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How to Become an Instagram Model or Influencer and Get Paid

Do you want to make money and fame being an Instagram model? If YES, here is a complete guide on how to become an Instagram model or influencer and get paid. Instagram is a free mobile photo and video sharing app that has millions of users. However, as time has gone by, Instagram has evolved to be much more than a photo sharing platform. A lot of people do not know or they underrate the power of Instagram.

Why Become a Model or Influencer on Instagram?

With a monthly usage in the excess of 800 million people, Instagram is a very powerful tool if well harnessed. One of the lucrative online businesses you can start on Instagram is to be an influencer. Instagram influencers are fellow users who, due to the virtue of their fame, popularity, trustworthiness and originality are able to persuade other users to take an action. To be able to achieve this, they take their time to become “gurus” in a particular niche.

Popular Instagram influencer, Rachel Brathen, is known to charge upwards of $25,000 for just one Instagram post. And there are a lot of individuals just like Rachel who are able to rake in a sizable income by just being instagram influencers.

The reason why brands are willing to spend so much on influencers is not farfetched. Instagram is a powerful platform that carries massive value for brands. With millions of active users on Instagram, brands know that their potential customers are already available on Instagram, all they have to do is to appeal to them the proper way.

A lot people will prefer to buy something when it has been tested and recommended by a real individual. In fact, a study that was carried out by Olapic found out that 49 percent of consumers were more likely to purchase, if the product was endorsed by a real individual. Similarly, Influence Central found that customers ranked Instagram influencers as the sixth most effective at influencing their purchases.

The growing popularity of Instagram influencers and models may have made you consider becoming one too. After all, who doesn’t want to be rich, successful and influential? If you would like to become a successful Instagram model or influencer and get paid, here is how you can proceed.

How to Become an Instagram Model or Influencer and Get Paid

1. Choose a Niche You’re Passionate About

The very first step towards becoming an Instagram influencer is to first choose a niche that is in line with your personality. Ideally, the niche you should go for should be one that you have great passion, knowledge and interest for. You shouldn’t just go for a niche simply because other people are doing it or because you perceive that it is profitable. The fact that a niche is profitable for others does not necessarily mean that the same will apply to you.

There are several niches you can choose from such as health and fitness, DIY arts and crafts, food and cuisines, fashion et al. It is also very possible to make your niche to be a combination of different things. However, you should make sure that you don’t just post random, unrelated things. Your Instagram posts should reflect whatever truly interests you and not some random stuff.

2. Get a Business Account

In order to be a successful Instagram influencer or model, you will need to be business minded. Nothing does a better job of doing this than having a business account. One of the main benefits of having a business account is the access to insights. When using Instagram Insights, you will be able to see your followers demographics in addition to the posts that are getting better engagement.

You will also be able to see the days and times which give you the best engagement. You will need to know what you follower demographics are because it s a very vital information for pitching to brands for collaboration. Another key importance of having an Instagram business account is the ability to run ads. You can promote one of your posts if you want, in order to get some additional engagement.

3. Write an Effective Instagram Bio

The next step to becoming an Instagram influencer or model is to create an outstanding bio. An instagram bio can only consist of 150 characters, so you have to make the best out of it. Think of it like an elevator pitch of your whole account. It introduces your brand to followers who don’t know who you are and what you do.

If you don’t have a clear and concise bio, customers probably won’t follow your brand. After all, would you trust an influencer who can’t even get their introduction right? Probably not! Here are some tips for writing a good Instagram bio.

  • Ask yourself what you would normally say if you are introducing yourself at a networking event. Asking this question will help you determine the details you should include in your bio.
  • Make use of keywords: List the relevant keywords you use to describe yourself and your brand. Once you know the obvious keywords that are relevant to your brand, you’ll be able to describe who you are and what you do. And, your followers will feel confident that they’re following the right profile.
  • If you have a website your bio is the best place to insert the link.

