Monetizing Instagram can seem like a dream for any entrepreneur in this day and age. However, it is not a dream! You can make money on Instagram by being creative and rigorous like any other business.
Do you want to learn how to make money on Instagram, what are the requirements to be able to monetize your account and what are the golden rules to follow once you have achieved it? Then keep reading! Here we tell you everything.
Some facts about Instagram
Instagram was born as an application to share images, but over time, it has managed to grow to currently position itself as the second social network with the highest number of active users in the month, after Facebook.
Looking at the potential of the service, in April 2012, before even turning two years since its launch, Facebook decided to pay $1 billion to acquire Instagram and become the owner of a tool that has become essential for many celebrities, politicians, high-level traders and companies.
By this time, Instagram had around 100 million active users (more than the total population of Germany). Currently, by 2020, it has more than 1 billion monthly active users (more than two-thirds of the population of India, the country with the most inhabitants in the world). In addition, the company produces around 22.2 billion dollars a year.
The power of having a large audience
With so many people interested in consuming photos and visual content that they consider relevant (or simply beautiful), it is not surprising that some users have found a way to make money from this platform.
Great celebrities known in the world since before Instagram grew to the magnitude it has now, they have millions of followers that makes them attractive potential means of communication for companies that want to reach certain audiences.
The American model Kendall Jenner, for example, was the highest paid woman on Instagram for advertising during 2019. She received almost 16 million dollars for 26 advertising publications on her Instagram profile. How did you do this? Well, using your image to promote, on your profile, beauty products, brand clothes and shoes, among other things. Today, it already has more than 128 million followers.
What if I’m not famous?
However, not everything is a question of followers. If this were true, Ariana Grande, who is currently the woman with the most number of followers on Instagram (184 million followers) would have generated more income than Kendall Jenner, but it was not like that. Why? Because in Jenner’s case, it wasn’t just her number of followers that made her generate this amount of income, but her entrepreneurial spirit.
So, if you are not a celebrity who draws crowds on social media, don’t worry, there are other ways to monetize and make money off Instagram as well. All you need is to have an entrepreneurial attitude. You can use your passions, hobbies and specific knowledge to create an account on the platform and earn money by following some tips like the ones we will give you later. These will not only help you understand how to increase your number of followers, but they will also show you how to attract small businesses and brands that want to advertise through your account.
Requirements to monetize Instagram
But before going to it, there are several previous steps that you must complete if what you want is to make money with Instagram. These tips will make you have a specialized profile to reach the audience of your interest.
1. Make a thoughtful and careful record
If you want to have an account whose main objective is to make money through Instagram, you have to behave with all the professionalism of the case. Even if you use it as a personal blog with which to generate income is an occasional thing, when you get to this point it is because you have already invested a quantity of time and efforts that got you there.
So, if you don’t want to lose this due to a hack and have to start from scratch, you need to be careful when configuring the key aspects of your account to have the highest security in the case. Here are the key things to keep in mind:
- New email: To create a hacker-proof account, you need to create a new email address that nobody knows about and that works only for your Instagram account. It should be different from the contact email you have in your biography and you should avoid making it public anywhere. Similarly, you must create a strong and unique password for this email.
- Phone number: A second level of protection is linking a phone number to your Instagram account. This adds a new layer of security, in case you lose your password or someone else tries to take over your account.
- Account linked to Facebook: Another protection measure is to connect your Facebook account to Instagram. If you forget your password, this allows you to login and reset your password using your Facebook credentials. For this reason, it is important that the emails and passwords of social networks are different.
If you’re already signed in and didn’t do any of those things at the start, don’t worry. You can modify the settings in your existing account to meet these requirements.
2. Set up an attractive profile
Once registered, in order to earn money with Instagram, you have to make sure that your profile is attractive to the people who visit it. The most relevant aspects to take care of are the following:
- Biography: In the biography you have the opportunity to show who you are and what your account is about in order to attract new followers. You have to choose the information you put here very carefully to make a good first impression right away. Your potential followers will only spend a few seconds considering whether your profile is of interest to them or not.
- Profile picture: Keep your avatar as simple as possible, with little or no text. Remember that we are in a visual social network, where what matters is always what can be communicated from the images. If you have to use letters to abbreviate the name of the brand that you are trying to create or that you already have, use a clean and simple font.
