Maybe you just started an Instagram account and you’re starting to build up a following. Or maybe you’ve been on Instagram for years and you’re looking to take your account to the next level. No matter what stage you’re in within the “Instagram” lifecycle, you’re going to be asking the big question at some point: how do I turn my following and Instagram account into dollars and cents. Even if you didn’t get into this business to make money, putting a little effort behind monetization doesn’t hurt and you’ll notice even a tiny bit of effort can go a long way. With that in mind, here are a few clever tricks to get you started.
- Work with brands and sponsor posts. This is one of the most popular ways influencers can make money on Instagram. Whatever it is that you’re posting about, you can bet there are companies in that niche that would pay good money to get in front of your audience…all you have to do is find them! Have an amazing account about the latest fashion in footwear? Find some shoe companies! Have great content about gardening? Find a hardware store! You get the idea. Find your people, make some connections, and watch the magic happen. If you’re looking for a few places to get started, check out a marketplace like Upfluence or NeoReach to get the ball rolling.
- Become an affiliate. If you want to promote other brands but don’t have the time or resources to do cold outreach and establish those kinds of relationships, don’t sweat it – there are already marketplaces out there where brands have preset offers for revenue sharing. These are called “affiliate networks,” and they’re extremely easy to plug into. For example, on websites like Commission Junction & ShareASales you can browse tens of thousands of brands that are looking for influencers just like you to promote their products. If someone buys through the unique tracking link they’ll give you, you’ll automatically receive a commission.
- Sell your own products. Working with other brands or affiliate networks and taking a cut of their revenue is great, but you know what’s even better? Taking 100% of the cut by doing it yourself. Of course, this is easier said than done, but if you have the time and you’re up for a challenge, spin up a product of your own and get to work!
- Start a blog. Having an Instagram account is great, but eventually, you’re want to branch out into other channels, most notably a blog. Having a blog can be a lot of work, but given the added potential for more revenue streams, many influencers end up finding they can generate significantly more revenue from their blog than their Instagram account.
- Arbitrage Your Traffic with Paid Ads: Let’s say you have 1,000 followers, and through the above techniques you realize that if you post once per week, you can earn $100 in revenue per post. That means you’re on track to make 52 weeks * 100 = $5,200 per year, or ~$20 per person follower. And let’s say through Instagram paid advertising you can generate a new follower for $10. That means you have a margin of $10 and you should buy some more ads! Before long, you’ll have 10,000 followers, then 100,000 followers, and if all goes to plan, you’ll have snowballed into a really nice business that’s generating a lot of passive income.
- Use Repixel: Once you have an online presence, you can dial things up with Repixel. Using Repixel, you’re able to promote your account to other brands and let other brands promote their account to you. If you’re familiar with retargeting (tagging someone who has been to your site to serve them ads later), Repixel allows you to do that, but using someone else’s website. So if you’re a shoe influencer, you could list your website in the Repixel marketplace as a “site owner”, and with your permission, companies like “Runner’s World” would be able to retarget your visitors, and of course they would pay you every visitor you received.
The above tricks are certainly useful, but don’t forget the #1 rule: create amazing content. After all, no matter how clever you get, all of the “growth hacks” in the world won’t save you if nobody is interested in what you’re writing about. The goods news is that on the flip side, assuming you are creating amazing content, with a few sprinkles of creativity, you should be well on your way to the road of riches in no time.