Can you still become a social media influencer in 2023? Let’s be honest, these days the niches are overwhelmed, the competition is tough and even our pets have their own Instagram accounts showing us their every move.
I wrote about how to become an influencer over on my Niche Pro SEO website this week and I got such a large amount of feedback from it, that I thought I’d post it here too! If you are starting out from zero in 2023, you may be worried that you’ve missed the boat.
Not only are there possibly hundreds of thousands of people making a living from social media (myself included), but there are also hundreds of thousands of “experts” who are teaching and helping people how to become social media influencers (myself included!).
I still get asked so many questions about how to become a social media influencer, how I grew my @melaniejadedesign Instagram account, and how I became a full-time blogger. I guess people are still wanting to become an Instagram influencer in 2023 and it is absolutely possible!
What Is an Influencer?
I dislike the term “influencer”. I know for a fact that our accounts provide so much more than just influencing people. They are also a place of familiarity, where people come to chat and ask about DIY or interior problems.
I don’t necessarily want to influence people into buying things, I like to show people that anyone can pick up a paintbrush or hammer and have a go at DIY.
What is a Social Media Influencer?
I may have a large following on Instagram but that doesn’t necessarily mean I always have a huge influence on what people buy or how people decorate their homes. With the number of home accounts increasing dramatically in the last couple of years, it is now quite difficult to get your voice heard.
If your chosen subject used to be quite “niche” you can now bet your bottom dollar that there will be tens of thousands of other accounts doing it.
Why Would I Want to Be a Social Media Influencer?
I accidentally fell into being an Instagram Influencer. Rewind back to 2017 when we were in the midst of a huge kitchen renovation. I had 2 little ankle biters to entertain, a kettle and slow cooker to make all our meals and a constant stream of builders coming in and out with McDonald’s and dance music tuned on the radio.
I have always been interior-obsessed and was finding life as a stay-at-home mum quite difficult. I started reading lots of interior and lifestyle blogs and decided I would try my hand at it.
The thing is, I didn’t see myself as a writer. No, that accolade goes to my husband, and at the time he was fed up with his 9 to 5 Project Management job so he started a blog about family life.
I began to look at ways to help him promote his blog and boom! My Instagram account was born. I’ll be honest, it was shit, to begin with. I would post pictures of plant pots and cushions and think I was on my way to being the next Kelly Hoppen!
I was a long way from becoming a social media influencer.
Skip forward 5 years and I am now earning a full-time wage from Instagram. In fact, I opened a business bank account 2 years ago, employed an accountant, and started paying myself a proper wage.
I can’t tell you how good that feels. This is the first time I’ve been earning a decent living since I left my job as a Programme Management Officer nearly 9 years ago, just before I had my daughter. It really is a dream come true.
I am my own boss by being a social media influencer; I get to be creative for a living whilst managing it around being at home for my kids 24/7. I am not bound to a 9 – 5 job or fixed location (well, not strictly true, my house IS my location).
I can decide how much or how little I want to work; I get to talk to people I call my friends every day and I still get extremely excited every time a brand contacts me asking if I would like to collaborate! Some of the brands I’ve worked with include sofa.com, Howdens, Aldi, Dulux, West Elm, Graham and Brown, and La Redoute.
How to Become a Social Media Influencer in 2023
It is still possible to start, grow, monetize, and become a social media Influencer with an Instagram account in 2023. You just have to be seen!
This means putting in a lot of hours by creating exceptional content, jumping quickly onto trends, and engaging with your followers. So, where do you start?
Step 1 – Set up an account
To start with the obvious, you need to set up an Instagram account if you want to be a social media influencer. What niche should you pick though? Well, what do you love?
Don’t try and be something you are not. Being a successful social media influencer in 2023 means becoming a brand in your own right and building a dedicated audience. If you are sitting reading this wearing a pair of jeans you’ve had for 10 years and your boyfriend/husband’s jumper because you hate clothes shopping, don’t start a fashion account!
Once you have decided what kind of social media influencer account you want to have, start by optimizing your Bio.
- Make sure you have an easy-to-remember name that is unique but not ambiguous.
- Attach a personal photo of yourself so you appear approachable and authentic
- Add a quick introduction about your account so people know what they are following. You only get 150 characters so use lots of keywords.
- Add your website address or any other social media site you want to link to.
Step 2 – Niche it
Instagramming, being an Instagram influencer, and turning up on social media can be completely time-consuming so you have to be authentic and true to yourself.
I made the mistake very early on of trying to copy interiors that all the big accounts displayed but it didn’t sit right with me and my engagement and follower numbers suffered as a result.
Once you have found a topic or area you want to cover, be that interiors, family life, travel, or fashion, you need to hone it down a bit. Finding your niche within your chosen subject will help people recall you for your particular style and expertise in an area. Becoming a brand is even more important these days.
For example, if you love interiors, what kind of interiors are you drawn to? Is your home a Scandinavian Shrine or a Pink Palace?
The niches in the social media Influencer world that are predicted to grow in 2022 are Restaurants, Travel & Tourism, Real Estate & Construction, Art & Culture, and Animals. So maybe it is time to create an account for your crazy cat!
Your niche will help you define your “brand” and help people remember you if you have a particular style and color scheme. If I say to you IKEA, their blue and yellow brand colors will immediately spring to mind, and the fact they specialize in Scandi interiors and flat pack furniture.
Step 3 – Make Sure You Have a Creator or Business Profile
You can either have a Creator or Business profile as an Instagram influencer which will give you access to Instagram insights. These analytical tools let you see the demographics and reach of all your stories, Reels, and posts and are invaluable when it comes to working out what does well on your account.