- Add a provisional link in your bio: Does the phrase “link in bio” sound familiar to you? Well, this is because this is the only place where Instagram allows you to add a URL that can be clicked, so use it to your advantage. You can put the link to your web page if you already have it, but keep in mind that this may always be varying depending on what you want to refer to, be it the direct link to a product, to a video, to another page… URL shortening services like bit.ly to avoid very long links and to be able to track basic statistics like how many people clicked.
- Public account instead of private account: If you intend to make money with Instagram, you must keep it public yes or yes. There is no way to generate interest for people who do not follow you if when they reach your profile they run into a lock. Also, having a private account restricts the possibilities for other people to share your content.
3. Build a solid fan base
The question you should ask yourself is not “from how many followers does Instagram pay you?”, since it is not about the followers clearly nor is Instagram the one that pays you. However, it is essential to have an audience to offer whatever it is you want to sell. Also, if you want to work with third-party companies, you should know that your account will only be interesting for advertisers if it has a significant number of followers.
However, no page that promises to increase your following “in a few days” will. To achieve this, it takes work and strategic efforts that will allow you to have a real audience and not just a number that represents bots. To achieve this, you must take into account the following aspects:
- Identify the niche of your interest Although it sounds like a no-brainer, many users don’t take into account that people follow other accounts depending on their interests. So unless you are a famous person or have literally thousands of friends, you are not going to be able to gain a following unless you offer something attractive for a specific niche. This does not mean that you put aside your authenticity, because, in fact, it is that characteristic of humanity that makes an advertiser decide to pay you to advertise instead of putting it on television. However, it is very important that your profile focuses on a single topic (fashion, books, recipes, photography, music, games, travel, nail art, fitness life, some sport, marketing, etc.) so that you can build a solid audience. It is also important that you are passionate about this topic, because that is the only thing that will allow you to let that authenticity flow when talking about it.
- Create content at a steady pace Once you’ve identified that niche, start creating content about it at a good pace and consistently. If you want to grow your followers quickly to start making money with Instagram, you should make at least three or four posts a day. Remember that in social networks everything is about “being active”, and three or four daily publications will generate more interactions than publishing a single photo that if in the first minutes it does not receive likes or comments, it will be forgotten. These publications do not necessarily have to be posts , you can also use instastories to constantly appear at the beginning of your followers. It is also very important that the content you publish is not anything just to maintain continuity and that’s it, but that it has an aesthetic and thematic coherence that makes the profile as a whole look like a coherent unit.
- Use hashtags wisely Tags are another tool that will allow you to reach people who do not follow your profile, so select the most relevant concepts of your content and put them as hashtags . Here you should start thinking about the type of business profile you want to have. Is your reach limited only to the Spanish-speaking world or could your content be of interest to anyone in the world who shares your interest? If so, you could also use hashtags in English.
- Interact with your followers As we already said, interactions are perhaps the most important element of all social networks. These are the ones that position your publications and the ones that tell Instagram if the content you produce interests people or not. Interactions are the equivalent of the reactions people have towards your content and, therefore, the only ones that really allow you to measure its impact. So, it is very important that you grow your interactions, not only with the quality of the content you publish, but, well, interacting . Answer each and every one of the comments on your posts and encourage your followers to make them by leaving questions at the bottom of the photos or videos you post. You can also create surveys, quizzes, upload templates (in the instastories ), or even invent a contest when you already have a certain number of people following you. Similarly, like and comment on the profiles of the companies or businesses that you are interested in seeing your content. Being active on their profiles will allow them to notice you.
5 ways to make money on Instagram
Let’s say you’ve done all of the above and now have an audience to speak to. As we have already said, popularity alone does not generate income: you need to be active and strategic in order to start making money with Instagram.
A very important part of this process is understanding when to start monetizing in a way that doesn’t disrupt or affect the growth of your account. In other words, do not let your profile be “sold” to any type of advertiser and that this generates a shock in the audience that causes you to lose followers. For this, it is recommended that before carrying out any monetizable activity, little by little you start making recommendations for places and products that you personally like without having to pay for it. This way, your followers will get used to you recommending things to them and, in addition, you will gain their trust so that they follow your recommendations.
In this way, you will have a ready audience that will accept the following types of strategies that will generate income:
1. Make sponsored posts
This is one of the easiest, but most delicate ways to generate income. Why? Because although the action as such does not have much science (you must make a publication or a story with a mention or showing the product to be promoted), you must be very strategic to choose what type of products you can offer that is wise both to generate interest in your audience to generate the impact that the brand is looking for.
