How to Become an Instagram Influencer: Stand Out on Social Media

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Karen Lin

Instagram Growth | May 24, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

If you are a frequent social media user, you are probably familiar with the idea of an influencer. Maybe you’ve even wondered how to become an Instagram influencer yourself. After all, it seems like everywhere you look, your feed is full of people selling, promoting or posting a product or service. And chances are, you’ve been, well, influenced, to buy, use or support whatever it is that they are advertising. By doing this, you’ve ensured that influencer a paycheck. This is a concept known as influencer marketing

But what exactly is an influencer and what does the job really entail? Can anyone become one, if they so choose? In this era of social media, the answer is absolutely yes. If you’ve interested in how to become an Instagram influencer, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ll cover everything from a behind-the-scenes look into the role to the different levels of influencers. And, of course, we will highlight a few of the most popular genres for some inspiration to get you started on your journey. Read on and get influenced.

Women recording herself with a smartphone, learning how to become an Instagram influencer.

What Is an Influencer?

If you’re new to Instagram, or even social media as a whole, you may be wondering – just what is an influencer? Allow us to explain. By definition, an influencer is a person with the ability to influence another. This can be by sharing their thoughts on a product or offering insight into emerging trends. In our current era where social media is everything, an influencer is typically referred to in a marketing sense. That is, someone who can influence people to buy a product or service by recommending it through social media platforms. Companies and businesses have seen the power of influencer marketing campaigns and are all-in on this type of promotion.

For most people, the idea of how to become an Instagram influencer is appealing. Why? The intrigue of fame, for one. With the attainable spotlight brought on by social media, it seems like everyone is trying to become famous. Another reason is, of course, the money. Believe it or not, there is good money in being an influencer. Don’t worry, we will dig deeper into the monetary benefits of the job later on below. For now, let’s take a look at how social media ultimately creates influencers. We’ll also talk about just what it is that they do in a day’s work.

Social Media: The Magic Behind Instagram Influencers

Of course, it’s quite possible that the notion of an influencer wouldn’t even be around without social media. With the introduction of Instagram in 2010 came a whole new way of sharing your life with others. What started as ways to post photos and memories with your friends and family suddenly transformed into so much more. By 2016, influencer was a dictionary-approved word to describe people with large followings who were selling products on social media.

Quickly after that, the career path exploded seemingly overnight. The interest in how to become an Instagram influencer was appealing to many. You no longer needed that mega following to achieve fame. Rather, you could firmly establish yourself with a smaller yet loyal fan base and still make a living. Of course, the expansion of social media platforms has contributed to this, as well. By dividing your time and efforts over multiple outlets, you are able to widen your reach and grow your followers. Wondering just what it is that influencers do on these social media platforms? Let’s take a look below.

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How to Become an Instagram Influencer: Roles and Responsibilities

Surely you’ve seen your favorite influencers and content creations on Instagram and other social media platforms. They can often be seen promoting products or services and sharing their thoughts with their audience. But have you ever stopped to wonder what they actually do behind the scenes? Is it a profitable job? Is it their only job? Well, for most, the answer is yes. Being an influencer is a full time job that can bring in a big paycheck. That’s right, many people are able to create a living using their online presence. Wondering how to become an Instagram influencer and what the job looks like? It’s all about their social reach and content strategy.

An influencer is responsible for making regular posts about their intended topic or product. This can be through both feed posts as well as making Instagram reels, stories and live videos. Working in partnership with other companies helps both sides to organically grow their following and, in turn, their profits. Those who wish to have a career in social media need to prepare for long hours and constant engagement. Connecting with your audience and keeping your posts fresh, new and relative can be very time-consuming. Influencers are always ready to evolve and change, whether it’s using a new platform or a new way of sharing content.

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How to Become an Instagram Influencer and Get Paid

You may be wondering how to become an Instagram influencer and if you can turn it into a profitable career. The quick answer? Yes, you absolutely can. However, it takes time and dedication to reach a level where you are comfortably bringing in a profit. In fact, most people still need another full or part-time job to support them while they are starting out. The goal, of course, is to get to a place where influencing can solely support your lifestyle. So, ready to learn how to become an influencer and get paid? We will cover two popular paths below, Instagram paid partnerships and Instagram affiliate marketing. Read on to learn all about turning a profit through social media.

How to Become an Instagram Influencer With Instagram Paid Partnerships

One of the biggest monetary gains in the influencer world is through brand sponsored posts. This is also known as Instagram paid partnerships. In short, this is a collaboration between an influencer and a brand or business. Both parties help each other to increase exposure and drive sales. For example, an influencer shares a product with their followers, showing how to use it and its benefits. The company behind the product pays the influencer for these posts. In fact, some mega influencers make over 1 million dollars per post through Instagram paid partnerships. Influencers are legally required to disclose that the post is an ad, letting their followers know that they are profiting from it.

