How to monetize Instagram, or any social media, is a question that I get asked a lot, and since I recently appeared on a podcast talking about this, I thought I would provide you a slightly different, more comprehensive, and overall updated perspective from another post I wrote on the subject entitled How to Make Money on Instagram? Here’s 9 Different Ideas to Chew On.
When most people hear the term “influencers”, they think of bikini-clad Instagram models with millions of followers who work with fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands. While the “Insta-model” business is still a type of influencer, today’s reality is that marketers are more often seeking out regular people like you to generate buzz for their brands.
That’s right, regardless of whether you have 1K, 10K, or 100K followers, you are already an influencer.
In fact, current trends in influencer marketing have seen brands moving towards working with nano influencers (1-10K followers) and micro-influencers (10K-100K followers) because they tend to have higher engagement and better relationships with their followers than do macro influencers.
If you haven’t achieved 1,000 followers on any given social network, read my advice here on How To Become A Social Media Influencer and Make Money From It.
Now that we’ve established that the current influencer marketing trends indicate that you too are probably an influencer, you’re probably thinking:
“Well alright Neal, I guess I’m an influencer, but what good is that to me? I still don’t have brands knocking down my door or paying me to use their products.”
The good news is that as long as you have information or a product that is valuable to others, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have or the number of brands working with you – you can still make money as an influencer.
Most influencers are leaving money on the table by not monetizing their influence, and you may be one of them. I am actually guilty of the same, which is why I am always looking to create new products and services and looking for ways on how to monetize Instagram or any other social network using my own influence. You should take my advice and do the same.
In my recent interview on the MarTech Podcast, I broke down the 14 ways you can monetize your influence and intellectual property:
Many corporate workers today are throwing in the towel and opting to become consultants instead. Why? Consulting has a number of benefits including greater flexibility, higher earnings, and greater job satisfaction. Beyond that, it is one of the largest and most mature markets within the professional services industry with a total value of around $250 billion.
So think about it: what is something you’re good at?
Perhaps your friends, family, colleagues, or current social media followers always come to you to get your advice or for help solving a problem. Maybe it’s with marketing strategy, financial budgeting, or how to create a personal brand.
Whatever it is, you have knowledge that others value and you can use that knowledge to begin your own consulting business and work with clients on a project-based basis in order to reach their goals.
Coaching has shot up in popularity in recent years and nowadays it seems like everyone either has a coach or is a coach. Even business moguls such as Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt — people who we think have it all figured out — say that they have coaches and recommend that everyone have one.
While all coaches are not created equally, there is a great deal of merit in coaching and it could be another great opportunity for you to use the knowledge you have to create a business and serve clients.
Coaching is oftentimes compared to consulting but what differentiates coaching from consulting is that you’re more likely to work with clients on an hourly basis than on a per project basis as you would in consulting. Coaching also tends to be even more personalized and detailed than consulting, so you’re likely to work one-on-one with clients or in small groups.
A fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is a marketing executive who helps a company with customer acquisition, sales development, and company growth. They work part-time allowing the company to get executive experience without the full-time cost.
You don’t have to be an executive or a CMO to use the fractional CMO model. You can be a fractional social media manager, or a fractional business analyst for example. You can think of it like consulting but with a more hands-on approach.
Similar to consulting, you’ll be troubleshooting and creating strategies but instead of presenting this to the team as an outsider and having them execute it, you’ll work to implement the work as a member of the team.
Hosting in-person tutorials is another medium you can use to share and monetize the knowledge and influence that you have.
While so much of what we do today has moved from the physical world into the digital world, there is definitely something to be said about being present and learning from someone in person.
Live, in-person workshops offer attendees the opportunity to have more quality interactions, to work together, and importantly, to be able to see and know you personally.
Whatever topic and knowledge you may have to share, you can put it all together into a presentation or workbook that you and a certain number of people can spend a few hours or days working on.
Live events like these can also play a big role in converting people into loyal and consistent customers as these events can funnel them into purchasing more of your services like private coaching and/or consulting.
Webinars and Virtual Tutorials
Just like coaches, it seems like webinars are a dime a dozen these days but that doesn’t decrease their usefulness and effectiveness.
Webinars boast some crazy statistics including how a single webinar can land you between 500-1000 leads and have an average attendance rate of upwards of 46%.
Webinars and virtual tutorials allow you to take the content of your in-person tutorials, which is limited by the number of people in your area, their availability, and location and allows you to reach a much larger audience.
