Earning the coveted blue check is only half the battle; now the real work begins.
There's no denying the vast amount of leverage social media influencers have in today's world. If you're in a position to label yourself as an influencer – whether you're a growing brand or someone with marketing finesse or celebrity status – you have a great opportunity to reach a huge audience.
But are you making the most of that opportunity? Are you giving your thousands (or millions) of followers the type of content they desire – the content that provides value while simultaneously helping you grow your own brand?
For verified influencers, the following tips are a surefire way to get the most out of your Instagram efforts.
1. Develop your unique voice.
Personal branding is essential for influencers who wish to stand out from the crowd. After all, there are seemingly endless fashion influencers, travel photographers and influencers in other niches on Instagram, many of whom are competing for similar audiences.
Because of this, developing a distinct personal brand is one of the best ways to engage with your audience. Other influencers may have similar credentials, but by finding a unique way to position yourself, you'll create memorable posts that establish you as a true Instagram influencer. The type of photos you take, how you choose to caption your content and the stories you tell all play into the development of your voice.
As far as influential companies are concerned, few have had greater success on Instagram than Nike. This post featuring Rafael Nadal is just one of many examples where Nike associates its brand with championship athletics. From highlighting athletes who overcame seemingly impossible odds to showcasing world-record runs, this consistent brand voice tells an engaging story that has resulted in a massive Instagram following.
2. Show your personal side.
Instagram audiences don't just want to see the business side of things in our interconnected world – they also want to learn more about the people behind the photos. As with developing your own unique voice, showing your personal side is a great way to form a stronger connection with your audience.
Tarek El Moussa, co-host of HGTV's "Flip or Flop" and co-founder of Success Path, regularly gives his followers a glimpse into his personal life. For example, in this post he showcases his family's celebrations for his daughter's seventh birthday. While he also regularly includes posts related to his professional life, the personal stories often receive the highest engagement.
Showcasing your personal side can play a key role in shaping your brand personality. While you obviously shouldn't document every aspect of your life, highlighting the right moments will help followers form a personal connection that keeps them loyal to your content.
3. Sponsored posts? Keep them authentic.
A big part of Instagram influencer marketing is the proliferation of sponsored posts. While there have been countless articles written from the marketer's perspective on how to get more out of sponsored posts, influencers should take a few things into consideration when deciding whether to accept a sponsorship opportunity.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when doing a sponsored post is whether the particular sponsorship is true to your brand. When the average going rate for a sponsored post on Instagram is $1,000 per 100,000 followers, some influencers might be tempted to accept any opportunity that comes their way. However, an influx of posts that don't match your personal branding will ultimately cause you to lose followers.
The most successful influencers understand this. For example, Jack Morris, whose popular Instagram account claims 2.7 million followers, regularly does sponsored posts, but they are all related to his personal brand of worldwide travel (such as this post for Visit Montana). On-brand sponsorships earn money without annoying followers.
4. Consistency is key.
When it comes to Instagram, quality is definitely more important than quantity. However, this doesn't mean that you can go for months or even weeks without posting. To keep your audience engaged and fully maintain your status as an influencer, you need to find the proper balance so you provide your followers with regular updates without compromising quality.
For example, popular luxury lifestyle brand Goodlife typically posts on Instagram once or twice a day. Consistent, quality posts like this ensure consistent engagement with the audience. While there are occasional longer gaps between posts, they are never long enough for the audience to lose interest in the account.
While you might not have the capacity to upload new content every day, you should strive for at least one quality post per week. For best results, let your audience know when they can expect to see your latest posts. If your followers know when to expect new content from you, you'll achieve much higher levels of engagement than if you only post sporadically.
Becoming a true influencer
The Instagram influencers who achieve lasting success don't just shamelessly promote their own product (or those of others). Rather, they use their platform as a way of sharing who they are and giving their followers authentic, original content.
As you strive to be true to yourself on Instagram, you'll ultimately get more out of your influencer account than you ever would otherwise.