How To Become an Instagram Influencer With Instagram Affiliate Marketing

Another way to create revenue? Through something known as Instagram affiliate marketing. What exactly does this term mean when it comes to how to become an Instagram influencer and make a profit? We’re here to explain. This marketing concept is when influencers receive special discount codes to use for stores or businesses. They share the codes with their followers through social media content, whether its stories, live streams or feed posts. When used by their followers, the influencer gets a small fee. Of course, this works best when you truly believe in the product you are promoting. It’s also extremely important to have a dedicated following who trusts your recommendations.

Smartphone opened to Instagram profile page.

How Many Followers on Instagram Do You Need to Become an Influencer?

Of course, the driving force behind how to become an Instagram influencer is how many followers you have. And, obviously, this magic number can have a major impact on your brand partnerships and, in turn, your income. But just how many followers on Instagram do you need to become an influencer? The truth is, it can depend on what exactly you are trying to achieve. With an organically grown Instagram following, your engagement rate will increase and strengthen. This phrase refers to how actively involved with your content your audience is. It is one of the analytical tools that businesses look for when they scout potential influencers to partner with. A higher engagement rate is extremely lucrative and, in turn, leads to more money and sponsorships.

When it comes to their audience, some influencers may be content with a smaller following. They’ve learned how to identify a target audience on Instagram and honed in on their niche. This lets them better connect one-on-one with their audience and build a comfortable space on social media. However, some people may dream of continuing to grow their audience and leveling up their influencer status. No matter the amount of followers you have, many people value quality over quantity. So, wondering how to become an Instagram influencer and how many followers you need to get there? Keep reading below as we will cover the basics of influencers in terms of followers.

1. How to Become an Instagram Influencer: Nano Influencer Ranking

A nano influencer is typically thought of as your almost average Instagram user. This tends to cover those who are just starting out on their influencer journey and are at the beginning of the road. Nano influencers have the smallest follower count among the levels, typically with under 10,000 followers. Working hard to establish themselves in the social media world, they are commonly well known and respected among their community. When they partner with a brand or business for a collaboration, it’s often done in exchange for goods or services instead of money. Although they may have a smaller reach, nano influencers often have a very high level of engagement. Wondering why? Simple. Their audience mainly consists of friends, family and people they actually know in real life. This means their followers, likes and comments are all real and authentic.

2. How to Become a Micro Influencer

The next tier on follower count for how to become an Instagram influencer? A micro influencer is someone with 2,000 to 100,000 followers who is dedicated to their audience. They are good at identifying potential followers through brand partnerships and collaborations. Perhaps the best quality about micro influencers is their typical high engagement rate. They achieve this by being authentic. Content is mostly self-created, as they don’t have a budget to support a team. They also take the time to respond to and engage with their followers, through both comments and DM’s. If you’re wondering how to become an Instagram micro influencer, we’re here to help. It’s important to identify and understand your target audience. You’ll want to create contact with your audience in mind and partner with brands that will resonate with them. Consistently sharing new content is another ideal tip to keep things fresh and relevant.

Woman taking a photo with a smartphone, learning how to become an Instagram influencer.

3. How to Become an Instagram Influencer: Level up to Macro Status

As your followers and fan base continues to grow, you’ll quickly level up to a macro influencer. With a typical following of 550k to 1 million, this is often thought of as the sweet spot of influencing. Why? Macro influencers have a dedicated following, greater than that of a nano or micro influencer. This lets brands reach a large audience and often get featured on the Instagram explore page. In fact, many of their followers know them from another job they hold outside of social media. This can range from acting to singing or starring in a popular reality show. Having another title creates better recognition and connection. However, this can often lead to fake followers or spam accounts in both likes and comments. Even with this, a macro influencer has a trusting and receptive audience, making it easy to share products and services.

4. How to Become an Instagram Influencer: The Mega Influencer

The top tier of how to become an Instagram influencer is achieving mega influencer status. At this level, we’re talking millions and millions of followers. However, with this higher audience comes a higher rate of spam accounts, as well. Mega influencers also often have an entire team running their social media platforms and business opportunities. Think celebrities, star athletes and musicians. Although it can be much harder to reach this level, it’s certainly not impossible. Companies pay top dollar for collaborations with these top content creators and it pays off. Mega influencers have a massive reach and are able to set trends among their audience. If they share a sudden trend in things like fashion or beauty, their followers are quick to pick it up. Of course, this type of influencers are harder to obtain for collaboration and sponsorships and often have a high price tag.

Woman taking a picture with a smartphone, with hopes of becoming an Instagram influencer.

How to Become an Instagram Influencer by Industry Niche: 5 Popular Categories

Truth be told, you can become an Instagram influencer on just about any topic. It’s all about honing in on your interests and finding your niche among social media platforms. Above all, you have to strongly believe in what you are sharing with the world. Wondering where to start when it comes to how to become an Instagram influencer? While it can seem overwhelming at first, we know you will quickly find your way. First things first. Don’t forget to think up a catchy and creative Instagram handle that your followers will easily remember.

