How To Become An Instagram Influencer

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So you’ve decided to become an Instagram Influencer, but aren’t sure how to get started…

The good news is, I’m here to tell you just how to become an Instagram Influencer!

As I say to all the amazing peeps I’ve helped become influencers over the past few years, you gotta start somewhere right?

According to Sprout Social, social media influencers can be defined as “individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche”.

But building a loyal audience and commanding influence over them is easier said than done, which is why I have put together the perfect (FREE) tool for you.

If you’re ready to make Instagram work for YOU and manifest your new life as an Instagram Influencer, then you’ll love:

How To Become An Instagram Influencer – ‘The Influencer Playbook’

Why ‘The Instagram Influencer Playbook?’

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographic ‘Cover’

There is an overload of information online claiming to hand you the golden ticket to becoming an Instagram Influencer.

In fact, Google ‘how to become an influencer’ and you’ll spend your week reading 166,000 articles written by ‘experts’ on the topic.

What’s the difference between my influencer playbook and other authors’ content providing instructions on how to become an Instagram influencer?

Well, after spending hours and hours (and then more hours), almond latte in hand, matchsticks holding eyelids open, reading online articles, books (and listening to podcasts), I can, with almost 100% certainty, tell you what I’ve found ain’t all that.

Most influencer ‘experts’ are themselves trying to be influencers (and don’t have any more than 1000 Instagram followers); or, they are trying to sell subscriptions to apps or software meant to help you become an influencer.

What you really need is an ad agency that has your back.
Creating influencers and helping them monetize their influence IS OUR JOB!
As the CEO of Hawaii’s leading Digital Marketing Agency, Karizma Marketing, we don’t turn our clients into influencers by copying everybody else’s playbook; We CREATE THE PLAYBOOK!

So far, I’ve kept our Influencer Playbook a tightly guarded secret.
Our team of marketers are sworn to secrecy, never to share the details of my playbook with anyone……..UNTIL NOW!

Everything you need to know to become an influencer is found inside the INFLUENCER PLAYBOOK.

But it doesn’t stop there!
Anyone who knows me knows I won’t start a project unless I can deliver value, which leads me to another aspect most influencer ‘experts’ never discuss (even when it’s the number #1 reason most people want to become influencers in the first place).

In my playbook I talk about MONETIZATION!

What’s monetization? It’s the art of making MONEY from your Instagram account, and this playbook tells you just how to do it.

Can you really make money from Instagram? You betcha!

It’s estimated that In 2020, $8 billion dollars was spent globally on Influencer Marketing. The graph below shows just how much the influencer industry has grown in value since 2015.


© Instagram influencer marketing spending worldwide from 2013 to 2020

As the influencer industry continues to grow, so do the opportunities for people, just like you, to make a living as a full time influencer.

If you’re wondering just how many followers you need on Instagram to start getting paid, head over to Mobile Monkey and check out “How Many Followers Do You Need to Get Paid? 12 Ways to Get Paid on Instagram (Without Millions of Followers)“.

Who is the Instagram Playbook for?

Becoming an Instagram Influencer is not about taking selfies, posting them on Instagram, and tagging a few brands you like. It’s not about waiting for brands to approach you. Becoming an Instagram Influencer takes time, effort, passion and dedication. The playbook is right for you if:

  • ✓    You understand success takes dedication, passion & time
  • ✓    You are determined and persistent
  • ✓    You love engaging with people
  • ✓    You are willing to put yourself out there
  • ✓    You understand it’s not about quick wins but long term gains

Ready to start your influencer journey? Let’s GO!

The Toccara Karizma Instagram Influencer Playbook contains 15 of the very best plays to make sure brands stand up and take notice of your profile. (Make sure to keep reading to the end for your FREE GIFT!)

How to use the Instagram Influencer Playbook

You won’t find just any old tips in random order in my playbook! I love processes, planning, and being organized, and that’s exactly how you’ll find everything laid out for you.

Follow the plays in order, plan where I tell you to plan and keep a checklist of everything you need to do. Staying organized will help you pave a path to influencer success.

Let the work begin!

The Instagram Influencer Playbook

1. Develop Content Pillars

What are content pillars?

Content pillars are topics your brand will consistently discuss, amplify, and create content for on social media.

As an example, if your focus was fitness for women over 40, content pillars could be:

  • Education (‘how to’ and training videos)
  • Promotions
  • Customer journeys
  • Places you train
  • Reviewing gyms/gym equipment
  • Challenges for followers
  • Workout routines

These content pillars form a road map for exactly what content you will post, making your content schedule a lot easier to plan.

