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How to make money on Instagram is a question many business owners ask themselves, but don't really know where to begin. However, the process of making money through the platform has been made much easier thanks to recent updates from Instagram/Facebook HQ. If a follower, or indeed a user in general, is interested in a product or service, they can now simply tap on your post to be directed straight to your store. In some cases, they can even complete their purchase through the app itself! Gone are days where you had to write the old 'link in bio' in your posts, now you can link your products to images in your post, and in a few taps, you have made a sale! You can even choose to pay an Instagram marketing expert with a following in your niche, to help you increase sales.
Chances are, if you run an eCommerce or drop shipping business, you already have a pretty decent following anyway. Being baptised in to the world of Instagram as a business profile can only increase sales and overall following. So with that in mind, let's explore how to make money on Instagram for your business.
1. Setting Up Instagram Shopping
If you haven't done so already, make use of Instagram's new shopping feature, which only takes a few steps. This allows interested buyers to browse through your products and store straight through the platform, making for a user-friendly experience. In fact, just over half of internet users said they will be deterred from purchasing a product or service online due to a bad experience. With that statistic in mind, making your online store more streamlined and easy for customers to use and purchase, can only be a positive, right?
As aforementioned, there are a few steps you must take to become a verified Instagram Shopping business. They are as follows:
First Point Of Call
- Obtain approval as a business account. This can be done by heading to profile -> settings -> account -> request verification.
- Create a catalog on Facebook via BigCommerce or Shopify outlining your products.
- The anxious wait to be approved for Instagram Shopping.
- Once approved, you'll see 'shopping features' appear in your account, so go ahead and switch them on.
Second Point Of Call
- Upload images - Remember you can add 5 images at any one time, unless you are posting in 'carousel' style, then the maximum is 20 per post.
- Add in captions and tag your products - Caption your post as normal, then you will head to the option for 'tag products', which is located under the 'tag people' tab.
- Add in product - This is where you will tag your product into the photo. As you type the product name, Instagram will automatically suggest products you have included in your Facebook catalog.
- Share - After you have tagged all products in your posts, share your creation with your followers and the rest of the Instagram world. If you do want to view your posts containing products, you can do so by tapping on the shopping bag icon in the top right corner.
Once you have been approved for shopping, you'll be able to further enhance your store by adding a product sticker to your stories. This makes it even easier for followers to browse your products, as they will be taken directly to the product link; the same as if they were browsing your feed, but this way saves them trawling through your profile. Here are the steps to add this feature to your stories:
- Add story as normal
- Press the sticker icon just next to the pencil
- Tap on 'product'
- Add your product by typing in the name - Remember you can only add one product per story.
- Any tagged products will appear as a shopping bag icon and once pressed, will take the customer to that specific product directly
So, as we can see, Instagram has come a long way in recent years. What was a photo-sharing platform for the younger generation, has now become a marketing haven for businesses. Of course, you can just use Instagram as a compliment to your online store and have a completely independent store, however for a truly enhanced user-friendly experience and to see your sales soar, following the above steps, along with your separate website (should you have one), can only mean good things for your business.
2. Dropshipping and eCommerce Stores
Dropshipping is perhaps one of the largest business models worldwide. Direct your followers to your profile and website where they can purchase items, your warehouse is notified and it arrives at their door within days. It is a very convenient way to do business, especially if you have limited space. Link the products you are promoting through the link in your bio, or include it in the relevant post, and away you go. Some trending dropshipping and Shopify hashtags are:
#dropshipping #ecommerce #dropship #shopify #entrepreneur #reseller #dropshipper #dropshippingbusiness #business #shopifydropshipping #amazon #onlineshopping #amazonfba #resellercommunity #fashion #affiliatemarketing #marketing #onlinebusiness #dropshipwelcome #entrepreneurship #dropnshop #ecommercebusiness
Following on from the dropshipping method, the traditional eCommerce world is seeing all-time highs at the moment, due to the current situation. Despite if you produce goods yourself, or through a third-party supplier, this is a more personal approach to online shopping, albeit taking up a bit more time than a more automated system seen in dropshipping stores.
