Social networking sites have transformed into dynamic landscapes with rich opportunities for brands—and people—around the world. Long gone are the days where only bigger companies could build brands around their image. Today, anyone can connect with and cultivate an audience, and make money in the process.
Brands are increasingly spending millions of dollars on influencer marketing as part of their strategy to communicate with their audiences. Currently, it’s the most authentic way for businesses to reach their audiences. Customers trust reviews and recommendations from people they follow, and influencer marketers help bridge the gap between brands and consumers.
While every social media platform has its influencer benefits, Instagram has since become the gold standard of social channels. A 2019 survey by Influencer Marketing Hub found that 79% of brands predominantly use Instagram when running their influencer marketing campaigns.
That said, chances are you know someone who is an Instagram influencer. Log into your Instagram profile and start scrolling; before you know it, you’ll see some of the people you follow promoting a product or service. Like some of the people you follow, you can make money on Instagram, too—even as a micro-influencer.
How Many Followers Do You Need?
There is a misconception that you need hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers before you can promote brands or sell something as a micro-influencer. The truth is, you don’t need a massive following to become an Instagram micro-influencer. Anywhere between 1,000 and 20,000 followers will get you the engagement brands are looking for. Numerous studies have found that influencers with a lower follower count have higher engagement rates, and this is where you can find your sweet spot.
Brands are increasingly hiring Instagrammers with a small-but-engaged following of a few thousands because their accounts get higher authentic engagement compared to larger accounts that tend to have fake followers or low engagement rates.
Start by Making Your Instagram Micro-Influencer Media Kit Shine
To make money as an Instagram micro-influencer, you need to have a thoughtfully executed, highly-curated profile. Find a niche you’re passionate about before diving into the world of influencer marketing.
Start working on your influencer profile kit or website. Your profile explains everything about you, including where you’re from, your niche and interests, how people can connect with you, and how your engagement has grown over time. It’s important that you make your profile attractive so you can not only gain more followers on the platform but also attract sponsored posts from brands. Take a look at this influencer media kit template to learn more about how other influencers communicate their brand to companies.
You should also create a profile on major influencer marketing platforms like Scalefluence. Infliencer marketing profiles make it easy to connect with other brands without the hassle. Companies and agencies use these platofrms to discover the most relevant influencers for their campaigns, and it’s a great way for you to get discovered.
Focus on Quality, not Quantity
Quality content is king when it comes to Instagram micro-influencing. If you want to succeed as a micro-influencer on Instagram, you must create content that adds value to your followers. One way to consistently create quality content is to plan your post ahead of time using Instagram grid planners like Later and Planoly. Other ways to gain followers include consistently engaging people with conversations, asking people intriguing questions, posting high-quality photos, and responding to comments and questions from users.
Work with Brands on Sponsored Posts
Once you have a decent following and engagement rate, look to partner with brands you think are relevant to your image and niche. Sponsored posts are one of the most effective ways to earn money from Instagram as a micro-influencer. Here’s what you can do to get noticed for sponsored posts:
- Use hashtags in your posts to increase your reach. How will a brand sponsor you if you’re not visible to them? Identify the hashtags the brands you want to partner with are using and include some of them in your posts.
- Reach out to brands directly. One of the mistakes micro-influencers make is to wait for the brands that align with their niche to reach out to them. You don’t have to wait. Create your media kit and send out your own pitches. Explain how the brand can benefit from your audience and content creation.
- Give brands shoutouts in your posts. Tag the brands that are relevant to your niche in your own posts, especially those that feature their products or services. This will help grab their attention and possibly get them to work with you. Make sure you don’t spam them.
- Be responsive on your Instagram profile. It’s important that you clearly list your contact information in your influencer profile. You need to make it easy for brands to get in touch with you. And when they reach out, make sure you are responsive to their messages.
Board the Instagram Videos Train
Video is the best performing type of content on Instagram, driving greater response, and generating higher engagement than other social content types. A Hubspot Research study found that 72% of customers find videos more engaging and prefer learning about a brand through a video than text. This explains why video remains the most productive and effective element in digital marketing.
Brands are looking to partner with Instagram micro-influencers that know how to create highly engaging video content. Engagement rate is one of the most important metrics brands look at when hiring micro-influencers and influencers for sponsored posts. If you want to succeed as a micro-influencer on Instagram and make money, learning how to produce social media videos is not an option. Video content on Instagram has been shown to generate three times more engagement and response than images.
Market Your Own Products or Services
Over the last few years, Instagram as transformed into a strong sales-generating platform for e-commerce brands. With business account features like product tags, the shop, product catalog, in-app checkout, and the “shop” button, Instagrammers can easily discover and buy different products on the platform.
While brand sponsorships offer you a great opportunity to make money on Instagram, you don’t have to rely on them as a micro-influencer. You can set up your own store or create digital and physical products and promote them on your page. Chances are you already have people who like your content and would be happy to buy your products or services as well.
Other great ways to turn your Instagram influence into revenue include promoting affiliate links, selling your own photographs, becoming a brand ambassador, and writing captions for businesses. It’s important that you maintain a positive and flexible attitude when dealing with users, customers, and brands on Instagram. Identify the most practical approach that you can use to make money.