It has been over three years since I started documenting my life + journey on Instagram! Three years of becoming an “influencer”. I don’t love the term influencer, but honestly, that is what it boils down to. An influencer is someone with an audience + the ability to impact people.
In three years, I’ve grown my Instagram to over 40,000 followers. It has NOT been easy, but it has been incredibly fun + so exciting. Along the way, I have been asked TONS of questions on how I did this. And I finally wanted to sit down and answer some of these questions!
How did you start?
I get asked this question almost weekly. I actually didn’t mean to become an influencer. It all happened by accident. I bought a camera when my daughter, Gracie was born. I spent every waking minute learning how to use it. I wanted to be sure I got the best photos of Gracie as she grew. After getting really good at photography, I wanted a place to showcase all my photos – and I chose Instagram. That’s where it started. I would tag brands + companies that Gracie was wearing and pretty soon I was getting emails asking if they could send me product in exchange for photos + a post on my instagram!
How many followers did you have when you first got paid?
I only had 5,000 followers when I first got paid by a brand to post on my instagram. Now this is my full time job, along with my digital agency The Graceful Company.
How do you find work?
There are lots of ways to find “gigs”. These days, I get a handful of emails every day asking to collaborate. Not all opportunities are paid ones, so it takes a bit of negotiation. Once you are an established influencer, you can actually pitch to brands on your own. This takes a bit more time, but usually leads to some great partnerships! Another way to find work as an influencer is joining influencer networks.
What are your favorite influencer networks?
I’m sure there are new networks popping up all the time, but I’ll share a few of my favorite. These are websites that you login + can apply for different campaigns.
How do you take good photos?
In order to become an influencer + start making money online, you really have to have great content. I started getting traction on my instagram because my photos were high quality, clear, and branded. My biggest tip for people starting out is to learn photography. There are SO many courses + free trainings out there that you can take to learn this skill. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to become an influencer, but I would recommend you learn the basics. My biggest tips for taking better photos:
+Use natural lighting! So take photos by a window, or take outdoor photos.
+Pay attention to your background. Make sure whatever you are taking a photo of is IN FOCUS and clear. Sometimes the background can be distracting.
+Learn how to edit your photos. This is very important if you want your photos to all have the same look. When I started editing all of my photos the same way, I had a more branded look and feel. Someone could instantly see one of my photos and know it was a Graceful Mommy photo. Brands want to know what to expect when they work with you. They want to know what kind of photo they will be getting in exchange for the partnership. BE CONSISTENT!
How do you create a great feed?
Some people are totally against the whole “curated feed” look, but honestly I have to attribute my growing following to that. Once I started editing my photos with the same filter + editing, my following grew a LOT. People knew what to expect and they grew to love my style. Also, when someone clicks on your profile, if they are WOWed by your feed, they will most likely follow you. I use VSCO to edit my photos + use the filter S2.
Another thing to consider when curating your feed is the aesthetic of it. Mix and match your photos so you don’t have a million of the same thing next to each other. Make the photos interesting to look at. Give people a reason to follow + look more closely at your photos.
How do you get more followers?
Post quality content – meaning, post things that your audience is INTERESTED in! Teach your followers something often, and they will most likely stick around for more!
Engage – start up conversations in your comment section of your posts! Ask your followers questions + answer them back when they take the time to comment. Reach out on other accounts often. Follow people that inspire you. It takes TIME to grow your following. People don’t just follow anyone on Instagram anymore. They follow because they feel like they NEED to follow you or they will miss out on something good. Give people a reason to follow you. Will you be providing fitness tips? Will you be sharing work at home tips? Are you constantly giving your followers something of value? Give people a reason to hit the follow button + you will be growing your following in no time!
DM people back when they go out of their way to ask you something!
Get REPOSTED! I always, always, always, tag companies that show up in my photos. You can’t get reposted if you don’t tag them! And when a big company reposts one of your photos, you get a LOT more exposure + usually more followers (*if they like what they see on your feed!).
How do you stand out?
Everyone and their mom is trying to become an influencer these days. You MUST do something to stand out. My biggest tip is to create a niche for your instagram. Focus on one or two topics and run with it! So, if you want to share fitness tips – make sure most photos you post are in line with that theme.
Do things different. Be creative + don’t copy what other people are doing. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Look back to your most engaged posts + try to figure out what people loved about it. Then, do more of that.
Use your captions to tell stories. Don’t let a caption go to waste – make sure it’s giving value to your followers.
Tips on posting consistently?
First of all, yes! Post consistently. If someone is going to follow you, that means they like your content + captions and want to see more. Give them more + keep the posts coming consistently. My goal is to post once a day. Maybe your goal is three times a week. Whatever you choose, do it consistently. Your followers will begin to expect it! My biggest tip is to plan your content. I’m ALWAYS (I mean, always!!!) taking photos. I’m constantly snapping pics and while not all of them end up on my feed, I usually always have a pool of great content to post. I also use a scheduler + planner so I can map out my posts and make sure they visually look great. Usually, I am 1-2 weeks planned out on my Instagram.
Of course, there is a lot more that goes into this job than what I’ve posted, but I wanted to quickly share a few answers to my most frequently asked questions.
ONE – ON – ONE COACHING
Did you know that I offer one-on-one coaching for those wanting to become an influencer + make money online? Whether you are just starting out or have a foundation already, I can walk you through the things that you are struggling with.
What you receive: You will get personal, undivided attention to discuss all of your social media questions and get a customized strategy that will work for you.
Topics our coaching can include:
How to get paid working with brands
How to make money on Instagram
How to monetize your blog and brand
How to increase traffic to your site and social media
How to improve your content
How to take better photos and videos
Ways to increase engagement
Anything else you are struggling with and need help finding solutions for!
If you are interested in 1:1 coaching, please email me to discuss: firstname.lastname@example.org . Pricing starts at $150.