With over 1.2 billion monthly active users (around 38% of whom visit the app multiple times a day), Instagram is the fourth most popular social media platform, behind only Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp. In terms of marketing, though, it is by far the most popular platform used by advertisers outside of Facebook.
Around 80% of brands all over the world leveraged Instagram for marketing in 2021, and over 60% of them plan to increase use in the next few years. Ad spend numbers bear this out: Instagram influencer market size in the United States has exploded from $1.2 billion in 2018 to over $6 billion in 2020.
This popularity is primarily due to Instagram’s flexibility—the platform has grown immensely since its humble square photo beginnings. Today, brands, content creators, and casual users can upload and share photos, videos, carousels, reels, shopping links, user-generated content, and more.
With millions of brands eager to advertise on the platform, content creators and aspiring influencers have many options at their fingertips to earn money on Instagram. But before the average user can leverage these opportunities, they must first gain a significant following.
Not everyone can be Cristiano Ronaldo (450 million followers, fetching around $1.6 million per Instagram post). But a significant percentage of brands are looking smaller—micro-influencers with 10,000 to 50,000 followers generate very high engagement and conversion percentages. Their market share is expected to grow to 91% in 2022.
In fact, influencers with 5,000 to 20,000 followers account for 47.3% of Instagram influencers worldwide.
Getting to this level and becoming famous on Instagram can be challenging, but it is achievable. All you need is a robust strategy to build a compelling profile, establish an audience in a specific niche, and consistently create content that your Instagram followers will find valuable and engaging.
This comprehensive guide on becoming Instagram famous has everything you need to know to establish your brand and gain a large following on this huge money-making platform.
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Define Your Image and Your Passion
Authenticity and passion go a long way in building a network and demonstrating your trustworthiness to your audience on any social media platform.
The first thing you need to do is define your image and what your passion is.
Find Your Passion
Successful influencers on Instagram often focus on certain niches, such as lifestyle, makeup and fashion, travel, photography, gaming, design, and many more. They generate valuable, relevant content that will interest their followers and share their passion and stories.
Pursuing something that interests you will go a long way in inspiring you to create a unique brand persona that people feel compelled to follow. You need not be an expert in the field, but sharing personal stories and experiences will help you build a strong following.
Explore Your Niche
Once you’ve found your niche, look at how influencers create content and promote brands in your shared space. Competitor research will help you develop a strategy to explore similar topics with a unique spin.
For example, if you want to focus on food, you could focus on a specific diet, ingredient, or cuisine you are passionate about. Thousands of bloggers and influencers already post recipes, so why not combine your interest in baking with another passion?
You can merge baking and travel, baking and photography, baking and history, or baking and pop culture. Exploring a singular approach on a popular niche will give you the traction you need to build a following.
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Choose a Theme That Suits Your Image
Many successful Instagram influencers use specific color palettes and design tricks to define their image and brand. After all, Instagram is a visual platform, so you must establish a theme that will help your content stand out from the sea of other content creators.
A well-thought-out theme will give your account cohesiveness and a firm foundation for your followers to identify what you are and what you stand for.
Use a Personal Photo as Your Profile Picture
In 2022, “authenticity” is the buzzword in the world of influencer marketing. Online audiences are savvier than ever, and they are much less likely to respond to or engage with content that is generated to sell something.
An essential element of authenticity is putting a face on your brand. Upload a personal photo instead of a brand logo as your Instagram profile picture. Choose one that showcases your personality and encompasses your theme or niche.
Using a personal profile pic makes your followers feel they are interacting with you and not a product, service, or brand, even if you are promoting these things. People follow your account for you, not for a faceless brand or corporation.
Tell Your Story Through Compelling Content
Content drives social media, and Instagram is an excellent medium for creators who love storytelling through images and reels. Your stories must be original to create genuine connections and evoke emotion in your audience.
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Create Genuine Content
Share your story by posting content from the heart. Authenticity and an air of genuineness will go a long way in developing trust. And when your followers trust you, they will be more inclined to be “influenced” by your recommendations and purchasing decisions, which is what big brands are looking for.
