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Instagram Influencer Marketing: Proven Tips on How to Choose Your Niche as an Instagram Influencer

Source: Unsplash

Do you know the reason why most influencers can’t “breakthrough” to the next level and are destined to make little to nothing for their work?

It seems like some influencers come out of nowhere and skyrocket to working with the best brands while others get insulting offers from fly-by-night brands looking for someone “cheap” to pedal their product.

Being a successful influencer has its benefits. According to Forbes, an Instagram user with 100,000 followers can make around $5,000 for a single post when working with a brand.

If you’re interested in becoming an Instagram influencer or you’re an existing influencer that’s interested in raising your status, one of the most critical decisions that you’ll have to make is choosing your niche.

For example, conducted a survey and found that travel, entertainment, and home/lifestyle influencers have the highest engagement rates.

average rate per sponsored post on instagramSource:

Niche selection is critical because your niche is the market where you will build your brand, so it’s essential that you get off to a good start. Picking the wrong niche can have you destined for failure.

This article will show you how to choose the right niche so you can make as much money as possible as an Instagram influencer.

You have followers and want to become an influencer on Instagram

You may find yourself on Instagram with a good number of followers and engagement, but still wanting to take it to the next level and become an influencer.

Brands want to work with influencers who can persuade or “influence” their audience to make purchasing decisions and ultimately to buy their product or service.

Your posts must be relevant and highly valuable to your audience if you want them to respond positively. The best way to make sure that this happens is to build a solid foundation by picking a narrowly defined niche.

Do you know how to choose a niche?

Niche selection can seem like one of the toughest decisions to make when you’re building your brand as an influencer.

Picking the wrong niche can lead to working in an industry that you hate or being destined for cheap deals and partnerships.

You want to make sure that you do your due diligence and ask yourself a few questions before taking the leap and settling down on a niche.

Common questions to ask when picking a niche

  • What Am I Interested In?

If you’re not passionate about your niche, you won’t succeed. Successful influencers operate within a deep level in their chosen markets.

If you don’t like dealing with the subject matter or the people in your industry for extended amounts of time and on a daily basis, you won’t have the internal drive to push through the low points and plateaus on your way to success.

  • Are There People Interested In My Niche?

You have to pick a sizeable market when selecting your niche. If you pick something that’s too small, there won’t be enough buyers and sellers in the niche to support brand sponsorships.

Health and fitness, entertainment, and travel influencer accounts have the most followers on average.

average number of followers for influencersSource:

  • Are There Influencers in my Niche?

A common misconception is that you have to find an “untapped” niche so you can reap all the rewards of being the premier influencer in your space. This is the wrong way to think.

Competition is a good thing because it means that there is something worth having. A large number of buyers and sellers form a healthy market.

Make sure that there are already influencers in your space operating at the level where you aspire to be. You can always carve out a slice of the market as your own by differentiating yourself within your niche.

  • How to Monetize my Niche?

There should be a clear path to the money in the niche that you select. Are there existing brands present in your niche that are selling products and services? Do these brands use social media, and more specifically Instagram,  to communicate with customers?

These are all questions you’ll want to make sure are answered before selecting a niche.

How to Choose a Niche

Now that we’ve gone over a few questions to ask let’s look at how you should select your niche.

1. Do What You Love

Above all else, you have to pick a niche that’ involves a topic that you love. I know it may sound like common sense, but this can’t be overstated. Choosing a niche just because of the money will, in the long run, hurt you.

The influencer space is competitive, and the only thing that will give you enough drive to put in the extra work required to win is having a real passion for your niche day after day.

2. Find Niches That Have a Lot of Space for Growth

After finding a topic they love, most influencers will find out 1 – 2 years later that they can’t make any money in their chosen niche because it’s too small or isn’t growing.

Find a niche that’s expanding so you can reap the rewards of increased demand in the marketplace.

You can use Google trends to get a rough estimate of how your niche is growing. For example, athleisure may be a good niche for you to enter if you’re in the U.S. market because it’s on the rise.

athleisure trendsSource: Shopify

Find Popular Hashtags Related to Your Niche

To see if there is a buzz about your chosen topic you should explore Instagram and take an inventory of the hashtags that are present in your niche. Are there lots of hashtags and are they getting lots of activity?

A diverse number of hashtags that are getting used frequently is a sign of a strong niche. For example, the fitness market has tons of different niches and hashtags.

top health and fitness hashtagsSource: Hopper HQ

Loving a Topic Isn’t Enough, You Must Know It Really Well

Just because you’ve found a niche that you love, and that has money in it doesn’t mean that you should enter it. To gain attention from your audience, you have to provide value first. It’s a simple exchange.

You have to choose a niche that you know very well so you can provide a disproportionate amount of value compared to your competitors in the marketplace.

Don’t just choose a niche where you can do “ok.” Choose a niche where you know the content, and you can dominate the competition.

Now that You Chose Your Niche, What’s Next?

Continue Growing Your Following

Post consistently

To gain a following, you have to show up and post quality content consistently and on a regular basis. Consistency builds trust and will attract followers who continue to revisit your profile and share your posts.

Get creative to get attention

Instagram is a crowded space. To grow your brand, you have to figure out creative ways to get attention.

You should be using every feature of the platform in new and creative ways. Try video, live video, and stories to grow your following.

