Instagram may be a social network centered around a more “cozy” atmosphere, but just like anything else that attracts millions of people per day, it’s not immune to commercial interest. Publicity sells, no matter the medium, and Instagram offers many ways to do this.
Influencers with over 10,000 followers tend to have the wherewithal to push strong messages to their audiences, and this leads to several business opportunities. Here are just five ways you can use this to your advantage.
#1. Good old fashioned affiliate marketing
It may not be for everyone, but having an affiliation with a brand that synergizes with your own messaging can be powerful. Take, for example, Maynor De Leon, a fitness blogger who’s been documenting his weight loss adventure as he shed (so far) 200 pounds.
Among his inspirational posts showing his work at the gym and showcasing others’ success stories, he also promotes T-shirts from Get Sweatin’, which start to show their logo as soon as the wearer has worked up a strong sweat.
If there’s a product that matches up with a project you’re doing or just the general gist of your Instagram profile, look to see if the company behind it has an affiliate program. You might be surprised.
#2. Seek out brands for direct advertisement
If you’re looking to push a brand directly for a flat fee, there’s no better time to do that than now. At this point, recommendations from influencers tend to get top dollar, with a report by Digiday putting the value of posts at around $1,000 per 100,000 followers.
Since many brands have their own Instagram pages, you can begin sending messages to them directly to see if they’re interested in having you push their products to your audiences. Keep in mind that companies that pay for influencer marketing are often looking for people who have a niche that their advertising can fit neatly into.
#3. Push your own merch
If your theme is very niche, it’s likely that you’ll have trouble finding brands to affiliate with or advertise for. However, if you have a strong following in your niche and you’ve developed a strong personal brand, why not just push out your own stuff?
Several sites, such as Shopify, allow you to sell custom-made merchandise like T-shirts and coffee mugs without having to touch anything but your keyboard and mouse. If your audience is very attached to you in particular, it’s likely that many of them will buy merchandise that represents you.
#4. Use product placement
Once you start having a very large following, it may be worthwhile to look into proposing product placement deals with some brands. Sometimes, brands aren’t trying to sell a product but are instead looking for more visibility.
In this case, having their logo visible in one of your posts might just be the thing they need. Instagram’s new IGTV service also allows you to be more creative with product placement in videos.
#5. Let your followers have a piece of your noggin
If there’s a particular skill you’re known for, your followers will probably pay a pretty penny to get a one-on-one experience learning it from you. This is especially good for artists, craftspeople, photographers, cooks, or anyone who ever wooed their audience with a demonstration of their skill in anything, really.
If you ever got a “How did you do that?” comment on one of your posts, people might actually want you to mentor them. Give it a shot and see what sticks!
Instagram may not have been created as a platform for commerce, but that’s never stopped entrepreneurs from finding ways to monetize what they can in it! If you’ve got other suggestions to monetize influence, share with us via the comments below.