Anyone who says money isn’t important is either lying or crazy. I love money and that’s why I’m open to trying out new ways that can get me more of it (so long as I can keep my clothes on). With the rise of the Internet, social media and “influencer marketing”, it’s gotten a whole lot easier. With digital advertising now being at the forefront of the marketing world, if you own a computer and a smartphone, you’ve got all you need to participate.
While you can make cash in all sorts of ways on the Internet (again, let’s go with ways you can with your clothes on), we’re going to focus on Instagram. With over 250 million daily active users (that’s a good chunk of the 1st world), the opportunities are boundless. This is why brands are dedicating more and more of their digital advertising and marketing spend to this social media channel.
Instagram for marketing purposes is a cash cow and you can easily capitalize on it with enough effort. If you’re prepared to put in the work, you can put yourself in a position where posting to social media gets you a paycheck. Interested? Here’s how.
Stack Your Follower Count
First thing’s first: you’ll need an audience. You’re not going to get very far if your following consists of your aunt, neighbors, and pizza delivery guy. Most brands will expect a solid and engaged following to collaborate with you. If your current following isn’t up to snuff, there are a few ways you can up your numbers.
- Post often: To grow your numbers, you’ll want to post often and regularly. I suggest between 1-2 times per day (don’t be extra).
- Post good content: No one wants to see a blurry, pointless shot of your dog or lunchtime sandwich. Make sure your images are good quality and are of interest to your followers. Try to stick to a niche (i.e. travel, fashion, food, etc…) so that your feed has a direction. People will want to follow you if you’re producing cool content that they find visually appealing.
- Use relevant hashtags: Hashtags should be chosen carefully. Too little and you’re not maximizing the full potential of your photo. Too many and you’ll look desperate. Familiarize yourself with the most popular hashtags in your field and go from there. Remember, if it’s too general like #fashion or #food, it’ll likely get lost in the millions of other posts with the same hashtag.
- Engage with your followers: This is one of the best ways to turn fair-weather, flaky followers into loyal ones with staying power. Make time every day to interact with your followers by liking/commenting on their photos, responding to messages and engaging in online conversations.
Under NO circumstance should you ever, EVER buy followers. Though it may feel like a quick fix, it’ll hurt your credibility in the long run.
Create Sponsored Content
Instagram users with engaged followings can earn money by creating user-generated content highlighting a brand or business. These posts can be accompanied by brand mentions, brand-generated hashtags, or links to their website. When looking for a brand to partner with, it’s important to find one that meshes with your personal image. If you’re a vegan foodie, maybe don’t collaborate with a steak company (if those even exist on Instagram).
If you’re not sure where to start, try joining a free marketplace like Rep (www.repped.io) where you can connect with brands looking for influencers. While some may be looking for influencers with 100k+ followers, smaller brands may want smaller influencers with only a few thousand followers. Besides, micro-influencers are totally the new black.
Affiliate marketing is a program where you promote a product or service and get paid per sale. The bonus with this type of marketing is that you’ll get a kind of royalty on the effectiveness of your posts. If your post about a skinny tea generates sales, you’ll get a cut.
Though many brands will provide affiliate links themselves if they see potential in your selling power, companies like Sharesale, Ebates, and Stylinity are designed to set it up for you.
By getting your followers to click the affiliate URL in your caption or bio, the brand will know the sale came from you and can properly compensate you for it.
Promote Your Business
If you own your own business, you should already be neck deep in some sort of social media marketing or digital advertising. If you’re not, stop everything you’re doing and get on it.
People are now looking to the internet for their purchase decisions. Even more so, they’re looking to their favourite influencers for recommendations.
There are many ways your can promote and grow your business’ social media account. Here are a few:
- Behind the scenes: People love getting a glimpse of what goes on behind the curtain. Behind-the-scenes shots and videos are hugely popular amongst Instagrammers. It’s interesting to them and adds a realness to your brand.
- Share you customers’ photos: User-generated content is a great source of material for your own page. So long as you get the proper permission, sharing users’ shots highlighting your brand is a quick and easy way to fill your feed. Influencers will typically be on board as it helps increase their following as well.
- Exclusive offers/discount codes: People love a deal. On top of marketing your product/services through your social media, you can offer exclusive sales or discount codes. This will help drive traffic, generate sales and gain new customers.
The thing about making money on social media is that it won’t happen overnight. You need to put in the time and work to make it go anywhere. Most social media influencers making money on their accounts weren’t overnight successes. There was often several years prior to their popularity where they were struggling to hit the 11-like mark on Instagram. The easiest way to persevere (and to actually be influential) is to love what you’re doing.