Updated: May 31
I am running a successful Instagram account @sweet.eileens.dream that is growing fast. My learning curve the past months has been steep and I thought I would write down my knowledge, hoping someone else could benefit from this. If you would like to get into the influencer business, then this article is for you. I aim to give you the basics of how to become an influencer chronologically. This article is especially directed to the aspiring influencer in the fashion-beauty-model segment.
What will you learn:
· What is an influencer?
· Get your business hat on!
· How to set up an Instagram creator account
· How to succeed as an influencer
· The three phases of your workday as an influencer
· How does an influencer monetize?
· How to get brand deals
In this article I will provide you with homework as I go along.
It means that I want you to search the keywords and learn as much as you can about them. Use YouTube and /or Google.
What is an influencer?
The reality is that anyone can be an influencer! For example, I am a 40-year young woman, a mom, wife and, believe it or not, a farmer. I am, by all means, not a professional model. If I can do this, so can you. Read on and learn how
Just a few years ago, brands selling their goods to consumers used traditional TV and news paper advertising as their main channels for marketing. To get a TV commercial in at break time at super ball in the US or any other big sporting events, was a big deal for the brands in order to really get their message out to the masses. These days, those advertising spots do not have as much of an impact anymore.
Why? Because of the simple fact that the younger generations do not watch TV anymore. They do not read news papers. They are on social media. The brands have realized this and are using influencers actively for marketing. Instagram has seen an explosion in growth, with over a billion active users on the platform. I read somewhere that 67% of all marketing in 2020 goes through social media. The social media influencer market is estimated to be worth more than $10 billion in 2020. We are talking about big bucks!
So what is an influencer? The short answer is, someone with followers that will listen to their advice and follow their leads.
Someone who has it in their power to make an impact on other people, to influence their behavior. Someone who can talk about a product and whose followers will be inclined to take their advice and purchase that product or service.
It is possible for anyone to be a part of this industry using your smart phone and yourself as a model. There is a lot to learn, but the good news is that all the answers are out there for free. The hard part is to organize all the answers and present them in a logical way. That is what I am helping you with in this article. Benefit from my experience and become an influencer!
Get your business hat on!
The first thing you should get straight when you enter the world of Instagram modelling is that this is business! The goal is to create a powerful Instagram account within your niche with a visually pleasing feed that will attract an audience. The more followers you have the better your marketing power. The more engaging your content is and the more enthusiastic audience you have, the more your marketing power will increase. So, my clear advice to you to take this seriously from the start and treat this endeavour as a business. By taking this advice, you will benefit greatly later in the game.
"The purpose is to gather followers that you later can convert into paying customers!"
How to set up an Instagram creator account?
Creator account, benefits
The benefits with a creator account is that you will have more tools for analyzing your content and you will have a more organized inbox for messages.
Here is how you change from a personal into a creator account:
Switch to professional account
Choose a category that describes your niche best
Click edit profile and create your bio
Click contact options and enter your email address
Then the Email button will appear in your biography (bio)
Choose your niche! What is a niche?
The niche is very important. An Instagram account that spreads itself too wide will not be as popular as a narrow account. For instance, if you have an account where you post all kinds of content it will not create the same engagement as a narrow niche. Stick with fashion if that is your niche. Do not post pictures of your grandmother, children, food or pretty flowers. Produce content true to your chosen niche and you will find enthusiastic followers that are very interested in your content. 60 % full body pictures and the rest is your choice. Focus on what is relevant to your niche. My niche is a curvy, smiling, mature model. What is yours?
Choose your profile picture wisely. Maybe a close-up of your pretty face that will be clearly visible in that small round little circle in your bio. That will be your "logo". Your brand. Its best never to change that as it will turn into your recognizable sign. If you change your profile picture, people can be confused and you risk losing followers.
Create a powerful and accurately describing Bio
Your Instagram bio is your portfolio, your business card and your only chance to present yourself.
You have just seconds and only 150 characters to leave an awesome first impression, so you need to focus on your Instagram bio and make sure it is accurately describing who you are in order to convert Instagram visitors into followers. Instagram lets you have one link on your account. This could be leading your followers into your own web site or wherever you find it useful to link them to. There are many services where you are able to have several links in your bio. I like this one. This one is nice too and it is free.
How to succeed as an influencer?
This is a big question I could talk about for hours. This text will barely scratch the surface on this topic, but it will give someone new to influencing a taste of what is involved. The thing is that as a micro influencer (1K-100K followers) you are combining many roles into one.
