Can’t wait to start making money on Instagram?
To be honest, it is not that easy. But, it is not rocket science either. You have to only gain insight into the various tools and features in the app to make the most of them and whoosh! You will be making money fast and easily!
But, why Instagram? Have you ever considered why it is so popular among bloggers and content creators these days? Launched merely as an image-sharing platform for social media addicts and photography nerds in October 2010, the app is currently one of the A-grade marketing tools of renowned organizations. It was acquired by Facebook in 2012, which proved to be one of the most beneficial acquisitions in the world of the social media business. Mark left no stone unturned to make the photo-sharing app spread out its wings and give tough competition to others like Twitter, Snap Chat, and the latest being TikTok.
When you open the app, you just wonder, what is not there? Starting from exquisite filters to endless features and short video tools, Instagram offers everything that a professional blogger or independent content creator may need. Besides, the app can also help you establish a robust presence on social media as a company or an individual seller. All you have to do is open a professional account and make the best of the available features.
Coming back to the question, how to make money on Instagram, well, you have to start from the beginning. Firstly, you need to know if at all the app can help you earn well. In our experience, it does. Last year, when the world was reeling from the pangs of the COVID-19 first wave, our cute little Insta was making billions of dollars in ad revenue.
In 2021, it is estimated that about 1.074 billion people use Instagram globally. If you are wondering about the demographics, well, more than 70% are under 35, which primarily makes it a youth app. For other demographic details, take a look below:
In simple words, about 50.9% of women and 49.1% of men use the app globally. However, in the US, the numbers are reduced to 43% and 31% respectively. Still, more women tend to use the app for photo/video sharing, influencer marketing, or plain online shopping. You can easily correlate it with the common idea that women tend to be more shopaholics than men (Just kidding). The app is also currently ranked 6th in the list of the world’s most-used social media platforms after Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.
However, all these stats and demographics are yet to reveal how do people make money on Instagram and if you can do so as well. Well, most of the high earners have a robust Instagram presence with more than 1000 followers. About 81% of purchase decisions are driven by the seller’s Instagram impression, like the number of followers, likes, posts, and information about products/services.
But that does not necessarily mean you cannot make money if you have fewer followers.
How to make money on Instagram: Tips and strategies
There is a three-fold way of making money on Instagram as a company or an individual.
Be an influencer
It is the most common way to make money through your posts, which will be sponsored by brands. Cristiano Ronaldo is currently the highest-paid influencer on board who earns within a range of $466,100-$776,833 annually. He has 313 million followers with only a little more than 3K posts. He is followed by Ariana Grande and Kylie Jenner, who also make huge revenues through Instagram influencer marketing. Each of their posts is sponsored by the brands of the products/services they promote and paid in lump sums. Take a sneak peek into their IG handles:
But can you make money on Instagram if you do not have as many followers as these influencers? Of course! It all depends on how regularly you post and how brilliantly you engage your audience. If you create relevant and informative posts on your handle that add value or answer the questions of general users, you can create recognition on the platform. You can then approach brands of your choice and ask to promote their products/services on your handle in exchange for some commission. This is how bloggers make money on Instagram without spending a fortune on paid advertisements.
Be an entrepreneur
You can also create a professional account of your brand on the platform and share posts, stories, and videos related to your products/services regularly. The key rule of thumb is to stay connected with your followers using the various tools available on the platform. You can make short videos, better known as Instagram Reels, for your products or upload detailed explainer videos on the IGTV section of your Instagram handle for services.
It has been a year since Instagram Reels feature that allows you to post videos of maximum of 30 seconds, using exclusive filters and all kinds of BGM (background music), was launched. And to say the least, it has become highly popular among bloggers and brands worldwide. The IGTV (Instagram TV) feature is a bit old though, and the IG Reels feature has caused some amount of decline in engagement in the IGTV videos (47.5%) as well. But it is pretty good for explainer videos and live sessions that you can save after.
Some of the brands making the most of the platform to establish their social media presence are as follow:
Haus is a liquor brand based in California that has a well-maintained IG handle, as you can see above. With only 240 posts and 59.8K followers, it has managed to grab eyeballs across the globe and has experienced a growth of 500% during the critical months of the pandemic. They feed on the idea of a hangover-less binge-drinking experience, which is favored by the natural ingredients they use in their beverages. But that is not all. One of the big reasons for their popularity is the way they provide information on their IG handle, making it a go-to place for new buyers. Something to learn, definitely!
Recess is yet another modern brand making it big on Instagram. It explores the idea of de-stressing and emphasizes it through its cooling drinks and powders. The brand uses natural ingredients, like lemon balm, American ginseng, hemp, and others in its products that have a calming effect on the nerves. It uploads all information through eye-catchy images, videos, and stories on Instagram to keep its buyers intrigued and engaged.
Madewell, on the other hand, is a clothing brand, based in Brooklyn, which has a tremendous Instagram presence with 1.4 million followers. Everything you wish to find about the brand is there on its IG handle. It also has an app to impart an unmatched shopping experience to its buyers.
There is a saying that “If you aim the moon, you will fall among the stars.” Now, although this statement is incorrect (Stars are farther away), it does hold a metaphorical meaning that you should aim big to at least reach a place that satisfies your goals. Keeping these brands in mind, you should create an IG experience that helps your brand make its mark by attracting and engaging your target audience. Money will flow in naturally.
Start by opening a professional account on Instagram and keep posting regularly. Put in as much information as you would like about each post in the caption and use relevant hashtags (#) to help people find you easily. For example, if you post the image of a pair of leather shoes, you can use a set of general and specific hashtags to cater to your target audience.
