how to become popular in instagram

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Looking for a listicle to show you how to become Instagram famous in 10 easy steps? You won’t find that here.

While the life of an Instagram influencer may look easy, there’s a lot more to it than latte art and filtered sunsets.

And if there’s one thing to learn from the burning trash fire that was Fyre Fest, Caroline Calloway’s ghostwriter takedown, or even Millie Bobby Brown’s skincare tutorial snafu, it’s that the social currency of faking-it-until-you-make-it is pretty much spent.

In other words, social scams, fake followers, Instagram pods, and other hacks aren’t going to fly—especially with recent changes to Instagram’s algorithm. Instead, think real talk, representation, relatability, transparency, and good old-fashioned dedication.

So what does this mean when it comes to attaining Instagram fame for you or your business? We analyzed strategies and rounded up advice from several top Instagram influencers to give you 17 expert tips.

How to become Instagram famous
No shortcuts here. Follow these tips from influencers to learn how to get Instagram famous the authentic way.

  1. 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. With such high visibility, influencer LaShawn Wiltz recommends putting your best face forward.

“Instagram is a personal platform,” explains Wiltz on her blog. “People come on Instagram not to be sold to by a corporation, but to be entertained. They want to know the YOU behind your account. Give them a person, not a logo. Personalize your brand.”

Almost everyone who is Instagram famous uses a picture of their face as their profile photo.

  1. Remember who your followers want to see (hint: it’s you)
    Carry that profile picture tip over to your grid as well.

People may follow influencers for their perspective, photography skills, parenting advice, travel hacks, and more. But ultimately, people want to see you.

Just ask influencer and entrepreneur Jenna Kutcher: “I noticed anytime I shared a photo with me in it, it did three times better than anything else,” she shares on her podcast Goal Digger.

Kutcher is not alone in that finding. A study by the Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs finds that photos with faces in them are 38% more likely to get likes on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by JENNA KUTCHER (@jennakutcher)

  1. Keep your bio fresh
    It’s easy to forget about your profile bio after writing it, but that would be a mistake says LaShawn Wiltz.

On her blog, Wiltz says: “Your bio is the first thing people see. Your bio should give [people] a clear concise idea of what your account is about.”

Tell new visitors who you are, what you do, and what you like to share. Add colour and save space with evocative emoji. Wiltz suggests adding keywords, but to 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.

  1. Find your niche
    When it comes to the content you share on Instagram: Do you. Why? Nobody else can.

“Use your passion or what you’re gifted in 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.

Staying true to you isn’t just a matter of differentiation—it gives you stamina as well, says @parisinfourmonth’s Carin Olsson in an Instagram Story: “I think it’s really important to do something that you’re passionate about because I think it’ll always be hard to work and keep motivated if you’re not passionate about what you do.”

  1. 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, says Jenna Kutcher on her blog.

Kutcher describes her ideal follower as likely a woman in her mid 20s or 30s with a big heart, big dreams, and willingness to bet on herself. Her followers are women who may relate to her experiences with infertility or body insecurity, or find motivation from her business expertise.

Like Kutcher, 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.

“Whatever facet [my followers are] there for, I want to ensure that I’m reaching [them],” explains Kutcher. “To ensure that I’m doing this, I want to make sure that I’m hitting my big topics frequently.”

  1. Be open and transparent
    If you want to make real connections on Instagram, you can’t be fake. “The most important thing is vulnerability and honesty,” says Laura Izumikawa. “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.

  1. 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.

“A lot of the time we’re not even inviting engagement,” says Jenna Kutcher on her podcast Goal Digger, “and if you look at your own user habits, you’re likely just scrolling.”

Kutcher recommends that before posting, reflect on the action you’d like someone to take when they see your post.

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.

  1. 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.

“When people see that I am online and commenting back on comments, they are far more likely to engage with my post,” says Kutcher.

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.

  1. 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 like Montreal-based graphic designer Audrey Rivet turn to several sources of inspiration.

“I try to find an influence on Instagram, fashion/lifestyle blogs, Pinterest, Behance, and magazines,” says Rivet on her blog.

Menswear influencer Diego Gonzalez-Zuniga, aka @diegodowntown, also cites Pinterest as a source of inspiration.

Rivet doesn’t shy away from sharing the love either. If there are influencers who inspire her on Instagram, she’ll often share their posts in her stories. Equal parts savvy and sincere, when reciprocated, the gesture has the potential to increase her exposure with a similar audience.

  1. Plan ahead
    Staying organized and planning content in advance can make being Instagram famous significantly more manageable.

