How to become an Instagram Influencer
Ask the pros with Arianna Fox. She relates what’s involved in being an Instagram Influencer, what the experience has been like for her, and the steps to becoming an influencer and getting paid.
Arianna, can you start us off by explaining what an Instagram influencer is?
An influencer, to me, is always more than how many followers one has or how many likes one receives on a daily basis. Yes, of course, those factors play a key role in what we consider an “influencer” today; however, I consider an influencer someone who does what the word itself is based upon—someone who actually influences. For someone to be an Instagram influencer, in my opinion, requires that a person be positive, uplifting, and encouraging to their followers, and post content that unites people together rather than creating division. That is what I strive to be. Thus, an Instagram influencer is simply someone who creates a positive example for others, particularly on the platform of Instagram.
That's an awesome point! So, how and why did you become an Instagram influencer?
Well, I suppose it happened thanks to the other things I’ve done in my life and the hard work I put into them. I wasn’t determined to become an influencer in the way I was to become an author and a public speaker; I did not wake up one morning and tell my parents, “Guess what—I want to be an influencer when I grow up!” However, that is almost exactly how I told them I wanted to be an author and someone who inspires others. Later, my parents helped develop that latter desire into public speaking. In addition, with the help of my amazing parents, I began my acting and voice-acting careers. The following I gained on Instagram was largely dependent upon those careers.
To put it simply, I did not post some viral dancing video or lip-synch to trendy songs in order to gain popularity and become an “influencer;” instead, I put in the work to make my dreams a reality, and that in turn has generated whatever followers or status of “influencer-ship” I currently have.
I’m so blessed to be able to say this, and I want to encourage all of you that you too can succeed and make your dreams a reality if you put in the work to do so.
You certainly got to the heart of the matter! Could you share what the experience has been like for you?
It has been fantastic! I am so incredibly grateful for this experience. Of course, being an influencer has its downsides, as I get swamped with work quite often, but as I like to say, busyness is a part of the entrepreneurial process. I love being able to uplift and positively influence as many people as I can to the best of my ability.
What are some of the challenges you experience?
One of the challenges was previously mentioned: that of busyness; however, the main challenge for me is probably a lack of connections. Of course, over the years, I’ve gathered more connections and met more people in various industries, but for a long time, I did not know many people who could prove to be important connections for me as a blossoming author, actress, and speaker. I think that challenge might be quite common for new arrivals to the influencer scene, as important connections are hard to come by unless you happen to be best buds with some famous actor or well-known director or something of the sort. 🙂
It is certainly a challenge, but it is one that can be overcome with enough resilience and determination. Though connections are great to have, they are not a requirement for entering any given industry.
Are there any steps to becoming an influencer and getting paid?
The word “influencer” is a very broad and generic term; it encompasses authors, speakers, actors, and many celebrities. It is my belief that it does not take much to become an influencer if you are true to who you are and what you do. One tip I can give is one of the most important things to set you apart from others, and that is to have a niche that makes you unique, and focus on that niche. Perhaps you are an artist; do you have a special method of drawing that is different from other artists? Perhaps you are a musician; do you sing an obscure genre of music that you think people might like, or do you have an interesting and singular element of your voice that you can latch onto in order to promote yourself? Perhaps you are a writer; do you have original ideas that no one has thought of? Find your niche, use it to promote and market yourself, and it will help you advance in the realm of being a social media influencer.
That's very helpful advice. So, what are the dynamics of Instagram?
The answer for that can either be quite short or quite long, depending upon how in-depth I go! Instagram is a very complex system, and it has its algorithms, which are extremely hard to navigate. For example, we’re all somewhat used to the concept of “likes,” but these days, likes are not how the algorithm notices engagement on a post. As of recently, the “like” button is almost null—what matters more to Instagram are saves, shares, and comments (and not just comments containing a simple emoji or a single word, but comments that contain at least one sentence). Those really dictate how “trending” a post will be. And, of course, the way engagement works is nothing but a catch-22: The more engagement a post gets, the more the algorithm sends the post out to more of your followers.
Here is an example: Let’s say you take a picture of your pet kitten and post it for the world to see. Some of your followers see it on their feed, and because of the cuteness of aforementioned kitten, they decide to give it a like, save it to look at that adorable face again later, and comment with various comments like, “Aww! So cute! How old is he?” Now that got Instagram’s attention. “Okay,” they say, “this is getting some engagement. Let’s send this to more people and see what they think.” Then they send it out to 10% more of your followers. That’s precisely how the algorithm works. And guess what—that is only one aspect of Instagram! It is confusing, certainly, and it can be a trifle frustrating at times. But with enough persistence—and most importantly, consistency—you will most assuredly persevere in the chaotic world that is social media.
Very practical! Do you have any advice to share with those who might be interested?
I have two primary pieces of advice. 1. Start now. Oftentimes, we dream of becoming influencers and having a well-known presence on social media, but we don’t know how or when to get started. As for the former, as I mentioned before, it is important to find your niche and market/promote that. As for the latter, the time is now! Don’t wait until you’re older, wiser, or more anything to begin the journey of being an influencer.
2. Don’t give up. There are times in which it can be quite difficult to maintain a status of being an influencer. In fact, you may even feel—and probably will feel—overwhelmed at times. That’s normal. You may feel like you aren’t succeeding online, or that you’ve failed. That too is normal—but what I tell people in my speaking events is that you only fail when you give up. The only time that you really, truly fail—whether in life, in entrepreneurship, or in being an influencer—is when you give up. When you learn from your mistakes, keep tweaking the process, and keep going, that in itself is success. When you work hard, you will reap the rewards.
I will echo the words of my mantra that I always tell people in my speaking events: You Rock, Dream Big, and You Got This!