or advocacy for topics like body positivity or climate change.
Define Your Ideal Audience
Who are you hoping to connect with on Instagram? Once you’ve found your niche, it’s important to reflect on who you think would be interested in it. You don’t have to limit yourself to one attribute or schtick. Share as many experiences, hobbies, or topics as you like. But remember, some followers may connect with some aspects more than others, so aim to provide balance.
Be Open and Transparent
If you want to make real connections on Instagram, you can’t be fake. People are on social media to connect—or at the very least—relate to others. Being open and transparent will go a long way to help you connect with your audience.
One meaningful connection is worth a lot more than 100 fake followers—literally. Devoted followers will stick with you over time, trust your brand partnerships, and are more likely to regularly engage with you.
Invite Engagement with Calls to Action
While follower counts matter, engagement rates are the real currency of the influencer community. And if you’re looking to boost engagement, sometimes all you have to do is ask. Want more likes? Ask followers to double-tap if they share a certain conviction. Looking for comments? Try asking a question. Want followers to click the link in your profile? Tell them why they should.
Return the Engagement
Whether or not you’re willing to ask for engagement, be prepared to return it. After sharing a post, stick around to respond to comments. No good relationship is strictly one-sided. Like and comment on your friends’ and followers’ posts, too. The more you connect with people on Instagram, the more reciprocity you can expect. Plus, the more authentic the relationship, the more likely it is to be favoured by the Instagram algorithm.
Find Good Sources of Inspiration
The hardest part of being Instagram famous? Creating enough content to meet the demands of a 24/7 audience. To keep the creative juices flowing, influencers should turn to several sources of inspiration, like other influencers, blogs, Pinterest and magazines.
Staying organized and planning content in advance can make being Instagram famous significantly more manageable. Start with a calendar. Knowing what’s coming up allows you to be prepared to make the most out of moments and events. It also helps you spot any gaps that may need filling and ensures that you’ll have enough content to post consistently.
Choose Brand Partnerships that Fit
Brand partnerships are a significant source of income for Instagram influencers. And for those aspiring to be Instagram famous, they can be a source of exposure, too. Don’t always wait for the right brand to come to you. If you see a brand that you love and you think your audience would love too, reach out to them with a professional brand pitch.
Don’t Overdo It with Sponsored Content
Even if you’ve found the right partners, there’s a limit to the amount of sponsored content an audience is willing to put up with. Too much sponsored content doesn’t just test your audience’s patience, it could also lower your influencer stock with brands.
It’s Okay to Define Boundaries
Audiences may crave the raw, uncensored, and unfiltered side of you, but that doesn’t mean you have to share it. Especially if doing so makes you feel uncomfortable. Or maybe you feel like your most authentic self when dressed to the nines, and that’s okay, too.
There’s no social obligation that requires you to bare your body, soul, or secrets if you’re not up for it. Same goes for defining boundaries for personal relationships.
Don’t Let Haters Get You Down
Haters are always going to hate. But that doesn’t make it less challenging to handle bad vibes and harassment on Instagram when it happens.
When they’re constructive and from actual accounts (and not just trolls), try to listen to what they’re saying and be open minded. For those comments that are simply said to be mean, just consider that the person is most likely projecting their own insecurities and it’s actually not about you. Plus compassion helps.”
Remember to Disconnect Sometimes
Forget “pics or it didn’t happen.” Even if you’re Instagram famous, there is life outside of Instagram. Spending some time offline can help you recharge, stay grounded, and healthy.
Make Your Mental Health a Priority
While the Instagram famous life looks glamorous, it can often be lonely. That’s especially true for those who work from home or travel often. Find time for whatever helps you stay healthy, whether it’s meditation, therapy, or spending time with your family.
Don’t Take Yourself too Seriously
This one is really important. Remember, don’t let all your social clout go to your head. In the wise words of a certain celebrity influencer – “The day you start to believe your own hype is the beginning of the end.” Becoming an influencer on Instagram is a legitimate career path and/or income generator, but it’s important to remember that your offline relationships and goals are important too.
So what do you think? Can you see yourself using these tips helping your own Instagram career? Share your views in the comments below.