Of course, you should always make sure that you use quality hashtags so that you get in front of your target audience.

Engage with your fans

If someone takes the time to comment on your post or tag you, you should always engage with them. Also, make sure that you reach back out to them in a friendly and professional manner.

This shows the person you’re talking to, and everyone else, that you care about your audience which encourages more engagement in the future.

Find Brands to Work With

When you’ve grown your audience to a sizeable number, and they are engaged, you should start looking for brands to work with.

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that people who view your profile know that you are open to working with brands.

Make sure that you clearly state you are open to discussing sponsorships and show your contact info in your profile. Add your email address, and if possible a phone number, to make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you.

Reach out directly to brands

You can also reach out directly to brands to get in front of them and let them know you are available for collaborations.

The best way to do this is through the Instagram DM feature. Don’t try to sell anyone immediately.

The goal of your first message is to open a conversation. Save the negotiation for later.

Networks and marketplaces

There are also different networks and marketplaces that facilitate the relationship between influencers and brands. These companies take a portion of the deal for setting up the relationship, and they are an easy way for you to get in front of brands.

Platforms like Fanbytes and Captiv8 offer brands a database of influencers across Instagram, Facebook, and several other social media platforms.

Businesses can search the database and find an influencer based on specific criteria. When you add your info to this database, you have a better chance of being contacted by a brand that’s looking to work with an influencer.

Develop Relationships With Other Influencers Within Your Niche

One of the fastest ways to grow your Instagram following and develop a  higher status on the platform is to do collaborations with other influencers.

By collaborating with other influencers, you can get in front of an entirely new audience instantly. The best part about this arrangement is that the audience is already warmed up to you because they already trust your collaboration partner.

Identify key people you can work with

When looking for influencers to work with it’s essential to choose wisely. You want to choose a partner who you can provide value to and who can also help you grow your brand. You want to make sure that both of your audiences are benefiting from the collaboration.

You can choose to collaborate with an influencer who’s in your niche or with someone who’s in a related niche. Working with someone who’s in a similar niche can give you access to an audience that wouldn’t usually be exposed to your content.

Direct Message

To set up a collaboration with another influencer, you’ll need to find their contact information and reach out to them. The good thing about Instagram is that you can DM anyone, so try doing that first to get in contact with other influencers.

If you can’t get a hold of someone via DM, keep trying. Try contacting them on another social platform or email them. You’ll have to do a ton of outreach to yield only a few conversations and deals so you’ll have to be patient. But, the right collaboration can explode your account, so it’s worth the hard work.


Once you’ve found someone interested in collaborating with you, it’s time to discuss the format of your collaboration. Some popular formats include:

Page takeover – This collab is easy to set up and can be very effective. You and another influencer swap control of each other’s accounts and create entertaining content for each other’s audiences.

All You Need to Know About Instagram TakeoversSource: Buffer App

Shoutouts – A shoutout entails creating a post for another influencer on your page, usually with a call to action that directs attention to your collaboration partner.

Running a contest – When collaborators run a contest together, they challenge their followers to do a task that they must complete before entering. Each entry will require that the entrant share the influencer’s original post and add a hashtag that’s specific to the contest. This is intended to create a viral effect that influences others to enter the contest.

Design an Instagram Marketing Strategy and Execute

Crafting your own Instagram strategy is crucial if you want to grow your status as an influencer. You want to have a clear goal that you’re headed towards on your journey of becoming a top influencer so that you don’t get distracted along the way. Here are some things you should think about when building your strategy.

Establishing Your Goal – Increasing the engagement rate of your account should be one of your top priorities. Having lots of followers is great, but if barely any of them engage with your page, your account won’t be attractive enough for brands to do business with you.

According to Hopper, brands exclusively work with influencers who have a 10 – 20% engagement rate. Brands need influencers who can get their audiences to take action. Having high engagement rates proves that you can do this.

The Theme of Your Account – Having a solid theme for your account can help you attract a lot of attention and followers. A theme is the aesthetic that your account has. This includes the order of your images, how they are laid out, and the subject matter of the images.

For example, the Coffee ‘n Clothes Instagram account features images that merge luxury with coffee and clothes. They stay consistent with this theme in all of their posts.

coffee and clothes on instagramSource: Instagram

When someone lands on your page one of the first things they will notice and judge you on is your theme. Having a good theme provides consistency and builds trust. Having a good theme can help you solidify your position as a top influencer in your space.

Creating a Content Calendar – To make sure you’re putting out great content on a regular basis, you’ll need to create a content calendar.

This calendar will allow you to keep track of the content you’re creating, influencer collaborations, and brand campaigns.

You’ll want to make sure that you stay organized when you’re making deals so that you can fulfill on your end of the bargain successfully.


Becoming a popular Instagram influencer can open up lots of doors to working with some of the top brands in the world. If you choose to become an influencer, one of the most critical decisions you’ll have to make is picking your niche.

After you confirm that the niche you select is something you’ll enjoy and is in a viable, growing market, you’ll want to make sure that it is a topic where you can add lots of value to your audience.

Once you select your niche, you’ll have to do lots of heavy lifting as you grow your following and engagement numbers, network with other influencers, and make deals with brands as you raise your profile.

Becoming a top Instagram influencer isn’t easy, but it’s worth it and Social Upgrade can get you started.

How did you select your niche on Instagram?

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