How to Set Up Your Instagram Profile
Creating an Instagram account is very easy, and there are plenty of guides and videos out there to walk you through the steps. I’m not going to lecture you or give you a sermon on how to create an account, but there are a few things I want to point out.
First of all, Instagram allows you to ethically create and manage up to 5 accounts. If you decide to create more, Instagram will get concerned, so you need to create and manage additional accounts appropriately. This means creating accounts under different IP addresses and using different devices to simulate different account owners.
Second, all accounts can be interchangeable – up to a point. If you decide to change your niche or username at any time, you can do so. However, this could negatively affect any followers you already have.
When choosing a username, it’s important to find a brandable, memorable name. Avoid using periods, underscores, and numbers. It’s better to use a unique name than a generic, forgettable one.
Finding a more creative name would help build a brand. Building a brand will also help you monetize your followers later.
With over 2 billion users, good Instagram usernames are getting harder to find every day. Think of Instagram usernames as domain names. If someone visits your website and wants to come back in the future, they’re more likely to remember your website if it’s called www.Apple.com instead of www.apple-juicyapple.xyz.
When setting up a new account, you should aim for a short, simple, and (most importantly) memorable username that looks authoritative in a user’s activity feed and is also easy to remember.
I’ve tried a lot of tools, bots, websites, and username checkers in the past that all claim to be the best way to “snipe” usernames, but the method I’m about to share with you is honestly the best, and it’s saved me a lot of hours.
This may surprise you, but I use a domain name suggestion site to come up with username ideas. The site, Leandomainsearch, takes a keyword you enter, runs it through its algorithm, and then comes up with literally thousands of two-word username ideas.
This tool is good not only because it gives you ideas and inspiration for your Instagram username, but it also tells you if the domain name is available, which gives you the option to expand your brand further down the line.
The only downside to this tool is that it doesn’t tell you if the Instagram @ is available or not, but you can easily find that out with a quick search (Go to instagram.com/[Ideal Username].
Picking a Niche
There are two types of accounts you can create – personal accounts and niche accounts. A personal account on Instagram would be an account modeled after the account owner, and a niche account would be modeled after a thing or idea.
You may be asking yourself, “What kind of Instagram account should I create?” That’s a fair question, and here’s what I recommend for everyone: Do something you love.
Whether you’re creating your first Instagram account or your 1,000th, I highly recommend creating accounts that you will always be engaged with. Create accounts that you are passionate about. Create accounts that you will nurture every day. Your accounts are your babies. If you love football, create football accounts. If you love making money, create luxury and motivational accounts. If you love to work out, create fitness accounts. It’s that simple. If you’re a vegetarian, don’t create accounts about eating meat. It doesn’t make sense. If you don’t care enough about it in real life, you won’t care enough about it on social media.
You have to be knowledgeable about the accounts you create. If you don’t know the latest fashion trends, then you’re probably going to do a poor job of having a fashion account on Instagram. If you have little to no interest in fitness, your personal account about healthy living probably won’t get very far.
In another sense, you should create accounts that you know how to monetize. If you don’t know how to monetize your followers – don’t worry, we’ll get to that later. I’m not saying you need to have a 10-page business plan when you start an account, but you should have a general idea of how you can profit from it.
Don’t be afraid to use unconventional niches! You might be surprised at the size of your audience! This account has more than doubled since I took this screenshot. Her engagement levels are close to 15%, and I’m sure she’s making good money promoting her Amazon affiliate link!
Major Key Alert
Although I’m a firm believer in creating accounts in whatever niche you’re passionate about, there have been a lot of people who have contacted me asking which niche is “best”. So here is my opinion on the matter.
Most Explosive/Fastest Growing Niches
Fitness Girls/Babes: @sommerray
Maybe I’m biased because I’ve rapidly grown several fitness accounts, but I personally think Instagram is known for “Instagram fitness chicks.” If you are an Instagram fitness chick with a decent body (read: booty), you’re in luck…
On the other end of the spectrum, people also seem to like watching makeup videos or double-tapping fashion choices.
Most Difficult/Slowest Growing Niches
Fitness Guys: @bradleymartyn
You have to be an absolute beast to get a million followers as a fitness guy. It’s a lot easier if you’re a girl.
Try to find a motivational account out there with over 50,000 followers that has a 10% engagement rate (Your engagement rate is the percentage of your followers that interact with your posts. A 10% engagement rate for an account with 1,000 followers would mean that, on average, about 100 people like your posts). It’s impossible. I don’t like to say that niches are oversaturated, but this one is close…
There are definitely some niches that are harder to grow than others, simply due to supply and demand.
While what you post is more important than your profile bio, it’s still important to have a compelling bio that introduces your account. Check out what successful accounts in your niche are doing to get a general idea of what you should be doing, as this varies from niche to niche.
If you have other social media accounts, it is best to link to them in your bio as well, as this will help boost their presence. If you have a personal website that you would like to link to, feel free to do so, if it is relevant to your account or niche.
Your profile picture will be the first impression most people have of your account, so make sure it’s good, unique, branded, and easily recognizable.
Note his unique profile picture. He uses emoticons correctly, uses his brand as a hashtag, and provides contact information, other social media links, and a link to his service.
Note her unique profile picture. She describes herself quickly and succinctly. Gives her other social media links, and she links to her main website.
Notice the unique, brandable profile picture this comedy account uses. Notice how he uses memes to sell his comedy card game.
I’m a big believer in taking the time and effort to properly set up all of your Instagram profiles with eye-catching profile pictures.
Treating your Instagram accounts like they are world-renowned brands will help you create an authoritative name in your niche that your followers can associate with quality content. I’m going to walk you through a few different methods for creating profile pictures for your Instagram accounts and any other social media platform you’re interested in, but before we get started, it’s important to know what you should be aiming for:
Your profile picture should:
- Be identifiable from a phone screen. One thing I’ve noticed with some of the not-so-good accounts out there is that they seem to forget that Instagram is primarily a mobile platform. The vast majority of people are going to be looking at your account on a very small screen, so having a small logo with a lot of detail is not a good idea.
- Be unique and imaginative. Don’t steal someone else’s profile picture. Just don’t do it! Re-creating an already successful profile picture is a much better idea.
- Be creative. The more eye-catching and creative you can be, the better. Coming up with a play on words or a branded logo is a great idea if you’re really in it for the long haul and want to build some quality accounts.
The Easy Way
Graphic design is not for everyone, and there is a reason why so many people outsource this kind of thing. One thing I have found beneficial (and I recommend everyone do this instead of spending hours doing it yourself) is to find a designer on Fiverr who will provide the PSD/source files as well as the image file. This means you can reuse the logo as many times as you want, changing the details for each account (if you have multiple accounts).
