7 Habits of Highly Effective Instagram Influencers
Despite what you may have read or heard about Instagram influencers, they are not this “secret society” of people who aim to keep their keys to success hidden from the rest of the world.
They are ordinary human beings just like me and you who have their own goals and ambitions, fears and desires, strengths and insecurities.
The only thing that stops you from becoming like them is not consistently executing on the fundamental habits these influencers have ingrained into their daily routines.
You might be wondering what it means to be a “successful” influencer, so here are a few key metrics that most people agree are part of anybody who’s rocking the social media game:
- They have managed to turn their social media platform into a top (if not primary) source of traffic, leads, and sales.
- They experience a fast yet consistent pace of growth, usually on their way towards the 7-figure following mark and the six-figure income bracket.
- They have access to numerous monetization options for their brand (although they choose to stick to the few that end up generating the most money).
The bad news may be that you aren’t an influencer yet, but the good news is that you CAN become a highly profitable Instagram influencer.
All you have to do is simply model what has worked for people who receive insanely high levels of engagement and manage to amass a large base of loyal customers.
You’re in good luck, because there have been enough successes on Instagram and people like me have been able to pick them apart.
In fact, I’ve personally done a ton of research on the 7 habits that have been repeated by every single Instagram influencer who’s achieved real success on the platform.
If you take nothing else away from this article, here’s what you need to know the most about any Instagram influencer who is consistently successful:
Nothing that they do or feature is an accident.
And that’s the raw truth. Every single thing, down to the smallest detail, is specifically optimized to achieve their business goals at the highest levels possible.
Their profile page has been re-written numerous times to get the largest gains in followers and the most clicks on any link they feature on their bio. It is their first and possibly last chance to turn new visitors into loyal followers within a tight 5-second window.
Their choice of photo and caption are all engineered to ensure that every single post gets high levels of engagement.
The decision as to who they will associate with (or not) is made on the basis of doing good business. They will not partner with anybody who they feel will hurt their brand or deviate significantly from the core message they wish to deliver to their audience.
With that important detail in mind, let’s examine the 7 habits of highly effective Instagram influencers!
Habit #1: Visuals, Visuals, Visuals
If you want to succeed on Instagram, every single picture you publish to your page MUST be very crisp and high-quality.
Like it or not, Instagram is a platform that thrives entirely on high-resolution pictures that capture your attention and get you to take some kind of action.
Every single account that I have seen will post nothing less than high-definition content. It’s the very first step to establishing yourself as an authentic, high-end brand to your audience.
This is true whether you are making your own pictures or making them from scratch using special software.
It’s science! Humans, by their very nature, are able to process and remember far more information when presented visually.
According to Social Media Today, visuals are vital for becoming a successful online marketer regardless of the platform you use.
Not only does visual content help you grow traffic 12% faster compared to not using it, but visual content is used by marketers (74%) far more than blogs (68%) and videos (60%).
Try not to get overwhelmed! We’re still talking about the bare minimum standard here. 😉
Habit #2: Always Be Posting
In the famous movie “Glengarry Ross,” a very wealthy and powerful executive gave a 7-minute speech to a small group of broke salesmen who were on the verge of being fired.
Everybody and anybody who works in sales will be able to recite the entire speech without even thinking about it.
But the one line that always gets people is the classic ABC: Always Be Closing.
In the case of Instagram, you need to follow ABP: Always Be Posting.
In the absolute worst-case scenario, you need to be posting at least ONCE a day.
While it’s true that there are a few exceptions to the rule, and some influencers do post once every few days (think A-list celebrities), the overwhelming majority of successful Instagram influencers are posting and engaging with their audience several times a day.
And not only are they posting every day, they are unwaveringly consistent in their posting. They’ll usually end up posting up at the same times every day so that their audience is trained to expect their content at a certain time.
It’s a sure-fire way towards getting ridiculously high follower counts and levels of engagement that allow you to command top-tier prices from brands and companies who want to sponsor you.
The Instagram world does not reward silence and timidity. It rewards the leaders, the risk takers, and those who are brave enough to publish compelling content and take a stand for what they believe in.
Just know that if you ever do fall off the wagon of consistency, it will take WAY more work for you to catch up to the engagement rates you were previously getting.
One more important note: You need to be posting QUALITY content!
In other words, it’s not enough to be merely present on Instagram. You need to be providing your audience with high-quality content that inspires people and makes them WANT to engage with you.
I hate to break it to you, but you are not one of the Kardashians. You do not have the privilege of merely posting whatever you want and receiving millions of likes.