Unique, value-adding information is crucial to content that engages and converts. While you are free to post anything you want “just because,” integrating something that will pique your followers’ interest—a useful hack, deep insight into your niche, and other helpful information—will ensure that they will always look forward to your next post.
It can be challenging to consistently create compelling and engaging content for Instagram; it may feel like you will soon run out of images to discuss certain topics in your chosen niche. Billions of people take photos and write captions for Instagram, so how can you make yours unique and special?
Find inspiration in your daily life, environment, and personal and professional interactions. Keep an open mind, absorb knowledge and vibes wherever you go, and use them in your images and words. Inject your personality and beliefs in each post to evoke emotion in your followers and encourage them to engage.
You can also find tons of inspiration on the platform itself. There are thousands of Instagram influencers in other niches, and you can adapt their storytelling techniques and post formats to keep your own feed fresh and exciting.
Pre-planning content for social media is so important!
Here’s a tip:
When planning your content for the month, don’t do it in silos. Design, content, promotions, strategy should be considered when crafting your content calendar!
What’s one tip you have for content planning?
— Pearl Omotoyinbo (@Miss_PeaRLie) June 14, 2022
Planning your Instagram posts is crucial for consistency and gaining a large audience. Determine the best stories and images to post at certain times and seasons to connect with your niche audience.
Posting holiday-centric content will boost your relatability and show you are connected with your followers on these special days. A content calendar is crucial for planning your posts and what topics you will cover over specific periods.
Content planning will also cover your bases when you want to go off-grid for a few days or even weeks. Planning posts and creating them well in advance will give you the flexibility you need to take a few days off and relax or recharge. You will always have a post or story to share wherever you are or whatever you are doing.
You must post regularly to maintain genuine connections and encourage consistent engagement with your followers. On average, brands share 1.56 posts on their feeds each day. Social media experts recommend posting on your Instagram grid at least two times a week.
Creating a regular cadence is crucial to growing your audience. For example, if your followers expect to get industry nuggets and fun stories from you every Tuesday and Saturday, you should deliver.
You don’t need to create or share giant pillar posts each time. Simple things like life updates or a short preview of your latest purchase will be enough to keep the connection and generate interest in the next thing you post.
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Post High-Quality Photos
The prevalence of smartphones has made it easy for casual users to take and share professional-quality pictures everywhere they go. Instagram is a visual platform, so audiences will judge your content on the quality of the images and videos you share.
Your personality and preferences will determine your unique photography and videography style—it’s a critical branding element that will set you apart from other influencers. Make sure you use the best equipment to capture and post high-quality photos and videos that look great when viewed on the app.
If you are in the travel or sports niche, invest in a GoPro or a drone to capture pictures and videos that your followers expect from influencers in your industry. If you are into nature photography, a good macro lens will get you awe-inspiring shots that your followers will love.
Instagram supports horizontal and vertical images across a wide range of aspect ratios. This guide has everything you need to know to ensure your posts look great on your followers’ feeds.
Use a Photo Editing App
Filters and photo editing software are evergreen tools you should not be ashamed of using. You can leverage this technology without compromising authenticity.
Instagram has an integrated photo editor, but the options are very limited. A dedicated photo editing app will give you more free reign to edit your photos and set them apart from other influencers.
You can also use apps to make your videos look sharper and more detailed.
But Don’t Use Filters All the Time!
Using filters can be fun, but you should apply them sparingly. If you use them too much, your followers may feel that your image is not genuine. Egregious use of filters could also mask the true content of your photos, which can result in fewer engagements.
It’s best to let the natural beauty in your high-quality photos speak for itself!
Add a Compelling Caption
A picture or photo carousel will not tell your entire story. You must include a caption or a short description with your post to engage your followers.
Integrate keywords and hashtags that will help expand your network and boost your profile’s search engine optimization (SEO) ranking.