For about $5-20, you can effectively get unlimited profile pictures, and all you have to do is change the text each time. It’s a pretty good deal.
Be sure to fully brief the designer so they know the logo is for Instagram, and send them the list of considerations above.
The DIY Method
I’ve been using Photoshop for as long as I can remember, but you’re more than welcome to use other editing tools out there.
As I mentioned before, it’s important to make sure you own all the rights to your work and that you don’t get hit with a nasty copyright strike in the future. There are a lot of free graphic sites out there, but my personal favorite is freepik.com
Obviously, there is no way that I can tell you how to design your logo, as it depends heavily on your niche and vision, but I will walk you through a basic design that fits a lot of niches and is easily re-creatable.
To start, we’re going to create a simple border. Since Instagram profile pictures are circular, you’ll need to go to this search on FreePik and choose a design that you think will look good in your niche.
After downloading the appropriate file format, you will want to import it into Photoshop (or your editor of choice) and resize/center it. I would recommend a 500px by 500px file for this.
While a background or pattern might work for you, I prefer to stick with a white/black background with an occasional grunge texture. It’s really all about your personal preference and the account in question.
By far the most important part of your profile picture is the actual text. There are millions of flat fonts out there, but I like to use this list for inspiration.
After you download and load the font you want to use, you need to decide what you’re going to display. Some people like to display the first letter of their username, some like to display the first letter of each word, and some like to display their entire username. I think this varies a lot depending on the name, so that decision is up to you.
The last thing you need to do is create the actual text. If you’re well-versed in Photoshop/your tool of choice, you can probably do some amazing things with the text tool, but for the graphical noobs, this article is really helpful. I like to recreate the “strikethrough” effect in most of my logos, as I think it sets them apart from the usual garbage.
To recap: create a 500×500 file and create a border using FreePik. Download a nice, flat font and then use some of the effects in the article I linked to make it stand out a bit more.
Public or Private?
Public accounts are usually a better option than private accounts under most circumstances. With private accounts, people are less likely to follow you because they can’t see your content, and many people don’t want to waste their time waiting for you to approve their follow. Stick to public accounts.
The only time it makes sense to use a private account is when you are about to get a shout-out from another account.
How to Grow Your Instagram Account Followers
In this guide, we will show you how to grow your Instagram account, how to get your first followers and everything you need to know to further progress on Instagram.
This guide is not for those with an attention span of less than 10 seconds, as we have not included many pictures in this guide (if any).
Following people in your niche is the best way to get started. If you post useful content and follow people who might be interested in your content, you have a great chance of earning a follow back. When following people, you need to accept the fact early on that you will be following complete strangers; however, there are right ways to follow people and wrong ways to follow people. My following techniques are one of the reasons I believe I have become so successful.
Step 1: The first thing you need to do before you start following is to identify ‘targets’. You will essentially be following the accounts that interact with these targets.
Find people who aren’t superstars, but still have a good following. For example, if you are into makeup and fashion, Kylie Jenner would not be a good option. Even though she’s the face of that niche on Instagram, her followers don’t necessarily want to see your stuff because they might be interested in her for a variety of reasons. Bots also target these big accounts. One company found that 53% of Justin Bieber’s Twitter followers were fake; and trust me, those kinds of numbers exist on Instagram.
Ideally, you want to look for people who have about 100,000 to 400,000 followers, and the number of likes per post they get should be at least 10% of their follower count. So if someone has 100,000 followers, their photos should get at least 10,000 likes. If this number is below 10%, do not use that account as a “target. When you follow people, you don’t just want to get followers in return – you want to get likes, comments, and customers. The best way to gain this type of audience is to follow the likers, commenters, and customers of target accounts.
Another thing to consider is the ratios from the perspective of the accounts you follow. When people talk about ratios on Instagram, they’re usually talking about the number of followers a person has compared to the number of people they follow. When you’re following people, it’s best to look for people who have close to an equal number of followers and followings – or a 1-to-1 ratio. For example, if you see someone who has 500 followers and follows 500 people, that person is much more likely to follow you back than someone who follows 100 people and has 2,000 followers.
You will have better luck following public accounts than private accounts. With public accounts, you will be able to follow with step 2. Following private accounts also affects the number of accounts you can follow. Instagram allows you to follow up to 7500 accounts, but if you are waiting for approval on 500 private accounts, then Instagram won’t allow you to follow more than 7,000.
Do not follow if the person has no posts. These people may follow back, but they are not good customers.
When I’m growing my accounts, I find myself following more than 200 people a day. This can be tedious and time consuming. But it is worth it. Following 200 people will usually result in a gain of 50 to 75 followers if you are providing good content. Once accounts get bigger, I can follow less and focus more on my content. This will be discussed later.
Step 2: Following with a 1-2 punch
Following with a 1-2 punch is the little-known method that has helped me gain millions of followers. Once you follow a user you identified in Step 1, the ideal way to get them to follow back is to like the most recent post they made and then like an older post from about 2-3 weeks ago. If they don’t post consistently, liking one of their first photos is also a great way to get them to follow back.
This looks great because when the user sees this notification, it looks like you’ve scrolled through their account and found content you like. They’ll appreciate it, and they’ll be more likely to follow you back and like some of your photos – increasing your engagement rate.
Often, when people are followed by strangers, they have a hard time following back because they assume it’s one of two things:
- A. Following to get a follow back (and then unfollowing).
- B. A bot following (and then un-following).
But if you follow with the 1-2 punch, most people will believe you are genuinely interested in their content. This gives you a much higher percentage of getting a follow back.
The 1-2 punch is the best way to grow on Instagram using the follow/unfollow method.
- Find target sources in your niche that have a lot of people commenting and liking their posts. If you have a comedy account, a great example would be @kalesalad. They have 300,000 followers and they have, on average, about 45,000 people who like their content and receive 500-2,500 comments per post.
- Search through the comments and likes for people who have a public profile. If they have less than 5,000 followers, they are more likely to follow back. Like their most recent photo and a photo from a few weeks ago, then follow them. Repeat this over again for the best results.
Commenting is incredibly important for increasing your overall presence on Instagram. In a way, it’s more important than following because you can attract more people than just a single user.
Commenting is best used when the target has similar statistics to you. Find people in your niche who would be really interested in your account. Don’t waste your time commenting on superstar accounts.
I advise against spamming of any kind. There is no need to write comments like “Follow my account!” or “Nice post!” on every single post you come across. Get personal with the person. Ask questions. Be specific so it looks like you’re not just another bot.
