For most people, how to make money on Instagram is a foreign, yet cliche concept. We hear all the time about individuals and companies monetising the world’s biggest photo-sharing platform, but where to start? Well, that’s what we’re going to find out in this article! For some people, getting paid through Instagram is a means to travel the world, for others, it contributes profit to their business. This is all good and well, but there is one burning question you need to ask yourself:
“Is my audience quality and do they engage with my content?”
If the answer is yes, great! Keep up the good work, and continue reading to learn more! If it is a no, then keep reading as well!
Before anything else, you’ll need a pretty decent following. Building an engaged community on Instagram isn’t easy, but if you can push through and reach at least 10k organic followers, you will start to be noticed by various brands. If your posts receive high engagement, then brands will want to collaborate with you, it is as simple as that. What do I mean by organic? Real people who can see and engage with the content you post.
However, it is easy to fall into the trap of following random accounts who don’t actively engage with your content, so while you may have 10k followers, only 100 or less, of these actually engage; like, comment, etc. If a brand can see this, it will immediately raise red flags and they will move on to the next possible account to collaborate with. It is no secret that building sufficient organic followers is tough and takes a lot of time and effort, but it can pay off, meaning you can be rewarded for your hard work.
Before we go any further it is important to remember that Instagram does not pay its users at all. People who get paid through Instagram do it in a variety of external processes that just happen to be on the Instagram platform. So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at 5 ways to earn money through Instagram!
1. Affiliate Marketing
Once you have achieved at least 10k organic, real-life followers, who engage with your content, it could be time to try affiliate marketing. In simple terms, affiliate marketing is where you partner with a particular brand and market their products or service. In return, you should receive a commission, usually between 5% – 20%. This is the most common way to earn money through Instagram and can be tracked by a URL that is specific to the product you are marketing.
It is highly recommended to stick with one product or service promotion at any one time, as to avoid confusion. However, if you do decide to become an affiliate for more than one company at a time, you can add the promo links to your posts.
All in all, becoming an affiliate marketer is all well and good, however you do need the following to compliment it. Some experience in marketing is also helpful, so you can sell the product in the right way without being too pushy. An example of an affiliate marketer is Stephanie Bailey, who markets beauty and fashion products to her 22k followers. She does this by posting pictures of her using or wearing the products, and then adds in a promo code in her caption so interested followers can receive a ‘special discount’. As soon as the follower purchases using the code, Stephanie earns a commission and the company makes a sale.
2. Become Known As An Influencer
To become an influencer, you’ll likely need a few more than 10k followers. If you are in the process of thinking about becoming an Instagram influencer, you would probably have already had experience in affiliate marketing. As the name suggests, an influencer is someone whose followers trust and follow closely, and as a result, can influence them to purchase particular products or services.
How do you earn money? Well, brands will pay influencers X amount of money (usually with a few 0’s at the end), to post about their products to increase sales. It is also imperative that you know your audience inside and out so that you can partner with brands that will most likely get you, and the company, the best results.
There are a few ways to put yourself out there as an influencer. One way is to reach out to brands directly and market yourself as an influential figure. You can do this in just a few steps:
- Comment and engage with the companies’ posts
- Locate their site and email address
- Direct message them on Instagram – The message does not have to be drawn out, nor detailed. It simply should outline who you are and your experience in past social media marketing.
- Be persistent – This is not recommending that you be a pesky Instagram user and spam the content of various companies, but rather stick at it and don’t give up when you don’t receive a reply.
The other method of putting yourself out there is to spread the word on some influencing marketplaces such as Tribe, Izea, or Brand. Potential influencers will be able to search through and reach out to brands wanting to bring an influencer on board. An example of someone with a very large following, whose audience actively engages with his content, is Tom Claeren. He is an influencer for Marriott Hotels and helps promote new luxury properties to his followers. Not a bad gig if you ask me!
3. Selling Virtual Products
If you are knowledgable and an expert in your chosen area, and you can show this, brands will want to collaborate with you. They will pay you to sell their products or services, and instead of a commission, it will usually be a pre-agreed amount. It could range from one post, to a whole series of posts, selling items like e-books, travel services, health & fitness regimes, or even business coaching e-courses. Basically, you can utilise Instagram to show the world your skills and interests, and then find companies who are willing to hire you for these particular skills, and not promoting their products on your channel, although it may be a talking point during discussions. Be prepared to learn new skills, though. Aside from managing content, you’ll need to learn to write business proposals and manage client relationships.
If you run an eCommerce or dropshipping store, you can use Instagram to compliment your current business, and even sell directly through Instagram if you are eligible! Getting set up on the platform can bolster brand awareness and sales, so check out our article on How To Make Money For Your Business to learn more!
Instagram is a powerful tool for individuals and entrepreneurs to make money, by either helping promote brands on behalf of the company, or to sell online services and products such as mentoring courses, and even courses on social media management. It is up to you how you would like to utilise the platform, and if you want to supplement your income, or make it your full-time job. Nevertheless, by following the steps above, the question of how to make money through Instagram will be answered, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a well-oiled online income machine.