“Planning my future posts and subjects is also a good way to put things in order and see more clearly when crisis strikes,” says Rivet on her blog. “It’s all about organization!”

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 (at the right time).

With posts prepared, you can take advantage of time-saving tools like Hootsuite’s Instagram scheduling feature and spend more time offline.

To maintain a certain feed rhythm and aesthetic, Rivet uses UNUM, a tool that allows her to visualize posts on her profile before publishing them.

“When I have empty spots, I usually test with a few inspirations I’ve saved on Pinterest to see if a certain composition would fit great,” she explains.

  1. 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.

As both an influencer and a businesswomen who’s worked with influencers, @ohjoy’s Joy Cho offers sharp insight into partnerships. For businesses, she says: “Make sure you can really imagine that person using what it is you’re going to send them.”

If an influencer passes, don’t take it personally.

The same advice holds for influencers deciding which brands to partner with. “When considering brand partnerships, you must consider your audience and how the partnership will add or take away from your brand,” says Laura Izumikawa.

Don’t be afraid to say no if it’s not a good fit. “I often turn down brand partnerships because I do not like the product, or it doesn’t fit with my brand,” Izumikawa adds.

Also, 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.

And make sure to read our guide to Instagram influencer pricing before striking a deal.

  1. 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.

“Personally, I try to keep my brand partnerships and sponsored content well spread out,” explains @LeeVosburgh, influencer and founder of Style Bee.

Too much sponsored content doesn’t just test your audience’s patience, it could also lower your influencer stock with brands. “When an influencer has sponsored posts back to back to back there’s a good chance they’re not terribly discerning when it comes to the brands they work with and their audience will notice too,” Vosburgh says.

  1. 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.

Take it from travel and lifestyle influencer Sarah Babineau. “Just a friendly reminder that all your angles are a beautiful and valid version of you. But you have the right to decide which ones make you feel prettier and show those ones to the world,” she says. “And it doesn’t make you less of a body positivity advocate or less of a feminist to do so.”

Chest dresser-upper Rainier Jonn (@thedressedchest) makes a point to never show his face in his photos. He even keeps the boundary clear in his Instagram story AMAs (ask me anythings), offering: “Ask me anything not related to my face.”

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.

“My family life is private to me and I do limit what I share,” says Laura Izumikawa.

  1. 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.

Emily Schumann, influencer and businesswoman behind the blog-turned-brand Cupcakes and Cashmere, has some words of wisdom for when it comes to dealing with negative people.

“When they’re constructive and from actual accounts (and not just trolls), I try to listen to what they’re saying and be open minded,” she shares in an Instagram story.

“For those comments that are simply said to be mean, I remind myself that the person is most likely projecting their own insecurities and it’s actually not about me. Plus compassion helps,” she adds. “ Anyone who takes the time to try and hurt strangers on the Internet is probably not in a secure, content, place in their life.”

Entrepreneur and Instagram influencer Myleik Teele shares a similar sentiment: “If people are checking for you they don’t HATE you, they’re upset with themselves because you succeeded in spite of the excuses they made for themselves,” she says in her Instagram story.

  1. 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.

“I think the most important thing is to be able to disconnect from time to time. To not be online or connected all the time. To have moments where you just enjoy and relax,” says @parisinfourmonth’s Carin Olsson in an Instagram story. “For me it’s all about balance.”

  1. Keep mental health top of mind
    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.

“I know many nomads that appear to ‘have it all’ who suffer from depression and anxiety because of this lifestyle,” says Tameika Gentles, influencer and cofounder of The Whole Experience Retreat. “I actively focus on my my mental health while on the road, which is one of the reasons why I prioritize my health so much.”

Find time for whatever helps you stay healthy, whether it’s meditation, therapy, or spending time with your family. Some of these mental health tips for social marketers might help too.

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously
    So now you’re ready to become Instagram famous.

But remember, don’t let all your social clout go to your head. As Sarah Jane Adams says, “The day you start to believe your own bullshit is the beginning of the end.”

how to become an influencer on instagram

Here’s what you need to do to become an Instagram influencer:

  1. Choose a Niche You’re Passionate About
    To become an Instagram influencer, the first thing you need to do is find a niche that suits your personality. This needs to be something you’re passionate about. Something in which you have a good deal of knowledge and interest.

Just because someone else is doing something and is successful, doesn’t mean you should too.

So, what should you do?

To become an Instagram influencer in any field, you will have to post social media about it regularly and consistently. So, selecting the right niche is very important because you will have to spend a considerable amount of time researching it and posting content on that topic.