Your goal when liking photos is to like over 400 per day. That may seem like a lot, but if you follow 200, then technically you can just use a 1-2 punch and like two photos when you follow someone and you should be fine. Liking is just not very effective if you don’t already follow the person… unless you like people in your own feed.
I ran a test once where I liked 1,000 random photos based on hashtags popular in my niche, and I only got two followers. I ran a similar test where I did a 1-2 Punch on the 500 people I followed and received 400 followers. So, liking people’s photos when you follow them is extremely important, and it’s less effective when it’s people you don’t follow.
Unfortunately, at some point you will have to unfollow the people you once followed (even if they followed you back). Instagram has a maximum of 7,500 followers. Unfollowing depends a lot on what your ratio cycles are. This is described below. If you’re just interested in unfollowing people who don’t follow you back, there are plenty of apps that can help you identify who those people are. Just search the Google Play or Apple Store and you’ll find one! Of course, unfollowing people you follow will result in some loss of followers, but this will be offset by the number of people you will gain organically. Also, people will have a hard time unfollowing your account if your content is what made them follow you in the first place. In other words, if you provide good content, people won’t unfollow you because they’re genuinely interested in your posts.
To optimize your follow-back percentages, it’s a great idea to follow a ratio cycle. A ratio cycle is what your account’s following-to-follower ratio should look like at any given point in time as you grow your account. Please refer to the chart below to see how you could gain 5,000 followers in a month (easily scalable to 15,000 or even 20,000, depending on how aggressive you are and how good your content is). By sticking to a strict ratio cycle, you will optimize the performance of your account. Note that these types of results will only occur if you have entertaining content, are in a fast-growing niche, and use the 1-2 punch following method.
Nobody likes following hundreds of people a day – but that’s the unsexy truth about gaining followers when you first start on Instagram. Don’t believe in these “secret tools” or “unique methods” that promise you thousands of free followers – they’re all scams. You need to attract real people to your account to get real results – and the only way to do that is to find them yourself.
Eventually, you won’t need to follow people to get followers; unfortunately, that’s not the case at first. Once you have your first 15,000 followers, you can spend more time creating viral content and interacting within engagement groups.
Generic Ratio Cycle – Gain 1,500 Followers in a Month
|Day||Following||Followers||Likes Per Day||Following Per Day||Un-follows Per Day||Followers Gained|
You will notice that I do not unfollow people for a few days. This is because I like to give people time to follow me back. There are automated programs that can unfollow people after they haven’t followed you for X number of days; however, without programs like this, it’s hard to know if they’ve had enough time to follow you. I recommend that you do your daily unfollows before you do your daily followings, so that you give everyone at least one day to follow you back.
You also need to be aware of Instagram delays. Instagram delays have changed over time. Instagram delays are the amount of time it takes to process each action an account takes. For example, you can’t follow 60 accounts in 60 seconds – Instagram will limit your actions if they think you’re spamming. It’s best to spread out your Instagram actions throughout the day to avoid Instagram’s limitations and delays. These delays and restrictions vary from account to account, so be careful.
Now, of course, this ratio cycle is incredibly idealistic and hypothetical. Most people won’t follow it exactly, and you probably won’t get this high of a follow-back ratio every day (especially considering recent Instagram action blocks), but this should give you a good idea of how to move forward.
Phases of Growth & Engagement Groups
Your First 15,000 Followers
Your account growth is measured by the number of followers you have. At some point in the life of your account, you will find that it takes less effort to grow. Let me walk you through the steps so you know what to do when you reach each stage.
Your first 15,000 followers will test your patience like a roommate who doesn’t clean up after himself. Your first 15,000 followers will be the longest and hardest to get. Simply because not many people want to follow accounts that don’t have many followers. Often, accounts with low follower counts are seen as low quality accounts. This makes it incredibly difficult to gain traction on Instagram.
So ultimately, you want to be incredibly aggressive with your interactions during this phase. You want to be very personable with other accounts. It’s a good idea to leave a lot of comments on other accounts, follow 200 accounts a day, and like close to 400 photos a day (preferably using the 1-2 punch method mentioned above). Gaining your first 15,000 followers can be accomplished within a few months, but you will need to spend at least 3-4 hours per day on manual interaction tasks. Refer to the ratio cycle above to get a good idea of what your numbers should be.
Now, does this mean you should spend 3-4 hours a day on your content? Not necessarily, but you still want to make sure your content is of high quality. It would be a good idea to have at least 20-30 high quality posts during this follower phase. The more posts the better. It will be difficult to gain followers if you only have a few posts.
Remember that your content should follow the 10% engagement rule up to this point. If you have 10,000 followers, you should be getting about 1,000 likes per photo. If you are getting less than 10% of your likes, you need to consider a few things:
- Is your content good enough to get 10% of your audience’s attention? Does your content need to be of higher quality? Is your content original?
- Do you need to change your target account? Sometimes popular accounts can be deceptive and have fake likes/followers. Make sure you follow good accounts and like their material.
The number of comments you receive depends entirely on your niche and each specific post. For example, if you have a comedy/meme account, it is likely that your followers will tag their friends in the comments section – resulting in more comments than the typical niche. If you have a fitness account, you will typically receive more question-type comments. Know what type of comments to expect in your niche.
Depending on the niche, monetizing too early may turn off your customers; and in most cases, monetizing is not recommended if you have less than 15,000 followers. Effectively monetizing to your followers requires authority and trust, and it’s hard to get that with less than 15,000 followers.
During this stage, your follower-to-follower ratio will be the most out of whack. At some point, you will be following more people than people are following you. Don’t worry about it now; it will look better as you gain more followers.
Your First 50,000 Followers
Once you exceed 15,000 followers, your interaction still needs to be vigorous, but at this stage, your content will determine how quickly you reach 50,000 followers.
I typically spend about 2 hours a day doing the 1-2 punch and about 2 hours a day preparing the best content I can. This seems like a lot of work, but when you think about it, it’s an investment that can pay off big time.
Sometimes it can take a month to get to 50,000 followers, and sometimes it can take 3-4 months, depending on your niche and the content you provide, but one thing is for sure – your growth rate will accelerate once you get past 15,000 followers.
Monetizing at this point is still not ideal, but when you feel like you’ve become an authority in your niche, you can start monetizing your followers; however, being too aggressive at this stage will kill a lot of momentum. People are still looking at your account and deciding whether or not to follow you – if it looks like you’re just selling things to your followers, people won’t follow you, and getting to 50,000 will be incredibly difficult.