You are a one person business enterprise where you will have to perform many different tasks:
· Stylist for makeup, hair and clothing
· Chief marketing specialist
· Financial advisor
· …And everything in between and beyond!
Your learning curve might be steep, just as mine was. That is why I am emphasizing the need to view this as business and prepare for your success. Start watching tutorials and practice with your camera.
What if you succeed and become "famous"? Are you ready for the media hype? Maybe it is worth contemplating reminding anonymous? In case you do not want every person out there knowing your name and location I suggest you make a brand new account under a pseudonym or an "artist-name" and hide your exact name and location. Make your personal social media private and block friends and family that you don`t want to see it. It just might be a good thing to be able to be "insta-famous" while remaining anonymous in your local community. Something to consider.
Let me mention the four most important aspects that must be understood in order to succeed in this jungle:
1. Quality content
2. Quality content
3. Quality content
4. Quality content
This can not be stressed strongly enough! You have to be able to produce quality content true to your niche that people will be enthusiastic about. In order to be able to do this you have to learn photography and learn how to take great pictures of yourself with minimum equipment. There are many video tutorials online how to become a better photographer using your smart phone. Take the time and read them. You will have to learn how to use light in order to accentuate your content and elevate your content to a high standard. You have to learn poses that will elevate your photos and learn how to edit your content
Homework, Google/YouTube these words:
Light in photography
Instagram quality content
How to succeed as an influencer
Pose as a model
There are quantities of good information out there on these topics, please do your research thoroughly and you will greatly benefit from this at a later stage. Just make sure that you find many sources of information, think for your self and make up your own mind.
The more you prepare before you set out on this journey, the faster your Instagram will grow!
Equipment that you will need in your content making:
A camera. Any smart phone will do but some are better than others. I made an investment and bought the best camera phone currently on the market (2020) Samsung Galaxy s2 Ultra. I can highly recommend this phone as the camera is excellent and the phone has a large storage capability with the possibility to add a 1 TB memory card. Get yours here
Editing software, photo and video
These are just suggestions so that you get an idea what you would need and what tools you should start looking for. You start with the equipment that you already own and purchase new and better when you have the means. But as any professional in any trade would tell you, good quality equipment is important to be able to deliver quality result.
The three phases filling your daily life as an Instagram model:
Depending on how seriously you take this, prepare that your life will be filled up completely with this endeavor. As in any business start-up, the initial period is the hardest. Your days will be jam-packed! In order to break it down for you, I have separated my workload in a typical day and estimated how much time I spend on each phase. Bear in mind that I do this full time and I do not have another job on the side.
The content creating phase:
This phase starts with me getting ready for a photo shoot, usually in the morning when I feel fresh and the natural light is good. Makeup, hair, nails and garments. It easily takes me two hours to get ready. While doing this I usually go through my plan for the shoot and I make up a course of action in my head.
The photo shoot itself usually takes me 1 hour. Sometimes I have help from someone else to take the pictures/video, but most of the time I do it myself with the tripod and the clicker button.
Then I start my editing. This can take between 1-2 hours depending if I am editing video or just photos. Remember to set a watermark on every single photo!
The posting phase:
This is very important, and I usually do this in the afternoon with peace and quiet around me. In this phase there are some key elements that you as a fresh Instagram operator need to learn.
Hashtags must be true to your niche and your photo
Homework; Google and/or YouTube these words:
· Hashtag strategy 2020
· Instagram niche
· Instagram captions
· Call to action
Hashtags are extremely important to use correctly. What are hashtags and why do we need them?
Imagine Instagram as huge web with 1 billion little spiders (Instagram accounts). The spider web itself is like the hashtags linking the spiders. Your tiny little fresh baby spider is there somewhere all alone and untouched by any of the other spiders at first. For you to be able to reach out and link to other spiders that have the same content or interest as you, you must use hashtags to attract them to your account.
Hashtags are links that make your account connect with other accounts with a keyword that reflects your niche or interest.
Hashtags must be checked every single day. A hashtag you used yesterday might be bad today!
In order to comprehend this you have to understand Instagram guidelines. Instagram algorithm is always watching! This pesky artificial intelligence (AI) is constantly monitoring all the little spiders and checking if we are following the rules.
For instance If one of the little female spiders are taking pictures of her cleavage to show her newly purchased boobs using the hashtag #boobs, the AI will monitor and maybe decide that too many pictures associated to this hashtag is in violation of the guidelines, and set the hashtag it self under careful watch. That means that any other spider using this particular hashtag will be under the algorithm watchful eyes and be monitored closely.
Bad hashtag; #elevator
Too many people evidently posted content with this hashtag that the AI did not like. Hmm wonder what that type of content that could be...?
