Instagram Micro-Influencers

Instagram Micro-Influencers

Russell Hooks followed up last week’s Lunch & Learn with Part 2: Instagram Micro-Influencers. Russell says the role of social media influencers is changing. The Kardashians aren’t the only ones who can boost a brand! We delved into the emerging field of micro-influencers and talked about how to identify and work with an influencer who is right for you.

“Micro-influencers are testimonials on steroids- they’re effective for marketing your brand, service or product.”

In the beginning of Russell and Amber’s Happenin’s In The ‘Ham account, they wanted to keep their identity anonymous. They thought this would be a good way to focus solely on Birmingham and its activities and events. But their followers started to wonder if they were working for a company like or even the City of Birmingham. So they eventually decided to begin posting selfies at different events around Birmingham to personalize their Instagram account. This helped them continually gain more followers as people felt more connected to them!

Now they are micro-influencers in Birmingham! Many different local companies, nonprofits, brands and events partner with Russell and Amber to promote to the Birmingham population.

In the past, you needed to be rich to be a influencer! But Instagram has totally changed the game. Micro-Influencers can help get your product in front of a new population of customers who wouldn’t have previously seen it.

Happenin’s In The ‘Ham ‘swipe up’ feature

“Micro-influencers are identified by their industry or geographic location.”

Many ask, “How can you identify who a micro-influencer is?” Accounts with over 10,000 followers can add the swipe up feature on their Instagram story to provide a link to a website or product. So find someone who is in your industry! Think fashion, food, lifestyle blogging, travel, fitness, etc. Just make sure their following population aligns with yours. (Compare your Instagram insights if you have a business account)

Direct messaging on Instagram can easily connect you with an influencer who may help grow your business. Whoever runs that Instagram account clearly has influence over the company and makes big decisions for the brand!

“Treat Instagram as your storefront window- showcasing your product/service to your customers.”

So in conclusion, go after the personalities that fit your brand and align with your consumers.


Instagram Marketing Tricks

Instagram Marketing Tricks

It’s very likely that you’ve heard of Happenin’s In The Ham before. And if not, be sure to follow their website and social media accounts. Russell and Amber Hooks have a dedicated following and almost 20,000 followers on Instagram! They know exactly what’s going on Birmingham, and they’ll connect you with the best events and activities around town.

Russell Hooks is one of our founding members at Forge, and he led our first Lunch & Learn event. Focusing on the power of Instagram marketing, Russell talked through location tagging, organic engagement, Instagram stories, frequency and time of posting, hashtags and much more.

“Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all have their own language. You have to learn the native language for each of them.”


Over the last two and a half years Russell and Amber have developed their Instagram account without boosting any of their posts. They decided to use Instagram as a platform because it was the best way to show visually what they wanted to portray about Birmingham.

A few quick tips from Russell: 

  • Instagram is best for a quick overview. Use Facebook and your own personal website to go into more detail.
  • Location tags on Instagram are often overlooked but they are valuable- USE THEM!
  • Asking questions in your posts gives you more comments from followers…which brings you up in the algorithm feed!
  • When you have 10,000 followers or more you can add the “swipe up” button to send people directly to a link.
  • Most popular times to post: early morning, lunch, 4:30-6:30pm and right before bed!



“Social media is a lot like fitness- the results take time. It takes consistency.”

Many people ask “How many people should I be following on my Instagram account?” Russell says you should strive to get 2 followers for every 1 person you’re following. And avoid paying for followers- people can easily spot that and they’ll assume you’re disingenuous!

Forge Members at our very first Lunch & Learn!

Use Instagram for business purposes in the right way and you could have a viral marketing success. But use it incorrectly, and your efforts on the site could be a big fail. Thank you Russell for teaching us these valuable tips and tricks!