So pick a niche that you’re genuinely passionate about. Maybe you’re great at DIY crafts? Or maybe you love food, and have a great deal of interest in different types of cuisines? Maybe you’re into fashion and are always aware of the latest styles and trends?

Your Instagram posts should reflect whatever truly interests you and not just random stuff.

Your niche might even be a combination of different things, as long as they’re not random.

Here’s an example of an Instagram influencer whose niche is food, travel, and lifestyle. As you can see, her Instagram feed has a good balance of posts relating to all of these.

  1. Create a Noteworthy Bio
    Once you have decided on your niche, you need to create an attractive Instagram profile.

The very first thing that you need to focus on is creating an Instagram bio that immediately catches people’s attention. It should talk about your story in a way that engages people.

But why is this important?

Remember, your bio is one of the first things that a brand or a potential follower will see on your account. So if you want to know how to become an Instagram influencer and make money, you need to first learn how to create an attention-grabbing Instagram bio.

Influencer and travel blogger Helene Sula has a compelling and attractive Instagram bio. In the name field, this social media influencer has cleverly included “travel blogger,” so that her profile shows up for such searches.

And in her bio, she tells her story of how she moved to Germany to explore Europe leaving everything behind. except for her pups and her husband. Now, isn’t that noteworthy?

  1. Share Your Stories

If you think you can become an Instagram influencer just by sharing photos, you clearly have it all wrong. The captions that go along with those photos are just as important as the photos themselves.

Use them to tell your stories and connect with your social media followers on an emotional level. Give them a reason to trust you, follow you, and engage with you.

However, in your quest towards engaging them don’t forget to be genuine. Because that will be easily seen through. Instead, share your personal stories in a way that your social media audience finds them interesting yet authentic.

  1. Make Your Instafeed Appealing
    This is one of the pre-requisites if you want to learn how to become an Instagram influencer. Not only should each of your photos be visually appealing, but your entire feed should look appealing when viewed as a whole.

This means that all of your photos in the feed should look good, individually and collectively.

So, what can you do?

Many Instagram influencers follow a particular style of editing their photos so that the color or composition is uniform. You can use tools like VSCO or Lightroom to edit your photos or you can just use the built-in filters on Instagram.

Also, make sure that your photos are taken in high-resolution and with plenty of light to make them look really good.

Check out the account of this lifestyle Instagram influencer and see how beautifully he keeps the tones uniform. This gives his Instafeed an incredible visual appeal and makes it look aesthetic too.

  1. Post Content Consistently
    Posting content consistently is another crucial prerequisite if you want to learn how to become an Instagram influencer. Most Instagram influencers post daily or once every two days. However, some of them post a few times a day or even a few times a week.

Studies have revealed that an increase in your content-posting frequency can boost engagement rates. However, when you decide what your posting schedule needs to be, make sure that you choose wisely.

Because it needs to be something realistic that you can actually stick to. Setting an unrealistic goal to which you cannot adhere will not help you in any way.

If you find sticking to a schedule difficult, you can schedule your posts with tools like Buffer, Planoly, Preview, or Ripl.

These platforms allow you to create your content in advance and set the dates and times for posting. So you don’t need to do it yourself, but your content gets posted automatically.

Preview is free for use and so is Planoly for 30 photos per month on a single Instagram account.

Buffer allows you to schedule up to 10 posts for free across any 3 of your social accounts.

Ripl offers subscriptions starting at $14.99 per month, but also has a free basic plan with limited features.

What’s more?

You need to remember that posting content isn’t the only important thing. The content that you post must be grammatically correct and should be of high quality. To ensure that your content quality is top-notch, you can utilize tools such as ProWritingAid.

This tool checks your grammar, style, and helps you find the right words for your content. As a result, you’ll be able to post high-quality content to Instagram.

  1. Choose the Right Hashtags
    The best tip anyone can give you on how to become an Instagram influencer is to use hashtags. Hashtags are important because they help your content be found by other Instagram users.

Instagram allows you to use a maximum of 30 hashtags on a post, but I recommend using around 10-20. But what kind of hashtags should you choose?

Remember that hashtags having high search volumes aren’t necessarily good for you. Because high search volumes imply high competition too. So the chances of your post being discovered using those hashtags are bleak.

Instead, choose hashtags that have decent search volumes and maximize your chances of appearing in the top posts. Ideally, use a combination of hashtags varying in search volumes from above 10,000 to 1 million. But definitely, not more than a million.