With that increased reach, you can now convert more leads into paying and loyal customers who are hungry to access your time and knowledge.
Corporate training is another great avenue for monetizing your knowledge and influence on a topic. The world is changing rapidly — from cultural norms to technology, there is no shortage of things to keep up with. To help navigate the ever changing landscape, companies will oftentimes hire individuals with expansive knowledge on a topic to come in and train their employees.
Like in-person events and webinars, corporate training is a way you can package and monetize your knowledge to another audience. It can also present an opportunity for you to continue working with the company in a fractional CMO model, or as a consultant or coach.
Affiliate marketing has been around for a long time and it’s not going anywhere soon. In 2020 alone, spending on affiliate marketing is projected to hit the $6.8 billion mark.
If you already have a following on social media or on your website, affiliate marketing can be another opportunity to earn income. Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to have a huge following to make money this way. It’s more about the quality of your followers and your content.
You can make money with affiliate marketing by influencing your followers, friends, and family to check out certain brands and use your code or link to make a purchase. For every sale that’s made through your link or code, you earn a percentage of the sale.
Check out my dedicated guide here to Instagram affiliate marketing.
Sponsored posts are another way you can monetize your influence if you already have a good following on social media or your blog. Influencers have a unique relationship with their followers that most brands cannot replicate. For that reason, brands have become more and more willing to pay for access to that relationship and put their products and services in the hands of influencers.
Believe it or not but brands are currently dishing out up to $1 million dollars per post depending on the influencer. Even for nano-influencers, you can make a couple hundred dollars off of a few posts. If you already have a few brands reaching out to you, then start there and work on making those into paid gigs. If not, consider creating a business development plan where you create a list of brands you’d like to work with and reach out to them with a pitch.
Running digital ads on your website or blog is another great way to bring in an income using your influence, and it is used widely for both beginner and advanced bloggers.
If you have a number of people that are reading your blog posts and visiting your website, then you can sign up for a Google Adsense account and begin running ads on your page. You’ll make money for the clicks or impressions that your website brings in.
Nowadays, more and more people are turning away from brick and mortar educational institutions and utilizing online learning platforms. In fact, over 6 million Americans are currently pursuing an education online. With this change of behavior, it presents a great opportunity to package and monetize your knowledge and influence.
To create your online course, you can take the content you create and knowledge you share in coaching, consulting, training, and webinars and pack it into an all-in-one offering. Depending on the content and length of the course, you can promote it as a high-ticket item and bring in a passive income.
Membership sites can be an extension of your other offerings (online courses, tutorials etc.) where people can pay an additional fee to continue to access your time and knowledge, or it can be a standalone product offering. You can use your membership site to release monthly content, interviews, training, tutorials or workshops.
Membership sites can be a great way to bring in a consistent income because oftentimes payments are done on a monthly or a yearly basis.
Sell a product
If people already look to you for advice and trust your recommendations on a certain topic, you can consider retailing a relevant product and brand through your channels by using Dropshipping, which is a direct to consumer business model.
People like to buy from people and brands they trust, so tapping into your relationship with your followers to bring them a product that fits with your personal brand could be a very successful revenue stream for you.
Create a product
Similar to selling your own product, you can also think about creating your own product. Unlike the dropshipping method, creating your own product allows you to further customize your product offering and the ability to brand your product to your liking.
Creating your own product can be as difficult or easy as you’d like it to be. You can go with the more complex route where you work with a manufacturer and create your own product from scratch, or you can go with an easier route using White Label Products, which are products that are not branded and can be resold under your brand name.
Aside from manufactured products, you can consider creating other products like books, journals, or wall decor for example.
Create an event
Last but not least, a large-scale event that incorporates the content from your online course, webinars, coaching, consulting and other avenues can be a potentially high-earning source of income for you.
You can put all of your content together into a format that can be presented and taught at an event or conference, invite other influential people to speak and teach, and bring on sponsors for the event who want to tap into your influence.
There are so many opportunities that you can take advantage of today to begin monetizing your influence and intellectual property. I hope this list has set you off on the right path.
Do you plan to use any of these avenues to bring in a source of income as an influencer? Any potential revenue streams that I missed? Still don’t know how to monetize Instagram in your particular situation? Comment below and let me know.
Further reading: 10 Instagram Marketing Strategies To Make You 6 Figures
Learn more amazing ways to monetize your Instagram in this awesome infographic from Shane Barker.