Over the last few years, Instagram has become a disruptive marketing monster. Like most other social media networks, it was initially intended for sharing user-generated content but has evolved into a new advertising channel. Instagram has literally become one of the greatest platforms for marketeers, e-commerce and business owners, young entrepreneurs, and influencers. There is serious business behind Instagram.
You may be thinking, that’s all well and good, but how do I get started? Great, this article will explore exactly that as well as some success stories and three primary business models you can employ to make money on Instagram.
The Omnipotence of Instagram
Instagram has become THE advertising platform over the last few years. Today, people are spending more time on Instagram than they are in front of the TV. A study by Common Sense Media shows that teens are spending more than one-third of their days consuming media, while 30% of all time spent online is allocated to social media interaction. The majority of that time is spent on mobile.
The advertising world has transformed and brands are capitalizing on the power of Instagram. Although still smaller than Facebook, the figures below will show you just how powerful Instagram is for business-related purposes.
1) Instagram has 1 billion users
In June 2018, Instagram announced it hit the 1 billion user milestone.
The number of daily Instagram users hit 500 million in September 2017.
2) Instagram users “like” 4.2 billion posts per day
3) Instagrammers share 95 million posts per day
4) 80% of users follow a business on Instagram
5) 60% of users find new products on Instagram
6) Instagram users are 70% more likely to make mobile purchases
7) Teenagers love Instagram.
59% of Instagram users in the U.S are under 30
8) Instagram is used by 38% of women in the U.S and 26% of men
9) A lot of Instagram users have deep pockets
Instagram is used by:
- 38% of adult internet users who make less than $30,000 per year
- 32% of adult internet users that bring in $30,000 to $49,999
- 32% of adult internet users that earn between $50,000 and $74,999
- 31% of adult internet users that make over $75,000 per year
Source: Pew Research Center
The three business models young entrepreneurs need to make money on Instagram
The three business models below are the main ways to make money on Instagram. Obviously, there are other creative ways young entrepreneurs are using Instagram to make money, but many of those can be grouped into the three categories below.
1) Sell drop-shipped products / your own products
Nowadays, you can very easily set up an e-commerce store using platforms like Shopify in a matter of days with very little technical know-how. There are also countless apps that integrate with Shopify and are tailored to facilitate drop-shippers. Oberlo has a forever free plan and their app seamlessly integrates with Shopify and allows maximum ease for drop-shippers using Aliexpress.
An increasingly large number of young entrepreneurs are using the drop-shipping model in order to validate product ideas. With limited start-up capital, it’s wise to test out a similar product before investing in prototyping and producing the first batch.
2) Become an influencer and get paid for sponsored posts
Influencer marketing is definitely not a new phenomenon, but it has transformed drastically. Back in the day, brands had to use celebrities to promote their products. Nowadays, brands prefer to use micro-influencers. The word influencer has become so pervasive in our culture that this past week, I saw multiple people wearing a plain shirt with ‘INFLUENCER’ printed front and center. Most of the shirts are probably a joke, but it just goes to show how hot it is right now. Instagram definitely played a role in its popularization and it seems the two words are inextricably linked.
Depending on their following, Instagram influencers can make a lot of money. Accounts with 100k+ can charge thousands of dollars. There’s definitely a lot of money to be made, but it takes time to build up a following and there aren’t many shortcuts. TIP: DON’T BUY FOLLOWERS!
3) Become an affiliate and make money by selling other people’s products
Many brands sell their products through affiliates who receive a cut or commission for each sale. You don’t need a massive following to become an affiliate, but it will definitely yield more sales. A smaller, engaged audience is always more effective than a large following with low engagement. For example, So Aesthetic Shop (success story outlined below) has an affiliates program and there is no minimum number of followers required.
Success Stories of Young Entrepreneurs
Brooklyn Candle Studio
Brooklyn Candle Studio started out of an apartment in December 2012. The founder originally started making candles as gifts and the business grew naturally out of something that started as a side hobby.
They sell minimalist candles using safe and sustainable ingredients and amazing fragrances. Brooklyncandlestudio.com has a relatively strong Instagram presence with 21,400 followers.
Their online store is integrated with Instagram (which can easily be done with Shopify), which allows customers to shop without even leaving the app!
So Aesthetic Shop
So Aesthetic Shop is different because it is based on the drop-shipping business model. The owner started the shop as a side hustle while working full time.
They sell Harajuku style fashion, which is famous for its colorful, witty and quirky style. Aliexpress is filled with products that fit that niche aesthetic.
With over half a million followers, this store is definitely pulling in serious money.
How can you get started?
You might be thinking it’s too late because so many other young entrepreneurs already have a head start, but I can assure you it’s never too late. However, don’t get into it with unrealistic expectations of making fast and easy money. Your journey to make money on Instagram is going to take self-learning, creativity, persistence, and consistency. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t see instant results. Enjoy the journey, absorb knowledge and apply it!
Getting started is always the hardest part of any venture. To make it easy, start by choosing one of the primary business models outlined in the earlier section. Knowing what exactly it is you want to do to make money on Instagram will allow you to take action. You should also start by reading this in-depth guide that contains all the information you will need to start making money on Instagram.
Once you have a clear idea of what it is you want to do, you can start to break it down into small actionable tasks. Breaking it down to its smallest components will make a large project that seems overwhelming manageable.
Written by Stefanos Bournias from Oberlo.
Edited for flow May 2019.
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