Talk about the story behind the photo, the people you are with, or what you felt when you took it. Share interesting details about your life or hobbies, connect them with your niche, and write something your followers will appreciate.
Post Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are posts that can only be viewed within 24 hours. They do not end up on your Instagram feed; instead, they are meant to be ephemeral, in-the-moment updates that do not quite have the gravity of a grid post.
Post casual photos and videos as quick updates in your Stories, promote a limited giveaway or sale, or share a photo that won’t quite suit your main grid.
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Use Story Highlights and Reels
Instagram Highlights and Reels further expand your content creation options. With Highlights, you can categorize and consolidate your best Instagram Stories that cover specific topics.
With Reels, you can create and share short videos with music and text. Video marketing is on the rise, so you can ride this wave even if you aren’t on YouTube or TikTok.
Write Compelling Calls-to-Action to Invite Engagement
Instagram fame is not just about followers; it’s about engagement rates, too. Engagement is a crucial metric that brands consider when looking for influencers to partner with.
One of the easiest ways to invite engagement is to add a compelling call-to-action (CTA) in everything you post. A CTA can be a simple “please share” or a request to comment, like, follow, or take action in other ways.
At the end of your post, ask a fun, relevant question, so your followers feel compelled to give their opinion in the comments.
Update Your Bio
Regularly update your Instagram bio and keep it fresh and engaging. You can add new interests, hobbies, and expertise as time goes on and as you pursue new projects.
Your bio is one of the first things potential followers will see, so it must summarize everything your account is about.
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Remember Who Your Audience Wants to See
By and large, Instagram audiences prefer to see the person they are following. Your interests, knowledge, and stories make up everything that makes you interesting, and you can maintain authenticity by attaching personal images and anecdotes to what you share.
Personalization efforts will humanize you and make you relatable. Don’t be afraid to share a bit of personal information, especially if you think it will help your followers overcome their problems or become inspired by your story.
Follower Engagement is Key
Engagement is a vital component of what makes Instagram such an effective medium for communication, enterprise, and marketing.
There are many opportunities to engage with your followers directly. And the more you respond to them, the easier it will be to expand your audience.
Define Your Audience
First, define who your target audience is. Your engagement efforts will largely depend on who you want to reach. Of course, you can freely share all of your ideas and interests. But your language and tone will help you capture the attention of a specific audience.
For example, if your Instagram account centers on fitness for millennials and Gen Z, you can interact using popular memes and niche lingo that they will find funny and engaging. A more direct, value-adding approach will be more effective if you want to pursue a Gen X audience with your nostalgic collectibles.
Encourage Engagement Through Comments, Likes, and Shares
Engage your followers to leave comments, like your posts, and share so you can reach a wider audience and begin your journey of becoming Instagram famous.
Start a conversation with your followers on each of your posts. A simple question will encourage your followers to post an opinion or share their thoughts on the topic you’ve brought up. As long as the comment or question interests them or is relevant to your expertise or niche, encourage engagement as much as possible.
Further expand your Instagram base with Megafamous. You can gain high-quality followers in the blink of an eye, and these accounts will comment, like, and share your posts to boost the overall engagement of your account.
Return the Engagement
When your followers post comments, respond promptly so they can experience real-time engagement. Those who receive real-time comments and feedback are much more likely to keep engaging with your future posts.
All good relationships thrive because of two-way communication, and social media engagement between influencer and follower is the same. Communicating with your followers keeps your account grounded, emphasizes your authenticity, and creates a genuine relationship.
Instagram’s algorithm also boosts posts with back-and-forth communication in the comments section.
Personalize Your Responses
Everything on your Instagram account must reflect your personal brand, and this includes how you respond to comments on your posts. In 2022, copy-pasted template answers no longer fly for audiences.
Use your unique, authentic voice to engage with your followers in the comments section and even in direct messages. Be as natural and friendly as possible, so your followers never feel like they are talking to a brand instead of a person.
Engaging with your audience on a personal level will go a long way in boosting your popularity and authority in your niche.
