How to Make a Living on Instagram- A Guide to Living the Digital Dream
The internet has become a virtual marketplace. From brands to independent vendors its access to markets and ease of access make it a tool to be used by entrepreneurs everywhere. Instagram is one medium that has taken off and is now a major player in the influencer marketing world.
We’ve put together this definitive guide to help you turn your Instagram account into a business.
Why Instagram you may ask. Well, here are a few stats to show you the power behind this social media platform.
· 800 million users · 500 million daily users · 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business account · 70% of businesses use Instagram · In 2017 71% of US brands used Instagram to promote their business, an increase from 48% the previous year. · Time spent on Instagram has increased by 80% every year with the addition of Instagram Stories and videos. · Over 2 million Instagram advertisers every month
These staggering figures give just a taste of what this platform can offer everyone. Where it’s as a full-time job or just a small business on the side, there are lots of opportunities to make money from your profile.
How to Turn Instagram into a Profitable Platform
There are several ways to turn your Instagram account into a business. From the traditional way of marketing and selling a product to modern forms such as becoming an Instagram influencer, there is a method and plan to suit all business styles.
Start With Dropshipping
Dropshipping is a business model where the vendor and manufacturer are two completely different entities. As the vendor, you just take the order and process the payment while your supplier manufactures, stores and ships the product.
The benefits of dropshipping are easy to see with one of the biggest pros being you don’t need a lot of capital to get started. This is great for Instagram vendors as their focus is solely on their catalogue, customer support and invoicing. What’s more, a vendor you can work from anywhere with an internet connection. There is no need for a static office or warehouse making drop shipping incredibly convenient, efficient and mobile.
Make a Splash with Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are a popular way to monetise profiles and the format most like traditional advertising. Instagram influencers connect with brands and create a post in which they highlight the product or brand, often with a tag like #ad, #sp, or #sponsored to show that it is an advertisement.
Affiliate with Brands That Speak to You
An affiliate is focused on making sales for their represented brand in exchange for a commission. The key difference between an affiliate and an influencer is an influencer works for publicity while an affiliate for sales.
Affiliates keep track of their sales by posting a picture or video and attaching a unique promo code that followers can enter when they purchase a product. The incentive to use the code often comes along with a discount. It is important to consider what the promo code link will look like in your post so reduce it using a URL shortener to make it more natural.
Again, there are several different online resources for affiliate links including Clickbank, Amazon’s Affiliate Program and RewardStyle.
Marketing a Product the Old-Fashioned Way
This method requires a bit more capital and work at the front end. If you already have a good idea for a product or service. This works like e-commerce stores such as Etsy, Shpock or Depop and requires you to either have your own business, storage and the like. Or you can use the dropshipping to keep costs low.
Create a Virtual Gallery and Sell Your Art
It’s not just physical products that can be marketed. If you’re a talented artist you can market and sell posters, photos, paintings, animations, videos and drawings via the digital medium. This can also be the ideal place to curate your Instagram profile like a gallery to capture your audience’s attention.
How to Boost Your Instagram Following
If you find your interest piqued by the prospect of an Instagram career then now is the time to start looking at your page and followers. Building an Instagram following is a constant task so these tips can help Instagram users of all sizes.
Audit and Optimise Your Profile
Firstly, take a long hard look at your profile. Make sure your username is less than 30 characters and something that is searchable through keywords. It should also be consistent with any blogs or other social media profiles you may have.
Your bio can also be optimised. Limit your bio to 150 characters and include a link to your blog or website.
Be Part of the Community
The only way to prove yourself within a community is to be part of it. Follow other profiles and take part in the discussion about topics important to your brand and experience. Followers crave authenticity and honest engagement will go a long way to winning them over.
Captions Are King
Captions provide context to your post. A question, a witty retort or heartfelt message attached to your post gives your followers a conversation piece.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Instagram is all about being visible. Run photo contests, create selfie stickers, record Instagram stories. Do whatever it takes to get eyes on your profile.