Now is a good time to start creating content that people want to share, and get your content ranked in certain hashtags. If you can get over 1,500 likes per post, it should be fairly easy to become a featured post within a particular hashtag. Many of your followers at this stage will come from the Explore tab and the hashtag.
You can also start thinking about engagement groups at this stage. Oh, what are engagement groups?
Engagement groups are one of the best ways to accelerate your growth if you use them correctly. The problem is: Most people don’t use them right.
Now, I can’t go into the specifics of any particular engagement group (they all vary), but the concept is pretty simple. You are in a group with other people based on the size (or niche) of your Instagram account(s). These groups are usually in an Instagram DM chat. Sometimes larger groups use a Telegram chat room. I believe some groups use Skype.
For example: If you are in a 50k engagement group, you are in a group with other people who have at least 50,000 followers.
Example: If you are in a nature engagement group, you will be in a group with other people who have nature accounts.
How Engagement Groups Work
During “rounds,” you comment/post your Instagram content so that it can be liked/commented on by other people in the group. The influence of the other people who like/comment on your content increases the likelihood that your content will appear in more Explore feeds.
What exactly happens in an engagement group (how many rounds per day, posting requirements, account requirements) varies from group to group, but the goal is to like (and/or comment on) each other’s Instagram posts in the group. The main theory is based on this: If you have ten other accounts in the group that like your post, each with over 100k followers, you could potentially show up in over 1 million Explore feeds across all of those accounts’ followers. This could lead to huge exposure!
I really appreciate engagement groups; and when done right, they can be an incredibly powerful tool for rapid growth. However, most accounts in engagement groups are doing it wrong. Here’s why:
Many of the engagement groups have specific posting rules that can damage content.
Never feel pressured to post bad content just because a round is in progress. This kind of pressure forces a lot of users to post really bad content just to get all that extra exposure. I’m not kidding.
Now, my views on how often you should post have changed a bit. I think if you can post 3-6 quality posts a day, then you should do it (depending on your niche). The problem is that most people can’t even post two quality posts a day. So they end up getting thrown into engagement groups, and they want to get as much exposure as possible, so they post sub-par content to maximize their potential benefits. I firmly believe that rushing content just to get into an engagement group is detrimental. Sure, you might get more exposure, but rushed, sloppy content will hinder your ability to sell to your followers, and your current followers may not appreciate the sloppy content – which could lead them to unfollow you.
Engagement groups are pretty much useless unless you are all in the same niche (unless your content has mass appeal).
This should be a very simple concept. If you’re a 100k nature account and you’re liked by a 100k fitness account, you’re not going to get nearly as many benefits as if you were liked by another 100k nature account. The people who follow fitness accounts probably won’t be interested in your nature account (unless you have mass appeal). Very specific niche accounts will still struggle in general, non-specific engagement groups.
Engagement groups are of little use if the accounts that like you have less than 10,000 followers.
You are more likely to end up in the Explore feed of the followers of the accounts that like your content. You see, it doesn’t do you much good to be liked by accounts that barely have any followers (especially if everyone in the group is from a variety of different niches). Simply put, using a follow/unfollow method will most likely give you much better growth than praying to land in the Explore feed somewhere. Instead, try the 1-2 punch method.
You can benefit greatly from being liked by large follower accounts, but small follower accounts won’t do you much good. If you are a small follower account (and you have your checkbook open), you can message larger accounts (within your niche) to see if they would be willing to interact with you. Most accounts will do this if you offer them cash, and it can accelerate your growth if done correctly.
Engagement groups really don’t work well for huge accounts.
Large, established accounts seem to have a hard time benefiting from engagement groups – which is interesting. This could be for a number of reasons, but I know a lot of people who seem to opt out of engagement groups when they hit 1 million followers. Some reasons include: not trying to grow aggressively, focusing more on monetization, lack of growth numbers, the niche is at capacity, etc.
Engagement Group Verdict
If you have at least 10,000-500,000 followers, I would recommend finding a niche-specific engagement group that includes a lot of the big players in your niche. Otherwise, go out and DM/message similar accounts in your niche and ask them if they’d be interested in doing some sort of engagement group. Don’t be tempted to create weak content just to get more exposure. The best way to find engagement groups is to simply message people within your niche on Instagram.
But remember this: Content is key. You don’t need engagement groups to go viral. At the end of the day, if you’re still posting weak content (engagement groups or not), you’re going to struggle to find success on Instagram.
Once you hit 50,000 followers, Instagram switches from “working on an assembly line” to “playing a game of chess. Interaction, while still important, can be dialed down. Most of your followers at this stage, and beyond, will come from your content. It’s up to you to create the most exciting, shareable content you can. You don’t necessarily need to follow people anymore, but liking and commenting on your timeline can increase your likes (keep these engagements within your niche). While it’s no longer the biggest benefit, it’s common for people with over 50,000 followers to keep their following under 2,500.
Remember, your engagement rate should still be above 10%. A common practice to keep people engaged with your content is to write captions such as “Tag someone who…” or “Like this post if you…”. Let your imagination do the rest. At this point, monetization needs to come to the forefront. This is the point where you have enough authority to sell things to your followers without turning them off – if you do it right.
As your account progresses, continuing to do niche-specific engagement groups is a great idea. The bigger your account gets, the bigger the accounts you should be engaging with. If you have 100,000 followers, avoid interacting with an account with 1,000 followers – Instagram doesn’t like to see such drastic differences.
Growing with Shout-Outs
Now it’s time to talk about another growth hack: Shout-outs. As the name implies, a shout-out is when an account tags or calls out your account in their posts.
Shout-outs are often controversial, as some people claim they work, while others claim they don’t. However, when done correctly, shout-outs are a powerful growth tactic because it leverages the growth of two accounts as opposed to one. When it comes to Instagram growth, there is strength in numbers.
Finding people who will shout you out
There are three different ways you can approach shoutouts:
- Use your own network (your accounts do shout-outs to each other)
- Buying shout-outs from other people
- Exchange Shout-outs with someone else (S4S)
The first option is probably the cheapest because you can use your own network. This can be accounts that you own, or by asking friends and acquaintances to give you shout-outs (hopefully for free). On a practical level, this will be the most feasible way to use this strategy over a long period of time.
If you are a woman and have a fitness-related account, you can start building other niche fitness accounts (fitness workout videos, fitness nutrition, etc.) in your spare time. You can use your main fitness account to “shout out” the smaller accounts, and as the smaller accounts grow, you can shout out your main account.
