by Menka Dimitrovska, Money Columnist
Published in Money on 15th March, 2018
Since its creation back in 2010, Instagram has evolved, and become one of the most popular social media platforms. What was once a simple app used for sharing photos, has now become a marketing platform, and a great chance to make money, both for companies, and individuals. People respond very well to the platform. Their interest in it has grown tremendously in the last 6 years, and really exploded in 2016 and 2017, after Instagram launched Instagram Stories. People seem to really love the platform, and it's actually become one of the top used platforms when it comes to sharing pictures.
Now that we've seen the potential that Instagram has, and the fact that it's one of the major social networks people use nowadays, let's extend our conversation beyond the general statistics, and get into the ways influencers use this opportunity to make money on the platform, and how you can use those same exact strategies and make a profit yourself.
But first, let's see a few examples of a few such entrepreneurs, so that you can get an idea of what their process was like, how they started out, and eventually got to the top.
What we're going to do first is talk about a few success stories on Instagram, and see how they started out, in order to get you motivated, and give you that last push you need to turn your hobby, or your passion into a profitable career. Who knows, maybe one day you too can read about your success story.
Theresa Nguyen uses Instagram to share awesome videos of her homemade slime, and then sell the stock on her online shop. Her videos are crispy clear, and so satisfying to watch. And with over 1 million followers, and very engaging, quality videos, the fact that she sells her new products in a day is not that shocking. She reportedly makes around $3000/month, which is not so bad for a teenager, don't you agree?
Justin Wong is very passionate about Harajuku-style fashion, and uses his Instagram account to market products from his shop, called So Aesthetic Shop to his 553K followers. He works meticulously on each of his post, to make it more appealing to his audience, and by doing this he gets about $12K a month. He uses the dropshipping business model, which means that he doesn't need to purchase the products from other vendors until they are bought by a customer.
Veera Bianca is a travel blogger and entrepreneur with 25,4K followers, who has been using Instagram as her main income for a couple of years now. She joined Instagram a few years back and was able to gain over 25K devoted followers. The way she uses Instagram to make money is by traveling the world (all costs are covered by her sponsors), and gets payed around 100-500 euros to simply mention airlines, hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies in her posts. She sometimes markets products, as well. The way this works is the company sends her the product, and pays her around 300 euros to wear it and post a picture on her account mentioning it, and the company.
After realizing that her followers often asked her about the clothes that she was wearing, and wanted to know where she'd purchased them, she started using the platform to market products from famous brands. She works with Forever 21 Plus, and promotes her plus size fashion style to some of the curvier women out there. She often includes sales codes in her posts so that her followers can get a -10% discount, and gets a percentage of the sale (a commission).
By now, you might probably be thinking that in order to make money from Instagram you need to have a huge following, and be really popular, but don't get discouraged, as Jeena Farmer is here to prove you wrong. Jeena Farmer is a freelance writer and nutritional therapist, with just 4,100 dedicated followers. She shares recipes, and tips on her Instagram and gets payed around $50-$100 for mentioning a brand in her posts, and $200-$300, for a blog post + an Instagram update and a tweet.
That's why you don't need to worry about having a lot of followers, at least not at first, because everyone needs to start from somewhere to head on to the top.
We already revealed some of the tactics Influencers use, but to be honest, there's a lot more to it, which is why we'll go a bit more in depth and talk about 6 of the most popular ways Influencers use to make money on the platform.
If you want to become one of them, and make money as an Instagram Influencer here are some of the ways you can achieve that:
One of the top ways to make money on social media is by promoting brands, products, and services. The way influencers do so is by looking for brands they like or use, or that are suitable to their niche, and partner up with those companies. They promote the brand on their Instagram account, and in exchange they get payment per promoted product or per post.
There are two ways for you to get sponsors, one is to build a big enough following so that brands and marketers start to notice and contact you, and the other is to work on getting brands to represent, and not just sit and wait for them to write. The way to do so is to look for brands in your niche that you like, and feel comfortable promoting, and start reaching out to them in the hopes that some of them will accept your partnership.
There has been a dramatic growth of sponsored content on Instagram in the last year, both in photos and in videos. Influencers are making tens of thousands of dollars monthly, so start sending your proposals to brands and turn something that you like and feel passionate about into profit.
As we mentioned once before, establishing a shop that works on the dropshipping method can be quite profitable. A lot of Instagram Influence are doing just that. What they do is research the market to find a good niche, and products that would sell well, having in mind their followers and their interests. The next step would be to open an online shop, which you can easily do using Shopify, and you're there.
If you already have a large following, and people trust your opinion then they'll probably be interested in buying the products that you recommend on your platform. A lot of Instagram influencers are taking that opportunity and making a lot of profit from commissions.
You can reach out to any brand or company that has an affiliate program, sign up, and get your affiliate link. That's the link that you'll put in your bio, so that people can check out the product, and buy it if they're interest. Simply sharing the affiliate link in your bio won't be enough, so what you can do is include a caption in each of your posts and tell people that they can purchase the product using the link in your bio.
One of the most popular options that people use when they start off as Instagram influencers are free apps and services that help Instagrammers find and connect with brands they could promote. This way they avoid all the stress and legalities that come with the whole process.
This option is typically used by Influencers with a huge following, that need someone to help them talk to brands and companies to promote, look for new gigs, and help them land some clients as well.
If you feel like you have the creativity and skill to make your own products, and if they are something that your followers might appreciate, why not use your account to advertise them and find your potential buyers. This system works pretty well for a lot of Instagram Influencers and can work for you as well. The only thing you need to be prepared for is the startup capital you're going to need, so that you can stock up with products, as well as a storage space of some sort that you can rent out or maybe just repurpose a spare room in your home.
Regardless of the model you choose to go with, you need to have in mind that the only way to become successful as an Instagram Influencer is to have a good marketing strategy, and promote yourself daily. Self-promotion is a key factor, that requires a lot of tactics and strategic thinking. You need to find a way to create content that's unique, interesting and has that "wow" factor everyone's looking for. That's what all those influencers we mentioned before have in common, and that's exactly what you should strive for if you want to be one of them.