4. Share Your Stories

Becoming an Instagram influencer or model goes far beyond just sharing pictures on your timeline. The captions that go along with those photos are as important as the photos themselves. Use them to tell your stories and connect with your followers on an emotional level. Give them a reason to trust you, follow you, and engage with you

You should bear in mind that even though you would like to engage your followers, this does not mean that you have to be insincere. People can easily see through this façade. Instead, share your personal stories in a way that your audience finds interesting yet authentic.

5. Make Your Instafeed Appealing

This is one of the pre-requisites if you are trying to become an Instagram influencer or model. Not only should each of your photos be visually-appealing, but they should also adhere to an overall theme. This means that all of your photos in the feed should look good against one another.

Many Instagram influencers follow a particular style of editing their photos so that the color or composition is uniform. You can use tools like VSCO or Lightroom to edit your photos or just the built-in filters in Instagram. But make sure that your photos are taken in high-resolution and with plenty of light to make them look really good.

6. Post Content consistently

In order to succeed as an Instagram influencer or model, you must post content consistently. A lot of influencers and models on Instagram post content on a daily basis. However, some of them post a few times in a day or even a few times in a week. Research has proven that an increase in your content posting frequency can boost engagement rates. However, when you decide what your posting schedule needs to be, make sure that you choose wisely.

This is because it needs to be something you can stick to. Starting out with posting 20 contents at first can burn you out and can quickly become unsustainable as time goes on. If you find sticking to a schedule difficult, you can schedule your posts with tools like Buffer, Planoly, Preview, or Ripl. These platforms allow you to create your content in advance and set the dates and times for posting. So you don’t need to do it yourself, but your content gets posted automatically.

7. Create High-Quality Instagram Posts

This is not as simple as it sounds. The quality of the content you put out there will determine if people like, comment on your posts and follow your account. The truth still remains that no one will appreciate a burly selfie or a dimly lit fashion picture. However, if you share high-quality images that inspire, educate or entertain people, they will be more likely to stick around, like and comment on the post.

If you have the success of your account in mind, then you should have a high quality Smartphone camera or a DSLR camera, and spend time taking photos that have a solid composition, good lighting and are in focus in all the right places.

Having quality images makes all the difference on Instagram. Brands are looking for the best of the best to accurately represent their products, services and locations. Because of this, they’re not likely to work with someone who struggles to capture quality images so you definitely need to make this a priority!

8. Choose the Right Hashtags

If you want to be an influencer, then you need to know how to use hashtags properly. Hashtags are really important in boosting the reach of your content and it has been found out that posts with hashtags gain 12.6% more engagement.

If you’re in the fitness niche, the #fitness can get your profile found by users who want to get skincare advice. Without it, they won’t able to search for your post, even if they scroll down all day. Hashtags can be:

  • Community-specific
  • Location-specific
  • Lifestyle specific
  • Brand specific
  • Challenge-or contest-specific
  • Campaign-specific
  • Event-specific
  • Subject-specific
  • Product specific

Each post your create should have 5 to 30 hashtags. Some experts found that 11 hashtags per post is a good amount to target. You should bear in mind that if you should exceed 30 hashtags in one post, Instagram won’t let you comment in it. So, you want to avoid placing too many hashtags.

In order to find the appropriate hashtags to use, you can type a hashtag related to your post in the search bar. For example, if you’re posting about skincare, try the #skincare. You’ll then find suggestions on Instagram’s search bar. You can also find the right hashtags from the posts of other influencers or brands.

To measure the performance of the hashtags you are using, you can make use of Instagram insights. This way, you can determine which hashtags can best help you increase your reach.

9. Leverage Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are really popular right now. A lot more people are viewing and using it themselves. As a matter of fact, more than 200 million Instagram users use them on a daily basis. This makes them a perfect weapon to grow more followers and gain visibility.

Even people who aren’t your followers, can discover you from Stories. By adding hashtags or location to Stories, you can be discovered by more people. And if you have 10,000+ followers, you can include an outbound link using a “swipe up” option on Stories.

You can even tag others on your Stories and give a shout out to other accounts. This is not only a great way of building relationships but also growing your following. Because those accounts are likely to return the favor too. And this means you get more visibility.

10. Engage your followers meaningfully

The concept of social media involves people and how you you engage with them. In order to grow as an Instagram model or influencer, you should know how to engage your followers meaningfully. When someone comments on your photos, make sure that you reply to them. Also, return the favor by liking and commenting on their content.