With these statistics, you can tailor your content to your audience’s preferences which in turn will help you grow.
Step 4 – Your Content
You’ve got your account and niche set up, now you need to work on your posts and captions. First of all, how often should you post? This doesn’t really matter, although I find the more I post, the better my engagement is, sorry! Instagram wants you to be on it 24/7, there is no other way around it.
However, what is really important is consistency. If you can commit to a post every day, then go for it. If you find that is too much, then post 2/3 times a week but make sure you do this every week.
Another thing you will have to get to grips with to become a successful social media influencer is your photography. Take a look at your photos, would you want to look at them in a magazine? Make sure they are clear, and straight, include detail, and draw the follower in.
I would also recommend editing and filtering your images so that once again, they all have consistency. If you encounter any compatibility issues, don’t forget to convert .jpeg to .jpg using suitable tools. These steps collectively contribute to a visually appealing and well-organized collection of images on your platform.
Although, saying all this, with the rise in popularity of TikTok and the raw and unfiltered videos that are prevalent on the platform, maybe over-filtered and perfect images are a thing of the past?
Step 5 – Your Caption
Your caption can be just as important as the image itself. Once people have started following you for a while and have established they like the images you post, they will probably start reading your caption as well (let’s be honest, we very rarely engage 100% with a new follow from the start. It takes a while to build up a relationship).
A bit like your image, make sure your caption represents who you are. You can talk about the image itself or general day-to-day life. I find a mix of the two works and I always keep it in my own voice!
Engaging captions work the best. Ask people for their opinions, ask them if they like a new cushion you’ve bought or what they’re having for tea. People like talking about themselves. Having a CTA (call to action) in your captions is a guaranteed way to get people talking and something all successful social media influencers do.
Another important factor to consider is SEO. Instagram SEO is just as important as SEO for blogging, so make sure you contain keywords in your caption that relate to your post and help people find you.
Step 6 – Engage and Then Engage a Little More
Nobody on Instagram grew their account overnight. If they did, they’ve obviously bought followers and as tempting as it might be, what is the point?
If your ultimate goal is to make a living from this little app you absolutely have to have integrity and it is quite easy to spot the fakers through websites like Social Blade. It is also quite noticeable if a lot of your followers have no profile picture and very few followers themselves (which screams BOT).
Most brands worth their weight in gold will also look at these figures as they want to be sure they’re getting reliable engagement for their products when working with Instagram influencers. There is no easy way to build your following and engagement. Basically, to get the engagement on your account, you have to engage yourself.
Follow like-minded accounts, comment on their posts regularly, and like as much as you can. Watch people’s stories and comment on them. I spend roughly 2 hours a day on Instagram engaging and creating posts and stories and I have been doing this for 5 years.
Instagram, being a social media influencer and blogging is my full-time job and I have worked hard to get here. I know there are many people who scoff at the thought of being on Instagram hard work, but it is time-consuming.
Sometimes it can take me 2/3 hours to set up a styled shot, take the photo or video, edit it, write the caption, and find 30 hashtags.
Step 7 – Hashtags
Hashtags are still and will always be relevant. Hashtags are how people who aren’t following you, find you.
Before the search facility was added to Instagram, if people wanted to find inspiration for their new kitchen, they could type in #countrykitchen and as long as your post included that hashtag, you would show up.
If you struggle to work out what hashtags to use, it is best to have a mixture.
A few hashtags with millions of tags, a few with mid-range tags, and make sure the majority of your hashtags have under 100k tags.
That way it is easier to be seen amongst the sea of posts.
When I was building up my account, I would regularly look at the big interior accounts and successful Influencers to see what hashtags they were using for inspiration.
Looking at the insights above you can see that 21,619 people saw this post via the hashtags I used. They are still extremely relevant. Also, always use all 30 hashtags!
Why wouldn’t you?
With every hashtag you use, you are increasing the post’s reach on Instagram. If Instagram didn’t want you to use them, it wouldn’t give us 30 in the first place.
Step 8 – Capture, Caption, Post, Repeat
Don’t be afraid of repetition! I know, the creative types amongst us will probably recoil at this idea but I really think that’s what has helped build my following. I often repost some of my most liked posts. It helps build familiarity and I know that this is what my audience wants to see.
With over 1 billion users on Instagram, your post will never be shown to the same audience twice. Even though I have posted my green sofa several times over, I still get comments asking me where it’s from and how much people love it.
Step 9 – Keep up to date
Something I probably struggle with is the ever-changing dynamics of Instagram and it is changing at an ever-increasing speed. Instagram is forever trying to compete with all the other popular social media apps out there so will always be changing its framework and we have to keep up to date with the features.
Reels are the feature that is pushed most on the platform. If we want to keep growing, we have to quickly jump on board the new features and trends. I love Reels, it’s a fantastic way to be more creative and show another side to your account.
In fact, I have gained tens of thousands of new followers through my Reels alone so they are 100% worth getting on board with. Stories are also constantly updated with new features such as filters and question boxes added.
To make sure my stories stand out, I often use an Instagram Story Maker to get one step ahead. Here you can create interactive stories for your followers which in turn helps your engagement.
Becoming a successful social media influencer in 2023 requires a blend of authenticity, strategic planning, and adaptability. Start by identifying your niche, something you are passionate about and knowledgeable in, and then create content that adds value to your audience. Engage consistently and genuinely with your followers, as building a loyal community is key.
Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and algorithm changes on various platforms and be ready to adapt your content strategy accordingly. Collaborate with other influencers and brands to expand your reach.
Remember, success in this arena takes time and persistence, so be patient and maintain your unique voice. By combining these elements, you can carve out a strong presence in the ever-evolving world of social media.