With over 1 billion users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms. When I first joined up in 2012 it was nothing more than a photo sharing app, but today it is a powerful marketing tool for both influencers and businesses alike. Because of this, the world of influencer marketing is fast becoming a lucrative industry and the potential to earn a living through it is becoming increasingly popular. I regularly get messages asking ‘How can I make money on Instagram?’ and ‘How much money do you make on Instagram?’. It can be difficult to know how to get started in this new industry and I don’t see a lot of advice written about it online so I thought I would sit down and share with you all the ways in which I personally monetize Instagram and make about 70% of my yearly income. Here is my guide on how to earn money on Instagram.
First things first, in order to start earning money from Instagram you will need to have built yourself up a small following. Most brands require a minimum of 3,000 followers before they will accept you onto any of their campaigns. So focus on creating your own little community and nurture that. Having an active, engaged community will help build your following but not only that, it will enable you to charge more once you do start working with brands. Brands want authentic, engaged audiences so begin nurturing this right from the beginning. Comment and engage with accounts you love and make sure to take the time to reply to all comments that people leave on your posts. In time you will build up a loyal following who value you and your content.
So, once you’ve got your 3000 plus followers, how to make money from Instagram? Lets dive in!
Instagram Sponsored Posts
Creating sponsored content is by far the most lucrative way to make money through instagram. There are numerous platforms out there in which to find campaigns but the ones listed below are the ones that I use the most and on their own have earned me a 5 figure income.
This is my favourite platform to search for campaigns and earn money on Instagram. The Tribe app allows you to scroll through all the campaigns that are currently available through them, rather than only showing you campaigns for which you’re considered eligible like a lot of other platforms out there. Download the app and log in using your Instagram account. Then they will check to make sure you have the minimum requirement of 3000 followers. Once you are in, you will be able to scroll through the campaigns and see which you would like to apply to.
This platform works slightly different to the rest in that you don’t get the product or service given to you first. You choose which campaigns you think would work for your audience, read the brief of what they are looking for, create the content, submit it to the brand for approval with the fee you request, and only if you get accepted will you be paid for your time. This can be a little frustrating at times, however once you work out what type of content and imagery works you will generally get approved for most campaigns. It is always good to follow the brand mood boards as this will give you a clear indication of what time of images they are expecting! This will increase your chances for success.
Tribe is fantastic for beauty, lifestyle and especially food campaigns – they have some really great brands. There are dozens of campaigns at any one time for creators in these sectors. Travel jobs seem to be few and far between but they do come up every now and again.
What I love most about this app is that once you hit publish on your content, you get paid immediately. A rare thing in this industry I’ve found!
The Vamp app requires you to have around 10,000 followers (although they will accept lower follower numbers if your content and engagement is really high) and takes a while to get approved for but once you are, you will be able to apply to campaigns with some very good brands. Unlike Tribe though, you won’t get the option to apply to all campaigns they are running, instead they will make available the ones that they think you might be suitable for. The fees you are paid are a lot lower as well and are non-negotiable – unlike with Tribe where you submit how much you would like to be charged for your work which you can vary from one campaign to another.
All campaigns that you apply for through Vamp, you will be unable to decline an offer if approved so make sure to only apply to campaigns that you know you really want to create content for as you won’t be able to change your mind after you apply and get accepted.
Takumi is the third of the influencer marketing platforms that I use in app form on my phone. As with Vamp, you will need to be approved in order to create an account and then they will share with you campaigns which they think will be suitable to you rather than you picking and choosing whatever you like as with Tribe. I find that I get the least amount of campaigns through Takumi but as I mentioned, travel campaigns are in short supply through campaigns found on platforms such as these due to the high cost entailed, but there are a lot more food and beauty campaigns to be found here.
Now we are onto the desktop platforms and Influencer is probably my favourite of these and I’ve found a couple of jobs through them. They have had some really decent travel campaigns which have worked well for me and my audience. On here you will be able to see all the campaigns which they currently have and apply for any you want and set your own fee. The downside to this platform is that they are quite slow on payment as they need to wait for the brand/company to release funds first before they are able to pay you.
Whalar is another platform that will pick and choose which campaigns it makes available to you, which I personally find quite frustrating! It’s also not so great on travel campaigns but I am told from friends that it is particularly good for those of you in the food niche.
