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How to REALLY make money on Instagram

By January 5, 2016 Instagram Marketing

In the past year, Instagram has become a real force to be reckoned with in the marketing world.

Since 2015, it has gained 100 million monthly active users, with the total currently sitting at a hefty 400 million monthly and 75 million daily users.

That’s pretty astonishing. So it’s no surprise that brands are now dedicating a substantial percentage of their social media marketing budget to this image heavy channel.

So what does that mean for you?

Well, now is the perfect time to cash in on its growing popularity.

If you’re prepared to put in the time and commitment, you can easily find yourself in a position where you can start making serious money from your Instagram account.

Still not sure what to do?

No sweat! I’ll guide you through the main ways to cultivate an income through Instagram and make a name for yourself in all the right places.

Ready? Then let’s begin.

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First thing’s first: what’s your following like? You should know from the start that most brands will expect a strong and loyal following in order to build a working partnership. If you’re lacking in this department, there are a few simple ways you can increase your amount of followers whilst building a professional look for your account. To get a shortcut and grow you followers count by thousands in a few days, click here.

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  • Fill out your bio with all the right information: This includes your contact information, what you post about and where you’re from. Add in a few keywords and even a couple of hashtags to ensure you’re easily findable by the right kind of followers. Something like: Beauty Blogger from San Francisco with a penchant for travel. Business inquiry:
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  • Post regularly: To grow numbers, you want to be posting several images every day… but be warned, don’t post all at once or this will actually work against you! If you can’t commit to that many posts, then just make sure you are publishing one quality photo every day.
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  • Take good photos: Which leads me to my next point! Make sure your images are of the best quality with attractive effects. There’s no point posting a weak image, so really take your time to make sure you are producing ones of the highest quality.
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  • Use relevant hashtags: It’s unlikely your images are going to travel very far without relevant hashtags. Familiarise yourself with the best ones to do with your field of interest and make sure you are including them in every single post. I am using the TagForLikes app for ideas and to save my custom ones.
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  • Engage with your followers: You cannot expect all interaction to come directly to you. Make time every single day to engage with your followers or anyone involved in your industry by commenting on and liking images. If you communicate with authentic content, people will be drawn to check out your account and, hopefully, join your loyal rank of followers.
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  • Get more likes on you posts: It doesn’t matter much if you have a huge following if your photos are not getting as much likes as you deserve to look congruent. The amount of likes you get plays a huge role on how you’ll be impacting and influencing your followers. This system will make sure you get high quantities of likes on every single new upload.

Okay, so you’ve boosted your follower count – sweet! Now it’s time to start making money.

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1. Affiliate Marketing

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Affiliate marketing is basically when you promote a product and get paid per sale. You’ll often see bloggers doing this with sidebar banners promoting their partners (affiliates), or even through specific product inspired posts. Well, it’s not much different with Instagram.

With Instagram, you post attractive images highlighting their products and drive sales through your affiliate URL (this should be provided by your affiliate).

There are quite a few companies you can work with here. Here are some:

Here’s an example, see how Kristyn from GlamourZine promote those over the knee boots?

I like to know it Marketing

You can put your affiliate URL on your captions or on your bio. You can either use to shorten and customize your affiliate link OR you can hook up your blog and Instagram profile so that when people purchase through your link, you get a sale.

It really couldn’t be easier. This type of marketing is particularly popular with clothing on Instagram, as you can post your “OOTD” (outfit of the day) with the affiliate link sending followers to your full outfit details.

For those involved in the travel industry (or simply those that love to travel – ahem, all of us!), you could try to set up and use affiliate marketing when taking part in reviews for hotels and venues. Simply direct followers to book through your link!

It’s also great for beauty bloggers, as you can invite people to “shop the look.” These methods are subtler and, as such, more effective than a direct sales type pitch.

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2. Become A Brand Ambassador

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This one is geared towards those with the weighty followings. I’m talking upwards of 10K followers and the ability to pull in hundreds of likes and comments within minutes.

Instagram Brand Ambassadorship

Sound like you? Then try this on for size.

It’s likely that you are already in a good position to attract substantial sponsorship deals from brands looking to have influencers promote their products.

That means companies might be willing to pay you to regularly showcase their goods to your audience.

Take a look at the right photo for an example.

You could either reach out to a brand’s marketing department directly with a proposal or you could apply through an agency instead.

Ones such as SixPushMedia focus on bringing influential social media users and advertisers together and help to make the job heaps easier for you as they cultivate the crucial connections.

Here are some networks where you can find brands to partner with:

This type of work can have you earning hundreds or even thousands of dollars just through a single post.

Some of the top Instagram users can find themselves earning six figure sums just through this type of partnership. It’s one that takes a ton of work on your end in the initial phase, but once you’re in a strong position you’ll find the deals come flooding in.

If you are involved in travel, you can also take also take a different path as a brand ambassador by becoming a local ambassador. Through this you can arrange tours and instameets based on your expert knowledge and prominence in your area. Set a fee for these meets and, hey presto, you’ve found another income revenue!

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3. Sell Your Photos

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An obvious one, surely? Why not use Instagram for it sole purpose… to showcase your photography?

If you’re a professional (or amateur but keen!) photographer, Instagram is a great way to advertise and sell your shots to either individuals or agencies. Add a watermark to your snaps and use the captions to list all selling details in a concise manner.

As always, make sure that you have an active presence so that the right type of accounts are following you. Use appropriate hashtags to pull people towards your shots and get a conversation going with influential photography agencies.

There are also a few sites that you can use to actually put your Instagram photos for sale, including:

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4. Promote Your Business, Products Or Services

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If you run your own business, then Instagram needs to hold an integral place in your marketing matrix.

If you sell products, use it to post beautiful shots that can’t be found on your website. Here are some creative ways to promote your products or services:

  • Behind the scenes. “Behind the scenes” type images tend to be hugely popular – picture gorgeous handmade soaps being gift wrapped, jewellery being pieced together or delicious cakes straight out of the oven. It’s appealing and adds a certain realness to what you’re doing… and people love that.
  • Your customers’ photos: Linked to this is the use of User Generated Content on your account. Get customers to share their images of your products and re-gram (download “Repost for Instagram” app to repost your customers’ photos). This is a proven successful method of selling and would make a great addition to your account. It also calls for you to start up your own unique hashtag which you can then promote to all your customers: it’s a seriously slick way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. For example, White Castle asks their customers to use #MyCrave to their photos. Now when they see them using that hashtag, they can repost (or regram) their photos to their Instagram account. Here’s an example:Instagram Marketing Using Unique Hashtag And Customers Photo
  • Infographics + exclusive offers. You can also market your services through Instagram with snazzy infographics and exclusive offers. Using Instagram to feature special offers is also a great tool to up your follower count as it’s a bonus they won’t find anywhere else.

The brilliant thing about using Instagram to promote your business is you can get mega creative with it. Think outside of the box and really use it to your full advantage. You’re sure to see the sales flying in.

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5. Sell Your Instagram Account

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Had enough of Instagram? Ready to move on?

Well, you’ll be happy to know that all your hard work hasn’t gone to waste. You can actually sell your Instagram account if (for whatever reason) you can no longer manage it.

There’s a few site that support you with this, two of the best being:

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Now’s The Time To Make It Happen!

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So now you know the five handy ways to make money through Instagram, you’re all set to start building your empire. Whatever avenue you decide to go down, be sure to always keep your personal brand in mind and treat what you do as a business. The more you understand what it is you can offer, the stronger your message will be to potential collaborators.

And remember, if you want to grow your authority and your profile’s influence, WE CAN HELP!

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