If you’re looking for ways to make money off of your Instagram account, consider sharing more than just your photos and videos. Share your audience.
Companies are attracted to dedicated communities on the social networking app, even ones that number in the low thousands. If your followers fit the profile of consumers that a brand is trying to reach, you may be able to make some money.
Creating sponsored posts is the primary way Instagram users can cash in on their account. For example, if your feed is focused on images of your dog on hikes, an outdoor gear company may want to pay you to post a photo that includes its product in the picture.
So how do you find a sponsor? In some cases, potential partners will reach out to you. But if you don’t want to wait to be approached, check out companies that can help you find and work with brands. Which business you use depends on your needs. There are agencies you work with directly, like Mobile Media Lab, and marketplaces that let you pick new partners, like Influicity. There are even services that just help you manage all your partner relationships, like Revfluence.
When searching for partners or deciding between different offers, aim for stuff you and those you influence would actually use. Followers of your pet are more likely to trust your opinion about a trail backpack for dogs than gourmet cat food. And don’t bother with products you don’t like. If your dog would tear apart an “indestructible” toy in an instant or bites off every sweater you’ve put on her, there’s no reason to recommend these things to others.
“The trust that your audience has in you only exists if you’re being authentic,” says James Winter, director of marketing at Revfluence, which creates software to help brands manage partnerships with influencers.
Winter also suggests that Instagram users who have a specific focus find brands that fit as specific a niche as possible. Fans of your outdoorsy dog may look for many opinions on dog stuff in general but will really trust you to know which protective booties work best for the winter.
Keep in mind that sponsored posts on Instagram are held to the same standard of truth in advertising as any other form of marketing. Include a disclosure in the first couple of lines of each paid post, with language like, “This post is sponsored by [brand]” or #ad or #sponsored right at the top.
Promote your business
There are other ways to use Instagram to make money. For example, if you have an Etsy shop where you sell your crafts or a food blog that generates advertising revenue, a professional-looking Instagram account could provide a promotional boost.
Take well-lit photos of products you’re trying to sell or projects you’re promoting and make them findable. Create your own hashtag and check out which ones competitors are using. Encourage your clients to post pictures with your stuff and tag you in them.
You can also use Instagram’s Business Profile feature to learn about your audience. You can see how many eyes are on your post, as well as statistics about people’s age and gender.
The app’s resources also help you find and connect with new customers. Pay some money to promote posts that you want more people to see. You can also add a button to your profile that links to an email form so interested parties can contact you easily.
It’s a little tough to promote your stuff directly. Even Instagram business features don’t let you add links in individual posts. But you can link to your Etsy or website in your profile or highlight one specific product in your bio section to direct more people to it.
Sell your castoffs
Maybe you don’t have a business to promote, but you often sell your old clothes and accessories on websites like Poshmark. Instagram can boost your pool of buyers.
Present and photograph your clothes and other things in an appealing way and include as much detail as possible in the caption. Brand, size, condition and age of each item are all good things to note. If you’re looking to sell one item in particular, link to it in your Instagram bio. If not, just link to your Poshmark or other seller profile. Many Instagram sellers use #shopmycloset to hawk their wares.