(Remember that FREE GIFT I promised? It’s all about your content pillars and will save you so much time! Keep reading…..).

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographic ‘How To Develop Content PIllars’

2. Add Value

It’s fine to post well posed selfies without adding any valuable content, but focusing every post about how pretty you look won’t make you an influencer (the only time this may be an exception is if you are a model trying to get modelling gigs, then it’s ALL about the look.)

Influencers provide something of value to their audience.

Simply posting a few words or emojis will not get you a community of engagers; and this is how influencers are born. It’s all about engagement.

Every time you post, ask yourself this question – Am I adding value?

Post scroll-stopping content that tells a story.
Educate. Provide useful tips. Motivate. Train. Inspire.

Your audience will remember you by how you make them ‘feel’.

Make a difference.

Add value.

3. Build a community by creating and engaging in conversations

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographic ‘Build a Community’

Build your following by engaging with them.

Often I see brands posting content, getting comments, and not responding to any → insert “grrrrr” emoji 😡 .

I guarantee that over time there will be less and less comments, until finally that brand no longer grows their following.

You need to like and respond to profiles who engage with you.

Send private DMs welcoming them to your page.

Tell them one thing you like about their profile.

Post polls and questions regularly in your stories to get them to engage with you.

I promise, if you hop on over to Instagram and comment on my most recent post, I will DEFINITELY engage with you.

Engaging with your followers is the number one way to build a community and trust.

4. Go Live

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographic ‘Go Live’

Talk to your followers!

You know what makes a great influencer? Someone who is real. Someone a community of like-minded people can relate to. Online access to you personalizes your profile and helps your followers feel connected. More importantly, it keeps them coming back and continuing to engage with you; keeping your brand alive.

Ideas that work beautifully for our influencers are inviting people from their community to be interviewed online, training sessions, inviting other influencers and brands to go live with them, Q & A’s, and ‘get to know you’ sessions.

By talking directly with your followers you grow a thriving fan base, and that’s when the brands come knocking at your door.

5. Commit to a Schedule

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographic ‘Commit to a Schedule’

This is where we go back to our content pillars.

All successful influencers map out a strategic content schedule, planning what they will post and when.

Ask yourself, “What is my goal?”, then stick to it. Hold yourself accountable.

From posts in feed, to stories, reels and IGTV, refer back to your content pillars, create a schedule (or, as we refer to it, a ‘Content Calendar’), and commit to that schedule.

And guess what? Part of your FREE GIFT includes your very own CONTENT CALENDAR!

As you get busier, posting content individually often becomes a headache, this is where a process called ‘batching’ comes in. Batching is when you upload all of your planned content into a scheduling tool that automatically posts your content on your chosen days and times.

There are lots of free scheduling tools available to pre-schedule your social posts affordably and with ease. Below is a list of my favorites:

6. Write a Scroll-Stopping Bio

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographic ‘Write a Scroll Stopping Bio’

Something I make sure all my influencers do is to make it easy for their community to connect with them in multiple ways. The way to do this is by using an Instagram link tool. These tools place a link in your bio that will send your followers to articles, other social media profiles, website landing pages, promotional landing pages and so much more.

Any of the following link tools works like a charm and have free options:

For the tech-savvy Influencer (or those with access to a web developer), I urge you to create a mobile-specific Instagram landing page on your website. This cuts out the tools, sending the traffic straight to your website, which can help with remarketing later on.

For example, if you do this on your website, the link would be something like:

https://www.[INSERT YOUR WEBSITE NAME HERE]/instagram

7. Ask your Community to Take the Next Step

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographics ‘Take The Next Step’ & ‘Check Your Insights’

8. Check your Insights & Analytics (regularly!)

How will you know that what you are posting aligns with the type of followers you are trying to attract? By checking your insights and analytics.

Insights and analytics give us the facts. Who follows us, how many people did x, y, and z, which posts were most popular, how many views our videos got, and more. The list goes on and on…

How do you access this information? With an Instagram business account you will have access to Instagram Insights, a free tool providing insights into your profile’s performance.

Learning to read this data helps ensure your content improves and, more importantly, aligns perfectly with the image you want to portray as an Instagram Influencer.

Understanding what content performs best will ensure you produce more of it and continue to expand your affinity and influence over your audience.

9. Invite Others

Invite larger brands and influencers onto your Instagram to expand your network, grow your following from their following, and offer value to your followers.

By interviewing or co-partnering with someone or some brand bigger than you, the opportunity instantly presents itself for you to leverage yourself in front of their (larger) audience, delivering instant credibility.