Create a Post Schedule
Regular posting keeps your profile in the frame and relevant. Be consistent with tone and frequency but don’t overdo with spam. One to two posts a day is ideal as it gives your followers a daily reminder without filling up their feed. This system will also ease the pressure on you and allow you to build up a body of work.
Collaborate with Other Influencers
Collaboration is a good way to develop your brand and build authority. Working with like-minded creators is sure to bring cross-pollination and more followers. Working with big names in your niche will also make you seem more important and increase your value within the community.
Develop a Unique Visual Style
Instagram’s success is no small part due to its use of filters. Make the best of beloved filters like Clarendon, Lark, Sierra and Valencia but be sure to stick to one unique look throughout. Chopping and changing your theme filter too often can diminish your unique style.
Engage and Outreach
Now that you’ve made something to show off, show it off. Reach out to brands and influencers, increase your exposure and make a living on Instagram. For a sharper boost in followers, you can use paid ads to reach more users. Whatever your budget and plan, see it through to see that follower number rise.
Instagram’s success is well-documented and the mind-boggling stats above point to how easy it can be to make money on Instagram. With everyone from micro-influencers to celebrities and well-known music artists having started successful ventures on Instagram, some even collecting earnings over six figures, there’s no reason why you can’t take the plunge and develop your own brand identity.
To give you the inspiration you need to get started, here are a few of Instagram’s biggest success stories:
Ali Maffucci quit her 9-5 job and committed to a full-time Instagram business in 2013. Ali started off humbly enough making healthy meals for her mother who suffers from diabetes. Ali used a spiralizer to cut veggies into noodles and began experimenting with new recipes. Her posts soon drew foodies from around the world and she soon started boasting 190,000 followers. Along the way, Ali has published a cookbook, branded her own kitchen equipment and makes thousands of dollars by sharing sponsored posts for brands and becoming a brand ambassador.
Shirley Braha worked with illustrious companies like MTV before making the jump to Instagram. Shirley adopted a Shih Tzu named Marnie from a shelter in New York and started posting pics of her adorable pooch. This simple idea proved very lucrative and Shirley now makes more money than she ever did. Marnie the Dog has over 2 million followers and has been snapped with the rich and famous including Tina Fey, Chance the Rapper, Lena Dunham, James Franco and Demi Lovato.
Jenna Farmer is a qualified nutritional therapist and freelance writer. Her blog and Instagram account, ‘A Balanced Belly’, covers the niche topic of people suffering from IBS. Jenna’s insight has helped her community and won her a legion of followers. She is regularly asked to represent food brands, supplements and review restaurants.
By focusing on something that affects many but spoken about by very few, Jenna has tapped into a niche market and turned it into a profitable problem. Whilst her average earnings per post aren’t reaching into the tens-of-thousands like some influencers, Jenna is a perfect example of the new world of micro-influencers. Their small, dedicated and highly-engaged audience still provides a high engagement rate and can be the perfect addition to a grassroots digital campaign.
Sara Tasker set up her Instagram while on maternity leave to document her daughter’s adventures. @me_and_orla has since collected over 200,000 followers with Sara committing to the social media platform full-time.
Sara started small, trading product mentions for free merchandise but before long was working for money with the likes of Canon, Ikea, Land Rover, Citroën, Garnier, Boots and Boden. Sara has her finger on the pulse of what it takes to be an influencer and stresses the importance of balance, she has said:
“Authenticity is a buzzword in Instagram and you need to find a balance between staying authentic and making money… I only work with brands in line with my values.”
These inspiring individuals are a tiny sample of what is out there so don’t be afraid to develop your Instagram profile and create your own success story.
Instagram offers a wealth of opportunities. What may have started off as a hobby or a way to kill time can be developed into a fully-fledged business that works with some of the world’s biggest brands. Take your time, create a plan, and find your niche to turn your influence into a dream job.
Influencer Champions have the expertise and connections to get brands and influencers working together on dynamic and exciting digital campaigns. For more information or to find your ideal influencer, contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, call one of our dedicated booking agents directly on 0203 9580 427.