You are going to have to put serious effort into creating content that is both entertaining and informative. You need to figure out what your audience deems valuable and useful.
Always focus on the value that you can give to your audience, whether you have less than 100 followers or a million.
Habit #3: YOU CANNOT MARKET TO EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING
One of the most important things I advise Instagram newcomers to do is to niche down before they get started.
In case you don’t already know, there are HUNDREDS of millions of daily active users on Instagram. These are real human beings who have their own individual likes and dislikes.
Yes, there may be those people who are merely there to see gorgeous women and men in scantily clad clothing. But there are also people who are there to be inspired by those who are successful at their passions.
You need to get crystal clear about what niche you are going to dominate, and the nature of the target market that your brand will cater to.
For instance, your target market might be older male fitness enthusiasts aged 34-55 who are interested in making a serious health change to their lives.
Here’s what that means for you:
- Your audience is going to have a specific set of likes and dislikes. Certain types of content will resonate with them and other types of content will repel them away.
- That also means your photos and captions have to be written in a way that caters to what motivates and inspires your audience.
- Following this logic, they are more likely to buy certain products and services.
- Continuing this train of thought even further, you will also end up brushing aside people who are not enthusiastic about your niche or what you have to offer.
The last bullet point, despite conventional knowledge, is what your end goal should be: Attracting everybody who loves you and distance yourself from everybody who hates you.
You want followers who are highly engaged with your content, as these are the same people who are most likely going to buy anything that you sell to them.
If that means you take a hit in your follower size, great!
It’s much better to have 1,000 true fans who will stick by your side no matter what, than a dead audience of 100,000 people who wouldn’t pay you a penny.
Once you discover your niche and you start to build your audience around it, STICK WITH IT! Too many people make the mistake of trying to completely change who they are after, having already established a reputation, and they end up losing the trust of people who used to follow them.
I’ll leave you with one more small tip: ENGAGE with your audience.
Yes, that means that you are going to have to respond to comments left by your fans, even going out of your way to leave a like or comment on one of their pictures. You may even follow them!
(BTW…it wouldn’t hurt if you repeated the same actions for people who aren’t currently following you)
When you personally interact with your audience, they feel like somebody is listening to them and truly committed to meeting their needs.
It’s one of those seemingly little things in life that can move mountains and help you achieve phenomenal growth.
Habit #4: Test, Tweak & Optimize Like Your Life Literally Depends on It
No matter how good you get, there is always a higher level that you can reach. Never think that you are too good to improve a regular process that contributes towards your success on Instagram.
While there are thousands of ways to optimize your Instagram marketing activities, here are a few ideas that you can use to get started:
- What metrics am I aiming to improve?
- Engagement (likes, followers, comments) in relation to my follower count?
- The number of clicks on a certain link?
- The number of email subscribers?
- The number of sales made over a 24-hour period?
- Is there a certain time of the day where posting will help me improve one of the metrics mentioned above?
- Is there a certain type of content (inspirational, asking a question, featuring a product, etc.) that helps me improve one of the metrics mentioned above?
- Is there a certain type of content that leads to the WORST results and can be removed without any negative outcome?
- Are my photos A+ while my captions are a straight-up F-? Could it possibly be the other way around?
- Do certain types of fonts, backgrounds, and colors lead to better results with any of the metrics mentioned above in comparison to others?
- Are certain monetization options better for my page than others? Do 1-3 of my options lead to 80% or more of my revenue?
Due to the fact that things move incredibly fast on Instagram, you’ll be able to run multiple A/B tests in a much shorter period of time (compared to other platforms).
You’ll immediately get a good sense of what works and what doesn’t, which will allow you to stay accountable to your goals and continuously get better at growing your following and bottom line.
Since Instagram launched a couple of years ago, there are several free and paid tools that you can use to monitor relevant analytics on your page (such as GetIGData.com).
You can instantly get the most relevant information you need, see what works and what doesn’t work, and make rapid adjustments to your marketing strategy.
Habit #5: Systematize Your Success
Congratulations! You’ve spent a lot of money and time figuring out what works best for growing your presence on Instagram and monetizing your brand.
You’re consistently measuring the metrics that are important to your social media business and you know exactly what to look for.
But now it’s time to end the 80-hour work week hustles and start returning to a saner work week that is far less stressful and time consuming.
With the information that you’ve amassed to date, now you need to get serious about systematizing your Instagram strategy.
Using some of the metrics previously mentioned, here’s what a sample system may look like:
- I know for a fact that I get the highest levels of engagement on average if I am consistently posting 2 to 4 times a day
- I have selected and curated a list of pages in my niche that get the highest engagement in relation to their follower count. I can model them whenever I am struggling to achieve the growth I am looking for.