If an account is using many bad hashtags far too often, eventually the account might be deleted by Instagram. One morning, after you have spent many months painstakingly building your account up to maybe 20K followers, the account could be gone. No warning, just gone, deleted, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. All your followers and potential future customers are gone and you are left with nothing!
So, it is wise to take precautions to prevent this from ever happening. Get to know the world of hashtags and the rules of Instagram.
I use two devices in the posting phase. One that I use to actually upload my content and make the post, and another that I use to check every hashtag I use, every day, even if i checked that particular hashtag yesterday.
I even routinely go back and check earlier posts that I made to check if I by mistake used a bad hashtag or if one has gone bad since then. Managing this takes time, which is why I never use any more than 5-6 hashtags on my posts. This goes against advice of other sources online that recommend using between 11-30 hashtags on each post. I use fewer for the reason I just mentioned. Time is money and for me, this simple approach has allowed me to continue with my Instagram carrier and to make money from home.
The engagement phase:
This phase starts immediately after I post. The word engagement should really be understood because it will determine the marketing power your Instagram account will have. What I do is I just sit and watch the comments come in and I make sure that I like and answer every single comment. This drives up my engagement rate and subsequently increases my marked value as an influencer.
Homework; Google/YouTube these words:
· Instagram engagement
· engagement rate
· IGTV (a video application by Instagram for smartphones)
This phase can last the whole evening and I constantly check my phone for any comments that I need to answer. In total, I spend 2 hours engaging.
The three phases; Content creation, posting and finally engagement will easily take 7-8 hours perday. I usually post twice a day on average. In addition to that, I create 5-6 stories a day and one IGTV a week.
To sum up: Two posts a day = 7-8 hours of work
But don’t despair; you will get better at this over time and it will become routine. The good thing is that you can do this from anywhere – be it in your own home or traveling the world. You can work from wherever you are and not be confined to an office or workplace. It is awesome! 😍
So make sure you know how many hours you have available in your daily routine before you get into this business. At first, I made the mistake of not considering all the hours I would spend sending and answering emails/DMs, making business phone calls, doing affiliate marketing, planning my weekly photo shoots, etc...
How does an influencer monetize?
These are the most common ways to turn your followers into paying customers that will let you earn from them. I will get more into affiliate marketing in a later blog post.
How to make money from fans!
Onlyfans is a platform that works much in the same way as Instagram with the noticeable difference that you are allowed to charge for your content. This is applicable for all kinds of artists creating digital art. Get your own Onlyfans account, click here!
Onlyfans has two modes: One where the monthly subscription price is set to FREE, and another where the subscription is set by the model to a monthly fee ranging from 5 USD up to 49,99 USD. The benefit of the free option is that onlyfans will allow you to set a price tag on your posts and on a private message. It also gives you the option for the fans to tip you.
In the monthly subscription option, paid posts are not available. That is why it is smart to use both options. Make two accounts and set one to free and the other to a monthly subscription price of your choice.
The strategy most digital creators are using now is to use Instagram as a platform to gather as many followers as possible. These followers are funneled into a free Onlyfans where they have to enter their credit card to sign up. Then you guide them further toward the paid onlyfans. You will make money from both of these accounts. This way you have turned your Instagram followers into paying customers. Fantastic, right? :)
How to get brand deals?
In my case, I will be honest, at this stage (May 2020) I am not quite there yet, but after less than four months I am well on my way to getting there. All I can say about this for now is this:
Create good quality content, be consistent and the brands will eventually contact you!
It is very helpful to have a media kit available if all of a sudden that wonderful email drops in from one of the big brands offering a steady long term collaboration and a steady income.
Homework; Google/YouTube these words:
How to get brand deals on Instagram
To sum up:
Get your business hat on and do your homework
Open up an IG creator account
Create awesome quality content
Learn Hashtags, engagement, captions, call to action
Post at the peak time
Engage, engage, engage
Avoid stepping on the evil AI`s toes
Be consistent like clockwork
Keep at it, week after week, month after month
Some final key elements:
· Post at peak time for your time zone. Give each post time to accumulate engagement. Do not post too close in time because that will limit your engagement on each post. Allow at least 3-4 hours in between posts.
· For every face photo you post, post 5 full body shots and make every 7th to 8th post a video post.
· One IGTV a week
· Choose hashtags true to your niche and that particular picture
· Never click like or follow or send DMs too many times in rapid succession, that will alert the AI and you might get action blocked.
Smile! You would be surprised how engaging a smile can be and It will make your Instagram grow faster
Good luck and keep on swimming:)
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