Zine is a brilliant platform in that you can create a brilliant profile which includes detailed stats and a section for you to include previous brand collaborations for potential clients to peruse. They also have a link you can copy that will allow you to share this as a media kit if you haven’t gotten around to doing your own yet – I’d highly recommend having a media kit for when you are pitching to brands so this is brilliant just in itself!! Alternatively, use one of the pre-made templates on Canva to create a more personalised, professional looking one. It is super easy to use and free! The campaigns on offer are all visible so you can pick and choose which to apply for, what I don’t like though is that some of them are quite dated and quite clearly not removed once the campaign is over.
Activate has a lot of campaigns which are all made visible which I like. What I don’t like is the lack of travel based opportunities. Still, worth keeping an eye on though!
This is very similar to Activate. Lots of campaigns, all biddable but if you want travel campaigns then they are few and far between. Lifestyle, beauty and food however, great!
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Pitch Directly To Brands
This is my absolute favourite way to get sponsored Instagram campaigns and I think vital if you are in the travel niche and are looking to earn money on Instagram. The cost to travel brands and companies is so much higher than any other so you tend to find less opportunities available for bidding on through platforms like those mentioned above. If you think of the cost of a flight or how much it would cost a tourist board to put you up for a couple of nights and show you around their country, it is a considerable investment in you and because of this, they will usually reach out to you directly or you can reach out to them. I’ll write a whole post soon on pitching as I think that everybody should be doing this if you are serious about wanting to make money off instagram no matter what your niche is.
What I do is sit down every couple of months and make a list of the brands, hotels and tourist boards that I would absolutely LOVE to work with. Then I will spend a few days pitching, sending off emails to someone in the pr or marketing departments of these companies. I personally think this is the best way to get paid opportunities and you have the added benefit of it being with a company/brand you love.
If you’re not sure what to write, then you can grab yourself some of my personal pitching templates here.
Being Approached Directly By Brands
It is always wonderful when you receive an email from a brand that has reached out saying they want to work with you! In order to get to that point, there are a few things which you will need to have done first.
Firstly, you need to have created some brilliant content and have a beautiful feed which will demonstrate to your niche what you are are capable of producing and able to offer them. Take a look at some of the accounts that you look up to and see what they’re doing. Make sure your editing and style remain consistent and only share your best work! You want to create the right impression from the off and you want brands to WANT to be promoted on your feed to your audience.
Secondly, make sure your profile and bio is up to scratch. Make it clear exactly what your account is about and have a contact email so that if brands like what they see, they can get in touch with one click.
Thirdly, send emails to pr companies introducing yourself and your work and make them aware that you would be interested in working with them on future campaigns for clients of theirs that are the right fit. They might not have any jobs available for you when you first reach out but they will add you to their list of contacts for future opportunities. Networking is vital!
Become A Brand Ambassador
Brands are increasingly beginning to see the benefit of long term partnerships with creators and in fact it is mutually beneficial to both parties. Becoming an ambassador for a brand, you have the peace of mind of knowing you have a set monthly income and it is much more authentic for your audience, and in turn the brands audience, as generally you would only choose this monetization method if it was a company you truly loved.
Sell Your Own Products
This is one of the easiest ways to make money through Instagram and one of the most profitable. Create something that is useful to your audience and you will be able to monetize your Instagram account. If you’re a photographer, sell your photos as prints. If you’re a food creator, make a cookbook and sell it as an ebook. If you’re arty, why not create your own prints and make t-shirts to sell like on a platform like this. If you’re into travel, create travel itineraries or hire yourself out for guided tours. There are endless possibilities in this sector and the beauty of this one is that you don’t need a massive audience, just an engaged one.
Sell Your Images
There is good money to be made in selling your images, or even just licensing them. You can earn anywhere from £150 to £1500 per image in my experience dependent on if you are licensing an image out for 3/6 months or selling full rights to it. When working on a brand partnership, sometimes they will ask upfront if you would be willing to let them use your images, other times you can always offer it as an extra while negotiating fees for an increase in fee or even after the campaign if they are images you are proud of. They’re just going to sit on your hard drive anyways so why not offer them to the brand for a small fee?
This is one for the fashion and lifestyle Instagrammers mostly. Ever see the #liketoknowit hashtag in people captions? That links up to this platform and allows followers a direct link to what you are wearing/using and from each sale made you will earn a little commission as a thank you for sending the customer their way. Great right?
There are numerous affiliate schemes so I will just link to some of my favourite below:
Through the above affiliate schemes you can get commission on sales for 1000’s of companies. Etsy, Ebay, Airbnb, tours, trains, car rental, flights, books, shoes, skincare, you name it. To make and real amount of money through affiliates though you do need quite a large following in order to make it viable but it all adds up!