Organize Contests or Promos
Occasionally hosting a contest or giveaway can significantly boost engagement on your posts and increase your follower count within the promo period. You can give away products related to your niche or set up a one-on-one online meet-and-greet or consultation.
Continue to post value-adding, relatable content so that the followers you gained due to the giveaway will keep following your account.
Use Instagram Story Tools
To gain insights into your audience, use Instagram story tools to determine their preferences and what they want to see from you. Question cards and polls quickly generate engagement, and you can use their responses to guide your content creation in the future.
You can also host a quick “ask me anything” session to share more details about your day-to-day life and answer questions that your followers have been wanting to ask. You can respond to their question cards with a video, image, and text.
Polls have long been effective marketing tools, and you can use this option on Instagram to gauge your audience’s preferences. You can get objective data on how their views stand against the majority. You can create polls just for fun or to collect data that you can use to create more engaging content that your followers will enjoy.
Build a Community
If you want to become famous on Instagram or become an influencer of some prominence, you need to build a community of people sharing similar interests. Interacting and collaborating with other influencers and experts in your niche will expand your audience further.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Using the right hashtags will lead new followers to your profile and connect you with similar accounts. This will give your profile more credibility as you build your reputation as an authority in your industry.
You can use a mix of all-encompassing hashtags for a potential audience of millions, a personalized hashtag for your brand, and everything in between.
You can also experiment with different hashtag variations to determine which ones generate more likes and shares. Each niche uses countless hashtags, so it may take a bit of experimentation to reach the audience and community you’re looking for.
Be very mindful of the hashtags you use. Instagram has a limit of 30 hashtags per post, and those that go over the limit will be flagged as spam. Additionally, savvy audiences may be turned off by posts that contain more hashtags than actual content.
Follow Other Instagram Accounts
Another easy way to start integrating into your niche is by finding and following Instagram influencers and users that post about similar topics. When you become their follower, you can participate in their communities and expand your own audience.
Engage with these accounts with insightful comments, Instagram likes, and shares so they can reciprocate the engagement and build your following, too.
Again, it’s vital to maintain your personal brand’s authenticity and natural tone as you reach out to your new community. Post positive, enlightening, and value-adding comments and engage productively with everyone you encounter so they will respond similarly.
Link All Your Social Media Accounts
Connecting all your social media accounts will expand your audiences on all platforms. For example, your Facebook friends will likely follow you on Instagram, and your friends on Twitter would probably love to get to know you beyond your 280-character posts.
You can cross-post your Instagram posts on multiple platforms, too. If you pique a follower’s interest on Facebook or Twitter, they can be easily led back to your Instagram account and peruse your profile. This is why it is imperative to curate every single element of your grid, from the profile picture, bio, highlights, down to the overall aesthetic of your posts.
Ensure All Posts are Original
Instagram has stringent rules regarding intellectual copyright. It’s crucial to ensure that all elements of your posts are entirely original—photos, videos, and even captions.
If you want to share another creator’s content on your grid or Instagram Story, credit their work directly and clearly. Being honest and upfront will maintain your trustworthiness and reliability even as your account becomes more and more popular.
With geotagging, you can target audiences looking up certain locations. You can easily share where you are in the world, and boost engagement, too—posts with geotags generate over 70% more engagement than those without.
Use geotags when traveling or sharing posts to promote your activity in a particular area.
Build Brand Partnerships
Once you have a significant number of followers and maintain great engagement in your niche, you can branch out and find opportunities to partner with relevant brands.
Building brand partnerships can further skyrocket your popularity on Instagram, and you can continue to build your audience to the tens or hundreds of thousands.
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Reach Out to Smaller Brands
You can partner with smaller brands as a micro-influencer so you can deliver high engagement and conversions as you both expand your followings. Smaller brands may not pay as much per post, but you can develop a good working relationship and create a loyal following that will grow over time. You can work hand in hand to build traction in your niche and push each other forward.