- I also know that I achieve the metrics I’m looking for when I space my posts roughly 3.5 hours apart from each other.
From that, there are certain times of the day that simply work better than others for getting more engagement.
- I have found a small set of backgrounds and fonts that receive the most engagement from my audience
- There are certain types of content that I have seen resonate the most with my followers. In particular, inspirational quotes do better than posts asking personal questions.
- There is a particular writing style that I use for my captions which allows me to get more engagement, assuming everything else is equal
- I noticed one time that when I posted nothing but the same kind of content for a week straight, my engagement levels dropped. I need to add some variety within the week to keep things fresh and provide my target market with original content.
- I have scheduled a certain number of times each month where I will deliberately A/B test certain variables to strike a healthy balance between over-testing and under-testing.
- A few select influencers get me more results when I run paid shoutouts with them in comparison to others. Whenever I need to get additional traffic to my page (or link), I know the people to contact and I have established business relationships with them.
- I have come up with an efficient, effortless process for content creation and optimization. I have sources to draw inspiration from, software that helps me easily create high-quality visuals, a scheduling program that MANUALLY reminds me to post my pre-made posts at certain times, and tracking apps that help me stay on top of important marketing analytics.
This list is extensively long and you may feel overwhelmed by the need to test every single variable at once. DON’T!
The most important part is that you are on the righteous path towards turning your Instagram business into a repeatable, proven process that you can follow without having to exert a ton of mental effort.
Habit #6: Professionalism = Persuasion
The fastest way to build yourself up as a trusted authority in your niche (and avoid any kind of shadowbanning by Instagram) is to be a good human being who maintains high standards of professionalism.
There is a big difference between repelling people away because your niche isn’t right for them, and repelling people away because you’re saying nasty things towards your followers and other Influencers.
You might not know exactly how to be compelling without being offensive, which is why the good folks at HubSpot and Iconosquare have got you covered.
In their free eBook “How to Use Instagram For Business,” they provide an extremely helpful framework on dealing with fans and trolls on your Instagram page:
There’s that old Warren Buffet quote which says “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
And it’s especially true when it comes to being an Instagram influencer.
The Internet is rife with examples of people who had it all and then lost everything because of one bad lapse of judgment that went public.
When it comes to your audience, transparency and authenticity are essential qualities to live out. People want to see that you are a real human being who can handle themselves with grace and speak in an honest manner.
As for working with other influencers and brands, your word is your bond. People will not work with you if you are not the type of person who does what they say they are going to do (and WHEN they promise to do it).
Likewise, it’s important to recognize that time and generosity are valuable for many people. People love working with others who respect how busy they are, and are willing to selflessly contribute towards their well-being.
Who would have ever thought that the rules for succeeding in the workplace apply so well towards becoming a successful Instagram influencer?
This leads me to the final habit…
Habit #7: Relationships Are the Lifeblood of Your Business
I can promise you that you will not be able to become a successful influencer all by yourself.
In order for you to grow your network and build your brand, you need to collaborate with other influencers while helping out those who are below you with regards to influence and follower count.
You will need to be proactive in seeking out opportunities and building relationships where you have a service-oriented mindset towards the other individual.
The influencers who came before you got their start by collaborating with other influencers that were both bigger and smaller than they are.
No matter how big or small your niche is, word will always travel fast whether it’s good or bad.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to be a good human being who is useful and loving towards other people.
And if you ever get insecure about the possibility of somebody taking your slice of the influencer pie, just remember that there is room for EVERYONE to succeed.
One influencer’s success in your niche does not take away your ability to become successful. Sure, there is friendly competition, but there is never any good reason to be fearful of a fellow influencer (especially when they can be your golden ticket).
And That’s Really All It Takes!
Every single new Internet phenomenon has lowered the skill and knowledge barriers for people who have a legitimate interest in making money online and building a brand.
Instagram just so happens to be one of the most prominent pieces of proof for the idea that anybody can use their experience and knowledge to become a successful Instagram influencer.
The tools that you need to succeed are mostly free or low-cost, your audience already exists on the platform, and all of the information you could ever need is available at your fingertips.
There has never been a better time to become an Instagram influencer, and all of the habits you need, have been laid out in this article.
But now it’s time to show up every single day and consistently put in the hard work needed to succeed.
Except that this time, rather than spin your wheels on the things that don’t work, all you have to do is focus on the vital few things that actually do work. 😉