How to make money with Instagram

Attend glamorous events, travel the world and make cash at the same time. This is how to do it all with Instagram...
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How to make money with Instagram

Turn your snaps into cash

For most of us, Instagram is a creative way of sharing memories with friends. But to others, the Facebook-owned social channel is the gatehouse to making a mint.

It’s no secret that a lot of people make cash with Instagram, but just how much they make could make you think twice about how you take that next #gym selfie.

It’s all about popularity

It’s high school all over again. Take for example Brian DiFeo, founder of The Mobile Media Lab, who uses influential 'Instagrammers' as global marketing tools. DiFeo isn’t alone in his venture, as paying those who have large followings on social media is quickly proving very popular in the marketing industry, especially in the fashion world.

DiFeo says: “On average, an Instagrammer that’s got 100,000 followers [and] is consistently putting up great photos … can be making between $5,000 and $10,000 a month.”

Yes - you read that right. In fact, it’s not unheard of for some of the more established bloggers to be pulling in six figure salaries, purely based on how many 'likes' a photo collects.

One of those people is Liz Eswein, who runs the account @NewYorkCity, and has 1.3 million followers (at time of writing). Eswein has travelled the world taking pictures for various brands, and charges $1 (64p) per like on her sponsored images.

On top of the world.

A photo posted by newyorkcity (@newyorkcity) on

“I recently came back from Chile for a project we are working on,” she explains “I worked with the tourism board for Namibia. I recently went to Shanghai and before that Dubai and Turkey, all for clients. There aren’t words to describe how amazing an experience it’s been, to travel the world and be paid to go to all of these places to take pictures, which is something I love.”

If you’re already on your way to a couple of thousand followers, a good way to get started would be to approach organisers and businesses, selling your Instagram account and fans. You can photograph an event or test a product in exchange for payment. You’re providing quick exposure to an audience they want, and by doing so, everybody wins.

It’s a rapidly growing profession, and it’s one you don’t necessarily need any qualifications to do - just a keen eye, and a smartphone with a camera. But, you’re not going to make bank without a fan base, so here are a few tips to get the ball rolling.

Check out our top five best camera phones here.

Getting more followers

Instagram might be a popularity contest, but unlike high school we have some tips on to boost your following quickly and easily. And no, it won’t involve you buying fans from a seedy website.

  1. Make sure your subject matter is consistent. Decide what you’re passionate about, and make that your sole focus. If you use Instagram purely to let your mates know what you’re up to, and don’t mind starting over, launch a new account.

  1. Keep to a schedule. Post regularly, but make sure your photos are varied – you don’t want to bore your audience, remember this is a creative outlet.

  1. Be mindful of hashtagging. Using hashtags is the most basic way of engaging with your audience, but you’ve got to be smart. If you’re taking pictures of cats, remember that there will be millions of photos out there using #cat, so go for something a little more descriptive - in keeping with the theme of your account. Also, try to avoid using too many hashtags as it looks messy and unprofessional. There’s nothing worse than #cat #love #paws #fluffy #catlife #Instacat #pet #animal #kitten #cute #hashtag #haztag #Instagram etc. You get the idea.

  1. Talk to your fans. If you’ve got thousands of followers, you’re obviously doing something right. The people adore you, so chat to them and by doing so you’re likely to gain more. It nice to be nice, and all that.

  1. Don’t buy followers. There are loads of sites on the internet, devoid of any facts or decent (or reputable) reviews, that claim to be able to get you thousands of followers in exchange for cash. This will, on the front of it, make you look like an Instagram rock star. The companies you’re looking to impress - the kind that will pay you to take photos - aren’t stupid. You should look to gain popularity with real users through your own means and talent, not robots and duplicated accounts.

So, there you have it - go forth and make your millions. Loads of people are doing it, so why not you?

If you have any questions about this, drop us a comment below, and if you’re an aspiring Instagrammer – the best of luck.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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