How To Get Paid on Instagram
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Although it started as a photo-sharing app, Instagram has become so much more over the years. With over one billion monthly users, it’s the place to go to share your story, get inspired, and make boatloads of cash, of course. To even have a chance to strike it rich on this platform, you have to know just where to focus your efforts. Thankfully, you can learn everything you need to know in this guide to getting paid on Instagram.
Choose a Path to Greatness
Instagram is a great way to get noticed and pursue career opportunities galore. But if you want to make money directly on the site, you have the three following paths to consider.
As an affiliate marketer, you’ll use your photos and stories to sell products or services from companies in related industries. If you like to share photos of daring hikes, for example, then you might post affiliate links for hiking boots and other helpful gear. Then, as your followers click through the links and sign up for the services or buy the products, you make money.
If you choose to work as an influencer, you’ll work directly with brands in creating and posting sponsored content. Instead of only paying you a portion of their sales, the companies issue payment for simply creating and posting advertisements for their brand. In this role, your rate directly correlates with your total number of followers and perceived social influence on their brand engagement and buying decisions.
If you have an excellent business idea and want to generate tons of interest in your products or services, you can use Instagram to do that, too. As an entrepreneur, you’ll post your products plus share customer experiences with your company. You’ll get paid in sales as your followers move through the posts to complete their purchase at your online store or right in the app.
For multiple streams of income, don’t hesitate to combine any of these roles. You may also shift from one role to another as your brand gains traction and the followers to match.
Create Your Branding Elements
Once you decide which revenue streams you want to focus on, it’s time to create all your key branding elements. Your goal here is to make your profile instantly recognizable, inspiring people to take a peek at what you’re doing every time your posts come across their feed. Here’s what you’ll need.
Although it’s tempting to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks, you need a well-defined niche to attract a focused audience who’ll engage with your posts. You can select a broad niche, like beauty, pets, or outdoor activities, or narrow it down considerably by going with makeup, dogs, or fishing.
You can even become a micro-influencer by narrowing your niche even more to lipstick, Maltese dogs, or freshwater fishing in the Northwest. If you do go with a broad niche at first, you can focus on several smaller niches over time.
To make your account easy to find and follow, you need an Instagram name that’s memorable, easy to input into the search bar, and links back to your key focus. If you’re opening up your account to support your business, then try to make it your business name or as close to it as you can get. Otherwise, create a username that describes what you’re all about.
While you create your username, some things to keep in mind include:
- While you have up to 30 characters to work with, shorter monikers are best.
- Underscores, symbols, and periods are allowed, but can make it hard to remember.
- Research potential names to rule out ones that are too similar to other accounts
If you come up blank while creating your name, you can use a username generator to get the ideas flowing.
When you create your Instagram account, you’ll want a flashy logo to display in the profile picture section. Your logo should sum up your focus at a glance, giving followers insight into the purpose of your page.
If you’re design savvy, you can make it yourself. If not, then work with a graphic designer to get a high-quality logo. Either way, make sure it is at least 320 by 320 pixels and will look great inside a circular border.
Every brand needs an amazing story that helps it feel relatable and worth following. So, look at why and how your brand came to be to create the framework for that tale. Then, lay it all out in a format that’s a little bit inspiring, wholly engaging, and truly easy to read.
Once you have all these items in hand, you can create your Instagram account and start seeking out followers.
Identify Your Audience and Seek Followers
As you reflect on the focus of your Instagram account, you can easily identify your audience. If you want to become an influencer for companies in the pet industry, for example, then you’ll seek out pet owners, dog trainers, and rescue agencies as your audience, just to name a few. Zero in on people who’ll want to see your posts and buy the associated products to get the best results from all your campaigns.
Once you know who you’re marketing to, it’s time to start building up your list of followers. To keep up with the vast majority of Instagram influencers, you’ll want anywhere from 15,000 to 100,000 people following your account. You can start promoting products and services at any time, but you’re not likely to win brand partnerships until your followers number in the thousands.
Although that might seem daunting, you can get new followers just by posting on a daily basis. Everyone wants to see new content and will follow active accounts just to see what they come up with each day.
If you want to speed up the process, you can partner with a marketing team that can help you boost follower numbers fast. They will use proven tactics to get your account noticed and generate interest with every post.
Post Affiliate Links for Online Merchants
If you want to become an affiliate marketer, you’ll need to start by seeking out online merchants offering that program. To find them, you can perform a search using keywords from your niche plus the term ‘affiliate program.’
