Welcome to this step-by-step guide on how to start making money from Instagram followers. I’m confident that it’ll bring you great success.
This guide is designed for Instagram users of all levels. It doesn’t matter if you already have thousands of followers or if you haven’t even opened up your account yet. It’ll teach you how to increase your followers and how to earn money on Instagram without spamming, so that your followers are happy and you are happy.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure that you have a Business Instagram Account. It’s against the Instagram Terms of Service to promote products through a Personal Account. If you currently have a Personal Account, it’s free and easy to change it in your settings, and just carry on as you were.
Firstly, I want to talk about gaining more followers. I’ve written an additional article called How to Get More Followers on Instagram for Free, which I think will be of benefit to you.
You may think this doesn’t apply to you if you already have thousands of followers. However, I still think that you should read it, as you may find out that some of your followers aren’t going to make you any money at all.
On the other hand, if you’re just starting out on Instagram, getting the right sort of followers will be very important to you.
The more followers you have, the more money you’ll make, right?
Well, not always!
Resist the temptation to promote products in your posts until you’ve really built up a solid follower base. That includes posting a pretty picture and then putting a spammy sales pitch in the description.
Nobody’s likely to buy from you if they don’t know who you are, so the primary focus of your posts should be building your follower base up.
Now, if you’re at the point where you have a reasonable amount of followers, it’s time to focus on the good stuff… making money!
How to Start Making Money from Instagram Followers
If you have something in the region of 1000 fans or more on Instagram, it’s possible that companies might sponsor you to promote their products to them.
This sponsorship could be in the form of money, or it could just be that they give you a product for free if you agree to promote it.
If you’re getting products rather than money then you don’t really have much of a business unless you plan on reselling most of the products you’re given. That can turn into a real pain though as you find yourself packing boxes rather than creating new content.
Ideally then, you need to be getting real money for your services. The actual amount can vary though depending on how many followers you have, and what your general niche is.
If you primarily post make-up tips then a brand isn’t likely to make huge amounts of money by you promoting their new lipstick. However, if you post about photography, a brand might see more value in you promoting their new camera.
The problem with paid sponsorship is two-fold.
Firstly, you really need to declare that the post you’re making is paid sponsorship. Secondly, if you’re being paid to promote a product, the company that paid you will expect you to say only good things about it.
If you do this too much, your followers may lose trust and confidence in you. They may even believe that you’re being paid to say nice things when actually you aren’t. Therefore, you can’t do it too often.
Unless a brand is prepared to pay you a regular fee to be an ambassador, you’ll probably find that paid sponsorship is too intermittent to build a legitimate business around.
However, if you want to give it a go, you really need to do 3 things:
- Post plenty of valuable content on your chosen subject (with relevant popular hashtags, of course).
- Build a strong follower base that interact with your posts.
- Wait for the brands to find you, or tag them in your posts if you’re already using their products.
For the reasons that I mentioned in the Followers article, there’s a growing trend for brands to work with “micro influencers” who only have a couple of hundred to a thousand followers.
The theory is that although their total number of followers may be small, micro influencer’s followers often consist primarily of family, close friends, and those that they have a personal relationship with. Therefore, those followers are going to be more receptive to offers.
Micro influencers will also work for a lower fee compared to bigger influencers who have less responsive followers.
Instagram Profile Page URL Link
Instagram won’t allow you to put clickable links in your post descriptions, but they do give you a space for a clickable website link on your profile page. Therefore, unless you’re relying on people physically typing in a web address that you give them, you need to get them to your profile page.
What link you put in your profile bio is another matter though.
If you already have your own website then it makes sense to put a link to that. Visitors to your profile page then have the option of clicking on the link and visiting your site. Once they’re on your site, you can then set various monetisation strategies into action.
The problem is that most websites aren’t really set up for the sort of traffic that instagram will bring you.
Google AdSense Won’t Work!
If your whole plan for making money from Instagram is to direct people to a website that contains Google AdSense ads then you’re going to be bitterly disappointed.
The amount of money that you make for each click of an AnSense ad is generally so low that you’d need hundreds of clicks per day to make a decent income from them.
The other problem is that the clickthrough rate of AdSense ads is so low that you’d probably need thousands of visitors to your website every day, just to get a few hundred ad clicks.
You’re just not going to get that much traffic from people clicking on the URL in your Instagram bio. The numbers are all against you.
