How you can become an Instagram influencer: tips from fashion blogger Jannat Khan
Turn to the explore page on Instagram, and you’re likely to be flooded with influencers striking a pose, advertising products, documenting their luxurious travels, or showing you how to dress and do your makeup. But who is an influencer, and how can you become one?
In a Community Chat on the HerStory Women On A Mission Facebook group, Jannat Khan, a fashion blogger on Instagram, shared her insights on the life of an influencer.
Jannat has over 42K followers on her Instagram account, @wishyouwerefashion. Apart from her job as an influencer, Jannat also works as a fashion publicist, freelance social media manager, content writer, and hairstylist.
Edited excerpts of the discussion:
HerStory: How does one become an influencer? Did you plan it or did it just happen?
Jannat Khan: I think it’s a mix of both. You do have to plan to become an influencer, choose the right channel, the target audience, your scope of interest, and a lot more. But it's also something that just happens; maybe you’re just putting out there what you love and you might be influencing a number of people!
HS: People think being an influencer is a cool job but there is a lot of hard work that goes into it. Can you give us an insight into some behind the scenes?
JK: I have a number of people telling me that this is so cool, and that this profession is all about gifts and free things! But in fact this is something much more than just that. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into it - approaching brands, making sure people out there know that you exist, being consistent, producing quality content, planning your shoots, managing your social media… the list just goes on!
HS: What kind of investment goes into being an influencer, especially if you want to do it full time? How much money does one need to invest initially?
JK: Realistically speaking, you do have to invest a minimum amount to start with, even if there are no returns. For basic stuff like your photographer fee, sometimes renting a place or renting out equipment, travelling, and so on. You can make it minimal, say Rs 500-1,000 per shoot, if you’re using your house and things that you already own.
Basically it’s not a lot, even if you’d do it full time. Maybe you could even do it for free if you have a friend clicking some amazing pictures for you on the street when you’re wearing your favourite dress!
Creating content does not always require you to spend a lot of money. It completely depends on how wisely you’re spending on every shoot! But you have to be ready and willing to spend for basic necessities like compensation for food and commute of the people involved in the shoot.
HS: How did you get started with being an influencer? Does it affect your personal life?
JK: I’ve always liked fashion and following the latest trends for a long time now. I did try blogging about eight-nine years ago, but couldn’t stay consistent. Around three years ago, I felt that it wasn’t too late to start again, and I made sure I was consistent this time.
Finally, I made myself a separate Instagram account to document my fashion journey, signed up on Wordpress, and clicked pictures to go up every day and, yes, this is what it is now! I’m so glad I started and pushed myself to never give up.
Being an influencer doesn't really affect my personal life. But there are times when I have to cut down on my social life to make sure I’m prepared for my shoot the next day or something like that. Otherwise it’s all good and I love it.
HS: What steps did you take to stand out among the many fashion influencers online?
JK: There is this big wave of influencers right now, and I won't lie, it takes some serious effort to stand out. The key is consistency. If you’re not consistent, you will fade out. When I started, I made sure I would post at least three pictures a day, to target the right audience who are online at different times.
I make sure I stay relevant and stay true to why I started blogging, which was to make people aware of international trends and make it easier to incorporate the same in their lives. For good content, I have to do my research, take inspiration, and jot down ideas of how I want to execute a particular collaboration or picture.
HS: How do influencers earn? How do brand collaborations work?
JK: With so many brands investing heavily into influencer marketing today, there is definitely money involved. But you have to be patient till brands and designers are ready to invest in you and your content. As you grow in this field, brands will approach you directly and pay you to collaborate with them.
A beginner can make money through being an influencer by:
- Approaching brands yourself, telling them that you’re interested in creating content for them, and how much you would charge for the same.
- Using influencer marketing websites and apps that pay you to promote their products.
When I started out, I did not keep the monetary returns in mind at all. I accepted whatever the brand offered me - creating content for them and being visible, even if it was just wearing the designer's outfits and returning them after my shoot.
But once you’ve established yourself, you have to be a little stern with brands because you know your value, and you know that what you’re doing requires investing a lot of time and hard work!
HS: How do you deal with trolls on your social media?
JK: I get a number of hate comments, but I think the best is to ignore all of them, because you can never impress everyone out there. I just let it pass and stick to what I do and what I love, the people who like it appreciate it, and that’s what keeps me going!
HS: Do you think the influencer trend will go away in the next few years?
JK: Being an influencer is not completely secure, because brands are looking out for the bigger, A-list influencers most of the time. Realistically, it might not be something that you can completely depend on, especially to begin with.
Every industry has its ups and downs, and I think the influencer market is at its peak right now. I feel it is bound to grow as more companies and brands want to try this out. In a few years, it might see a low, but for now it’s here to stay!
To be part of more such conversations, join us on the HerStory Women On A Mission group on Facebook.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)