Ways To Earn Money As Instagram Influencer
Ranked as one of the most important influencer channels, Instagram is a disruptive marketing force with the most concern by marketers.
Started with the intention to encourage photo sharing, it has now transformed to become an effective business platform, leveraged by brands, including common people like you and me to grow a business.
There are just so many ways you can make a living on Instagram. One common way is to start endorsing a brand in your Instagram feed.
Another way is to promote affiliate products listed on various affiliate marketplaces such as ShareASale, CJ Commission or Amazon Associates.
If you are new to the term affiliate marketing, then I suggest you check out my article on Affiliate Marketing For A Complete Beginner.
In short, it's about promoting someone else products to earn a commission which I am also doing to make a full-time living.
Alternatively, you can sell your own products like what @HudaBeauty did by creating multiple makeup tutorials to show people how to use her products.
Basically, Instagram is just like your eCommerce store which you can sell literally anything.
With the introduction of “Instagram's Shoppable Post”, selling on Instagram gets easier. One brand who successfully sell via this method is @Magnolia.
However, unlike having own blog where you have absolute freedom to decide how you want to promote a product, on Instagram, you'll have to abide by the rules imposed by this platform.
Anyway, for a start, it is always advisable to tap into millions of audience on social networks so you could save some money and time from building own blog.
In this post, I am going to share with you some of the best ways to grow your Instagram followers.
Before I get there, let me first introduce you to some successful Instagram influencers so you can have ideas on how this platform works for them.
Top Influencer Around The World
Brands often leverage Instagram influencers to reach their audiences. Some notable ones that have built up sizeable followers using this method include National Geographic, Nike and Victoria Secrets.
One notable influencer is called Huda Kattan.
Huda is firstly and foremostly a blogger who also operates on Instagram. She is very talented at showing makeup tips, product reviews, and share the how-to videos by using her own makeup range.
Another influencer, described as “the hottest doctor on Instagram” and “sexiest doctor alive” is Mikhail Varshavski, better known as Doctor Mike, who joined Instagram in 2012 to document his journey in medical school, residency and finally becoming a doctor.
Meghan Rienks, on the other hand, started blogging for 9 years, sharing every aspect of her life. Apart from owning a blog, she is also active on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Spotify, Snapchat and Instagram.
You might be thinking that only people who are already famous with millions of followers can be considered as an Instagram influencer. Or maybe you think it is too late for you to start now.
If that's what you think, then “You are So Wrong”!
Anyone can become Instagram influencer too! And here’s the good news. Brands are willing to pay “micro-influencers” (followers under 10,000) an average of $1,000 – $2,000 per mention.
Therefore, it is never too late for you to start now, even if you have yet to set up an Instagram account.
Let me explain to you ways to become Instagram Influencer so you are informed of what's needed to truly earn money from this awesome social platform.
#1. Be Unique With Your Niche
Before you even start, you must first determine your niche.
Select something that reflects your true self and something you are passionate about so you can set yourself apart from the rest.
A good niche does not necessary a broader one. You can also choose a small niche on Instagram that has the most untapped potential and highly profitable.
Small niches have equal potential to create the same results compared to bigger niches.
For example, rather than choosing beauty as a niche, why not choose beauty remedies for women above 40 years old.
That's what smaller niches is all about.
Once you pick your niche and familiar with Instagram, then having your own blog will be the next step to convert your Instagram followers to become your leads.
This way, you'll be able to continuously send them valuable content without having to be restricted to the rules set by Instagram.
Becoming an Instagram influencer is awesome, but diversify your voice and get closer to your audience is important to yield better results.
#2. Write An Attractive Instagram Bio
Once you decide on your niche, the next step is to create your Instagram bio. You can write up to 150 characters.
Your bio can consist of short elevator pitch to introduce yourself to the people who don’t know you and get them attracted to follow you.