Affiliate Products on your Website
Promoting affiliate products on your website is a better solution than AdSense ads because the commissions are much higher. That means that you can potentially make more money from fewer visitors to your site.
If you’re not familiar with promoting affiliate products, check out my Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – A How to Guide.
Although the money you make per sale of an affiliate product can be pretty good, you still have a few things working against you.
Firstly, the person who just clicked on your link on Instagram may not be in a buying state of mind. After all, they’re just browsing social media.
Secondly, there could be too much else going on on your website. There are too many links to click and too many different things to read.
Thirdly, that person may barely know you and probably won’t trust you yet. After all, Instagram is full of scammers promoting dodgy products.
While you’re on the right track with affiliate products, just throwing them on your website and linking to them is not the best strategy to use with Instagram.
So, what is?
The Best Strategy for Making Money from Instagram Followers
This is it then! This is what I believe to be the best way to make money from your Instagram followers.
I’m going to break it down into a step-by-step order for you to follow.
Post Value for Free and use the $1.80 Method to Gain Followers
Posting good valuable content to your Instagram account, with not a sales message in sight, will help you gain more followers.
In addition, the $1.80 Method will bring you engaged followers through commenting.
If you don’t know what the $1.80 method is, read my article How to Get More Followers on Instagram for Free.
Nurture your Existing Followers
Don’t just neglect people once they’re following you. Look after them by continuing to post valuable content and by taking the time to say “Thank You” if they post a comment on it.
You can also follow some of them back if you wish, and like/comment on their posts.
Get your Followers to Subscribe to an Email List that You Own
At the moment, your followers don’t belong to you, they belong to Instagram. That’s a stone cold fact.
At any time, Instagram could take those followers away from you.
They could change the algorithm like Facebook did, so that the majority of your followers no longer see your posts.
They could even ban your account for some reason, with no way to get it back. Facebook (who own Instagram) are notoriously difficult to talk to person-to-person if you have an account issue. It’s “guilty until proven innocent” with them, and they’re not that keen to hear your side of the case.
Therefore, you need to take ownership of your followers, and the way to do that is by getting them to sign up to a mailing list that you own.
This isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and is actually the key to making real money from your Instagram followers.
I’ll walk you through the basic steps now…
1. Think of a Free Product you can offer
Getting people to give you their email address when they barely know you is tricky. Hopefully, by offering good free content you will have built up some level of trust, but you may still need some form of incentive.
If you’ve been on the internet for any amount of time, you’re probably already familiar with what this step is all about. You’ve probably been to sites and seen boxes saying “fill in your details to get my free ebook/report/webinar.”
It’s an age old tactic, but it works.
Therefore, you need to think of something that you can give away for free in order to collect email addresses.
Obviously, it’ll have to fit in with your chosen niche and the sort of things you normally promote on Instagram, otherwise your followers will likely have no interest in it. It doesn’t have to be anything huge though.
If you’re a beauty blogger, it could be a short PDF of make-up tips or it could be a make-up tutorial video.
If your niche is fitness, you could do a similar thing, but give away exercise tips or a video workout routine.
If you’re a reseller, you could write a short guide for people who want to get into reselling. Or, if writing isn’t for you, record a video.
2. Create a Sales Funnel
Now that you have a free product to offer to your followers, you need to give them a way to get it by giving you their email address. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, and the whole process can be automated with a sales funnel.
A sales funnel is a series of web pages designed to guide a potential lead or customer through a sign-up or sales process. Don’t worry though, you don’t need to be a web designer to get one.
When one of your followers first arrives at your sales funnel, they’ll see a single page called a “Lead Capture Page”. Basically, this page will explain your free offer to them, and then ask them to enter their email address in the box provided.
They’ll then be taken to a “Thank You” page that will either give them a download link for your ebook, or will show them your tutorial video.
It’s as simple as that!
You now have that person on your own email list, outside of Instagram. From that point on, if anything changes with Instagram, you can still contact that person via email.
Now, setting that up might sound complicated, but it’s not.
I use a brilliant program called ClickFunnels that gives you loads of pre-made sales funnel templates that will do exactly what you want. You just import the template into the drag-and-drop editor and customise the text to suit your need.
You then add your promo videos and your free product.
It literally takes minutes to build your funnel in ClickFunnels once you know what you’re doing.