Partnering with smaller brands can also further establish your trustworthiness and reliability as an influencer in your industry. It means you are working with the brand because of the quality they provide and not the amount of money they pay. Your followers will see it as a truly authentic decision, as opposed to going for a big corporate sponsorship largely centered on profit.
Choose Brands That Suit Your Image
Instagram influencers rely on brand and corporate sponsorships for income and additional exposure.
When you have an opportunity to choose a sponsor, make sure the brand or company suits the image you’ve already established. If you choose a sponsor far removed from your interests or niche, your followers will see it as nothing more than a money-making scheme instead of an authentic belief in the reliability of the brand or product.
Don’t be afraid to say no to brands when they reach out to you. Maintaining authenticity and credibility is crucial; you don’t want to lose followers because of lost trust or for “selling out.”
Remember, it took a lot of hard work to build your audience. Honor your connection and their loyalty by choosing your partnerships carefully.
Negotiate with Bigger Brands
If you are given an opportunity to partner with a bigger brand that fits your image and niche, negotiate your payment and outline all the activities that will promote their products on your Instagram account.
All the details on your contract must be clear: the number of posts expected over a certain period, limitations regarding competitors, product reviews, and even keywords and hashtags you should use.
Brands differ in the level of creativity they allow, so discuss all of these specifications thoroughly before signing a contract.
Limit Sponsored Content
Brand sponsorships generate income for influencers, but they should not become 100% of your feed. Carefully space out your sponsored posts and continue to create honest and valuable content for your audience. This way, your genuine personality will still shine through, and your followers will not feel you are constantly pushing products or brands onto them.
Your followers will quickly notice if you post more ads than “real” content, and they will not hesitate to unfollow you once you become an unwitting brand spokesperson. Retain your unique persona on all your posts; your followers and brand partners alike will be more eager to support a balance of authenticity and corporate sponsorship.
Self-Awareness is Crucial to Stay Grounded
The journey to becoming an Instagram influencer can be rocky, and like any road to fame, it can make you forget how to stay grounded and real.
Social media fame can be very harsh on one’s mental health, and awareness of your strengths and skills is the best way to maintain level-headedness when you reach a certain level.
Maintaining your personal brand or image emphasizes your authenticity, but give yourself some room to change. Change can be a good thing, especially as you grow into your online persona and improve internally and externally.
For example, at the beginning of your journey, you thought your Instagram content would only be about cooking. But in a few years, your interests might shift to healthy diets and mindful eating, so your content will become all about making healthy decisions in the kitchen and the grocery store.
Flexibility allows you to grow, and along with this growth is the expansion of your followers and your audience. When your audience feels you are shifting your content but remaining true to the personality that engaged them in the first place, they will remain in your sphere. After all, you are being genuine as a person who is growing and becoming a better version of yourself.
Stay Persistent and Patient
Instagram fame does not happen overnight. You must be patient and persistent when it comes to content creation and engagement.
Don’t think so much about the numbers and analytics that you feel anxious when you check them each day. Instead, focus on the image you’re trying to build and the message you want to send to your audience.
When you begin growing a base of loyal followers, solicit their feedback and listen to what they have to say. Do your best to create valuable content that generates the most positive responses.
Maintain Healthy Boundaries
Some people think they need to share everything about their lives on social media. Instagram influencers often post personal details about activities, trips, and hobbies, but that doesn’t mean your life has to be an open book to everyone that follows you.
Set boundaries in terms of what you share with your audience. This will significantly limit what people know about your private life and will not strain your real-world relationships.
In the digital age, social media fame means your actions and words are closely scrutinized by your audience, much like celebrities. When you achieve some level of fame, your followers and sponsors will comb your posts for objectionable content.
Protect yourself and your brand by maintaining strict boundaries and being very careful about what you share, how, and when.
Accept That Some People Will Not Like You
Even if you are doing something positive for yourself and the world, not everybody will like you. There will always be naysayers, and it’s crucial to accept early on that you will never please everyone.
If you remain true to yourself, you don’t need to worry about negativity. You are doing something you love, and as long as you engage your followers and spread joy in your own way, that is all that matters.
