The Kardashians make somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 for a single sponsored Instagram post. Top bloggers can charge anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000 for an Instagram content collaboration. It’s clear that those who have a significant and loyal Instagram following can monetize it.
There are a number of ways to turn Instagram followers into financial success, including becoming an Instagram influencer or micro-influencer, launching a social media consultancy and starting an ecommerce business. Here are 10 proven ways you can build a successful business around Instagram followers.
1. Become an Instagram influencer.
Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular among marketers of all stripes. One study found that roughly 95% of marketers who use some form of influencer marketing believe the strategy is effective. That means it is likely that more and more marketers will be in need of Instagram influencers of all kinds.
While it will be difficult to amass millions of followers, even micro-influencers have an important role to play. Micro-influencers with a small number of passionate Instagram followers can successfully work with brands of all sizes to deliver a highly targeted message to prospective customers. Brands like Mercedes, Reebok and KitchenAid use Instagram micro-influencers as part of their social media strategy.
The software engineer who started the account CoderGirl (above) has built a following of loyal tech enthusiasts. As a result, she has been able to form valuable partnerships with tech-related brands like Vettery.
2. Start a social media marketing consultancy.
Amassing a large Instagram following is no easy task. It requires a deep familiarity with Instagram marketing best practices. Rather than become an influencer yourself, you can help brands craft more effective Instagram marketing strategies by becoming a consultant.
Reaching out to small- or medium-size brands through Instagram direct message or email can be an effective way to get your foot in the door as a social media consultant. Or you can use freelancing platforms like Upwork to connect with businesses actively looking for help with social media marketing. You can also reach out to social media marketing agencies to see if they are looking for contributions from freelancers like you.
3. Launch an ecommerce store.
Instagram marketing has served as a driving force behind the success of a number of popular ecommerce brands. From fashion companies like Brandy Melville to health brands like Women’s Best (below), Instagram is well suited for ecommerce.
Instagram provides brands with a platform to show off interesting products in a way that is attractive to prospective customers. Furthermore, Instagram has recently released a number of new features, such as the “buy now” advertising button, to help ecommerce stores.
4. Develop a lifestyle brand.
Unlike an ecommerce store, a lifestyle brand usually offers the target audiences a wide variety of products and services catering to those who wish to live a particular type of life. Examples include GORUCK, Burton and Patagonia.
Instagram serves as an ideal medium to launch a lifestyle brand, since the platform provides marketers with an excellent way to showcase activities and products aligned with a particular point of view.
Take a look at GORUCK’s Instagram profile. The channel showcases GORUCK products, outdoor activities and GORUCK community events as a way of evangelizing a particular way of life that prioritizes physical fitness and social responsibility.
5. Begin a media company.
Rather than selling a product or service, you can use your Instagram audience to launch a media company that sells ad space. Instagram can be used as a channel to distribute new pieces of media content to the target audience.
Media companies of all sizes, from the New York Times to Vox News (above) use Instagram as a way of sharing important photos, videos and quotes with Instagram users.
6. Become a professional storyteller.
Assuming you already use Instagram to tell compelling stories through images, video or Instagram captions, you can monetize this ability by helping brands to construct compelling narratives.
Becoming a professional storyteller is a bit different from becoming a social media marketing consultant. A storyteller is usually the person who is developing content on behalf of brands. Take Zach Houghton as an example. While he does use his personal Instagram account to promote various destinations and activities via sponsored posts, he also helps organizations to tell compelling Instagram Stories through his consulting.
7. Charge people for in-depth gated content.
If you have developed an audience of truly dedicated followers, you can always charge them to consume longer-form content. Instagram can then become an effective marketing channel to distribute preview content that encourages your followers to purchase the full piece.
Jimmy Chin used Instagram to do just that. Chin amassed nearly 2 million Instagram followers. He then went on to create the movie Meru, which was essentially a long-form version of the content he frequently posts on Instagram.
8. Go on a professional speaking circuit.
Becoming a professional speaker can be a great way to build a well-regarded personal brand. One recent estimate found that the average professional speaker makes around $6,000 per speech.
Depending on your area of interest, you may be able to market yourself as an industry influencer if you are able to build a large enough Instagram following. Often, event organizers are interested in working with speakers who are able to promote an event to an audience of prospective attendees.
Becoming a professional speaker can also help you to build a larger Instagram following, which can in turn create a cycle of more speaking gigs thanks to a large online presence.
9. Use your following to land a new day job.
Perhaps your Instagram account is something you simply maintain for fun. If that’s the case, it can be used to advance your career by showing your current or future employers that you are regarded as an industry expert. Consider mentioning your Instagram presence (if relevant) the next time you interview for a new position.
10. Survey your audience to develop a new product or service.
The key to developing a successful business is learning the wants and needs of the target audience as quickly as possible. Instagram can provide you with convenient access to prospective customers if used correctly. From there, your Instagram followers can help you to launch a new product or service, and may even become early customers.
Instagram has already helped celebrities big and small to establish new revenue streams. The platform can help readers like you launch a successful business venture, assuming you are able to build a dedicated following.
From becoming an Instagram influencer or consultant to launching an ecommerce business or media company, once you have a loyal Instagram following a wide variety of monetization options become available.