All the complicated stuff is done for you, and ClickFunnels even collect the email addresses for you so that you can get to them whenever you want. This includes downloading them or moving them to another email service. Your email list belongs to you.
Because ClickFunnels host the funnel for you, you don’t need to own your own website or domain name. Your funnel will have a unique URL that you can send people to.
3. Add your Sales Funnel Link to your Instagram Profile
Once your sales funnel is in place, you can add it to your Instagram Profile Bio as the clickable link.
Believe me, once you have your funnel in place, you won’t need to link directly to your old website anymore.
4. Tell your Followers about your Free Offer
With your sales funnel built, it’s now time to tell your followers about it.
You could do this with a post, or you could do it with a video Story. Just remember that you need to tell people to visit the link in your profile bio.
For this sort of thing, you’ll probably find that an Instagram Story video works better, as you can talk personally to your followers. However, there’s nothing to stop you doing both.
Just remember not to spam out your offer too much. Do it once as a post, once as a Story video, then continue posting valuable free content again for a day before promoting it again.
You don’t want your followers to think that you’ve done a “bait and switch” and that you’re now just going to be promoting stuff all the time. Keep giving them the content that they originally followed you for.
5. Monetise your Followers with Good Products
Now that your sales funnel is in place and automatically adding new people to your email list every day, you have two ways in which to actually earn money from them.
The first way is to send out emails to your list offering a product for sale. This doesn’t have to be a product of yours though. It could be somebody else’s product that you’re promoting as an affiliate.
All you have to do is write a bit of promotional text and include your affiliate link.
The good thing about promoting to your email list is that they’re almost guaranteed to see the email. If they’re busy for a day or two, your email won’t vanish out of sight like an Instagram post would. Whenever they’re ready and they have some time, they’ll see your email.
What you shouldn’t do is just spam your email list with sales pitches right away or too often though. If you do, it’ll be a sure way to make them unsubscribe.
Like you’re doing with your Instagram account, send them valuable free information about 80% of the time, and only promote a product maybe once a week or once every couple of weeks.
It really depends on your personal list as to how often you can pitch products. If your niche involves lots of product reviews, they’ll probably be more receptive to it than if your niche is mainly advice or tips.
Upselling with your Sales Funnel
Did you know that you can automatically sell a product to a person as soon as they sign up to your mailing list though?
Imagine if as soon as somebody subscribes to your email list, they get taken to the Thank You Page to view your video or download your email and are then also offered a chance to buy something from you?
Let’s get this straight though, you’re not ripping them off.
They are still getting the free report, ebook or video that you offered, and they’re free to have that right there and then without any other obstruction. However, further down the page is an offer for another related product that they can buy.
Again, this doesn’t have to be a product that you made. It could just be an affiliate product, where all the financial transactions are handled by somebody else.
Wouldn’t that be cool though, if you could get a person onto your mailing list and make some money right away?
The best part would be that although they just bought something from you, you’d also still have them on your email list, so you could potentially sell them something else in the future.
Once again, this isn’t hard to do. ClickFunnels makes it easy to add an “upsell” product to your sales funnel. Again, it takes just minutes.
6. An Automated Selling Machine
Once you have your sales funnel built and in place, all the selling is being done for you. It’s a fully automated process.
The only thing you’ll have to do with your email list is write regular emails to send out to them. These can be short though, as long as they give value.
With the selling and money-making side automated, you can spend your time on doing the thing that you love, posting to your Instagram account.
As you sit on Instagram posting photos, what you’ll actually be doing is earning money. You’ll literally be getting paid for being on social media.
The even better news though is that you can direct anybody you want to your sales funnel once it’s running. You can direct people for free from Facebook and Twitter, or even pay for some ads if the profit margin is good.
If your sales funnel is profitable, the more people you send into it, the more money you’ll make.
Even if Instagram were to shut down tomorrow, you could just direct people from another site into your sales funnel.
And the best news of all is that you’ll always have your email list growing day by day, month by month, year by year.
Remember these numbers:
If you have 1000 people on your list who are willing to spend $40 each with your per year, that’s $40000 per year.
If you have 10000 people on your list willing to spend $100 each per year with you, that’s ONE MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR!
Start Building your Sales Funnel NOW!
You can start building your sales funnel right away with ClickFunnels
They even offer a 14-day free trial so that you can actually have your funnel built and earning money before you have to pay a penny!