Spend any amount of time online, and you’ll likely notice that there are certain people (or groups of people) who seem to be able to convince anybody to do anything – all with the power of their social media pages.
If you’re an aspiring Instagram influencer, you might be wondering how you can leverage your social media profiles to get more views, more interactions – and ultimately, more sales. Becoming an Instagram influencer is not as challenging as it might seem, but there are certain steps you’ll need to take in order to be successful.
Not sure where to start? You might want to take the Becoming an Instagram Influencer course on Skillshare. This class, taught by Sean Dalton, is a great place to start on your journey toward a rewarding career.
I took the class myself (just for fun!) – here’s what you need to know.
What Does it Mean to Be an Instagram Influencer?
The titles “Instagram influencer” or even just “social media influencer” are ones that haven’t been on the scene or in our vocabulary for all that long.
An influencer is somebody who has the ability and the power to make an impact on the purchasing decisions of others, either due to this knowledge, authority, position, or relationship with an audience. Usually, an Instagram influencer will have a prominent following in a specific niche with which he or she actively engages.
There’s no set “size” of a following that you have to have in order to call yourself an influencer. However, it’s important to know that an influencer is not just a marketing tool in and of himself or herself, but rather is a person working to cultivate a brand via social relationships.
Social media influencers, particularly Instagram influencers, are individuals who have a reputation for their expertise on a certain topic. They regularly post about topics on social media channels and generate massive followings of enthusiastic people who remain engaged and interact with their views and comments.
Of course, there are many other “sub-genres,” so to speak, of Instagram influencers, too. Some influencers use their social media platforms to drive traffic to their blogs, while others are also podcasters or YouTubers. Some use Instagram alone to get the job done – and they’re quite good at it, too.
Why become an influencer? There are many reasons. Not only can it help you make money by driving traffic to a product, service, or blog, but you can also often make money by your personality alone. Instagram influencers are often paid via things like sponsorships and other deals.
It’s not all about the money, though. Many individuals choose to become Instagram influencers out of a desire to educate others and to interact with the public on a more personal level.
You don’t have to be a celebrity to become an influencer. All you need is a few basic skills – which you’ll learn all about in the Becoming an Instagram Influencer course on Skillshare.
What Kinds of Content Does the Course Cover?
The Becoming an Instagram Infelucner course on Skillshare is taught by the popular lifestyle photographer Sean Dalton. In the course, he breaks down the process of becoming an Instagram influencer and details the steps that he followed to grow his network to more than 25,000 in just nine short months.
In working with brands, Dalton has learned how to grow his Instagram and he understands Instagram’s incredibly complex algorithms.
This course only lasts about an hour, and it will cover everything you need to know to be successful on (and monetize your account with) Instagram.
In the first main module of the course, you’ll learn a little bit about Sean Dalton. I hadn’t heard of Sean Dalton before, so this section was helpful as a brief introduction. This Instagram influencer is also an Instagram consultant and professional photographer who works with brands all around the world as they try to develop a stronger presence on Instagram.
Dalton also gives an overview of the content that will be covered in the course and why it’s valuable for you to spend the time taking it.
Dalton begins teaching in an interesting way – this style is one that I hadn’t seen on other Skillshare courses until now. He starts with a project, rather than using and introducing a project midway through the course. I liked this layout, since it gave me an interesting framework around which to build my understanding of the core topics he would later discuss in the course.
He recommends that all students select five photos that match your personal theme. You’ll later learn how to establish that theme, but you have to start with the five photos and post them in the project area.
Establishing a Theme
Next, Dalton talks users through the process of establishing a theme. One of the most important things about Instagram is consistency. Because Instagram has a relatively simple visual platform, you can easily create a consistent theme to draw certain emotions from your followers. This will help you create a solid brand identity.
In order to build that brand identity, though, you need to be consistent with your theme. For example, you’ll want to have the same filter on all of your photos and have everything utilizing similar lighting. This will help you tell a story that captivates – rather than confuses – your audience.
I liked this section of the course because Dalton doesn’t necessarily tell you what your thesis should be but instead give you some concrete ideas on what you can do to figure out your theme. After all, the theme will be different for everyone. Consider what you are passionate about and what you love doing as you determine your theme – the money will come later. Don’t try to focus on what will be worth money but instead figure out what you love and you’ll be able to create consistent, money-making content from there.
He does, however, recommend that you try to reflect emotions that are positive in your images and your content.
