How to Make Money on Instagram in 2020
Instagram is seemingly a very simple social media platform. Compared with the likes of Facebook or even Twitter, Instagram has an extremely narrow focus: posting images.
But while that’s true, it also hides a lot of depth. And this is a depth that can be plumbed for huge profits if you know how to make the platform work for you!
Instagram celebrities are RAKING in huge fortunes from posting their content to the site. The going rate for a sponsored image on Instagram varies a lot, but it’s not out of the ordinary for an Instagrammer with 100,000 followers to earn $700-$900 per post. If you have 500,000 followers or more, then you could earn up to $3,000 for a single photo!
That’s not $3,000 to make a video.
That’s not even $3,000 to write an article.
It’s $3,000 for one photo. It probably took you two minutes to do that!
These numbers are from Influencer Marketing Hub.
And that’s FAR from the only way to make money from Instagram. In this post, we’re going to explore the options and see how to make money with Instagram as quickly, and effectively as possible.
Here’s the Key: Selling the Dream
The key to success on Instagram is to build a page that people really want to engage with.
Because here’s the secret that a lot of people don’t realize: the number of followers you get is actually relatively unimportant!
What’s far more important, is just how engaged those followers are with your content. To put it another way, it’s WAY better to have 1,000 followers who like every single post, than it is to have 1,000,000 followers who never look at a single thing you post!
And that’s not just for your sake: that’s what the sponsors believe too.
This is why the advice on how to make money with Instagram given by many blogs and vlogs is actually incorrect.
Many channels will tell you that the most important thing is to
When a sponsor pays for a sponsored post, they do so because they want their product to be seen, but also because they want people to be influenced by you.
In other words, they pay for you to wear their trainers because they believe you are a trendsetter. They believe that if your audience sees you wearing their trainers, then THEY will want to wear those trainers too.
If you only have high numbers – if you paid for your following for instance – then that won’t happen. And sponsors have smart ways of investigating whether the engagement is really there or not. They can’t be easily fooled!
This is also why making a channel that simply collects the images from other people isn’t going to lead to as much money. Sure, you can use this as a way to hack the system and to gain a big following quickly, but it won’t ultimately translate to the big money.
Creating a Brand
You start this by creating a brand. That means that you need a logo and a name, but these things should not come first. Rather, you need to first focus on the mission statement. You need to think about who your content is for, what problems it solves, and what you are passionate about.
This will mean honing in on a very particular message, and a very specific audience. As an example, let’s imagine a hypothetical fitness brand.
There are countless fitness Instagram channels out there. The issue is that many of them focus on simply “fitness.” They post videos about how to get abs, and they post-diet information.
That is boring. The issue is that it doesn’t have anything unique to say, and so it doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
You need to hone in on a more specific message.
Maybe you’re about paleo fitness? That might mean posting images working out in the wild, and training with rocks, branches, and rivers.
Maybe you’re about power lifting. That might mean posting grimy images in a gym, with lots of chalk, and massive weights!
Maybe you’re about a healthy lifestyle for families – in which case you could post images of people running with their dogs, or playing in the park.
There are countless aspects of fitness to speak to and each of these will address a specific audience. By honing in on one of these ideas, you’ll, of course, reduce the number of people that your content appeals to.
But at the same time, this will ensure that the people who do like your content will end up really liking it!
If you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one. So know your audience, know your message, and find a niche that you are truly passionate about.
That means people are going to comment on your images, they are going to like them, and they are going to send all of the signals that will help you gain visibility.
Now you need to make sure that your posts are primarily focused on enforcing and encouraging this mission statement and value proposition. In other words, you need to “live the dream” and show your audience that you live in the manner that you are promoting. That might mean going for those beach runs or just lifting heavier and heavier weight at the gym.
This is what will not only attract likes but also inspire your audience to want to live the same lifestyle. Thus, they will be more inclined to buy the things you recommend, and to listen to what you have to say!
To understand this concept better, check out this inspiring video from Simon Sinek on how to “Start With Why.”