The second option is to buy shout-outs from other accounts outside your network. If you have a fitness account with 10,000 followers, buying a shout-out from a fitness account with 100,000 followers could lead to some nice growth.
However, this could be an absolute nightmare. It’s not free, and the end result may not be anything like what you expected. If you are considering buying shout-outs, be sure to do a quality check on the account first. Watch out for:
● The use of engagement groups or any form of ‘artificial’ engagement
● The overall engagement rate of the account
● The growth of their follower base
These are all important things to consider, as they will greatly affect the price and impact of the shout-out. I list engagement groups as a form of “artificial” engagement because, while engagement groups are generally a good thing, the number of people commenting on their post may not match what you’d expect from a shout-out.
For example, if your account consistently has 20 commenters (15 of them in an engagement group), you probably shouldn’t expect a shout-out to bring you 10 new commenters. Additionally, you’ll want to buy shout-outs on accounts that have a high “organic” engagement rate. Due to Instagram’s recent API updates, it can be difficult to track an account’s growth. The higher the organic growth and engagement, the better.
Every time you advertise, you are likely to lose followers. People don’t like to see advertisements. The more you can “hide” the shout-out, the fewer followers you’ll lose; however, it’s also possible that if you “hide” a shout-out, it won’t be very effective anyway.
In my experience, it is best to do this every 2-4 days. Keep in mind that posting shout-outs frequently will hurt the engagement of the poster. As I just mentioned, shout-outs are essentially ads, and no one engages with ads. The account should expect losses in both likes and comments, and perhaps even a period of slower follower growth, but a regular posting schedule can bring those levels back to normal.
Stories for Additional Exposure
You can also get creative with Story shout-outs. A “healthy” Story shout-out isn’t nearly as damaging as a regular feed shout-out, but it can also be much less effective. Have the person shouting you out prepare 3-4 regular Stories, and then add your shout-out at the end.
Captions can make or break your shout-out. You want to find that healthy balance between “Go follow @thisaccount” and a typical post you’d expect on the account.A typical post probably won’t urge anybody to go do anything, and advertisements can be harmful to growth and engagement.
Saying something as dry as “follow my friend @photographer for some cool photos” probably won’t do much, but it’s better than nothing. Shout-outs should be treated as introductions to accounts – not advertisements. They simply help people discover what a great account it is by instilling a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). Make them want to follow the account.
A good example of a fitness account shouting out to another fitness account:
“Hey guys! If you like my fitness videos, you should check out @fitnesschick! She posts some awesome fitness videos that I’m sure you’ll really enjoy! (insert emoji here)”
This caption accomplishes:
1.) Doesn’t look like a paid ad
2.) It looks like you are just helping your followers and this random Instagrammer
3.) You’re not pressuring your followers to follow, but there’s a fear of missing out if they don’t
The caption above is way better than:
“Follow @fitnesschick for the best daily workout videos!”
Ideally, the account doing the shout-outs (whether it is your account or someone else’s) should archive old shout-out posts. This will ensure that there is only 1 post in their feed that is a shout-out. The advantage of archiving is that all the metrics (likes, comments, views) are saved. This can be an important resource later, and it’s important for the algorithm.
Private Shout-Outs can be Extremely Effective
It’s no secret that shout-outs can be either a hit or a miss – especially for smaller Instagram entrepreneurs who just want to get their name out there. If you’re an Instagram newbie, chances are you’ve paid for some unsuccessful shout-outs. Wondering what you’re doing wrong? There could be numerous issues with your shout-out, but the best way to get more followers is to go private right before the shout-out.
If doing engagement groups isn’t the best way to grow, then going private is. This is probably the most commonly used growth tactic right now. There are two ways to do this.
1.) You pay for a shout-out from another account. You go private before you get shouted out.
2.) You swap shout-outs with another account. You both go private before the shout-out, and you post at the same time. Typically, every time you post a shout-out you’ll lose followers, but when you are also receiving a shout-out, you end up gaining a TON.
It’s such a simple idea, yet no one does it. This works better than public profiles because it creates a sense of intrigue. More people are likely to scroll through a page and not follow it if it’s a public profile. If it’s private, a lot more people are likely to follow it.
Try this the next time you get a shout-out. It also helps if the person giving you a shout-out creates a call to action that recognizes that your account is private. A common call-to-action caption I see is something like this:
“Check them out! They’re accepting the next 500 people that follow!”
Many accounts do promotions by simply “giving credit” to the picture they are shouting-out.
Use Caption Pods for Insane Growth
This is also self-explanatory. The idea here is to share captions with other users to get more followers together. You simply tell your followers to follow other accounts (that also have your name in their caption).
Sure, you’ll lose some followers by doing this. But statistics show that you’ll grow more together than if you tried to do it yourself.
Use Stories & Instagram Live When You Post to Get Additional Traction
Getting as many people as possible to like and comment on your post immediately after you upload it will drastically improve your chances of landing in Explore. You’ll often see people taking advantage of Instagram Live by encouraging their followers to like and comment on their latest post. Both niche and personal accounts use this tactic to their advantage. Even though it doesn’t look great (it looks pretty spammy), people continue to do it because of the results it gets.
Chapter Overview & Key Points
- Interacting with others is essential for growth when your account is relatively small.
- Identify a target account in your niche. Find a popular account that has a strong following, a high engagement rate, and followers who would be interested in your content.
- Follow with a 1-2 punch. Follow the likers and commenters of the target account, and like a recent photo of theirs and a more dated photo of theirs. This is your best chance of getting quality followers.
- Just liking random photos within your niche is not very effective. Stick to the 1-2 punch and quality comments.
- Find a ratio cycle and stick to it.
- Find people within your niche who are willing to trade shout-outs with you. When creating shout-outs, try to make them seem natural.
- Understand that there are several different stages of growth when it comes to Instagram.
- Making your account private right before you receive a shout-out can greatly increase the number of follows you receive.
- Using caption pods with other growing Instagram accounts can help you share the wealth.
- Using Stories and Instagram live to your advantage can quickly drive users to your posts – the more users who initially engage with your posts, the greater your reach!
Post Analyzation and Instagram Engagement Groups
This guide is not as organized as the previous ones because these tips and techniques are in random order. Some of the tips will apply to you and some won’t. Hopefully, you will be able to pick up some tricks and tips on how to take your Instagram to the next level.
Analyze your Post-Performance so You Can Determine if it’ll Go Viral or Flop
Here’s the thing: If you have a few thousand followers, you should be able to predict if it’s going to go viral within a few hours. A smaller audience is harder to judge. But if you have over 50,000 followers, you should be able to predict with about 90% certainty how well a post will do within 15 minutes of posting it.