But how can you find reliable hashtags?

To find the right hashtags for your Instagram posts, I recommend using HashtagsForLikes.

This AI-powered tool goes through your profile and finds the best hashtags for you. Alternatively, you can enter any hashtag on the platform, and it’ll show you its performance. This can help you ascertain which hashtags will create the most impact for you.

For example, this post by an influencer uses the hashtag #adventurecouple. This is the top post for this hashtag having search volumes of more than 105,000.

  1. Get a Business Account
    If you’re serious about learning how to become an Instagram influencer, you need to get a business account for your Instagram. There are numerous benefits of switching to a business account.

What are they?

The most important benefit is that with a business account, you get access to Instagram Analytics. You’ll be able to see not only your follower demographics but also which posts are getting better engagement. You will also be able to see the days and times which give you the best engagement.

If you want to become an Instagram influencer, it is important to understand your audience and learn what content works best for them.

Follower demographics are very useful when it comes to pitching to brands for collaboration. Because numbers speak louder than words.

The other advantage you get with a business account is the ability to run ads. You can promote one of your posts if you want, in order to get some additional engagement.

So, getting an Instagram business account is an important step if you want to become an Instagram influencer.

  1. Leverage Instagram Stories
    Instagram Stories are probably the biggest thing right now on Instagram. More and more users and influencers are joining this bandwagon. In fact, more than 500 million Instagram users are using them every day. This makes them a perfect weapon to grow more followers and gain visibility.

Even people who aren’t your followers can discover you from your Instagram Stories. By adding hashtags or locations to Instagram Stories, you can be discovered by more people. And if you have 10,000+ followers, you can include an outbound link using a “swipe up” option on Stories.

What’s more, you ask?

You can even tag others on your Stories and give a shout-out to other accounts. This is not only a great way of building relationships but also growing your own following. Because those accounts are likely to return the favor too. And this means you get more visibility.

Because of these benefits, a lot of influencers use Instagram Stories. And if you are serious about becoming an Instagram influencer, you should start using Stories now.

  1. Engage Meaningfully
    Social media is all about people and how you engage with them. Engagement is one of the most important factors that will help you become an Instagram influencer. When someone comments on your photos, make sure that you reply to them. Also, return the favor by liking and commenting on their posts.

Here’s a checklist that you can use to increase the engagement rate on your posts and become an Instagram influencer:

Include a call-to-action in your caption
Post at a time when you’re likely to get maximum engagement (use insights if you have a Business Account to find the best times)
Host giveaways and contests
Use polls in Instagram Stories
Follow similar accounts and engage with their content
Use popular and relevant hashtags or create your own hashtags
You can use the “Explore” option on Instagram to find content that you can engage with. Also, you now have the option of following hashtags so that relevant content shows up in your feed.

  1. Tag Relevant Brands and Contact Them
    There are actually two stages of learning how to become an Instagram influencer. The first, of course, is to grow your followers organically and engage them. The second, and probably more important for some, is to make money as an influencer.

So, once you have grown your followers above a thousand and have a decent engagement rate, start your brand outreach. The easiest way is to tag relevant brands on your photos to put yourself on their radar. Sometimes brands even feature such photos on their Instagram account giving you greater visibility.

What else can you do?

You can also send direct messages to brands you think are relevant to your niche. Especially, if you have seen them collaborate with other influencers in your field. Work on a pitch that talks about why you are reaching out and what you can offer them. I’m not saying it’s easy but you might be pleasantly surprised at the responses.

You can even join platforms like Grin, InsightPool, HYPR, InfluencerBay, TRIBE, and TapInfluence to find and connect with relevant brands.

Some of these platforms need you to have a certain number of followers to be able to participate in campaigns. So, use this channel when you have reached a certain follower count.

  1. Do Not Buy Followers
    This is a rookie mistake I’ve seen many Instagram influencers make to pave an easy road to success. Paid followers are no good to you. If you want to become an Instagram influencer and make money, organic is the way to go.

Yes, I know it’s not easy and it certainly won’t happen overnight. But hey, there’s no easy road to success. Paid followers can be detrimental to your growth because these followers won’t be engaged enough. So your follower count will increase without any substantial increase in engagement.

What’s more?

Also, it is not that difficult for brands to identify influencers with paid followers. And if someone realizes that you have a high percentage of fake followers, you could lose your credibility in the industry. This could affect all of your future collaborations or lack thereof.

Getting caught having paid followers can be detrimental to your success as an influencer. If you really are serious about your goal to become an Instagram influencer, you need to do it the right way.

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