How Small Businesses Can Use Instagram to Make Extra Cash
For the right brands, Instagram can bring significant revenue while building powerful brand awareness and relevance in their niche. Some brands even use it as their primary revenue stream. However, before you dive in the deep end, it's critical to make sure that you have the right type of brand to see these results.
The brands that are most successful have the resources to take beautiful, eye-catching, and high-quality photos to post regularly. They're usually B2C brands with younger audiences of 25 and under, and operate in industries like travel and hospitality, fashion, health and wellness, food and beverage, and beauty (though they're not limited to those). They typically have at least 1,000 followers.
If you fit the bill, Instagram might be a lucrative investment of time and resources. If your brand doesn't quite fit, a platform like Instagram might ultimately distract from your primary business goals. Consider this carefully before building your strategy.
Let's take a look at some keys to earning business revenue on Instagram.
Ways to Make Money on Instagram
There are three main ways that solopreneurs and small businesses make money on Instagram:
- Sell physical or digital products: From clothing and food to software and consulting services, you can sell virtually anything on Instagram with the right brand and strategy.
- Create sponsored posts as a micro-influencer: In this scenario, other brands pay you to create one or more posts on your own Instagram that promote their products and services. As long as they're not competitive to your business, it can be a great way to make some extra cash.
- Become an affiliate: Promote other brands' products or services on your Instagram and receive a commission for each sale your referral makes. This is a more “long-term" partnership than sponsored posts. To get started with affiliate marketing check out our Beginner's Guide.
The last two options will typically require you to have a strong following and high engagement from your followers. In some cases, brands may be interested in hiring you if you serve a special niche well, or have high engagement from their target audience even without a large following.
Which Products Should You Sell?
Instagram's direct sales are typically of an ecommerce nature, whether it's physical products or digital services. If your brand falls into the category of products or services that can be purchased or administered online, you have a strong opportunity to make money on Instagram.
This is especially true for ecommerce fashion, health, and lifestyle brands, which are among the platform's most lucrative industries. Focus on your most visually appealing products and produce high-quality photos, especially those that show people interacting with your products in real life.
Even if you sell services, like a realtor, try using photos of incredible properties in appealing locations to visually stimulate users.
How Much Should You Charge as an Influencer?
The amount of money you can make as an influencer will be directly related to your industry clout and audience reach and engagement. The beauty of a “micro-influencer" is that you're influencing on a smaller scale, so a massive following isn't necessary.
Start by creating a professional microsite with a .PRO domain to show your portfolio and expertise, and link it in your bio.
Then, get to growing that following (if you haven't already). Here's a breakdown of what Instagram influencers might charge based on follower count:
- 1,000 – 20,000: $50 - $100
- 20,000 – 50,000: $100 - $200
- 50,000 – 100,000: $200 - $250
- 100,000 – 250,000: $250 - $400
- 250,000 – 500,000: $400 - $600
- 500,000 – 1,000,000: $600 - $650
- More than 1,000,000: $650 - $1,500
How to Find Brands to Work With
Use relevant hashtags and keywords to find Instagram accounts within your niche that have a similar follower count. See which brands they have sponsorship or affiliate relationships with. Reach out to these brands, and send them your microsite and a relevant “pitch" for what you have in mind for the partnership. The more brands you pitch, the more opportunities you'll get.
Tapping into a World of Opportunity
If your brand is the right fit, and you have at least 1,000 followers, Instagram can be a significant source of revenue. Look into your options to sell your own products and services, create sponsored posts, or become an affiliate for other brands. The more partnerships you develop, the greater your exposure and follower count will be—and in turn, the higher your potential revenue from every post.