If it’s not doing well after 15 minutes, it’s usually not good news. Remember, your goal with every post is to keep your current followers happy (positively engaged) and attract new followers. If you can’t do the first, you probably can’t do the second. Engagement creates growth. No engagement = no growth.
Why is tracking performance important? The first few minutes after you post are incredibly important. Instagram ranks the initial performance of your post, and compares it to the performance of similar accounts that your followers follow. Remember, Instagram’s goal is to immerse users in as much content as they think they’ll enjoy. They do this by placing the most engaging content at the top of a person’s timeline. If Instagram determines that your content isn’t engaging, then good luck trying to reach your followers – it’s not going to happen. It’s important for you to get real people to like and comment on your post as soon as you post it, so that it has maximum reach. Buying fake likes and comments won’t do the trick.
So what does all of this have to do with tracking performance? Well, think of it this way. If you consistently post bad content that doesn’t engage people, you’re going to lose a ton of followers.
- People won’t see you on their timeline, and they will naturally unfollow you over time.
- People finally see you on their timeline for the first time in a few weeks, and they think, “Why am I following this person? I don’t keep up with them anymore.
- People see your content, dislike it, and then unfollow because your content doesn’t engage or interest them.
In short, having engaging content is a must if you want to consistently gain followers. Not only will it bump you higher in your followers’ timeline, but you will be more likely to:
- Land in the Explore Tab.
- Be shared with friends.
- Rank in specific hashtags.
So, if you can determine with 90% certainty that a post will flop, you can delete it before it does any damage, or you can be aware of it and make the right changes to create engaging content.
So, should you delete poorly performing posts? No. You don’t have to, but tracking performance allows you to learn more about your account. Tracking puts your account under a microscope, and you’ll see trends you didn’t know about before.
For example, let’s say you track the performance of your latest post. Let’s say you normally get two comments within 15 minutes, but today you got 20 people who commented within 15 minutes of posting, asking what song you used in your video. Nothing else is different after 15 minutes – you have the same number of views and likes as usual, but you have 18 more comments than usual.
You find that the massive influx of comments within 15 minutes of posting helps you get more views, likes, and comments than you normally get that day. So how do you learn from experiences like this? What should you do from now on after you notice this trend? You now post every video with a different caption that asks for comments in some way – so you can at least test this theory you have. You start posting captions that say things like:
- “Comment your birthday to find your birthday twin!”
- “What kind of video should I make next?”
- “fI uoy nac daer siht, tnemmoc ruoy eman!”
- “Tag 3 friends for good luck!”
- “The first 20 people to comment will get a follow!”
(now obviously these are super cheesy, but you can tailor this to your niche)
And wallah! You have noticed a significant increase in post performance once you have the initial influx of comments. Now you can milk this for all its glory.
I like to track the first 5, 10, 15, 30, 60, and 120 minutes after a post. A typical good post for me (100k+ views in 24 hours) gets about 3,500 views in the first 15 minutes, 7,000 views in the first 30 minutes, and 14,000 views in the first hour. A great post for me will get about 3,500 views in the first 15 minutes, 10,000 views in the first 30 minutes, and 20,000 views in the first hour. An amazing post for me will get about 4,000 views in the first 15 minutes, 25,000 views in the first 30 minutes, and over 50,000 views in the first hour.
9 times out of 10, my calculations won’t be accurate, and I’ve come to the conclusion that’s just one of the mysteries of Instagram. Sometimes I get a post that gets 3,000 views in 15 minutes and somehow ends up with 20,000 views in 60 minutes. Sometimes I get 3,500 views in 15 minutes, but only 10,000 views in 60 minutes.
What I Recommend You Do
For the next week, write down on a piece of paper (or in an Excel spreadsheet) exactly what time you post, what you post, and then how many likes, views, and comments you get every 15 minutes for the first hour, every 30 minutes for the next two hours, and then every 6 hours after that. This will give you a good indicator of what performance you can expect at any given time during your posts. If you do this on every post for a week, you should be able to pinpoint exactly when a post is going to go viral.
You will also know when to delete poorly performing posts if you want to, but this will vary from account to account. Personal accounts probably don’t need to delete posts as often (unless the response is overwhelmingly negative) because that’s just you being you. You’re being “real” with your followers.
However, if your goal is to post frequently and land in the Explore as much as possible, then you need to have a game plan for what to do when a post flops. Sometimes it’s best to just let it play out and see how it performs over the course of a few hours. Other times, it’s best to delete it immediately and try again in a few minutes with a different image or video.
Use Elite Telegram Groups
Use Elite Telegram Groups for Insane Growth
Telegram groups are great, but they’re only great for certain types of Instagram accounts. For example, if you own a laundromat in real life and decided to start an Instagram account to promote it, a Telegram engagement group wouldn’t be your best bet. These groups are only ideal for accounts that consistently post viral content.
What are they?
Telegram groups are a little different from regular Instagram DM groups. Normal DM groups are limited to 15 people, and each DM group varies drastically in terms of rules, times, likes, comments, etc. In a normal DM group, you typically send posts to be liked and commented on by other people in your niche.
Telegram groups, however, are not niche specific. They’re a large collection of a bunch of random accounts all posting at the same time in an effort to not only land on the Explore page, but to go massively viral.
How They Work
First of all, there is a huge difference between getting likes from these Telegram groups and buying fake likes. Fake likes won’t help you land on the Explore page. Likes from real, large accounts (often called power likes) will. Power-likes trick Instagram into thinking that your post was SO GOOD that big accounts took the time to like it. Because huge accounts with real followers like it, Instagram wants everyone to see your post.
Now, power likes alone won’t make you go viral. Your posts have to be viral. When you post, Instagram will test your post in the Explore Feed. If people are scrolling past it, not looking at it, not liking it, not commenting on it, Instagram will remove it from the explore feed. If your followers are scrolling through it, not looking at it, not liking it, not commenting on it, Instagram will push you down on your own follower’s timeline. Your posts have to be engaging to get the benefits of Power Likes, and your posts have to be engaging to be seen by your followers. That’s how it works.
Typically, these groups contain hundreds of different people and hundreds of different accounts all participating in the same round (or posting time). Here’s how they typically work:
1.) All users will be invited to 2-3 chat rooms once they are accepted into the group.