When contacting other influencers and brands to partner up with, ensure you provide value. Offer to run paid ads, email your database, or promote the partner brands products or services to your own community. Remember, you will have to convince them how it benefits them to partner with a smaller brand, and you can do this by adding value in other ways outside the size of your audience or email list.

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographics ‘Invite Others’ & ‘Define Your Niche and Audience’

10. Define your Niche and Audience

What is your niche? Your talent? Your expertise? Your thing? No one person can promote everything or cover every topic, and if they tried, they would fail.

A niche can be defined as a ‘specialized segment of the market that appeals to a certain segment of the population’.

Once you know your niche, you will then be able to define and understand the audience you are trying to reach.

By planning ahead you will know what types of brand partnerships, products and services you want to monetize through your Instagram account, therefore before posting any content, ask yourself, “Does this speak to my audience?” Ensure all content is consistent with your brand, niche, and audience and aligns with your future monetization goals for your Instagram account.

11. #Hashtag Research

Nowhere are hashtags more powerful than Instagram. People follow hashtags as much as they follow profiles, so getting your hashtags right will help build your profile at lightning speed.

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographic ‘Do Hashtag Research’

Instagram gives us 30 free hashtags, you should use them all. Make sure the hashtags you choose are specific to your niche.

For hashtag research you can use free tools such as ritetag and hashtagifyme or just head on over to Instagram and do your own research.

Another helpful tip is to follow very niche hashtags that you can engage with regularly by liking posts and leaving thoughtful comments on the profiles using those hashtags.

Finally, engage immediately after posting with the most recent posts using the same hashtags you used since they are likely to be active right after they post and respond back.

I use a unique tiered approach to my hashtag strategy and can recommend using this breakdown for your 30 hashtags:

  1. 10 hashtags: Under 100k posts
  2. 10 hashtags: Between 100K and 250K posts
  3. 10 hashtags: Between 250K and 1M posts

It’s not an exact science, but it works. The most important thing is to continue to test your hashtag strategy. Don’t use the same 30 hashtags over and over again. Make sure the hashtags you are using are relevant to your post and cover a wide variety of themes.

12. Tag Brands in your Posts (when appropriate)

Tagging other businesses in your posts is a great way to get seen by other large brands, but you should only do this when appropriate.

For example, if you are a makeup influencer, and you are doing an eyeshadow tutorial using MAC makeup, you’ll want to tag @maccosmetics in your post, along with the eyeshadow palette you are using. By doing this, you are placing yourself on their radar to partner with or post on their profile as UGC (user-generated content).

You’ll also want to research if the brands you want to be featured on or partner with ask followers to use a specific hashtag to be featured on their feed. Being featured on the feed of a brand like MAC cosmetics, with a following of 24 million, can definitely increase your following quickly, along with giving you leverage to negotiate other large brand deals and partnerships.

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographic ‘Tag Brands in your Posts’

13. Tag your location

Tagging your location in your Instagram posts is a powerful and easy strategy that is often overlooked.

This will provide you with local networking opportunities and social proof. You will be surprised at the number of local businesses looking for someone just like you to help increase their Instagram profile. It is also common for local businesses to follow local hashtags and take a heightened interest in other profiles using the same hashtag, so it can be a great strategy for an Influencer or business that would like to gain influence and followers within their local community.

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographics ‘Tag your Location’ & ”Never Buy Followers’

14. Never Buy Followers

Never ever, ever buy followers. EVER.
This will destroy your engagement, hurt any future ad campaigns or brand partnerships targeting your followers, and just looks bad.

Brands and businesses will check you out before approaching you to endorse them. Tools such as Social Blade make it simple to check an Instagram profile for fake followers. So just don’t do it. It’s not a shortcut, it’s a fail. An epic one.

The old term “quality over quantity” can’t be more true when it comes to your social following. It’s better to have 1,000 engaged followers than 10,000 unengaged followers.

15. Invest in your Education

Most well-known social media marketers and influencers will tell you it took them 5 – 10 years to be considered top of their game.

© Toccara Karizma – Instagram Influencer Playbook Infographic ‘Invest in your Education’

To think you can dive straight in and become an influencer or social media marketing genius in a month or two unfortunately won’t see you get far.

My advice? Invest in an Instagram marketing course to help skyrocket your Instagram Influence in a fraction of the time it would take you to build it organically.

If you’re interested in a paid ads course where you learn how to run ads on Facebook and Instagram, Social Savvy is a great option.

If you are interested in a course to grow Instagram followers organically, Ready, Set, Gram by Sue B. Zimmerman or Social Club by Brooke Vulinovich may be a good option.


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