How Businesses And Influencers Are Monetizing Instagram - Forbes

As of June 2018, Instagram reported more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide and 500 million daily active users. With people spending an average of 136 minutes per day on social media, entrepreneurs and influencers have been able to create entire businesses on Instagram. In some cases, without even having a dedicated website of their own. And some celebrities have amplified their income by using their fame to reach an even wider audience through the social media platform. 
Cristiano Ronaldo’s has 187 million followers on Instagram and makes an estimated $47.8 million from paid Instagram posts each year. That’s more money than he makes from playing soccer. Because of his massive following, companies pay up to $1 million for a single post on his account and on average, he receives $975,000 per post. Following Ronaldo is Lionel Messi who makes $23.3 million each year through Instagram. In third place, Kendall Jenner makes the list with annual earnings of $15.9 million on the social platform. It seems, as Statista amusingly put it, “If you want to be among the top 10 wealthiest Instagram influencers, you generally have to be either a soccer player or a member of the Kardashian/Jenner family.”
In 2019, Instagram accounted for approximately 31.8% of Facebook advertising revenues, up from 13.2% in 2016. And experts project Instagram to generate more than 6.8 billion U.S. dollars in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Let’s take a look at different ways businesses have been able to successfully monetize their Instagram accounts. 
Focus On Valuable, Targeted Content 
To boost reach for your company, as an influencer or an industry expert, treat your social media account as you would a client account – create a strategic plan and execute it diligently. That’s what Kelly Ann Collins, CEO of Vult Lab, a social agency for national brands, advises.
“The key is to build micro-focused, targeted communities on your channels with content topics that you, your audiences, and relevant brands will love. This alone may get you noticed, but you can speed up the process by also blogging about your topics, and hosting (or appearing on) podcasts,” says Collins. She recommends picking a niche target market and hammering away at your marketing plan with relentless determination.
Co-Branded Content Partnerships Are Key 
The more followers and engagement you have on your Instagram account, the more leverage you have to monetize it – whether that be through sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, or simply selling products. 
Co-branded content partnerships can play a major role in monetizing your Instagram account. Cultivating relationships with other content creators within your niche is key to increasing your fanbase and reach. 
“Co-branded content partnerships are vital to brands on Instagram right now since the algorithm change has resulted in lower audience reach for most brands. This is why influencer engagements are a top priority for companies who want to boost their reach, engagement and sales,” says Collins. “As long as you have a targeted audience of 5,000 or more followers in the right geographical location and age range, with good engagement, you’ll be on your way to monetizing your social media.” 
Track Social Media Traffic 
You also want to ensure that you are putting your efforts where it will pay off. That’s why analyzing your website traffic to identify what portion of it is coming from your social accounts is critical. There can be a lot of noise on Instagram without it converting to actual sales. It’s important to pinpoint what actions are driving traffic on the app and what isn’t working. 
“Since moving our website to Shopify, we were able to integrate a shopping component straight into Instagram. This made it much easier for people to shop right in the app, where our followers and audience are already engaged and interested. We saw that an average of 60% of our leads came from Instagram.” says Katherine Sprung, Owner of Squish Marshmallows, a handcrafted marshmallow confections and dessert company.  
Sprung says the company then focused on consistency, publishing relevant posts daily or every other day. And hosted giveaways to keep the audience engaged.
Use Scarcity To Create Demand 
Using scarcity to increase demand and urgency is a great strategy, not only to draw attention but to increase followers. 
Twix did this brilliantly with their Twix Meltdown campaign when they created a device that could melt a Twix bar into a cup of coffee. Customers, who already loved pairing their chocolate bar with a cup of coffee were excited to get their hands on the product. The device was a limited edition item and could only be accessed through a contest that required consumers to follow Twix on Instagram.
It’s campaigns like these that turn the tables and make the consumers seek out the brand rather than the other way around.


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