- A general chat, discussion room
- b. A rounds room (likes)
- A rounds room (comments)
2.) In the rounds room, every 30-50 minutes (depending on the group), an automated message (or bot) will instruct members to “drop users”. This means you must comment your Instagram username so it can be added to the round in session. So, if my Instagram username was “@ViralVideos”, I would comment “@ViralVideos” immediately after seeing this bot message. This is often called “the username drop”. It is very important to comment your username as soon as that message appears. This will allow you to receive likes (or comments) before anyone else. The sooner your account receives likes after you post on Instagram, the more likely it is that your account will go viral.
3.) Group members are usually given 10-30 minutes to drop their usernames. When the username drop time expires, the bot will post all usernames that have dropped during that time.
4.) Members then copy and paste the list of dropped usernames and send it to themselves on Instagram via DM. Since all usernames start with an “@”, it’s very easy to click on a username, like, go back, click on a username, like, go back, click on a username, like, go back, etc.
5.) When you are done liking the photos, go back to Telegram and comment “D @yourusername” so other people in the group know that you finished the round. Members are usually given 30-50 minutes to like (or comment on) the dropped usernames. Failure to tell others that you’ve completed the round (or to like it) will result in you being kicked from the group.
Here are a few screenshots so you can visualize how it works.
Unfortunately, there are usually requirements to be accepted into the elite groups. Most of them have a follower minimum (to ensure that only high quality accounts are liked by other high quality accounts) and an engagement minimum.
Typically, these elite groups are by invitation only. For a few years, there were two large telegram groups, Xplor and SYNC. Xplor was open to any account with more than 80,000 followers, and SYNC was open to any account with more than 800,000 followers. They have recently been discontinued, but many other similar groups still exist.
Don’t meet the minimum for these groups? No problem. Sometimes you can find sellers in Telegram Marketplace chats who will drop your username in rounds for a fee. I’ve also seen users buy active Instagram accounts with over 80K so they can participate. There are other groups with lower minimums, but I don’t know how effective they are.
Other Tips with Telegram Groups (and Instagram in General)
1.) It’s recommended that you follow everyone you trade likes with. If you follow the people you trade likes with, Instagram will view your account more favorably than if you like posts from an account you don’t follow. Instagram sees your likes as more natural, which is what you want.
2.) There are peak times to post to these groups. Although I would recommend trying a few different times to post on Instagram to see if there are any patterns within your followers, the peak times to post are 9 am, 12 am, 3 pm, and 6 pm US EST time.
3.) Your goal should be to limit the likes you give out and maximize the likes you receive. If you look at the screenshot I shared above, you’ll notice that many members are engaging with other users – this is not by accident. Often, members will receive Likes on an account they want to grow, and give out Likes on an account they have already grown. Most of these groups will allow you to drop a username that is below the requirement ONLY IF you complete all the likes in that round with a username that is above the requirement. This allows you to grow an account very quickly. This is a very common trend in like-for-like Instagram growth.
Instagram will also view your account less favorably the more likes you give to non-niche accounts. Instagram will have a hard time trying to categorize your account; therefore, your exposure on the Explore page could be limited. Although it is not necessary for most accounts in these groups to give and receive likes on the same account, larger accounts will use burner accounts (usually dead, inactive accounts) to help smaller accounts grow.
4.) Do your DM likes before you do your group likes. When I do telegram likes, I make sure to do my DM likes before I do the telegram likes. I’ll get the Telegram likes no matter what I do at that time, but I won’t get the DM likes unless I message the people in them. After I post my picture or video (one minute before the list is published on Telegram), I share my post with everyone in my DMs so that I can get the maximum amount of exposure for my posts. If you can, it’s best to do your DM likes ahead of time so that everyone in your DM groups will be waiting to return the favor to you.
5.) Stay away from comments. For some reason, and this is just my speculation, Instagram doesn’t seem to be a big fan of accounts that do comments in their engagement groups. I’ve seen better growth by avoiding comments. It also saves a ton of time. Try it for yourself and see if it works better for you.
These groups can work insanely well if you know what you’re doing. This is probably the most common growth method for larger accounts. Your chances of going viral are much higher when you use these types of groups.
How to Make Money on Instagram
Now that you’ve built a following on Instagram, it’s time to start making money. Most people who make money on Instagram use some form of white hat monetization. This includes various methods, and most of the popular ones I’ll discuss below.
These methods include selling shout-outs (selling your posts to other people or businesses), getting sponsorships, getting creative, and selling your own product. Dropshipping is another popular monetization method used by Instagram marketers, but I don’t feel comfortable discussing it in depth because I haven’t used it extensively. When you monetize your followers, you need to know that there is a limit. You can’t try to sell them something every time you post – that will turn followers away. While this varies from niche to niche, it’s very common for people to practice a 5:1 ratio when it comes to advertising on Instagram – meaning you provide five pieces of quality content and one piece of advertising. It’s smart to make the ad look as natural as possible. Your audience should have a hard time deciphering whether each post is an advertisement or not.
Shout-outs are probably the easiest and fastest way to make money on Instagram. When you sell shout-outs, you are essentially selling posts on your accounts. In a shout-out, other people get to advertise to your followers in exchange for cash.
This seems to be the most popular method, but it comes at a price. Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to sell shout-outs.
Selling shout-outs will devalue your account. Most people don’t want to see ads from someone they voluntarily follow. This can easily turn people away from your account. In most cases, you will lose followers if you decide to sell a shoutout. That’s why it’s important to only accept shout-outs that fit the general theme of your account. For example, if you have a fashion account, it would make sense to accept a shout-out from a fashion retailer because your followers might be interested in that, but don’t accept a shout-out from a gaming company – it will make your followers wonder why they are following you.
When you sell shout-outs, you are essentially allowing other people to monetize your account. Whoever buys the shout-out must be able to pay your fee and still make a profit off of your followers. It is quick money, but you can make more money if you know how to sell to your followers.
You can also contact businesses directly to see if they are interested in a shoutout partnership. If you have an extremely specific niche, this is sometimes the best option instead of finding a buyer on a marketplace. If you run a fishing Instagram account that has a decent number of followers, it might be a good idea to reach out to a lure/bait company to see if they are willing to buy a post. However, keep in mind and ask yourself, “Can I make more money selling something myself?“
Some of the most successful shoutout sellers can make over $30,000 a month selling shoutouts. These people sell shout-outs for upwards of $1,000 to $5,000 per post and have millions of followers. Smaller accounts with around 50,000 followers can make around $10 to $30 per post.
Selling shout-outs is best for people who are unable to sell products themselves. So if you lack monetization skills, this is the perfect option for you. It gives you a lot of time to work on building your audience. The bigger the audience, the bigger the paycheck.
