How to monetize Instagram (or any social media) is a question that I get asked a lot. 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 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, all right 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 to monetize Instagram Stories and posts or any other social network using my own influence. You should take my advice and do the same.
It bears remembering that any attempts to monetize Instagram will only be successful with the proper infrastructure in place. Let’s first look at that more closely.
What You Need to Monetize Instagram
Instagram is a truly enormous social media platform. What began as a small space to share photos and inspiration has grown to be one of the largest social platform options currently available, with countless features, including Instagram Shopping, Instagram Stories, Instagram Live and, more recently, Instagram reels. All of these features make creating content and engaging with your audience much easier, and improves your engagement rates without the same amount of work that might be required by other social platforms.
If you are using Instagram with any regularity, you may be a candidate for monetization. Micro – Influencers and Nano – Influencers are not people with enormous followers and immediate brand recognition; they are people like you, who enjoy putting out video content on Instagram live, or posting their likes, preferences, and life on the body of their profile.
So why should you monetize your Instagram?
You Have Expertise in Something
What are you an expert in? Identifying your expertise will be one of the best ways to identify what your niche is, and what your video content should focus on. From video games to a specific makeup technique, to knowing a great deal about the ins and outs of living on a budget, Instagram makes an ideal influencer marketing platform. Once you have identified your area of expertise, you can begin posting on that topic regularly and create high quality content that speaks to your target audience.
You are a Content Creator
If you are a great content creator, you will have the chance to create and publish various sponsored content for brands. From affiliate links to video ads, you can create content to further your influencer status and the brand, digital product, or physical product of the companies you are working with. This can be done by going on Instagram live to discuss why you love a product, creating a reel to demonstrate how you use a service, or posting an inspiring image about the impact a company has had on you. All of these are examples of content creation, and all frequently fall under the umbrella of typical personal Instagram use. If you are already creating and sharing, why not bring in some extra money as a micro or nano influencer?
You Have Built a Community of Fans
It goes without saying that if you want to monetize influence, it begins with actually having influence. In order to develop influence, you have to have a solid follower count made up of real, active users. It can be tempting to pay to have your follower count jump up, but this is a mistake: you cannot buy legitimate engagement, and having a large leap in followers n a small period of time actually acts as a red flag for any companies or brands you hope to work with. If you have already built a community of fans, lever your account to begin earning some money. If your community is still extremely small, begin your influencer journey by creating quality content, and learn how to most effectively build your brand by consistently posting your own user-generated content, and your own life and experiences.
14 Ways How to Monetize Your Instagram Influence
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 for their online business or professional venture.
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.
3. Fractional CMO-model
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 and create a blog post for a company periodically, or a fractional business analyst and provide stats and suggestions, 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. Instead of presenting this to the team as an outsider and having them execute it, however, you’ll work to implement the work as a member of the team, whether that means creating a blog post yourself or implementing a specific marketing strategy.
Check out this interview with an actual Fractional CMO friend here in Orange County, done by our very own blogger Jayson Duncan!
And if you’re ready to hire a Fractional CMO, check out my own Fractional CMO service ;-)
4. In-person Workshops and Tutorials
Hosting in-person tutorials is another medium you can use to share and monetize the knowledge and influence that you have. Unlike an Instagram shop or working as an affiliate marketer, this allows you to see immediate results of your hard work.
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. In-person engagement is far easier to recognize and understand than post engagement online, and hosting in-person workshops can give you immediate feedback on your efficacy in your niche and the value of your work.
Live, in-person workshops offer attendees the opportunity to have more quality interactions, to work together, and perhaps most 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. If you go this route, make sure your attendees have an easy way to connect with you online.
5. 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. 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. They are also convenient, because they may allow you to utilize your home, or another small area that you feel safe and comfortable working out of.
With that increased reach, you can now convert more leads into paying and loyal customers who are hungry to access your time and knowledge. Before starting your webinar, make sure you post and discuss all of the ways you can engage with your audience after the webinar has concluded.
6. Corporate Training
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.
7. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing has been around for a long time and it’s not going anywhere. 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 to Instagram affiliate marketing.
Here’s a great explanation from someone who I have the upmost respect for, YouTuber Roberto Blake:
8. Sponsored Posts
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.
9. Digital Ads
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. Have you ever scrolled through a site, and had an ad pop up, or scroll with you in the side bar? Those are digital ads!
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. The more visitors you have, the more money you make through this avenue.
Check out this guide to how to make money with Google Adsense:
10. Online Course
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.
Unlike webinars, online courses can be a one-time creation. You can put together a small curriculum, pre-recorded videos, and more to make sure you are not constantly working on the same course. Because of this format, online courses don’t have to take too much time! Here’s a video with instructions on how to set one up in as little as 90 minutes!
11. Membership Site
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. This allows you to estimate how much money you are likely to make on a yearly or monthly basis–a benefit that many other online businesses do not offer!
Here’s a great primer on how to build a membership site:
If you’re a reader of this blog and are looking for a chance to network with, learn from, and be mentored by myself as well as other marketers and entrepreneurs, make sure you check out my Digital First Group Coaching Membership Community!
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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
Hero photo by Elijah Macleod on Unsplash
How to Monetize Instagram FAQs
Absolutely! And there are several ways to monetize your Instagram account. You can be an Instagram influencer; do affiliate marketing; sell photos on the platform; drive traffic to your website from Instagram; promote your business; sell your products; and do dropshipping to other users.
To start monetizing your Instagram account, the first thing you need to do is to create quality content and continuously promote and engage with your followers. The key is to reach out to a big audience as possible so more people can see your posts. If you are looking to grow your Instagram followers, check these 10 tips we have for you.
Yes! You can make money on Instagram with just 1000 followers. Regardless of the number of your followers, you will still be able to monetize your account as long as you have a good engagement with them. If you actively engage with your 1000 followers and turn them into customers, it will surely boost your profit.
You actually don’t need a large following to make money on Instagram! The key to successful Instagram marketing is creating a strategy and high-quality content relative to your niche. In addition, you need to post frequently to keep your audience engaged. Doing these will help you grow your reach and build trust with your followers.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been the highest-paid Instagram influencer over the past years with total earnings of $47.8 million. Based on reports, he is getting paid of $975,000 per Instagram post. As of December 2020, Cristiano is the most followed person on the platform with 244 million followers.