Do not underestimate your bio. They can potentially become your best tool to attract brand engagement. After all, who would trust an influencer who can’t even write a proper introduction?
When writing a bio, you need to ask yourself, how would you introduce yourself if you want to leave a deep impression at a networking event? The answer can determine details to include in your bio.
Keyword is another technique you can’t ignore. List down all relevant keywords of your niche, and once you group these keywords, you are able to describe who you are and what you do.
This increases your followers’ confidence in who they actually follow.
Once you have created your bio, you should include a link to your blog, if you have. Otherwise, you can also link to other social platforms that you own.
This is one example of bio with clear description and link by @pegfitzpatrick
#3. Make Your Stories Aesthetically Appealing
There are many articles that emphasize the needs to make your Instagram aesthetically appealing. But what does it mean? To explain, let’s take a closer look at what most influencers do.
Most Influencers will make their posts look visually consistent. This can be achieved by sticking to 1 or 2 colors so it won’t feel out of place, just like what @aleksandrazee did.
Despite not sticking to 1 or 2 colors, the images are mutually complementing and visually appealing.
If taking images that show harmonious tone is too challenging for you, then I would advise you to choose a specific filter to show consistency.
What you need is just a good camera and learn tricks on how to take photos. After that, determine which filter to add.
So generally, influencer will pick an aesthetic that suits their interest and personality.
But, what about influencers who do not have their Instagram aesthetically programmed? Don’t they also have huge followers?
Well, I would say there are many factors that determine you as an influencer. Of course if you are new, having your aesthetically designed Instagram posts will definitely add credits.
#4. Share Your Stories and Focus On Caption
Being an Instagram influencer, you don’t only share aesthetically appealing photos, but there's also a need to create attractive caption that can tell your stories in an emotional manner.
When you can communicate emotionally with your followers, they will then have more reasons to trust you, follow you and engage with you.
Please do not get me wrong. I am not saying you need to create a “drama” or fake stories. In your quest to engaging them, being genuine is very important.
Never underestimate the power of this. If you are not genuine, it can be easily seen through.
Personal stories must be shared in a way that are both interesting and authentic. Only then you can get higher engagement.
Remember, brands place greater importance to engagement than the number of followers you have when deciding whether to collaborate with you.
#5. Optimize Your Instagram Stories
Launched less than 4 years ago, more than 400 million users are using Instagram Stories every day. It is probably the biggest thing on Instagram now.
Many brands are using Instagram Stories to promote to show their stories to people who have yet to follow them. If you want to be discovered by more people, what you need to do is to add hashtags or location to Stories.
For those who already have 10,000+ followers, you can use a “swipe up” option on Stories to include an outbound link.
In Instagram Stories, you can even tag users who are not your followers. What happens is when you tag them, it will go to their message request so your brand is shown to them.
This gives you more visibility.
#6. Select The Right Hashtags
Regardless you are active with Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Instagram, hashtags are important for your content to be found by other users. Posts with hashtags are proven to get more engagement than those that do not.
Instagram allows the use of 30 hashtags on each photo. Despite this, some research found that 11 hashtags per post are a good number to start with.
I would suggest you stick with 15 the maximum. In my opinion, too many hashtags may turn off your audience.
Hashtags with high search volumes imply high competition. Therefore it might not be a good option for a complete beginner to use hashtags with high searches.
I suggest you choose those with lower searches yet still have decent volumes.
If you are not sure what hashtag to choose, then get some idea from accounts that share a similar niche as yours.
#7. Instagram Loves Consistent Posting
Consistently in sharing post will receive rewards from Instagram’s algorithm. Instagram wants users to consistently using the app so it can increase number of its active users.
Therefore, accounts that do this will get ranked higher in the newsfeed.
Whether you decide to post once or multiple times a day, you need to be consistent. Make your decision and stick to your schedule.
It would be a good practice to spend one or two hours to create your content for the week and schedule in advance via a social media management tool like Hootsuite.
