A user who holds considerable sway over their followers on Instagram is deemed to be an influencer. There is a common perception that those who have a substantial following are by default an influencer. This is an incorrect understanding of the term and its classification. Not every user on Instagram who has a sizeable following can be an influencer. There are other essential factors. Hence, how to become an influencer on Instagram is not just about increasing your following.

Substantial Following is the Foundation

While following is not the only benchmark to become an influencer, it does provide the foundation as a large number of followers is the first eligibility criterion. At the core of how to become an influencer on Instagram lays a pursuit of at least a few thousand followers. There are varying opinions about this. Celebrities with millions of followers are natural influencers. But that kind of following is not possible for any and sundry. Some experts say that ten thousand followers is a sufficient foundation. Some are more lenient and accept five thousand followers as sufficient for a user to become an influencer.

The jury is still out on how many followers you need to become an influencer on Instagram. Anything over ten thousand is certainly acceptable by most companies. Tens of thousands would most definitely qualify a user as an influencer. Those with a few thousand followers, usually less than five thousand, must improve their exposure and outreach. Thus, the first step of how to become an influencer on Instagram should be a target of attaining ten thousand followers.

Engagement is the Key

The reason why following is not the sole factor to determine the qualification of a user as an influencer is the importance of engagement. An Instagram user may have ten thousand followers, but their following may not be as engaged. Their posts may not generate much buzz. The followers may remain largely quiet, the interaction may be sporadic or almost null, there might be limited sharing of the posts on such a profile and an expected conversation could be lacking. Such users, despite having sufficient followers, are not deemed to be influencers.

For an Instagram user with a substantial following to become an influencer, their posts must generate sufficient traction, there should be likes and comments, shares and a conversation must ensue. Only then can the profile be considered to be effective as an influencer. The basic objective of influencer marketing is to engage people, to spread the word among the followers, to initiate a conversation and eventually to improve the bottom line of a company, product or service. The bottom line could be branding, marketing or outright sales.

Retaining the Popularity and Growing

Instagram users gain followers, lose some and there are phases when the following plateaus. Users who do not gain many followers, despite being far short of the expected saturation point of their following, would not be considered as powerful influencers. Likewise, those who lose followers for some reason over a period of time will also not be considered as reliable influencers. It is imperative for a user to retain their popularity and to keep growing. The growth does not have to be sharp spikes in following. There can be a sustained growth over several months, and years.

The most effective influencers on Instagram are not only able to retain their popularity, but they keep growing their following as well. They do this in a multipronged way. Their contents keep engaging the followers. Their conversations generate a buzz and bring in many participants. They get organic shoutouts and paid endorsements to have a sustained balance. Their personality and the way they use the platform encourage more people to follow them.

The Ripple Effect of Popularity and Engagement

How to become an influencer on Instagram is all about engaging and interacting with the followers, and using the popularity to induce ripple effects. If a user can get some of their followers to click on links, comment on posts, check out products and services, perhaps leading to sales or signing up in some instances, then the ripple effect is tangible and such profiles would always be the top priority for influencer marketing.

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