If you receive hateful comments, it’s best not to take them seriously. However, you should not close yourself off to constructive criticism. Learn to distinguish between the two and be open to honest feedback from people who want you to grow.
Posting regularly is crucial for building and maintaining an audience, but it’s also important to disconnect from social media occasionally to remember what’s truly important in life. If you want a break from your Instagram influencer fame, inform your followers that you will be going off-grid for some “me-time” and let them know when you will be back for regular posts.
Informing your followers will make them feel valued, and setting aside time for yourself is essential to stay sane and healthy amidst the chaos of the digital world.
Refine Your Skills
If you’re just starting out, you may not have the skills to create the most aesthetically impactful posts, images, or videos. Be patient with yourself and your progress. It takes time to develop these specific skills.
You will improve with each post you create, and soon you will be able to give your audience high-quality posts that match up with content creators with more experience.
Invest in equipment and software to give your photos and videos a professional polish. You can start with a simple lighting gig and a high-end smartphone, then branch off to DSLRs, drones, and others.
Listen to Feedback
Once you have connected with a community or group of people with similar interests, collaborate and share ideas and experiences. Connecting with others in your niche will help all of you improve and take your branding to the next level.
Study Analytics and SEO
Understanding Instagram analytics and SEO ranking will help you understand what keywords, hashtags, and posts matter to your audience. Keeping track of this data means you can determine which post elements lead to better engagement, and even how other influencers in your niche compare to you.
Follow Instagram Guidelines
Follow Instagram’s community guidelines so you will not be suspended or kicked off the platform. Simple rules such as posting unique content and limiting hashtags are easy to follow.
Use respectful language when engaging with your followers or commenting on other people’s posts. Do not use images or language that glorify abuse, self-harm, racism, and hate.
Instagram also does not allow nudity, so make sure that your images are tasteful and decent.
Becoming Famous Isn’t Easy…
If you want to be famous on Instagram, certain techniques and strategies can help you do it. However, it won’t be easy. Gaining an audience and keeping them interested in your persona will take a lot of time, energy, and creativity.
To be Instagram famous, you need the same things that make celebrities famous: persistence, patience, continuous growth, talent, and relatability. Popularity fades quickly, so you must remain honest and authentic to stay relevant for a long time.
But the most important thing to remember about Instagram fame is that you don’t have to take it too seriously. Stay real, stay honest, and be true to your skills and ideals, and you will find that Instagram fame, followers, corporate sponsorship, and income will follow you!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to post on Instagram?
According to Sprout Social, the best days to post on Instagram are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 AM to 1 PM.
The worst day to post on Instagram is Sunday.
Is it hard to become famous on Instagram?
It is not easy to achieve fame on Instagram. You must post regularly, engage with your followers, and continuously create high-quality, engaging content that will interest your target audience.
Being passionate, patient, and authentic can help you become famous on Instagram and gain thousands of followers.
How many followers do you need to be an influencer?
There are several tiers of influencers: mega, macro, and micro. Mega-influencers are primarily established celebrities with over 1 million followers on at least one social media platform.
Macro-influencers have between 40,000 to 1 million followers, either because they are lower-grade celebrities or influential experts in their niches.
Micro-influencers are set to make a tremendous impact on the future of marketing. With just 1,000 to 40,000 followers, they generate tons of engagement and conversions from their highly specialized audience.
How could I make money on Instagram?
Anyone can start making money on Instagram and other social media platforms through affiliate marketing. You can expand your audience this way, and once you reach 5,000 to 10,000 followers, you can start pitching to small brands and show them why they should partner with you.
Once you achieve a certain level of authority in your niche, brands will start pitching to you.
How many pictures should I post on Instagram?
There is no hard and fast rule on how often and how many photos you can or should post on Instagram to build a following. On average, brands post 1.56 posts a day. You can post on your grid more often or focus your daily activity on your Instagram Stories. Gauge what your audience prefers and deliver high-quality content each time.