In the next section, you’ll learn a bit more about how to create quality content. You should only post the best photos that you have, ideally those that are high-quality. When you post bad photos, you will be flooding your feed with images that people don’t care about seeing. Posting once a day is ideal, but the maximum you will want to post is four times per day. After that, you’ll be flooding people’s feeds with too much content.
Dalton also discusses the idea of curating a feed. This is a good choice if you are focused on a specific theme and want to find photographers that take photos that match the theme. It’s a good idea to give you plenty of options in tailoring your feed.
You’ll learn several tips to help you build your content as you grow your Instagram page, but the key is to remain authentic. Dalton also walks students through some tips on creating captions and comments. He provides us with several tips, but one of the best is to start with something positive and engaging so that you can encourage people to comment and interact with you.
Related reading: Skillshare Review – Is Skillshare Still Worth It?
I found this next section of the course to be quite interesting. Everybody loves using hashtags, but very few people know how to use them correctly in order to build their Instagram following. Dalton ga recommends avoiding overly popular hashtags for a very simple reason. Although you might get a few likes within just a few minutes, your post will eventually be buried because so many other people are using that hashtag.
However, if you use more unique hashtags, there’s a better chance that your post will trend on that hashtag and you will actually be able to grow your following. To find the best and most targeted hashtags, you should look at the relevant hashtags that come up when you are searching on Instagram. Of course, you should try to avoid using random hashtags and only select those that are relevant and make sense for the content you are posting on a regular basis.
Targeted Engagement and Instagram Pods
Next, you’ll learn more about targeted engagement and Instagram pods. Targeted engagement is essentially the process of engaging with the targeted hashtags that you thought were relevant to the content you were already posting. Once you post a photo, you should use your 30 hashtags in the first comment.
Then, you should go into your hashtags that you think are relevant and comment on other people’s photos. Provide value and encourage the other account owners to visit your page and comment back.
Nothing here is automated, and it’s authentic. It’s a great way to provide value and authenticity to your account. Dalton emphasizes the importance of engagement and interaction here.
Photo Editing Made Simple
I found this next section of the course to be incredibly interesting and relevant to all kinds of social media platforms and influencers – not just Instagram. Here, you will learn how to leverage the power of photo editing to help create captivating images for your pages.
You need to have a consistent theme, both in terms of your focus and your style and content. An easy way to provide consistency is to use the same editing process across all of your photos.
For starters, you will want to use the same filter so that you have the same look in terms of clarity, saturation, and contrast. Dalton follows this up with some information on various apps you can use, such as VSCO, Rookie, and Snapseed. He provides some suggestions on filters, too (he uses A6) but recommends that you consider your own personal brand as you choose the right editing and filters for your needs.
Ultimately, it’s less important that you spend hours editing your photos and more important that you just stick with a consistent look.
The next section of the course deals with third party analytics. You’ll learn about some essential apps and third-party programs that you can use to help you get more out of your Instagram experience. You’ll be able to obtain some pretty valuable analytics that can help you measure your growth on the platform, particularly with how you are measuring up when it comes to using various kinds of hashtags.
One that he discusses in detail is called Instagram Insights. It’s built right into Instagram and tells you exactly how your photos are performing. You will be able to break down information about your followers, such as demographics like gender, country, and age. It will also give you information on who is following you and when they started to follow you.
Dalton provides students with some helpful tips on working with third-party analytics like Instagram Insights to figure out the best time to post and what kinds of hashtags work best when used at various times of day.
Monetizing and Working With Brands
The final main module of the course has to do with monetizing your Instagram and working with brands. Of course, you can’t really follow any of these steps until you have a large following to speak of. However, the good news is that it’s easy to start making money once you have a substantial following, particularly if it’s targeted.
On Instagram, there are several ways you can make money. One is to promote your own service or product – you can market yourself directly through the platform. Another way is to write commercial posts, also known as sponsored posts. A company might send you a product and ask you to write something for them.
The final way you can make money on Instagram is through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is similar to writing sponsored posts – you’ll be sent a product or you can post something about a product for the chance to earn money via your affiliate links. If somebody buys through your link, you will in turn get a cut from the purchase.
Dalton walks students through various steps you can take to decide what kind of monetization strategy is right for you. He also gives some actionable tips you can follow in order to help you land connections with brands that want to work with you.
Most of the time, the wrap-up section for a course on Skillshare has to do with steps you need to take now that you have finished the course. Occasionally, the instructor will go over what was taught in the class.