With such practice, you should be able to see consistent increase in followers soon.
#8. Engage in A Meaningful Way
Engage, engage and engage!
Successful influencers engage with other accounts, reply to comments and direct messages. By building a presence among your community, you can turn casual swipers into hard-die fans.
I am not encouraging you to spam followers with meaningless comment. But rather help your users solve their problem.
Let’s say, you’re an influencer who focus on the niche of pregnancy. You can conduct a search on #yogaforpregnancy and identify potential followers in the comments section of each Instagram post. Then find out what these followers like and connect with them.
Others ways include posting polls in your Instagram Stories or ask for feedback from your followers.
Both ways, you can have a better understanding of your audience and decide how best your content can be improved to increase influence.
#9. Tag and Contact Relevant Brand
Growing your followers is only the first part towards becoming a successful influencer. The second, of course, is to earn money as an influencer.
When you already have around 1,000 followers that you consistently engage with, the next you should do is start your outreach to find clients. How can you do this?
One way is to tag or mention relevant brands that you want to target.
If your niche is makeup & beauty, you can target cosmetic brands, and for pregnancy niche, you target baby brands or fashion for pregnant women.
You can also send direct messages to these brands after finding out which brands collaborate with influencers of your niche. At least you are sure these brands are already investing in influencer marketing.
When you reach out to them, make sure you craft a pitch explaining the reason you are reaching out and what you can offer them.
Be ready with rejections but this does not mean it is not possible to receive a pleasant surprise from some brands.
#10. Become Instagram Influencer Requires Hard Work
Become an Instagram influencer requires hard work.
Influencers need to make sure their hair looks good with the right makeup (yes, even for men), dress up in their best outfit and at the same time plan in advance what content to deliver next.
Being an influencer, you need to be good in front of the camera anytime, just like a 9 to 5 job (or more) despite with higher flexibility.
The good news is, if you are successful, you will work lesser when passive income flow in. And the most beautiful part is, you get to work with your favorite brand!
I know many people are eager to achieve success. But please, never buy followers. You can risk your account being closed down by Instagram if you ever do this.
I know it is tempting, but don’t do it!
While you spend money to get paid followers, your engagement drop. Fake followers will not engage with you. Don’t forget, engagement is one important criteria brands are serious about when choosing you.
Success won’t happen overnight. There is no short cut to at all… no matter what business you are in.
Beneath every successful person, there are bound to have stories to tell. If you don’t believe me, go and ask them.
I bet the first thing they will ever tell you is “hard work”. So, listen to them and work hard.
Ya… before I forget, remember to opt for an Instagram business account if you are serious to become an influencer.
To know which product is selling (yes, you can use “Instagram Shoppable Post” to sell on Instagram) or how your competitors are doing, you need Instagram Insights.
Individual account won’t be able to show you your account statistics, only a business account can.
Also, set yourself a time frame to reply comment. If you leave aside comments aside for too long, then it is no longer relevant to reply.
Be consistent is the key and building a great relationship with your followers is your ultimate goal.
Ready To Become Instagram Influencer?
Here are some of the tools many successful Instagram influencers use to keep your daily work simpler so you can focus to plan your strategy.
For a start, I would recommend you to use Preview App for Android and iOS users. I am not an affiliate of Preview but just want to share with you as I find this app easy to use and the price is pretty reasonable.
Its features are good enough for the beginner wanting to become an Instagram influencer.
Personally, I do not make money from Instagram. I only use Instagram to promote the blog that has helped me to earn a full-time income at home.
If you want to learn the method I use to earn a living online, then I highly recommend you to get my free guide to start a small business online.
However, just like becoming an Instagram Influencer, building a blog business requires you to consistently take action too.
Whether you want to first start your business with Instagram or build a blog, there's no short cut at all.
I hope you enjoy reading my article on how to become Instagram Influencer. If you find it valuable, do share in your Facebook and Twitter so more people can benefit from this post.