If you look for automotive affiliate programs, for example, you’ll find brands like Edmunds, Tire Rack, and Vivid Racing looking for marketing partnerships. When you join one of these established affiliate marketing networks, the terms are already all laid out for you.
When you sign up, they will let you know what actions qualify for a commission payment. In some cases, it might be completed sales alone, while others may provide a payment for each lead you send their way. These companies also tend to have a set rate for the commission, but you may be able to negotiate a higher rate with some of them.
You can also look for small businesses in your industry and ask them directly if they’d like to have you advertise for them. Since these companies do not have an affiliate network, you’ll have to negotiate with them to set the terms and rate. Be sure to revisit your agreement on a yearly basis as well to see if you can get a higher rate as you show them the arrangement is working in their favor.
To ensure you get credit for your promotions, the brands you partner with will need to either issue links or promo codes to share with your audience. Then, when you create organic posts about their products and services, you can include those elements to link the sales back to you.
You’ll also use branded and organic hashtags to help your posts reach the right people. Also, remember to include the #ad hashtag to let your followers know you’re being paid for your endorsement. Otherwise, they could feel like you are trying to pull a fast one on them.
Partner with Brands for Sponsored Posts
When you build a loyal following in a particular niche, you can count on your followers to look to you for the latest industry news, trends, products, and services. In fact, nearly 50% of people only make a purchase after getting advice or recommendations from their favorite influencers. Traditional celebrities don’t even get that much consideration, especially not from the Gen Z crowd.
If you want to play that role, you just need to partner with brands in your niche. A broad niche opens the doors to more brands, while narrowing it down provides a more organic feel. With your niche in mind, identify brands that offer products and services in that realm.
Then, create a brand pitch that describes your experience as an influencer, complete with stats. They’ll want to see your engagement rate, monthly views, and follower numbers to confirm that you have the clout to boost their brand. Leave out the rate negotiations until you’ve created a working relationship with the company in question.
Once you find your brand partnerships, think of yourself as a trendsetter and go well outside of the box while dreaming up your posts. You want people to see themselves using the product or service and truly enjoying the experience.
Depending on the brand’s focus and requirements, you might create static photo posts or go all out with videos and podcasts if you wish. In many cases, you’ll do several different types of content to engage your followers in multiple ways. You’ll boost each post with the given hashtags and even some you think up on your own. Like with affiliate marketing, you’ll want to include the #ad hashtag to let everyone know you’ve been paid for your endorsement of the product or service.
Instead of getting paid just for sales or leads, you’ll get paid for every sponsored post they authorize you to create. Alternatively, you can charge a project rate for a campaign that includes multiple posts. If you go that route, you’ll want to clearly define how many posts you’ll create for each campaign and what they’ll look like.
As an influencer, you’ll negotiate your rate ahead of time, which is usually based on your total number of followers. In general, influencers can charge around $100 for every 10,000 followers they have. You might offer a discount on each post when charging a campaign rate if the brand agrees to buy in bulk. Although cash is king, you can agree to get free products and services as a part of your fee if you want.
Instagram is an excellent platform for advertising your own products that you sell in your online store. If you’re a photographer, for example, you can create a Shopify store and use a print-on-demand service to sell copies of the photos you post on the platform. You can also sell t-shirts, mugs, and other products with the images you capture, creating a full line of products for your followers to enjoy.
With their new integrated sales tools, Instagram and Shopify make it easier than ever, too. You just have to tag your products when you make new posts. As those products catch their eye, readers can view the items, add them to the cart, and checkout without leaving the app. If you have enough shopping posts on your account, then you even get a ‘Shop’ tab on your profile, giving followers quick access to all your products.
Of course, if you prefer to process all your transactions through your own website, you can do that as well. You just have to add links to your items in each post plus boost them with relevant hashtags.
As the sales start to come through the system, check out which posts get the most interest and clickthrough rates to create even more campaigns for each product. Over time, you’ll figure out what your followers respond to best, making it simple to handcraft posts that’ll drive sales in an instant.
Get Started Making Money on Instagram Today
Now that you know what to do, all that’s left is to get started. So, jump in with both feet, confident that you know just how to make money on Instagram. Then, get ready to surpass all your wildest goals as your efforts gain momentum in the wild world of social media. Even if there are missteps along the way, it won’t be long until you’re achieving your dreams of being an affiliate marketer, influencer, entrepreneur – or all three!