So there are different ways to do it:
- You can directly follow up on the brands you would like to sponsor and plan your strategy based on it. Let’s say, for example, you love to read and you build your instagram profile on mini-bookmarks. So, since you know the publishing world well, you know that receiving sponsorship from Penguin Random House or Planeta would be a great opportunity. What you start to do is carefully study the publications that these brands make. You look at what hashtags they use, what type of products they promote the most, and so you get in tune with their own marketing strategies. If one of these publishers has just released a book and finds your profile, they will surely consider paying you to do one of your mini-signs for their product.
- You can propose a business directly to a brand. Now, let’s say you are not interested in working with Planeta or Penguin Random House, but with local publishers in your country. Emerging businesses do not usually point to this type of contemporary strategies because of the imaginary that they have in this regard. What people have generally heard about sponsored posts on Instagram is that someone like Cristiano Ronaldo can make almost a million dollars per post. With these costs and similar figures, it is not within your most immediate strategies to hire this type of advertising. However, you who know how it works, you can contact local entrepreneurs and offer them your advertising services. This is where your negotiating skills will come into play to set a fee. It also depends on the number of followers you have and the amount of engagement you generate. But ultimately, it is your decision what price to charge. There are people who charge from $100 and others who charge up to $500,000. You can also offer different “packages” depending on what the brand is willing to pay. You can offer different prices for
- A mention in a post.
- A mention in a story (it will be deleted 24 hours after it is published).
- A photo or video of the product.
- A photo or video of you consuming or using the product.
- A history of the product.
- A story of you consuming or using the product.
And remember that you should also make clear things like how long the publication will be on your profile or if you will leave it there indefinitely, what time you will do it, if you are supposed to say something specific, etc. All this must be in writing, because basically you are making a contract with the brand you are going to promote.
- You can use the platforms that mediate between influencers and brands. Since making money from Instagram is a business that any creative entrepreneur can access, there are hundreds of so-called influencers (people with many followers). So, to manage the contact between brands that bet on advertising strategies through social networks, some platforms emerged that we will list below:
On these platforms you can register and access the different advertising offers of various brands to start making money with Instagram. You must be careful to review the offers very well because they can be from any country in the world, so the possibility that a company is interested in your profile or not will depend largely on how much the market you are part of is interested in.
For example, if an American company is looking to sponsor their new t-shirts, but you live in the UK and the company is not interested or has no possibility of expanding in the UK at the moment, they will discard your profile the first time and you will have lost the time you dedicated to apply. In the same way, you must choose delicately the type of products and brands that you want to sponsor because your image is the one that will be at stake at all times.
Whichever way you decide to use, never endorse products that you don’t believe in. This is especially important to maintain the trust of your followers.
2. Use affiliate marketing
Another way to generate income with Instagram is through affiliate marketing. This consists of a collaboration between a brand or company that seeks to advertise its products or services through advertisements and an affiliate who inserts said advertising on their networks and earns a commission per referred customer.
So, if your Instagram profile is about technological accessories for cell phones, for example, you buy headphones from Amazon, you like them and before sharing it with your followers you sign up for the Amazon affiliate marketing program, you could leave the link where the you bought in your post. In this way, for each person who also buys that product from the link that you share, you will earn a commission!
There are many affiliate networks in which different products are offered and in which they pay you for different actions. They are between them:
- Cost per click (CPC): With what you earn a commission for all the clicks that were generated thanks to a link that you have shared. In this case, the sale is not necessary. That is, you will generate money for each click made, even if the customer does not make the purchase of the product.
- Cost per action (CPA): With what you receive money for each person who performs an action. It can be filling in a form, making a registration, etc.
- Cost of sales (CPS): With what you get an income for each customer who makes a purchase (as in Amazon).
Some of the networks that offer you the possibility of registering as an affiliate are:
- CJ Affiliate
- ShopStyle Collective
- Share A Sale
Remember that the most important thing is to always be consistent with your profile for whatever you decide to promote. For example, you could promote an e-book on how to lose weight if your profile talks about healthy living, but for nothing in the world should you sponsor a soda brand.
If you want to know more about how affiliate marketing works, we suggest you read our article: Affiliate Marketing: What is it and how to generate passive income with it?
3. Sell your own products
Many people choose to set up a sales site, invest in broadcasting, and make direct sales on Instagram. The results of this could be extremely positive if you work hard, with consistency and dedication, and study all the possibilities that the application offers.