Instagram has a handy tool where you can direct followers right to your business page, and they can purchase within a matter of clicks, or in this case, taps. If you already have an eCommerce business but have not yet branched out to Instagram, there has never been a better time. 500 million users are active every day on the platform, and a total of 1 billion active users monthly, so joining the Instagram eCommerce trend is a no-brainer. What's more, is that it is free, so if it doesn't work out, then you haven't lost anything (but we know it will work out!).
Spell is a great example of an eCommerce store using Instagram to gain leverage on their brand, as well as increasing their customer portfolio through the platform.
3. Affiliate Marketing
To get your brand out there and increase sales, affiliate marketing could be a great option. It is a growing aspect of Instagram and is a way of collaborating with Instagrammers who have a decent following. First of all, what is affiliate marketing? Affiliate marketing is a practice whereby companies affiliate with public figures on Instagram to market their products or services to their direct audience, in exchange for a fee, with the hope of increasing sales through that particular person.
Of course, it only makes sense to affiliate with those who will be interested, and so it is important to first explore the platform for profiles with an active and engaged following who are passionate about the niche you provide. If you find that a certain profile is a perfect fit, you can reach out to them directly and work out a deal. Usually, affiliate marketers will expect a commission of between 5% - 20% of the total profit of sales based on the unique promo code you will give them.
If your business is starting out, or you simply want to increase sales and brand awareness beyond your normal clientele, affiliate marketing could be the way to go. What makes it better, is that you only pay the marketer a commission for what they sell, and not a regular payment.
4. Find Influencers
Influencers, as the name suggests, influence their following to purchase your products or services. It does cost your business a bit more financially than affiliate marketing, and this is because you will pay the person to promote your business in a more direct form of payment such as an agreed amount per post or project.
Influencing is also a form of word-of-mouth marketing that has shown to achieve even better results than direct advertising or marketing campaigns in all 3 stages of the purchasing process; initial consideration, evaluation, and time of purchase. This is because the followers of influencers usually look up to, or idolise them, so if they are promoting a product, then it must be good. As a result, they are more likely to complete a purchase than if they came across the same product on a paid post straight from the company. In fact, word-of-mouth marketing via influencers sees a 20% - 50% increase in purchasing decisions.
Bringing an influencer on board can help your company in 3 distinct ways:
- Increase the credibility of your company.
- Increase sales, leads and conversion rates.
- Increase brand following.
How Do I Find Influencers?
Influencers are everywhere on Instagram, so first you must decide what demographic of audience you are trying to influence. To help you find suitable influencers, you can do a good-old Google as your initial research to see if you can find any suitable influencers, if not, or if you want to dig a little deeper, there are some websites and apps you can look at, including:
- BuzzSumo - Research data from various influencers, and choose one that fits your needs.
- HootSuite - A great social media management tool that also allows to you browse different influencers.
- Trendspottr - A platform created by HootSuite where you can browse photos, posts, videos and influencers across all industries, and also see what is trending to help you select the right person for the job.
I have found a suitable influencer, but how do I reach out?
There are just a few tips when reaching out to an influencer, or an affiliate marketer, for that matter. Most of them are common sense, however, they are as follows:
- Start by liking and commenting on some recent posts (no older than 1 year).
- Send them an open-ended instant message with your pitch.
- Join any online forums that your influencer is also a part of.
- Personally connect with them at an event they are attending, if possible. If not, try and arrange a phone call or video chat to briefly get to know each other.
An example of a company that has found the perfect influencer is The Ritz-Carlton, Perth. They reached out to Instagram influencer, Tom Claeren, to venture to Perth and help promote the new hotel. Marriott has also partnered with Tom on many occasions, as he is known as a 'luxury hotel' influencer. This is just one example of how a business has found a suitable online presence to share and recommend a product to his audience.
By following the above steps and making use of the many available platforms out there today, you can bring an influencer on board to help increase sales and brand awareness. In saying that, bringing in such a figure is probably recommended after you have been successful with affiliate marketing so that you know how well your target demographic responds to these marketing techniques.
Whether you run an online store or want to participate in affiliate marketing, get an influencer on board, or all of the above, Instagram provides a great platform to help you increase sales and brand awareness for free! Of course, you'll have to pay for affiliate marketers and such, however having an account on Instagram is totally free and if you haven't yet set up an account, it is highly recommended you do so!
Hopefully, this article has given you some inspiration on how to make money on Instagram for your business, as well as how to increase your brand following by following some very simple, yet effective steps.