How to make money off Instagram

I originally started this blog post as a response to a question in a Facebook group. When it hit three paragraphs I realised that it might be able to help more people harness their Instagram power here too!
In late 2016 to early 2017 I decided to start experimenting with my Instagram account and my following grew from 3k to 40k really quickly! Along the way I started to investigate ways for me to potentially generate some pocket change out of my “social capital”. I already had some insight into the process from a business side of view and I thought it was important, from a social media marketing perspective, to be able to experience what an influencer transaction looks like from both sides of the coin.

There are two ways I reached out to brands. Indirectly through influencer platforms and directly by contacting their Instagram or hunting around their website for the most appropriate email. Influencer platforms are pretty much like an online modelling agency specifically for influencers, they are a middle man between you and the company, and they all work a little differently.

Influencer Platforms

As soon as you hit 3000 followers you can sign up for Tribe. With Tribe, the idea behind the concept is that they want influencers who already using these products and/or services, and therefore have a genuine connection with the product. You submit your content for approval before being selected for the campaign, so if you don’t already own the product you might choose to take the gamble and purchase it just to snap some pics. Tribe has a huge range of briefs for you to pick from. Logging on today I can see brands like AAMI Insurance, Beaumont Tiles, Ferrero Rocher, Pizza Capers – and the list really does go on! With Tribe everything is submitted and organised through the app – content approvals, payment, feedback – it’s all sorted and you have the piece of mind that the brand isn’t going to skimp out on paying you.
Hypetap is another Australian influencer platform. They are a little more selective with who gets in their books (you can apply here) but once you’re through the gates is some pretty high-profile brands looking to engage you to create and publish content for them. Hypetap has hosted campaigns for brands like Disney, TripAdvisor, Colgate and the Australian Government (yeah, it’s legit). My favourite thing about Hypetap is the easy to use desktop interface and being able to have detailed conversations with the brands before commiting to a campaign. They also use your audience demographics and channel size to put you forward to brands for campaigns. You’re then able to respond to briefs or decline the campaign if the timing isn’t quite right.
The third Instagram influencer platform I signed up for was BrandSnob. This is a really great platform for the smaller influencer and there are always jobs looking to pay around $50 – $100 for a post or in exchange for goods. It’s definitely more clothing, beauty and swimwear focused so it wasn’t right right for me, but definitely worth a look if you’re just getting started!
There are so many more influencer platforms to choose from too! Check out: Upfluence, NeoReach, Revfluence, Famebit and Open Influence. Hello Social is currently building their influencer platform and if it’s anything as good as their memes then it’s one to keep an eye on.

Direct Contact

If I knew there was a brand I wanted to work with I would also reach out to them directly. Clothing, hotels, beauty – if I could see that a brand I was interested in was working with influencers then I’d see if they would also be interested in working with me! Using this approach I‘ve had brands send me some free stuff that I would have purchased anyway. I couldn’t have been happier to share my favourite new products and experiences with my following so it was a win/win situation.

Trying to convince a brand to use influencers isn’t an easy task, especially if they haven’t used influencers before. They have to see the value for them as a business and to many business owners this means direct sales. When approaching a brand directly you want to have a really good understanding of who they are, what their social presence looks like, if they have worked with influencers before, what their content looks like, who their audience is and what value you think you could provide to them. Don’t email every brand the same message. Be personal and explain why you’re the right fit for them! Here’s how I structure my emails to brands:
  • Introduce myself (Tell them your name and where you’re from and include links to your Instagram where you would be promoting them)
  • Show understanding of the brand (Do you follow their accounts? Do you love their social content or have a store close to home that you love to visit? Let them know!)
  • Make my request (Are you asking for a product, payment, or both? Don’t make it hard for them to decipher – be clear)
  • Show how I can add value (Provide the rate you would normally charge for a post, discuss your experience and relevant brands you’ve worked with in the past, mention your metrics and sell yourself – this might be your only chance)
  • Offer an opportunity to negotiate (Place the ball in their court and offer up some negotiation, maybe you could do a takeover on their channels or add some Instagram stories, show them that you’re flexible)
  • Sign off (Let them know that you’re looking forward to hearing from them and remember to keep things professional)

Prepare to get hit will a lot of declines and a lot more no responses it all. It’s important to recognise that many companies already have marketing plans set and can’t add ad hoc extras into them at the last minute. Small companies might just not have enough stock or money to pay you – don’t take offence to this. If a brand you love can’t work with you then thank them for responding and set a reminder to reach back out to them when you have 10k more followers. You don’t want to burn any bridges, you’ll never know when the timing might be right!

So, go forth and make that money! And don’t forget to tag me (@georgiakelleher) in your posts so I can give ’em a like.

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  1. Isabella March 20, 2018 at 6:01 am

    Found this post on FB and it’s amazing, thank you! If you have the time please write a post on how you increased your following as it’s so hard to figure out Instagram nowadays. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    xx Bella

    1. Georgia Kelleher March 20, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      Hi Isabella!

      Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I’m so glad to hear that it was helpful!

      I’m currently working on a post which should cover these exact things. If you are following me on Instagram I’ll link through to it on my stories as soon as it’s up.

      Have a great day,


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