While tags, like #instashoes, #footwear, #shoes, #instamoods, are perfect for the general audience, #howtowearmatchingshoes, #leathershoes, #brandname, #shoetime, are for the specific ones. Take care not to overload your posts with irrelevant tags and try to be creative with the captions.
Be an affiliate marketer
Last but not least, you can become an affiliate marketer on Instagram by promoting a brand’s product in the caption and linking to it in the comments. As Instagram does not allow direct linking, you can paste the link of the product in the comment section that people browse. Have you ever browsed the comment section of a celebrity? You will find many comments that seem like a promotion. Yes, these are affiliate marketing tricks that the person commenting uses to promote someone else’s brand. S/he even gets paid for it.
However, only a few people can do this relevantly without spamming. For example, promoting beverages on a post about coronavirus is irrelevant and immoral, to say the least. However, you can advertise about 3-ply masks on the same post and may even gain some clicks. Do you get it now? Be relevant in your affiliate marketing strategies to earn from the social media platform.
Now, there is something else you should know before you plunge into blogging or affiliate marketing. You need to grow your followers. Of course, you will not make it to the list of top influencers in a fortnight, but you need to have sufficient number of followers to begin your advertising ventures on the platform. Let us guide you regarding the same.
How to increase Instagram followers?
First of all, you should know that the days of bots are over. You can even get penalized if you try. A false follower count can be good to boost your confidence temporarily. But it will fail to add value to your marketing ventures, so refrain from taking the shortcut. Also, do not try to buy followers but earn them. Here’s how to increase followers on Instagram organically:
Chalk out a plan
Plan your Instagram marketing strategy through research, research, and more research. Decide why you need to increase follower count and what you plan to achieve from them. Think of ways to increase your brand awareness and focus on telling a compelling brand story to attract more eyeballs. It will help you engage an audience, who may be genuinely interested in your products/services. If you are an independent blogger, you need to engage people will similar interests and entertain them regularly. The marketing plan will help you achieve these goals.
Define your target audience
Who do you wish to be followed by? What is their age group or gender? What professional fields do they belong to? Where they are mostly located? Can you identify their strengths and weaknesses? All these questions will help you create a definite target audience for your marketing ventures on Instagram. You can then create posts and stories that cater to such an audience instead of posting randomly.
Try using the different tools and third-party apps to work on the visual appeal of your posts. You can refer to the posts of major influencers and see how they maintain and increase engagement through newer and better presentation tactics. However, try to maintain some amount of consistency for branded posts, for example, a definite color palette, font type, style, and color. If you wish to create something different, use the stories and reels options for your creative posts that do not match the brand’s definite aesthetics. It will also offer a refreshing feel to your audience.
Use keywords wisely
You should use relevant keywords in your bio to increase searchability. For example, if you are a travel blogger, you should use keywords, like a traveler, travelogue writer, hospitality, blogger, to describe your profession and interests in the bio section. You can also give links to your recent write-ups here and change those from time to time to keep your profile updated. Use emojis to make it attractive enough for random IG users. Check out the following examples:
Share your posts on other platforms
One effective way to increase your IG followers is to share your posts on other platforms, like Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. Are you wondering how to do that? Scroll on!
- Go to any post on your handle and tap on the three dots at its upper-right corner
- Tap on the ‘copy link’ option
- Go to the platform of your choice and paste it
You can send your posts through DM to friends and close ones to gain their support. Ask them to follow your handle if they like the content. However, you need not take all the toil for sharing on Facebook or Twitter though. You will get the option to do that on the same page you write a caption for your post.
Use relevant hashtags
In any post, you can put up to 30 hashtags, but all of them should be relevant to the post and its purpose. Like, you should not give tags like #continentalfood on a post for Yoga apparel. Get the cue? Yes, and try not to spam the post with similar hashtags all the time. Relevance is a priority here. Browse popular hashtags based on different topics on the internet and copy those to your clipboard for repeated use. This will help you reach new users, who may take a genuine interest in your handle and turn into loyal followers of your brand later. Look at the following hashtag examples:
Pin some comments
Instagram rolled out this feature last year to help people engage more in the comments section of a post. You can try this once you have quite a several followers on your IG handle. Pin some comments to the top of your feed post to make them easily visible. It will encourage more people to comment and increase their chances of getting pinned to the top. If you are wondering how to do this, follow this video tutorial and get updated. The person, whose comment you will pin, will also get a notification regarding the same. Now, doesn’t that seem quite a sweet surprise?
The use of social media platforms has reached a new peak during the pandemic. Most people were confined to the four walls of their homes in the initial phases owing to nationwide lockdowns with nothing to do except scrolling through their feeds. Posting pictures, making reels, and coming live to engage with their followers was among their favorite pastimes. And this trend is likely to remain the same for some time now, as people have grown an addiction to it. They love the virtual world, especially the youth. About 500 million people use the IG stories every day, among the 1 billion active monthly users on the platform. Coming to usage statistics, about 63% of them open the app at least once every day, while 42% do it more than once.
Besides individuals, businesses are also increasingly getting aware of the many benefits of the platform and using it for various purposes, from branding to marketing. In 2018, more than 70% of brands revealed that they use Instagram. This number must have increased in the last year, as most of them went online to prevent the pandemic from shutting their businesses down.
You will also be surprised to know that Instagram ads cost more than even Facebook ads, as the average CPC is higher on the former.
It also has a higher potential reach (about 928.5 million) than Facebook. Although not all are your target audience, with such huge potential reach, you are sure to get your ads viewed by many of them. A business account on Instagram can also enjoy an average engagement rate of 0.96% on each post.
Given these statistics, one thing is pretty clear. The use of social media is a #NewWorld thing and is not going to fade away any soon. As long as people are enjoying their social media activities, individual businesses and companies have a fair chance to grow and expand their brands.
Are you one of them?