So, I hope I’ve answered your questions on how to earn money on Instagram! If you’re struggling to grow your account or not sure where to take it, why not book an Instagram Audit with me? I’ll give your account a complete review, including feedback on your feed, what hashtags you should be using, how to improve captions, style, engagement and growth. If you’re interested email email@example.com and we can get your account on the path to bringing you an income!
There were a lot of questions that came through when I asked on Instagram for specific questions on what I could help with and that was how to grow follower numbers, which is a completely separate blog post on its own so I shall work on getting on one which will break down how to grow your account authentically and organically.
Q&A From My Instagram Question This Afternoon:
How did you begin making money from your posts?
For me it all began when I was approached by brands. I think I might have had about 5000 followers at that point if I remember correctly. I didn’t even know that you could really make money through Instagram but I would keep getting emails asking for me to promote products. Most of these were in return for gifted items and things that made absolutely no sense for my audience – one of for a cement company of all things!! – so 99% of emails were met with a thanks but I don’t think I am a suitable fit for your company response. Authenticity and engagement has always been absolutely key to me so if it isn’t a company/product I love then it isn’t worth it for me.
Some of these proposals were a good fit so I gradually started taking on the odd campaign in return for a fee. This is my first ever campaign and it was either £200 or £250 that I got paid for it. I have never accepted a gifted item in return for creating content in my feed and personally I would recommend you don’t either but that is up to you. Complimentary hotel stays at the beginning yes and the odd product with no ties to being required to create anything but not gifted product in return for content. It takes hours of time to create that content, you have to declare it in your tax returns and you’re giving a company free access to your audience in return for very very little usually – it just isn’t worth it in my opinion. If you get an email asking you to promote something and it is a product/brand/service that you love, then I would respond letting them know that you’re interested in working together and ask if they have budget available for the campaign. Most companies do, and if they come back saying no, then it is up to you whether it is worth spending hours of your time creating free content for them in return for what they are giving you. Personally, I don’t think it is but each to their own.
How can I kickstart an earning through Instagram?
First and foremost, if you’re not there already then focus on growing your following to at least 3000. Until you reach this point you won’t really be able to monetize your account through brand sponsorships but you could create and sell your own products. As I mentioned above, if you want an audit of your account to point you in the right direction then email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll get in touch with more information.
Once you’re at 3k then I’d focus on getting campaigns in your niche through Tribe. I think the easiest sectors to make a regular income through brand partnerships is food, lifestyle and beauty so if you’re unsure of a focus for your account then I’d recommend honing in on one of these. For which, Tribe has an abundance of jobs available 🙂
How much do you earn through Instagram?
Well, the sky is endless on that front! It depends on the amount of followers you have, your level of engagement and the quality of your content. It also depends on the brand and what their budget is like. For instance, I worked for one tourist board who had no budget available but I absolutely loved the place and wanted to share them on my feed so did the job complimentary in return for all costs covered, whereas another press trip just a month later was a full complimentary trip plus a four figure fee for the agreed deliverables. It really does vary from brand to brand. To give you an idea, in the past 12 months I have earned multiple five figures, whereas friends of mine can earn what I’ve earned in a matter of months. There is serious capacity to make good money from Instagram!
How much should I charge?
Understandably, this varies dependent on the number of followers you have and also by your level of engagement but lets look at it based on followers first. If you have under 10k followers I’d recommend charging a minimum of £100 per post. This will cover your time and anything you need to buy in order to create the content. Up to 60k followers I’d suggest charging roughly 2% of your following as a baseline. So if you’ve got 30k followers then £600, 40k followers = £800 etc. Past 60k follow somewhere between 1% and 2% of your following depending on how high your engagement is. If you have really high engagement then it is possible to 3%, even 4% of your following but you need to be able to show brands that you are worth that fee!
Whatever you do, make sure not to undersell yourself. Your time is worth money. This is a relatively new industry and brands and influencers alike are still navigating new paths, but if you think of the traditional style of advertising, brands would pay for ad space in a magazine or newspaper. They would need to pay for a photographer, stylist, writer, editor, incorporate costs for travel, hair and makeup, copy etc. You are doing all of this yourself and it takes time so don’t sell yourself short. The same goes for the other end of the spectrum, don’t demand a premium. Charge what you believe your time is worth and what access to your audience is worth.
Thank you for reading and I hope I have offered some insight to help you on your journey to earn money on Instagram. If you have any more questions then please leave a comment below.
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