This option is like having an online store , but saving you the costs of hosting and maintaining the website. However, you must follow the same protocols: study the market, characterize your product, define easy and accessible payment methods for your customers… And, the most important thing to sell your products on Instagram, are the photos you upload of them. Remember that in this social network everything enters through the eyes, so you must make sure that the photographs of what you are offering are as professional as possible.
4. Make a showcase of your services
Another thing that you can use Instagram as a showcase for is to showcase the services you offer. If you plan parties, organize concerts, take wedding photographs, do magic or teach private classes, you can always use your profile to promote what you offer with photos of the results of your work. Even if you are a private teacher, posts with cute or funny things that your students put in their exercises will help you build an audience interested in teaching services.
The important thing is that you maintain originality and authenticity so that people trust you and are encouraged to hire you.
5. Become a consultant
Finally, another option is that you offer consulting services specifically on a subject in which you consider yourself an expert. Even how much you’ve learned about how to generate income with Instagram can serve as a first step towards becoming a digital marketing consultant.
You can also talk about something you have studied or what you dedicate yourself to in life. To give this good publicity, what you can do is upload images or videos with tips on what you are an expert in. For example, let’s say you are a psychologist or psychologist: uploading images with brief tips to face a breakup or loss, not to procrastinate, to concentrate better or to generate more empathy in people, surely your audience will rise like foam and you can start to offer your services.
Rules for maintaining a monetizable profile
With any of the ways you decide to use to make money with Instagram, you must follow a series of rules if you do not want to lose your audience:
1. Share quality content
- Photos: Despite the new features offered by the social network, Instagram is and has always been focused on exchanging beautiful images. Attracting potential customers or monetizing your account means that you offer high-quality photos, and this is not limited to having a smartphone with the best camera on the market. It is necessary to publish creative images that will enchant the eyes of your followers and potential clients.
- Videos: The same applies to the use of short videos. If you decide to upload this type of material, we have already learned from youtubers that at least you have to make sure that if they cannot have a solid production, at least they have the basic quality standards: good sound, good lighting and an attractive frame.
- Description: A post with a poorly written description can make you look like a fan, totally damaging your image. While a clever, witty, and appropriate caption will help build trust among your followers. It is not necessary to write a novel in the caption of the photo, but offer your followers something real with which they can feel connected.
2. Maintain good habits
- Focus: We will not tire of repeating that you must maintain the focus of your profile so as not to lose your audience. It is enough to take a look at some success profiles to realize that there is a consistency of content focused on the topic that the owner of the page proposes to publish (fashion, beauty, health, sports, gossip, art, etc.)
- Strategic hours: Some analysis of the behavior of Instagram users show that the busiest hours to publish on the social network are between 08:00 and 11:00 in the morning, between 14:00 and 16:00 and between 19:00 and 21:00. However, this depends on the type of audience you have, so it is good that you do your own analysis to know when people react the most to your content.
- Frequency: Initially, it is essential to make at least two publications a day. However, as you grow in followers, it is important to increase the number of posts. Take advantage of stories that do not need so much production to keep your profile active.
3. Lean on other tools
You can use new technologies to help you manage your account. Here are some of the most relevant:
- Repost: This application allows you to republish Instagram photos and videos with due credits to the original owner of the content.
- InstaQuote: Allows you to write on a photo, select the text style and background, and, if desired, make color, size, alignment and spacing adjustments. You can take a photo to use as a base or choose an image from the gallery.
- Instamizer, Hootsuite, and Latergram: These apps are great options for those who want to pre-schedule Instagram posts just in case they can’t do them manually at the peak of traffic. In addition, they have a control panel where you have access to a lot of analytics about your profile (best times to publish, engagement by posts, demographic data of your audience, among others).
4. Keep a continuous analysis of your account statistics
There are various tools capable of providing an interesting analysis of your account (if it is a company profile) on Instagram. Once your profile has a considerable audience, Instagram itself will allow you the option of seeing some statistics in the application. However, if you don’t want to be left alone with this, you can use other tools.
A good example is Iconoquare (ex Statigram), which allows you to verify your follower record, the use of hashtags, the overall growth of your profile, the most commented publications and your most active followers.
Another tool is SocialBlade, which allows, among other things, to quickly see the daily growth of your follower base and which publications are giving you the best results.
With this article you have been able to get an idea of the different possibilities and requirements that exist to earn money for Instagram. You already know what strategies you must follow to win a good audience, what ways you can use to generate income and what are the sacred rules to avoid losing your audience.
Now you only have to decide to start, so go ahead! We assure you that by following the recommendations we gave you, monetizing your Instagram account will no longer be just a dream.
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