If I had a penny for every time someone asked me, “how to make money on Instagram”, I’d be pretty damn rich right now!
Considering that there’s a lot of ambiguity surrounding the concept of earning money online, this is a befitting question. And I haven’t found a lot of online resources that tackle this question head-on either! So, in this post, I am going to attempt to give you an in-depth insight into the world of Instagram blogging, monetisation on and off the platform and of course, what it takes to actually make the dough!
Whether you’re an aspiring Instagram blogger who is looking to make money on Instagram or someone who is just curious as to how your favourite influencer achieves the level of “success” that they do, I believe this article will help.
I am not going to be sharing numbers and statistics, you can actually just Google those. Instead, I’m going to be getting into the process of it all.
Now, before we begin, let me drop a truth bomb: People who appear successful are probably NOT making as much money as you think they are on Instagram!
Now that we have that out in the open, let’s start off with five frequently asked questions around the topic:
1. How many followers do you need before you can start making money on Instagram?
Honestly, not even a 100! Surprised?
2. Does Instagram pay money for creating content?
NO. At least not yet. Unlike the ad revenue you get on Youtube and Facebook Watch, Instagram doesn’t offer content monetisation. Which means that there is no direct source of revenue on Instagram as yet. Although Facebook has introduced beta testing for a monetisation policy on IGTV. So that is good news for content creators.
3. Can you make a lot of money on Instagram?
Yes. As long as you have a workable strategy and time to invest, you can make quite a lot of money on Instagram.
4. Can you make a fixed amount of money on Instagram?
No. It doesn’t work like a salary or a paycheque. The money you make is directly proportional to the work you put in and your business skills.
5. Is it a lot of work to make money on Instagram?
Yes again! There are several strategies at play, there’s a lot of trial and error. But that’s true with any business and that’s how you have to treat it.
Now let’s get into the real deal.
How to make money on Instagram: The 5 proven ways
1. Brand deals/sponsored posts
This is probably what you see the most on Instagram with your favourite influencers when you think about how to make the dough. Brands collaborate with big accounts in order to tap into their following. These brands pay influencers to create content and share it with their audience. This is very similar to advertising but instead of putting an ad out on television or a website, brands put out an ad in the form of a content post made by an influencer. This is called influencer marketing.
How much money a brand pays depends on a lot of factors including, but not limited to, the number of followers, engagement rate, the influencer’s field of work, his/her contacts and negotiation skills.
The future of Influencer marketing like everything on the Internet is unstable and that too due to a variety of reasons. I’ll be doing a post on this soon.
Requirements: A highly-engaged following of at least 5,000 people on Instagram. Of course, the higher the number of following, the higher the potential to make money. But you can start getting brand deals as you reach about 5,000 followers.
Difficulty level: Easy once you have built a following. Building that following is another ball game altogether.
2. Affiliate marketing
This is the second most popular way of making money on Instagram. Affiliate marketing is such a buzzword but I feel a lot of beginners don’t fully understand the scope of it. Affiliate marketing basically refers to earning a small commission/percentage on the sale of products you recommended to people.
How this usually works is: Instagrammers/bloggers/other digital creators provide their followers with links to products they vouch for. And if someone clicks on that link and buys the product, the creator gets a small commission.
Here’s the catch though, you don’t need a very high following to actually make money on Instagram through affiliate marketing. It helps but it’s not a prerequisite. What you need is enough people going to the link in your bio to purchase a product you recommend.
A number of bloggers and influencers have affiliate only accounts. A very popular format is creating photos and videos about products off of Amazon that are interesting and useful and then providing followers with a link where they can purchase said products. Depending on the price range of the products you’re recommending, you can even run ads on your posts to increase engagement more quickly.
The only catch here is getting affiliate links to products you want to promote. A number of brands will only provide affiliate links to bloggers/influencers with a little bit of a clout. Amazon has an affiliate programme however and anyone can sign up for it.
Requirements: Having affiliate links with brands and constant research on products to promote
Difficulty: Very easy to set up. Getting people to click that link is a separate skill and requires you to market your products well.
3. Selling features/shout outs
You probably know that you’re not the only one who wants to grow on Instagram. There are several million people wanting to do the same. This has created a unique market of feature or shoutout accounts. If you follow a particular topic such as photography or art or writing, you have probably come across several such pages.
Once these pages develop enough of a clout in a particular field, they start charging for featuring your post on their feed. The catch here is that the page needs decent enough following and engagement for other creators to pay money to be featured there. The good thing though is that it doesn’t take as long to build a following as it does for a personal account.
You can make a feature account on just about any topic. If it has high search volume, you can get to a money making point pretty quickly.
Requirement: Large following and highly engaged followers
Difficulty: Easy once you build a following.
4. Selling physical/digital products
This is my personal favourite method and one of the true-business-based models of making money on Instagram. There are several ways to go about it.
- You can sell directly on Instagram
- You can create a website and direct your followers there
- You can sell on an existing e-commerce platform or even opt for drop-shipping
If you want an in-depth article about the various ways to sell your products on Instagram, let me know in the comments.
The beauty about this is that the focus is on the product and not on a person or an influencer. This usually means that as long as your product is of some value and is made visible to the right people, you can sell and make money on Instagram without having to worry about the number of followers or engagement.
The perfect example of this is the earring-business (Chhabeeli) I started last year or the Nut-milk business I run with my brother now (The Nutty Kitchen).
Although I have suspended operations on Chhabeeli at the moment, I ended up making close to Rs 50,000 in about a month of starting that business with ZERO followers.
The marketing involves content creation and advertising through social media. There are hundreds of such “small brands” that are killing it because of platforms like Instagram. Some of them have achieved huge success and have become super big.
Requirements: Having a product to sell
Difficulty: Intermediate. You need to have stock, inventory and a shipping mechanism in place depending on the kind of product you have.
5. Selling your services
This is another one of my favourites! Are you a fitness expert or a social media marketer? A writer or a dermatologist? Chances are that no matter what kind of service you provide, you can earn big bucks by building a customer base online.
Instagram reportedly has 1 billion active monthly users. That is a HUGE number and also a very positive sign. Because no matter what you do, you can find an audience online. For service providers, Instagram acts as a marketing channel where they can promote their services and form clients who will then pay them on or off Instagram. Sounds cool? It actually is.
Requirements: Knowledge/expertise in a particular field
Difficulty: Intermediate. You will have to generate quality content pertaining to your field of expertise and run ads to reach out to potential clients.
Anyone who is making money on Instagram or from Instagram is doing it through a permutation and combination of these very techniques. It is not rocket science but it takes quite a bit of work.
If you want to grow a business using social media platforms like Instagram, it will take research, effort and consistency over a period of time in order to see results.
No matter what clickbait articles will have you believe, making money on Instagram or any other social media platform is never a one-click thing.
It works like any other business. The only difference is that the upfront investment is usually low and you have more liberty to make mistakes.
Originally published at https://www.adetedahiya.com on July 9, 2020.