You’ve probably heard the phrase “Content is king” at some point over the last few years. While this statement is true, it means businesses worldwide need various types of content—such as ads, videos, blog posts, images, etc.—and someone has to create it!
As a result, nearly 2 million global professionals earned a living from publishing content online in 2020. Instagram was by far the most popular platform for these creators, with 30 million amateur creators monetizing content there last year.
This article will define what a content creator for Instagram is (also often referred to as an Instagram influencer) to understand what they do and outline how to become a content creator for Instagram for fun and profit.
What is a content creator?
Brands and businesses of all types need content for marketing purposes. As a result, content creators are in high demand.
A content creator builds assets and sends them over to brands for distribution. These assets may be graphics, videos, blog posts, or other types of content for digital marketing purposes.
Alternatively, an influencer may have an online following and would create and publish original content for brands on their personal digital social media profiles, such as Facebook or Instagram.
Many content creators have a specialty, such as a particular industry (for example, SaaS or eCommerce) or content type (e.g.,photos or videos). Freelance content creators often work alone or with a small team, so they are more affordable than large agencies. For some businesses, a content creator serves as a creative partner.
How to become a content creator
If becoming a content creator sounds intriguing, here’s what you need to do to get started:
Pick a focus area
Choose one thing you’re skilled at and knowledgeable in for your area of focus. It’s essential to stick to this area in order to bill yourself as an expert with the portfolio to back up your claim, so make sure it’s something you’ll be interested in for a while.
Next, create a website with a blog, so your Instagram followers can visit to see your original work. Having a place where you can showcase your own content is essential, as you don’t want to solely rely on Instagram (or any social media platform). This will also allow you to reach your audience on other channels, such as via an email newsletter.
Create an Instagram business account
Having an Instagram business account instead of a creator or a personal account is critical for being successful on the platform. A business account declares your Instagram presence as a company and provides you with additional features to help with lead generation.
Making the switch will give you access to Instagram analytics and insights that show you demographic information about your Instagram followers. Using this data, you’ll be able to tailor your social media content and even publish it at optimal times. Even after you publish a post, you’ll be able to see how well it performed.
Instagram Insights will also help you utilize sponsored posts because you can use what you know about your audience to create better ads. If you’re in more of an influencer role using your own platform to promote brands, using ads on Instagram can help you reach a wider audience, which is a way to grow your following. Instagram will show your ads to users that have an interest in your content, based on their browsing habits within the app.
A business account also integrates with tools to help you succeed, such as ManyChat (more on this in a bit). If you’re unsure how to make the switch, you can learn how to set up an Instagram business account on our blog.
Fill out your Instagram bio
Your Instagram bio is only 150 characters, but it contributes to visitors’ first impressions of your account. Your bio should introduce who you are and share what people can expect to see from your content. You should also include relevant keywords in your bio, which may be the same keywords you use on your website for SEO.
Finally, don’t forget to include a link in your bio. This is the only place in Instagram where you can put a link (unless you have 10K+ followers and access the Link Sticker), so it’s essential to include it.
Focus on the overall look of your Instagram profile
When someone visits your profile, you want to make sure it has the right look for the best possible impression. Every brand crafts a different aesthetic for its profile, but yours should make sense for your business and be consistent throughout all your public-facing communications.
For example, if your brand colors are blue and white, you don’t want all of your pictures to have shades of red and black in them—visitors will wonder if they came to the right place.
Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to the visuals on your account:
- Take great photos: Be honest with your skillset here. If you can’t take great pictures, can you improve them by editing or should you hire a professional?
- Pay attention to how your profile looks: What does your grid look like? Do the photos all look like they’re coming from the same brand (i.e., are they styled similarly)? Are they branded in some way?
Kathleen Barnes made a career switch from being a content creator for Urban Decay Cosmetics to being an influencer on Instagram. Her husband takes a majority of her photos, and her feed always has a consistent aesthetic, in terms of colors and styling.
Embrace the brand’s voice in the captions
Because Instagram is a visual platform, photos and videos are important, but you shouldn’t forget about the captions.
As an influencer, what you include in the caption is a chance for you to share your brand’s personality through text. The information you provide in the caption is a way for users to get to know you better, which helps build trust—key in convincing someone to follow you and possibly make a purchase.
If you’re a content creator writing copy for a company, the brand voice is an important part of their overall marketing strategy. Imbuing the brand’s personality in the caption provides another layer of opportunity for a follower to learn about the business and its motivations.
Whether you’re a content creator or an influencer, you should share a CTA as part of your captions, usually what you want users to do next. With ManyChat, you can use the Comments Automation feature to automatically send a DM to anyone who comments on a post.
Not only does this help with engagement (which Instagram loves), but it also enters users directly into the marketing funnel. Once the DM is sent to the user, they start receiving pre-determined messages you’ve planned and created. These messages can be additional action items with links, such as to a blog post or a product description, or they could be questions to acquire more information about the customer’s interests and needs.
Influencers may directly utilize a marketing funnel to continue to grow their following, encourage users to purchase a specific product, and build trust. Content creators may only need to understand where a buyer is in the funnel so they can create the appropriate content.
For example, if a user is discovering a brand for the first time, the content to push would likely be an introductory blog post or information about the brand. If the user has visited the brand’s profile before, they’re likely interested in a specific product and would be interested in information or a coupon code, right in their DMs.
