There’s a common misconception that to make ‘real money’ on Instagram you need thousands of followers and to post sponsored content for teeth whitening strips and flat tummy tea all day.
In reality, there are at least three ways to make money on Instagram, and with most of these options you don’t need a specific number of followers.
These are the ways to make money on Instagram:
- Create your own physical or digital products
- Work with brands on sponsored content
- Use affiliate links to earn a commission from products you recommend to your followers
If you currently have a few hundred followers you’re probably thinking I’m crazy saying you can make money through sponsored posts, but brands look for a few things when deciding which influencers to work with, including: engagement rate, content, consistency and how well the influencer fits in with the brand’s values or aesthetic.
I’d say it’s a good idea to (organically!) get up to 1,000 followers before you start pitching brands, and yes you will need to pitch them – they won’t always come to you.
The other two methods of monetisation (creating your own products and affiliate marketing) don’t require you to have a huge community. I started selling products when I had just under 3,000 followers and I converted them into customers just fine.
Oh, and please don’t DM me saying you can’t convert your audience using affiliate links because you don’t have the swipe up function on stories, I don’t have it either and I do just fine on the Amazon Affiliates programme.
Is it easier to monetise a small audience?
I think a small audience has its benefits; people are more likely to trust you when you’re small because they feel like they’re talking to a friend, your engagement rate is much higher and your every move isn’t being watched and criticised on some forum in a corner of the internet – you’re (relatively) free to make mistakes and experiment with new things.
But of course, if you’re only able to convert 3% of your audience for example, the more followers you have the better. In short, don’t count yourself out if you have less than 10,000 followers or whichever arbitrary number we’ve decided is acceptable, start with the small, engaged community you have.
I hope this helped you! If you want to learn more about Instagram marketing and how to grow your personal brand on the platform, download my 14 day step-by-step personal branding course.