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5 Serious Instagram Growth Strategies for Micro-Influencer Wannabes in Any Niche One guy who curates and sells decorative enamel pins was able to generate $3,500 a month through sponsored posts and other strategies.

By Jennifer Spencer Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ivan Nanita | EyeEm | Getty Images

Influencer marketing is a hot topic in the world of Instagram. Consider, for instance, a man named Eduardo Morales who curates and sells decorative enamel pins, and claims to generate more than $3,500 in revenue each month, using sponsored posts and other strategies.

Clearly, people can make an actual living by gaining online influencer status.

Related: 10 Influencer Marketing Trends to Keep Your Eye On

Interestingly, though, those with millions of followers aren't always the most highly sought after for marketing partnerships. Micro-influencers, defined as those whose followers number in the thousands, rather than millions, are often highly prized, too, due to their more engaged audiences.

So, if you're a micro-influencer wannabe, know that when it comes to monetization, the number of followers you have can significantly impact your earnings: According to blogger Elise Darma, influencers with 30,000 followers typically earn around $350 per post. Those with 100,000 followers can charge a client up to $2,700. Regardless of your own niche, growing your audience will be crucial for increasing your brand persona and revenue opportunities as a micro-influencer.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Find your niche and build your brand.

Branding doesn't apply just to major corporations. To become a successful influencer, you must also build your personal brand. This starts with identifying a niche where you can offer unique insights and experiences (such as travel, fashion, or fitness), as well as produce high-quality content.

Related: 7 Marketing Tips to Help Grow Your Brand on Instagram

Make sure your niche is something you are passionate about and something you can create quality content for. Finding a subject area where you are knowledgable and have something different to share will make it easier to create high-quality photos and captions that capture your target audience's attention.

2. Use tools to automate the busy work.

While content curation is essential, other tasks, like engaging with potential followers or scheduling posts, will also make a difference in expanding your audience.

Automation can have a very real impact here.

Related: 11 Ways to Make Your Next Instagram Marketing Campaign Dazzle

Take, for example,a case study published by Kicksta, a tool that automates the authentic liking of relevant Instagram posts from other accounts within a business's target demographic and industry.

By signing on to this plan, marketing agency Raindrop Market was able to save 15 hours each week by automating engagement with its potential followers -- normally a mind-numbing and redundant task.

Instagram automation tools can lead to direct account growth while also streamlining your workload, giving you more time to respond to comments or create beautiful posts -- the foundation for continued engagement.

3. Post consistently.

Some brands with millions of followers post new content almost every hour. As a micro-influencer, you probably don't have the resources to post content that often. And many micro-influencers with a few thousand followers want to post only once or twice a day to avoid overwhelming their audience.

However, as a study from Union Metrics revealed, the most important aspect in growing and maintaining an engaged audience isn't necessarily how often you post; it's that you post consistently.

The study followed 55 top brands, finding that even those that posted every hour had no a drop-off in engagement. Instead, the study found, engagement declines when a brand starts posting inconsistently. If you start posting once per day, don't suddenly drop off to posting only twice per week. This will cause your engagement to falter.

4. Connect with other influencers.

Brands connect with influencers in an effort to increase sales or grow their audience on Instagram. You can do that, too. Just as happens in a traditional business setting, networking with other influencers will introduce your account to new audiences that might otherwise not discover your content.

Ultimately, these collaborations should benefit both you and your partner. A great example of this is fitness influencer Cassey Ho, creator of Blogilates. A recent series of fitness videos featured on YouTube and Instagram documented Ho's invitations to different influencers to work out with her for each video, resulting in a successful cross-promotion effort.

When choosing other influencers to work with, look for those who work in niches complementary to yours. This way, you'll have greater audience overlap and be more likely to gain new followers from a joint contest, shoutout or guest feature.

5. Unleash the hashtag.

Beautiful photos and a clever caption are a good foundation to generating quality content that will grow your audience. But if you want your posts to be discovered by people who don't currently follow your brand, you'll need relevant hashtags for every post.

Research has consistently found that adding five to seven relevant hashtags to your post greatly increases its engagement. In fact, a case study by Social Media Lab found that when hashtags were added to posts, likes increased by over 70 percent and comments increased by an incredible 392 percent.

For best results, include hashtags relevant to the content of the post. Be as specific as possible -- a generic hashtag like "#fun" will likely generate so many other posts using the same hashtag that your content will be lost in the mix. A narrower niche hashtag like the viral one #gamersontiktok increases your chances of appearing in search results.

Related: 8 Actionable Instagram Marketing Tips

Becoming a successful micro-influencer requires a lot of work! After all, if you expect to make a living off your Instagram posts, you will ultimately have to treat creating them like a full-time job. So dive in and try out some of these growth strategies. Hopefully, they'll help you find more engaged users who are interested in what you have to share, enabling you to increase your revenue and build a successful personal brand.

Jennifer Spencer

CEO of Energent Media

Jennifer Spencer is the founder of Energent Media, a digital marketing firm for tech startups. She is passionate about helping brands leverage content to share their stories with the world.

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