This course was different, however, as Dalton instead provides some lasting words of wisdom. He advises against making all of your posts on Instagram designed to make money and instead recommends that you still have value-added posts with no monetization intent at all. This will help you craft the image that you want – and that your followers deserve.
Stay true to your theme and post regularly, and your followers will come naturally. Dalton recommends that students upload their projects and follow his YouTube channel (and of course his Instagram!) to view more of his content and to continue learning more.
The Course & The Instructor
This class is one of the thousands offered on the extensive Skillshare platform. Taught by Sean Dalton, this course has been taken by more than 40,716 students and is designed for users at the beginner level, it is taught by an instructor who is skilled and likeable.
Dalton is a professional lifestyle and travel photographer who is from San Francisco. He lives in Asia photographing the world around him and has quite an impressive portfolio to boot. Dalton, as you might expect, is very active on Instagram as well as on YouTube. His blog has lots of social media and photography related content, too.
Major Benefits of Taking This Course
Before taking an online course, I always double-check to make sure the learning objectives are clearly stated. This gives me a good idea of whether the course is right for me as well as what I can be expected to learn.
This class has crystal clear learning objectives, which I referenced repeatedly as I worked through the course content. By the end of this Skillshare class, Dalton expects users to be able to understand concepts such as:
- Creating a consistent theme
- How to post quality content
- How to select the perfect targeted hashtags
- Photo editing made easy
- Effective engagement
- How to utilize Instagram pods
Access to Projects & Discussions Features
This course, as with most on Skillshare, comes with a project feature. You can upload your project to get feedback from Dalton along with your fellow classmates. Not only that, but you can interact with your peers via the discussion board. Because this class is relatively new, the comments here are frequent and up to date. You’ll feel as though you’re part of a real-life class (rather than just staring at a computer screen) when you visit this resource.
Can Be Taken At Your Own Pace
This class is less than an hour long, meaning you can complete the modules as it is convenient for you to do so. Because each module is short, broken down into a sub-ten minute chunk, you won’t feel overwhelmed by a ton of information all at once.
Adaptable and Versatile
Although the course is designed and tailored specifically to Instagram, one of the things I loved about it was that many of the tips Dalton provides could be applied to other social media platforms, too. If you’re an influencer in another niche or market, a lot of the advice offered up as part of this course could prove to be helpful as you build your following elsewhere, too.
Came With a Transcript
This course also comes with a transcript that you can view after you’ve taken the course or while you are following along. Although Dalton is very easy to understand, the transcript is helpful if you want to go back and review what was covered without having to read through all of the material.
If you liked Dalton’s teaching style, don’t worry – he teaches a variety of other photography and editing courses on Skillshare. These include:
- Night Photography: Shooting Street Scenes After Sunset
- Photography Essentials – Understanding the Basics
- Lifestyle Photography: Immersive Storytelling with Photo Albums
- Dark and Moody Food Photography for Instagram Success: Visual Storytelling with Emotional Food Photos
- Adobe Lightroom – Finding Your Unique Editing Style
- Instagram and Personal Branding: Establishing a Strong and Authentic Personal Brand on Instagram
Complaints About the Course
With a whopping 1580 reviews, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this course had minimal complaints – in fact, 92% of students who took the course rated it as either exceeding or meeting their expectations. I had very few complaints to speak of, as did most reviewers.
Some students commented that they didn’t think the class was ideal for anybody beyond the beginner level – but that’s pretty obvious given the descriptions provided in the learning objectives. Other students were hoping to see more examples of things like good hashtags and captions, but this is an example that would be hard to provide given the vast array of niches that are out there.
One user commented that the tips suggested to grow your Instagram following would get your account flagged for false engagement (or as spam for bot-like comments). I didn’t find this to be the case, however, as Dalton emphasizes the importance of remaining authentic in everything you do and avoiding the urge to automate your Instagram engagements.
Who is The Art of Data Analytics in Everyday Life Course on Skillshare Best For?
It doesn’t matter whether you feel like you’ve been using Instagram for your entire life or you’re just getting started with the platform – this course is a smart choice for you. It’s designed for beginners but there is truly something for everyone to learn by taking this course. It will cover everything you need to know from a business standpoint, helping you become an influencer in practically no time.
My Overall Rating of the Course
Instructor Expertise: 5
Additional Course Resources: 3
Course Quality & Accessibility: 5
Career Value: 4
Overall Rating: 4.6