If you’re prepared to put in the time and commitment, you can easily find yourself in a position where you can start making serious money from your Instagram account. When I created @fabfashionkillas I didn't have a product or service to sell I just wanted to blog about fashion but people started to pay me to post their content on my page. The good thing is you don't need a physical product or service to make money on Instagram.
I’ll guide you through the main ways to cultivate an income through Instagram.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is when you promote a product and get paid per sale. You’ll often see bloggers doing this with sidebar banners promoting their partners (affiliates), or even through specific product inspired posts. Well, it’s not much different with Instagram.
With Instagram, you post attractive images highlighting their products and drive sales through your affiliate URL (this should be provided by your affiliate).
There are quite a few companies you can work with here. Here are some:
Sharesale: Find companies you want to work with, sign up for their affiliate program, get approved then start promoting. In some programs, it's easier to get approved if you have a blog or website.
Ebates: Refer people that love deals & discounts, then get commission.
Stylinity: great for fashion bloggers. When people shop using your link, you'll get commission.
You can put your affiliate URL on your captions or on your bio. You can either use bitly.com to shorten and customize your affiliate link OR you can hook up your blog and Instagram profile so that when people purchase through your link, you get a sale.
It really couldn’t be easier. This type of marketing is particularly popular with clothing on Instagram, as you can post your “OOTD” (outfit of the day) with the affiliate link sending followers to your full outfit details.
For those who love to travel, you can use affiliate marketing when taking part in reviews for hotels and venues. Simply direct followers to book through your link!
It’s also great for beauty bloggers, as you can invite people to “shop the look.” These methods are subtler and, as such, more effective than a direct sales type pitch.
2. Create Sponsored Posts (Find Sponsors!)
Instagram users with engaged followings can earn extra money by creating original sponsored content for brands. In a nutshell, a piece of sponsored content on Instagram is a photo or video that highlights a product or a brand. These posts are accompanied by captions that may include branded hashtags, @mentions, or links.
Brands don’t typically require a formal brand ambassadorship for creators of sponsored content, but it’s common to for them to tap certain influencers for content time and time again.
However, it’s important that any brands or products you promote are a good fit for your own personal image on Instagram. The idea is to show off brands that you can personally get behind, and to show your followers how that brand fits into your lifestyle or inspo page.
TapInfluence is a great tool for Instagram creators who are looking for opportunities for sponsored content, and it takes the guesswork out of the process of aligning with brands. You create a profile that describes you and the nature of your content, and brands who are interested in working with you will invite you to programs.
Ifluenz is another easy tool as you can browse matching available campaigns created by a variety of brands and directly promote the ones you prefer.
3. Sell Your Photos
An obvious one, surely? Why not use Instagram for it sole purpose… to showcase your photography?
If you’re a professional (or amateur but keen!) photographer, Instagram is a great way to advertise and sell your shots to either individuals or agencies. Add a watermark to your snaps and use the captions to list all selling details in a concise manner.
As always, make sure that you have an active presence so that the right type of accounts are following you. Use appropriate hashtags to pull people towards your shots and get a conversation going with influential photography agencies.
There are also a few sites that you can use to actually put your Instagram photos for sale, including:
4. Promote Your Products, Information Or Services
If you run your own business, then Instagram needs to hold an integral place in your marketing matrix. If you sell products, use it to post beautiful shots that can’t be found on your website. Here are some creative ways to promote your products or services:
Behind the scenes. “Behind the scenes” type images tend to be hugely popular – picture gorgeous handmade soaps being gift wrapped, jewellery being pieced together or delicious cakes straight out of the oven. It’s appealing and adds a certain realness to what you’re doing… and people love that.
Your customers' photos: Get customers to share their images of your products and re-gram (download "Repost for Instagram" app to repost your customers' photos). This is a proven successful method of selling and would make a great addition to your account. It also calls for you to start up your own unique hashtag which you can then promote to all your customers: it’s a seriously slick way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. For example, White Castle asks their customers to use #MyCrave to their photos. Now when they see them using that hashtag, they can repost (or regram) their photos to their Instagram account.
Infographics + exclusive offers. You can also market your services through Instagram with snazzy infographics and exclusive offers. Using Instagram to feature special offers is also a great tool to up your follower count as it’s a bonus they won’t find anywhere else.
The brilliant thing about using Instagram to promote your business is you can get mega creative with it. Think outside of the box and really use it to your full advantage. You’re sure to see the sales flying in.
5. Sell Your Instagram Account
Had enough of Instagram? Ready to move on?
Well, you’ll be happy to know that all your hard work hasn’t gone to waste. You can actually sell your Instagram account if (for whatever reason) you can no longer manage it.
There’s a few site that support you with this, two of the best being:
6. Sell Advertising Space on Your Account
Like I told you earlier, people pay me to post their content on my Instagram account @fabfashionkillas. There's no limit to how much money I can make and it has become a solid source of income for me to just post photos/videos on Instagram.
You must build an Instagram community in order for this to work. People with brands and businesses will want to be seen by your audience and will pay you whatever amount to make that happen!
So now you know the 6 handy ways to make money through Instagram, you’re all set to start building your empire. Whatever avenue you decide to go down, be sure to always keep your personal brand in mind and treat what you do as a business. The more you understand what it is you can offer, the stronger your message will be to potential collaborators!