The skinny on Instagram
Instagram (also called IG) is one of the most trendy social media apps around these days. The company was launched by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October 2010 after they scrapped its’ predecessor which they had called Burbn in honor of the popular American brand of whiskey.
IG immediately began to make an impression in the social media arena, hitting one million users in its first three months of operation. Almost immediately this caught the interest of Facebooks’ Mark Zuckerberg, resulting in the company being acquired by Facebook on October 9, 2012 for one billion dollars.
Amazingly that acquisition happened actually just eighteen months after the company was launched, making Systrom and Krieger two of the fastest created multimillionaires I have ever heard of, and while you or I probably won’t make as much money as the creators of this social media app.
There is still a way to make money with Instagram in Jamaica, in the Caribbean or really just about anywhere in the world for that matter. I’m going to show you how you can make that happen, but first a little bit more about the app and why you should create a Instagram account.
So what’s the reason for all the hype about Instagram?
Instagram is a social media app available for Android and IOS smartphones that allows Instagrammers to upload photos and videos on its social media platform. Users get to create a profile and their own news feed.
When a user posts photos or videos on IG they will appear on the users profile. They can then edit these posts via the use of the many in app IG filters and effects as well as add a caption, tag other users etc.
After you’re satisfied with these edits and have published your post, other IG users who are following you will now be able to see your posts in their newsfeeds.
Why would IG users follow one another? The primary reason for doing this is to stay abreast of photos and videos that are posted by the IGers that you follow.
Instagram provides some really cool features for it’s users. Some of these are:
Instagram Stories – This feature allows users to post pictures and videos that expire in 24 hours time. After such content expires it can no longer be viewed.
Instagram Live – This is a feature that is a part of Instagram Stories which enables a user to create streaming videos which their followers can opt in to view giving them access to view the live content in real time.
IGTV – This is short for Instagram TV and is a new feature that is being offered. It provides a longer duration for uploaded videos, giving users the capability to upload videos that run up to an hour in length. Where previously videos could only be 30 seconds in length.
How can you make money with Instagram?
We can now see that the magical attraction of this social media app to a regular user comes from it’s appeal as a platform that people worldwide can use to share the moments in their lives online with family and friends through pictures and videos, and all for free.
The number of people using Instagram has risen dramatically since it’s launch in 2010, and now membership is said to be between 800 million to 1 billion users worldwide as we approach the end of 2018.
That’s a staggering amount of people and with this phenomenally huge number of IG users, if you are a marketer or a business person you can just imagine how lucrative it could be if one were able to find a way to make some money from this worldwide market.
Yeah it would be great if you could do that. Wouldn’t it? But how can you achieve that goal? Well the very first step that you have to take towards achieving success on IG is the creation of your own account. And since you aim to make money you should create a Business account.
A very important step that I should mention here as a part of the process to create a Instagram account is the creation of your bio. This is very important as it is one of the first things a visitor will see when they visit your account and that visitor will most likely form an impression of your account in their minds within the first two seconds of their first visit.
Certain elements need to be included in your bio for best effect. These are:
Your name – Your correct name that is. This should be input into the name field.
Your username – This can be different from your name. For instance you could use your business name here etc.
Your business – A short spicy introduction to your business and what you do. Including any related skills, professions or interests
Website link – Instagram only allows one clickable link on your profile, and that’s right there in your bio. So if you have a website then you should make sure to put the website address in your bio. Users will be able to visit your site from that link.
Email – Add your email to your IG bio. This will present a way for people to contact you regarding your business or products. Allowing you the opportunity to make money with Instagram.
Grow a following on IG
After that first steps been taken and you have your IG account up and running. Bio dolled up and ready, you will now need to grow a following of IG users. Here are a few strategies that you can use to help you to do this.
For new people
If you’re new to online business, online marketing etc. then you should do the following in order to begin to get followers.
a) Follow your Suggested Users. To do that go to Settings, then click on Discover People. If you are doing this for the first time you will now need to click on Get Started. Then just click Follow to the right of the names of the persons you wish to follow or click Follow All if that option is available.
Discover People shows you the persons in your phones contacts that already use Instagram and also makes Suggestions of people you can follow based on factors such as the searches you made, posts that you liked, accounts that are followed by people you follow etc.
b) Start to follow other users. Now we’re not talking about those you find with Discover People here. We’re talking about users in the wider IG community. You can do this randomly by just following random users or you can choose to follow users that share your interests. Do a search.
Let’s say you have an interest in Jamaica. Type Jamaica in the search and you will get a listing of people with an interest in Jamaica.
c) Start to like and comment on other users photos. You will find that some of these users will follow you. Make sure to follow the people who follow you.
d) Post regularly. There’s no defined rule as to how many times per day one should post to Instagram, but by popular concensus it seems that one to three posts each day should be ok. Try to focus on quality with your posts and aim for a mix of posts about your business and posts about interesting fun stuff.
Make 20% to 30% of your posts about business and the remaining 70% to 80% should be about other stuff as you don’t want your followers to think you’re all about doing business and marketing stuff to them.
e) Respond quickly and engage with your commenters. Inevitably you are going to start receiving comments on your posts. Your quick responses to comments can help to build relationships with your audience.
For those with a business
If you already have a business or a brand online but are new to Instagram, then in addition to the strategies mentioned above here are some additional things you can do.
First of all it’s quite likely that you can get some followers from the people that you interact with in your business. So you should get in touch with them and ask them to follow you on Instagram.
If possible offer them an incentive to do so. Everybody loves that and an incentive would be a great motivational tool to help to convince someone to make that move and follow you. If you have an existing website. Offer something for free in exchange for following you.
Another strategy for people with a business could be to ask their customers for photos. These would be photos that customers take with the company’s product(s). Again an incentive could be provided to entice customers to take this step.
As the number of these photos increase people will begin to comment on the posts, tag them, repost them and also follow you on IG. You can follow them back and comment on their posts as well to increase your reach in the Instagram community. Resulting in even more followers.
Show me the money…
Now that we’ve seen ideas of how we can build a following. Let’s get into how we are going to generate the actual dollars and cents from this social media account. There are different ways to do this. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Affiliate marketing with Instagram
This one is my favourite way to make money online. No matter what the platform. Once you’ve grown your follower count to a minimum that’s anywhere between 2,000 to 3,000 followers you can begin to use this method to monetize your IG account.
But just what is affiliate marketing anyways? It’s a type of marketing that’s primarily used online. It’s performance based as you get paid a commission which is in effect a percentage of the purchase price for sales of a product which result from traffic or leads that you are able to generate and send to the website of the company for whom you are an affiliate.
This is currently one of the most lucrative ways to make money online. To do this you need to sign up with an affiliate program. Then choose a product or a few products that are aligned to the niche you chose for your business.
Next post interesting pictures of the product you are promoting and remember to include a caption for each image. For the best user experience you should try to make your caption no more than 150 characters long.
Instagram used to only allow one clickable link on your account, and that one in your bio