To find what suits you best, think long and hard about your interests, hobbies and favorite pastimes. From here, hone in and identify what makes you different among the others. Do you have a special talent or skill that sets you apart? Or perhaps a deep knowledge of a certain subject? It will be clear to your followers when you are passionate about your craft. This will help to gain their trust and loyalty to your overall brand. Keep scrolling for a peek into five popular genres to target when learning how to become an Instagram influencer. 

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1. How to Become an Instagram Fashion Influencer

Sharing street style and fashion tips have certainly become a mainstay on Instagram, from celebrities to everyday people. If you are wondering how to become an Instagram fashion influencer, it’s best to get creative with your clothing. Fashion can be a competitive niche to break into and thrive in, so you need to dial in your style. How? Make sure your style has a clear vision and stay true to it. It’s also helpful to work with other fashionable people who are learning how to become an Instagram influencer. By joining forces and sharing each other’s content, you can attain a larger reach. Finally, be sure to promote yourself. Tag and mention brands you wear and re-post their Instagram stories or posts. And don’t be afraid to reach out to them with your portfolio. This shows an interest that can get you noticed for collaborations.

2. How to Become an Instagram Fitness Influencer

With the rise in popularity for working out, it’s never been easier to learn how to become an Instagram fitness influencer. First, identify your area of expertise, anything from a love of yoga or running to weight-lifting and beyond. Next, develop a strategy and focus on your engagement. Your followers may often have questions about specific workouts or results. Make sure to address and answer all that you can. If you’re looking towards fitness when it comes to how to be an Instagram influencer, we’ve got a few strategies. Look into partnering with local fitness studios. Whether you can become a teacher or host classes, it’s a great idea for cross-promotion. You can also promote well-known workout regimes on your social media. Be sure to tag and mention the brand and people involved. This is a way to get your content noticed and, hopefully, lead to sponsorships.

Women recording herself while cooking, learning how to become an Instagram influencer.

3. How to Become an Instagram Food Influencer

One of the keys to how to become an Instagram influencer that’s focused on sharing food is photography. Of course, there are many different avenues you can take when it comes to how to become an Instagram food influencer. Are you focused on healthy food? If so, be sure to share the key benefits of different ingredients and what they do. Is comfort food more your speed? Share seasonal and delicious recipes that will have your followers eager for more. Or perhaps you’re most interested in a specific meal or genre of food. Wanting to highlight your love for Italian food or breakfast fare? As we mentioned before, it’s all about finding your niche. You’ll also want to make sure that the pictures you post of food are appealing and mouth-watering. This will grab your audience’s attention and encourage them to try your recipe or recommendation.

4. How to Become an Instagram Model Influencer

When learning how to become an Instagram model influencer, you need to dedicate time to your goal. In the era before celebrities and social media ruled the scene, many people looked towards fashion models as the original influencer. Now, of course, in the age of social media, it seems like anyone can become a model. This means, of course, that the competition will be fierce. One of the most important things when it comes to how to be an Instagram influencer focused on fashion is your followers. A high follower count will increase your visibility, letting others share your content and hopefully show up on the Instagram explore page. Creating an impressive portfolio is another great way to get in front of brands and modeling agencies. Have a short list of targeted brands that you feel your image will work best with. Above all, believe in yourself and your craft.

5. How to Become an Instagram Travel Influencer

If you dream of jetting from one exotic location to another and sharing your adventures with your online community, you’re in luck. Thanks to social media, travel has become a way of life for many. Interested in learning how to become an Instagram travel influencer? While this can be one of the most expensive routes to embark on, it’s certainly a fun one. To start, figure out what makes your travels special and unique. Are you only traveling by van? Are you aiming to visit a certain amount of places? Whatever your plan, stick to it. It’s also important to build credibility. You will be sharing your reviews with your audience and you want them to trust you. Remember to always geo-tag your whereabouts and add any appropriate hashtags for the location. This will let your audience add to their own wanderlust list.

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How to Become an Instagram Influencer Fast: Get Quick Results

Like anything else worth having, learning how to become an Instagram influencer at any level can often take time. The goal is to organically build your followers and brand, which doesn’t happen overnight. Success in social media can take months, if not years. However, we live in an era that often demands immediate results and recognition. Looking for a quick way to grow your followers and engagement? We get it. Luckily, you have some options for a little instant gratification when it comes to your social media presence. We’re here to help with a few tips and tricks for how to become an Instagram influencer fast.

As you’ve learned above, the number of followers you have has a direct impact on your influencer status. With this in mind, there are plenty of ways to get more Instagram followers fast. You’ll also want to make good use of all the features that are readily available on Instagram. Make sure you are posting across all content types, including feed posts, stories, reels and even IGTV. Follow as many people in your area of expertise as possible, with the hopes to grow your reach. And, of course, look to Instagram growth tools like online agencies that focus on audience target and interaction. 

At Path Social we’ve built up an in-house platform of Instagram influencers and a proprietary AI targeting algorithm over the past decade. That’s how we reach organic users who are targeted, interested, and engaged. And that’s why no one can replicate our results, which means you’ll build an Instagram community that lasts! Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.