How to Make Money on Instagram: 6 Crucial Steps to Transforming Your Instagram Hobby into a Business

So many people ask me how to make money on Instagram.

I wish that the simple act of turning your Instagram into a Business Account was all it took to make your Instagram an actual business.

A few steps on the ‘gram and BOOM- you start earning cold hard cash.

Sorry folks, it just isn’t that easy.

So what exactly does it take to get to that point?

Partnering with brands and doing collaborations is key for turning your Instagram into a business.

That’s the way Influencers are able to make money from their Instagrams.

So how do you make Instagram your business?

On this blog post, I’m going to provide some important points that I learned from Lynsey Eaton from Estate Five Media, a company that, simply put, manages Influencers and their collaborations.

I’m also combining it with personal experience and lessons I’ve learned as an Influencer.

I’ll cover these key areas regarding treating your Instagram as a business:

  • How to build a good audience
  • Tips on being someone brands want to work with
  • How to maintain business relationships
  • The best ways to turn your platforms into something lucrative

Step 1: Know your Platform

Today’s Influencers who look at things with a long term perspective and a knowledge of their platform are the ones doing things right.

Nail the look

  • Know what users like in your niche
    • Universally, you should have high quality photos.
    • But think about your niche. What do people like to see when they are scrolling?
    • This goes beyond the photo to the caption as well!
  • Think about your feed
    • Create a consistent look across your feed.
    • I do this using my Lightroom presets to create a color scheme that unifies all of my photos
    • I’ll be writing a more detailed post on how to create good photos and a good feed. This article is thinking the more big picture action items!

Embrace platform changes

  • Outside of Instagram: Be prepared for what’s next. Instagram did not exist five years ago!
    • Look for change. When people approach you about new platforms, test them if you think they could be useful!
  • Inside of Instagram: Know your platform trends (i.e. more people are watching IG Stories than feeds!)
    • Do IG Lives, IG Stories, etc. Otherwise you’re missing a large majority of your audience!
    • It’s constantly changing its algorithm!
    • Through thick and thin, be sure to follow these tips to remain consistently GOOD at what you do.

Step 2: Create a community

  • Not a following.
  • If you create a community then people feel like they’re a part of your inner circle!
    • If you’re focused on building numbers and not a community, imagine if a new platform emerged. You’re going to move over to it and no one is going to go with you!
  • HOW TO DO THIS: people are looking to be understood! If you are not communicating with them, being open, showing the good bad and ugly, they won’t feel like that. There are ways to be personable without being too open.
  • Know that your audience is different than anyone elses.
  • Reply to everything!
  • Leave thoughtful comments on other peoples spaces
  • Actually READ CAPTIONS and respond thoughtfully!!!

Step 3: Have a voice

  • Don’t try to be everybody else! Reality is, you need to have a voice.
  • Make sure your story is very much yours. Find your voice and find that thing that is yours.
    • What is your message? Stay true to that and don’t try to do what everyone else is doing!
  • 3 word captions just don’t fly anymore!

Step 4: Be someone brands want to work with

Send thoughtful pitches

  • Brands don’t like it when you email them and just ask for free stuff
  • Brands working with you care about relating to your audience.
    • Figure out what your brand is currently posting. 
    • What’s their message?
    • How can it relate to your audience?
  • The best clients for brands don’t just post when they’re paid to post. Organically post about things!
  • Your brand is your business:
    • If you take on a partnership that dilutes your brand, it dilutes other brands you’ve worked with also.
    • Only take on partnerships that work with your personal brand.
  • Know your audience. This is why people pay you!
    • You should be prepared to share all of this information with brands

Be Professional

  • Communication is key. Respond to emails within 24 hours!!!
    • There is a person on the other end of that email
    • You don’t have to respond to every blanket PR email
    • If someone sends you a pitch with your name in it, whether you’re interested or not, you need to respond.
    • Be considerate enough to say no!
    • Remember, the goal is to get repeat work!
  • Undersell and overperform
    • Don’t pitch things you won’t be able to meet
    • Do more than they paid you to do! Organic messaging does more for your audience!
    • When it makes sense, overperform. Exceed people’s expectations!
  • Remember why they hired you
    • Not because you’re famous, but because of your audience
    • Brands hate divas
    • If they wanted a celebrity, they’d get one!
    • They pay you because you’re actually getting the work done

Step 5: Build meaningful relationships

  • Sometimes the bottom line is not the bottom line
    • Know when to do stuff for free and know when not to
      • Ex: When it’s a brand that is SO on brand for you, where you’ll have the opportunity to build a meaningful relationship with them, to then convince them to be a partner with you, then go with their offer.
  • If you have an opportunity to engage in conversation and make meaningful connections with people at that brand- do it!
  • Make friends with them
    • Don’t just be nice, ask them about themselves. 
    • You never know where they are going to end up!
  • Own your mistakes
    • And make good on them!
    • If you don’t turn things in on time, own up to it.
    • Be professional and say I messed this up, what can I do for you to make it better?
      • Even when there are delays that you have no control over
      • Ex: Say for some reason your photo shoot is delayed. Offer to do a second post for free, or to mention them in a blog post

Step 6: Develop owned assets

  • Focus on things that YOU OWN
    • If Instagram disappeared tomorrow, and it was your only income, what then?
  • At the end of the day, you don’t own Instagram. And even if you do, the only thing people are focused on are IG followers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean money!
  • Work on things that you do own: your BLOG, information that YOU KNOW
  • Build a business based on selling information, doing learning sessions, educational things, selling your images, creating a blog. Have that as a priority or a back up instead of investing all of your time and money on a platform that could change tomorrow.
  • Think: what do I own? What can I market?

Key takeaways you won’t wanna forget!

  • Respond to all emails within 24 hours
  • Treat everyone with the utmost respect, you never know where people will end up
  • Don’t ask for presents, ask for projects
  • Build a community, not a following
  • Own your mistakes and make good on them
  • Prioritize the relationship, not the paycheck. The paycheck will come
  • Think long term: think about what your end goal is
    • In 7 years do you want to have:
      • A book
      • A speaking series
      • A product
    • And have everything you do speak to that and take steps to that
    • Constantly revisit that. Every 4-5 months do a check on where you are
    • Think: Is this still where I’m going? And redirect if it isn’t
  • Have something that you own

So there you have it! Now you know how to make money on Instagram! Though these things don’t guarantee income, they are crucial to getting there!

Your next step is creating content and figuring out how to get campaigns! Check out exactly how to do that here!

I hope this was packed with useful information that you can apply to your personal brand!



P.S. If you found this post helpful, please share it to Pinterest! That way you can save it for later and it would help me out a ton! You can use this image for easy pinning!

Want to learn how to make money on Instagram and get paid for sponsored posts? These 6 crucial steps are the best practices for how to do that. It's more than just creating content but how you treat your platform and interact with brands. I earn extra cash and work with brands using these exact tips! Being an influencer takes hard work and effort; learn the money making secrets here! #socialmedia #influencermarketing #instagram #iginfluencer #socialmediamarketing

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