Tips for Gaining Sponsors
To sell to a sponsor, you need to build this kind of engagement. At the same time though, you must remember that when a company sponsors you, they are essentially advocating for you. That means that they will want to see that you are using your position of influence responsibly and that your message is in keeping with their own.
That, therefore, means that you must try to avoid being highly controversial wherever possible and that you should aim to create content that is suitable for prime time viewing! It also means aiming to create high-quality images (especially if you’ll be taking photos of their products!) and it means being consistent with your posting.
Selling Your Own Products
Lots of people want to become influencers because they love the idea of being paid to make posts on their channel. The idea of getting paid thousands of dollars just to wear a pair of shoes is obviously appealing to a lot of people.
But this might actually be thinking small.
Because think about it: if a company is willing to pay you thousands to make that post… they must be earning thousands more. And if they can do that, so can you! Why should they benefit most from your hard work and good name?
The key is to find a big-ticket item – something you can charge a lot of money for. As an influencer, the best product you can offer is you. That means a consultation, advice, a program, or similar. If you can help people to be more like you, or share your expertise in any other way, then you’ll likely be very surprised at just how much they are willing to pay.
Perfect examples include:
These are services that you can sell on a large scale, and that you can charge a lot of money for, thereby making it very much worth your while.
The Soft Sell
As an influencer, you’ll be perfectly positioned to sell a service like this. Being an influencer means that people trust your opinion and like your approach. That means that should they want a service that they know you provide, you are more than likely to be their number one choice to provide it.
So how do you get them on board? One strategy is to use a soft sell.
This means you aren’t going to come out of the gate with an obvious advertisement. You’re not going to market a new product or service. Rather, you will post images that are inspiring in your niche, and occasionally mention that you provide consultation, coaching, web design, or whatever else.
This way, you can then wait for people to contact you – and they will. At this point, you just have a back and forth natural conversation where they can further get to know you, and you can identify the kinds of things they might benefit from and whether you can help.
Once this is done, you can discuss pricing. This strategy is extremely effective for selling an expensive service or product that involves a commitment, and it can make a big difference to your income!
The Easy Sell
If you have a ready-made digital product meanwhile, you can sell this with a lot less effort on your part. The easiest way to go about this is simply to paste a link in your bio. Unfortunately, Instagram won’t allow you to post links in your description, but linking directly to your sales page from your bio can work nearly as well as long as you mention this from time to time.
Likewise, you can also mention this in the content itself – by telling people in your stories and your video posts for example.
With this setup, you’ll have a way to generate cash from people who don’t want to go to the trouble of messaging you to talk. This is a great way to generate passive income while you sleep.
What’s more, is that a digital product like this can act as the entry point in a sales funnel. In other words, this is a smaller purchase that you can then use to drive bigger sales. If you have a $20 ebook, then you can use that to recommend your $1,000-per-hour training service. If your audience enjoyed the ebook, they will be far more likely to trust you enough to pay for your premium services.
Gaining Views and Followers
While engagement is definitely king, it is also very important that you build the numbers as well.
A few pointers can help you to do this.
The first is to tag correctly. You should use the maximum number of tags and aim to cover a spread of tags with a variety of shares. In other words, you might choose a few phrases that only have 1,000 posts, and a few that have 1,000,000 – then everything in between!
You’re using as many tags as possible (30) because each one of these is essentially an opportunity to gain more visibility. Think of it as being able to enter the lottery for free. If you could enter the lottery free as many times as you liked… why would you only enter once?
Another tip is to make sure that you are engaging with your audience. That means you should be responding to their comments, but also following them back and liking their posts.
Keep in mind that social media is a communication tool first and foremost! That means that you should aim to use it for communication if you want to make an impact. This is what will further increase your engagement and also encourage people to follow you.
Finally, think carefully about what you write on each post. This isn’t just about the image: the right description can provide additional value and give people a real reason to follow.
If you have a fitness account then, why not provide useful fitness tips?
The final tip is to remember that this takes time. A LOT of time initially. But the growth will also be exponential. The more time and effort you put in, the more you will grow. And once you get past that tipping point, nothing can stop you!