You’re already using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to chat with friends and family. You’re using LinkedIn to post content that your business colleagues and customers will find interesting.
You’ve probably also heard about, or signed up for, social media app Instagram. Instagram is a fun site with 300 million users that’s owned by Facebook. You can use it to post pictures or videos, right from your smartphone. And, if you do it right, you can make money.
Post a picture of your feet in the sand with the message, “Vacationing in Maui,” and suddenly your dozens or thousands of followers know exactly what you’re doing. But how can you turn that into cash?
Thousands of people like you are doing just that by promoting and selling company’s products. Other people are taking some of the $1 billion that companies like Sony, Tommy Hilfiger and J. Crew spend on Instagram’s brand ambassadors. (More on that in a minute.)
Of course, at Komando.com, we’ve got a simple step-by-step guide to get you started. Ready to make some money?
1. INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS
If you don’t already have Instagram, download it from the app store to your Apple or Android phone. Follow the steps to sign up, then login. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
Once you’re an Instagram member, you want to remember that you’re trying to make money here. Use other sites like Facebook for your personal chats. For this one, you might want to use your name or your company’s name, like @KimKomando, as your handle.
Quick fact: Instagram’s most-followed celebrity, Kim Kardashian, uses @KimKardashian. Can you even imagine how much sponsor money you’d rake in if you had her 44 million followers?
Once you have your handle, you can start racking up followers. You can start by following friends, coworkers, customers, or maybe your industry’s leaders and associations. Ask them to follow you back.
Before you know it, you’ll have hundreds of Instagram followers. But it takes a little bit more effort than that, and a little bit more time to keep growing your pool of followers.
2. HIGH-QUALITY, ENGAGING PHOTOS
The only way to keep the followers you have, and to attract thousands more is to post high-quality photos. You want to make your customers and potential customers, think: “Hmm, what’s that?”
Think about it. What kind of pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram catch your attention? Whether it’s a woman walking down a New York City street in a beautiful but unusual dress, or an up-close shot of a pink rose on top of a cake, or a guy’s backside with nothing but Tommy Hilfiger underwear on, it gets your attention. Of course, you have to pick photos that make sense for you and the audience you hope to attract, so don’t be afraid to specialize in nice landscape shots or witty sayings.
A lot of Instagram posters, you’ll notice, use high-quality cameras to get their shot. That’s especially useful for your business. These days, smartphones like Apple’s iPhone 6 or Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 have better digital cameras than the ones you were lugging around just a couple of years ago.
Read up on how to take photos on Android or photos on Apple like a pro. Have fun, and experiment with a variety of shots and settings that might be out of the ordinary.
Say you want to sell black-and-yellow, bumblebee-striped hats that your company makes. How about taking a photo of one on an adorable puppy, instead of on someone’s head? That’ll get the attention your followers, and they’ll share it with their followers. Suddenly, your company’s hundreds of Instagram followers grows to be thousands.
Note: Before you post a picture, use Instagram’s photo editing tools, or another photo editor app to crop images and improve colors.
3. PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS
Have you heard of Chiara Ferragni? She’s a fashion designer best known for her whimsical shoes, like ones with big winking eyeballs on them. They’re not cheap; many go for well over $400.
She got her start blogging about her designs, and other designers’ clothes. But she really took off with her daily Instagram posts. She uses hashtags like #ChiaraFerragniShoes, so her customers and fans know exactly how to find her. They just type in her hashtag, and her photos and posts pop up.
A lot of her posts are fun, like a picture of her holding a pair of shows that say “Never” and “Stop” on them. But it’s business. Her message on that post is, “Fall/Winter 15 collection now in stores!”
You can do the same thing with your business, to the level that Chiara Ferragni has achieved. Her company site has 4.4 million followers, and the company has $8 million in revenue. Or, maybe you can achieve something a little more down to earth.
Either way, the same concepts work: Find followers, and capture their attention; become a great photographer; and promote your business.
Or maybe you just want other companies to pay you to promote their products. That entails becoming a Brand Ambassador.
If you’ve got 100,000 or so Instagram followers, you can make $700 or more each time you post a picture with you and an advertiser’s product. That’s according to ad agency Mobile Media Lab.
There is big money to be made. This year, advertisers like Sony and J. Crew will spend a combined $1 billion paying Instagram’s Brand Ambassadors. Don’t you want a part of that action?
You might already be following one of Instagram’s most successful Brand Ambassadors. Danielle Bernstein, and other people like her, make their living posting Instagram photos of her client’s products. She uses the handle @WeWoreWhat, and has 1.1 million followers.
Her clients, like Lancôme and Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels, pay her about $15,000 to post fashionable, high-quality pics. Which is exactly what she does every day. She’s consistent, and she keeps her posts simple, so her followers know exactly what to expect from her, and when.
Of course, don’t expect overnight fame and fortune. Despite how it sometimes appears, social media celebrities do work hard for their success. So, start it as a side project in your free time and who knows where it might go.