Use the right hashtags
Hashtags are an essential part of your Instagram captions. Hashtags make your posts searchable for a term and can help them reach a broader audience. While you can include up to 30 hashtags in a single post, it’s wise to test different hashtags and the number to include in posts to see what works best for you.
If you’re a content creator working for a brand, the brand may already have specific hashtags they use, but you can do some digging and suggest hashtags that may broaden the reach. If you’re an influencer, hashtags are another way for you to reach a broad audience and grow your following. If you use a new (for you) hashtag, such as #makeup, users looking for content with #makeup may find your profile for the first time.
To find hashtags to use, type a hashtag related to your post in the search bar. When you tap on a result, you can see what posts come up and evaluate if your content belongs in the mix.
You can also look for relevant hashtags on the Explore page—Instagram’s curated collection of posts the algorithm thinks you’d like. Scroll through the recommended posts and make a note of the hashtags.
Publish new content regularly
Establishing a solid publishing schedule is another step for growing an audience and achieving success as a content creator working for brands. As a content creator, you want to get the most eyes on the content you’re making for the brands you’re partnering with. If you’re an influencer, then you’ll want to grow your audience for a few reasons. For one, having a large audience on Instagram shows potential brand partners that you can reach lots of people. While a large
following isn’t the end-all and be-all, it does give you some credibility and shows you know what kinds of content resonates with Instagram users.
The goal is to keep Instagram followers coming back to your profile for new content. If you only post once per week, it’s easy for followers to forget about you and start looking at other accounts instead.
Posting regularly is also another way to appeal to Instagram’s algorithm. When users don’t meet the algorithm’s requirements, their content doesn’t appear on many feeds.
Interact with followers
Instagram is a social media platform, so interacting with followers and other users is key to earning their trust. Engage with others by liking and commenting on their posts.
If your current followers interact with you, don’t forget to return the favor. Instagram DM Automation by ManyChat can help with this, especially as your following grows. We referenced our Comments Automation tool earlier, but our Story Mentions and Story Reply triggers are also useful for this type of engagement. Each of these triggers sends an automated message to someone who mentions you in their Story or replies to a Story you’ve posted.
All of these automated interactions help make your profile more attractive to the algorithm. They also enter the user directly into your sales funnel, where you can collect their contact information and share an exclusive discount or send additional content.
The majority of the information about an individual is voluntarily provided by the user when you use ManyChat’s Instagram Automation. The software also automatically collects some data, such as their name or how many Instagram followers they have, and will create a contact card that’s accessible through the ManyChat dashboard.
Additionally, you can ask a user questions to get to know them (such as what type of products they’re interested in) and all of their answers will also be stored in their contact card.
Contact brands for partnerships
Many content creators work with brands to support campaigns and other marketing efforts. For example, if you’re really great at creating Instagram Reels, you could work with brands to create Reels that will increase visibility for that brand. You could also provide photos, graphics, blog posts, or any other type of content that will support a brand’s marketing campaigns.
To get into this business, start by contacting brands you already admire and tell them why a partnership with you makes sense. Only reach out to brands that make sense for the industry you’re an expert in and for your followers.
If you’re an influencer, being choosy about the brands you work with is especially important. Taking on any partnership that presents itself may confuse your followers. Confusion breeds distrust, which isn’t conducive to getting your audience to purchase from your list of recommendations.
How to make money as a content creator on Instagram
Content creators can make money by creating assets for external marketing campaigns, such as blog posts, graphics, ebooks, videos, or social media posts. Influencers can earn an income via brand partnerships and by selling affiliate products.
To make money in these areas, you need an engaged following that’s interested in what you’re peddling—if you suggest a product to buy, people should want to buy it. Otherwise, brands won’t see the value in working with you, and affiliate sales won’t be much help.
The amount of money you can make as a content creator depends on several factors, including the project scope (for example, a feed post will probably pay less than a video paired with an Instagram Live), how many followers you have, the engagement on the sponsored post, and the number of sales you are able to generate.
Become an affiliate
As an affiliate, you’ll earn a percentage of the sales that result from people clicking on your links. You can create a marketing strategy based on data you acquire from Instagram Insights (the platform’s native analytics offering). For example, if you learn that your followers typically engage with feed posts, you can publish photos of affiliate products. If Instagram Stories are a better option, post slides of you using the product, explaining why you love it and include the Link Sticker.
Some popular affiliate networks are:
Even ManyChat has an affiliate program!
Most affiliate networks require an application process where they’ll evaluate your online following. Once you’re approved, you can start using a trackable link and earning a commission.
Knowing the actions you need to take to become a content creator is the first step toward supporting yourself as one. Just go into it with your eyes open: Even the most seasoned content creators on Instagram will admit it’s challenging to juggle all of the moving parts of the job.
But, if you’re up for the challenge, working with brands you admire and creating original content can be very rewarding. Plus, there are tools to help you succeed, such as scheduling software (for planning and publishing) and Instagram Automation (to assist with engagement and sales).
If you’re passionate about creating content and sharing it with an online audience, being a content creator on Instagram may be your calling. One thing’s for sure: the need for content creation isn’t going away anytime soon.
Ready to try Instagram DM Automation by ManyChat?