You should include a call to action in your caption as this helps to improve engagements. In addition, post at a time you’re likely to get maximum engagement (this you can find out when using Instagram insight from your business account).

Hosting giveaways and contests is also another good idea that will help you to increase engagement. Also don’t forget to follow similar accounts and engage with their content. You can use the “Explore” option on Instagram to find content that you can engage with. Also, you now have the option of following hashtags so that relevant content shows up in your feed.

11. Tag Relevant Brands and Contact them

Becoming an Instagram influencer comes in two stages. First, you will need to grow your number of followers organically. Next, and probably more important for some, is to make money as an influencer. As soon as you are able to grow you Instagram account to have over one thousand followers and can boast of a decent engagement, you can start your outreach.

The easiest way to do this is to tag relevant brands on your photos to put yourself on their radar. Sometimes brands even feature such photos on their Instagram account giving you greater visibility. You can also send direct messages to brands you think will be relevant to your niche, especially if you have seen them collaborate with other influencers like you. Work on a pitch that talks about why you are reaching out and what you can offer them.

You should also join platforms like Grin, InsightPool, HYPR, InfluencerBay, TRIBE, and TapInfluence to find and connect with relevant brands. Some of these platforms need you to have a certain number of followers to be able to participate in their campaigns.

12. Collaborate With Other Influencers

Even though it is very possible to build your Instagram account all by yourself, however, you will find out that the process of growing your Instagram account will be a lot faster and easier if you collaborate with others. You’ll also be able to network within your niche and come across opportunities you may not have heard of otherwise.

In order to collaborate with others, you can start by spending some time going through your favorite hashtags and finding similar accounts. Engage with their content, start a conversation and who knows – you may even end up meeting and collaborating in real life.

Other Tips That Can Help Improve your Chances of Being a Successful Instagram Model

i. Capitalize on Your Uniqueness

Instagram has millions of users so you will need to set yourself apart from others. What is your unique selling point? That’s what you need to focus on and be willing to show everyone! Maybe you’re a comedian, have a rare condition or you have one talent or the other. Find that uniqueness and focus on it.

ii. Don’t Be timid

If you want to be a successful Instagram model or influencer, then you will have to ditch any insecurities you have. The most successful Instagram influencers today are the ones that let their audience in. They are not afraid to share their ups, downs, good’s and bad’s of their lives with their followers. By being open, honest and true to yourself, you create a space that makes people comfortable, trusting and happy to connect.

In order to influence people, you should be able to build a relationship with them. So by showing the deepest, darkest sides of you and not being shy about it, you create a safe space for people to connect to you, relate to you, and build those impactful relationships needed to be successful in this career.

iii. Make yourself available for sponsorships & collaborations

In your bio, you should do well to include your email address. In addition, you should also be prepared to provide social stats to any company that might reach out to you. Things like follower growth, engagement rate, clicks on your link and monthly website traffic are all things brands might be curious about. You can add all the insights you have into a media kit.

In a bid to grab every sponsorship that comes you way, you should not sell out. If you do not believe in a product or service, then you most probably should not be promoting it in the first instance. Only promote things you truly believe in and think your audience will benefit from. By having a standard that you stick to, not only will you be more appealing to brands, you’ll simultaneously build a strong and authentic presence!

iv. Do Not Buy Followers

A lot of rookies want to take the easy way to success by buying Instagram followers. However, you should bear in mind that paid followers are no good to you. If you want to become an Instagram influencer and make money, organic is the only way to go.

Granted, growing you followers organically is no easy task and it will take quite some time in order for you to get to the number of followers you want to have. But the road to success is not easy. Paid followers will adversely affect your growth in the sense that they will not be engaged enough. What this means is that even though your follower count will increase, there will not be any substantial increase in engagement- thus reducing your chances of collaboration with brands.


Becoming an Instagram model or influencer takes time to happen. You will need to be patient, resourceful and also follow the steps and tips that have been outlined here. It might take a few months, but trust me; you will definitely start seeing results.