NOTE: Don’t be tempted to buy followers to sell at a higher price. Businesses will see a return on their investment with every post, and you will be less likely to get repeat business if you are deceptive with your followers. The same goes for likes and comments; don’t fake your engagement rate.
Sponsorships are hard to get, but easy (and fun) to maintain. This is perhaps one of the most passive ways to make money on Instagram. Many Instagram celebrities have used their fame to get sponsorships from various companies. Being “sponsored” can mean a lot of things. Whether you’re the face of the company or you’re simply being paid to promote their product on a regular basis, sponsorships can be a fantastic, lucrative, and stress-free way to earn steady Instagram income.
Representatives from companies will usually reach out to you about a sponsorship opportunity. The size of the company and the payment terms are usually based on the size of your Instagram following. If you have 100,000 followers, you have a better chance of attracting a larger, more established company.
Some sponsorships are based on sales, while others are simply based on promotion. In some ways, a sponsorship can be very similar to selling shout-outs and affiliate sales; however, sponsorships will seem much more natural and native to your audience because the content is usually created by you.
It’s important that you never sell out. Don’t partner with companies that want to change the way you do things. For example, if you have a niche account related to food, specifically pastries, teaming up with a Bar-B-Que company will alienate your followers. Only partner with companies that will help your Instagram account move forward.
The fitness, fashion and modeling industries are the best examples of effective sponsorship. Almost every personal account with more than 50,000 followers is sponsored by a brand. Sometimes you will see these accounts promoting their brand with discount codes, or you will see some form of advertising in their profile bio.
If you have a personal account, you are much more likely to receive sponsorships if you are active on other social media platforms. Brands like to see this because it gives them more advertising opportunities. You are also more likely to get sponsorships with fewer followers as a personal account than you are as a niche account. With a personal account, companies can put a face behind their brand, which is more appealing than a specific niche account.
There are no requirements for sponsorship. Smaller companies tend to sponsor smaller accounts. I’ve seen accounts with 500 followers get sponsorships; however, these types of sponsorships are more likely to be based on commission rather than salary.
Just because you can get a sponsorship doesn’t mean you should. Keep in mind that sponsorships often look like “selling out” and can alienate your audience. Followers will also often be turned off by being associated with unfamiliar companies. I would recommend holding off until you connect with a company that will help accelerate growth within your account – not all sponsorships will do that.
If you think you’re big enough to get sponsored and haven’t yet – emailing companies and direct messaging sponsored accounts can help point you in the right direction.
Companies want to see value in your account. Most companies won’t associate themselves with accounts that show poor judgment or post content that is in poor taste. It’s important to maintain a professional image at all times. Also, companies will only sponsor accounts if they believe they can make more money from them. So if a t-shirt company pays you $5,000 to promote their products, they must believe they will make more than $5,000 in t-shirt profits from your account. Some accounts will see a problem with this and go into the business of making their own products to grab all the extra profits.
The money you make from sponsorships varies from niche to niche and company to company. If I had to estimate the average annual payment from sponsorships, I would estimate it to be around 10% of your follower base. So if you have 100,000 followers, you can expect to make about $10,000 a year, and if you have 1,000,000 followers, you can expect to make about $100,000 a year; but as I said, it varies.
Sponsorships are a fantastic way to make money on Instagram because they often don’t require much work, and they can further accelerate your account if you choose the right companies to partner with. Don’t partner with companies that don’t align with your core values. Try not to look like you’re “selling out” by aligning yourself with companies that represent who you are.
Your Own Product (or Service)
Compared to the other monetization methods listed above, creating your own product (or service) will give you access to the greatest amount of profits and the greatest amount of brand enhancement. Creating your own product eliminates other disruptive third-party profits, and often promotes your Instagram account in a way that doesn’t bother your followers.
While this method is excellent in so many ways, it is also the most difficult. If you provide a poor product or service, your followers will be turned off and abandon you.
So it really boils down to this: If you can create a product that your followers will enjoy, create it. If you can’t create a product your followers will enjoy, sell something else. It’s as simple as that. There are many different types of products that can be created and sold to Instagram followers. Here are some of the most successful products I’ve seen.
Many Instagrammers have taken advantage of their followers by creating unique apps either through the Apple iOS store or the Google Play store. Kim Kardashian has leveraged her massive social media following to sell various apps to her fans. Kimoji, an app that shares the celebrity’s emoji, reportedly made $1,000,000 in one minute. The app cost $1.99 per download, and at its peak, 9,000 people downloaded the app every second. That’s the power of tens of millions of followers! Other Instagrammers have used their influence to create tools, games, and other helpful apps!
Many Instagrammers create clothing. They use clothing to easily sell an idea or message to their followers. Also, if you have good content and legitimate fans, most fans will want to support you in this way. T-shirts are probably the most popular apparel choice, but hats, sweatshirts, wristbands, and pants are also common. Christian Guzman, a popular fitness Instagrammer, created Alphalete – which is now an incredibly popular clothing company. Christian used his Instagram followers to launch a legitimate business.
If you want to sell clothing to your audience, there are many online custom clothing distributors that can help you. Places like TeeSpring make it easy to upload a design and quickly sell merchandise to your followers without having to keep a warehouse full of product!
Programs & eBooks
Popular Instagram users also heavily create various types of programs or subscription services. It is incredibly common for someone in the fitness industry to create workout plans for their followers. Cheap programs can be sold for around $10 per month, while personalized programs can cost close to $500 per month. Nutritionists also provide this type of service, but they create weight loss/diet programs instead.
It’s also common to see courses for sale on Instagram. Many experts will sell Udemy courses or special certifications to their followers. eBooks are also popular. Many experts will use their Instagram followers to promote their eBook – whether it’s through a complex mailing list or a simple buy-now button on their website.
Niche Inspired Products
Sometimes certain niches call for certain products. For example, FuckJerry, an incredibly popular comedy account, used his celebrity to create a card game called “Whatdoyoumeme”. This card game, based on his overuse of memes, sells for $30 a piece. The game is promoted frequently on his account, which has about 10 million followers.
Another example of a niche-inspired product is Kylie Cosmetics. Kylie Jenner is often referred to as the “makeup queen,” so she parlayed her fame into Kylie Cosmetics, a makeup company. She actively uses her tens of millions of Instagram followers to promote her own company’s Instagram account.
Creating your own product gives you the most potential out of your account. You eliminate third party commissions and fees and keep all the profits. While this is the best way for some people, it’s not ideal for those who can’t offer a good product to their followers.
Instagram marketing is an ever-evolving game, and while there are a large number of accounts promoting ecommerce stores, there are a number of increasingly effective tactics that few people seem to have caught on to.
There are many ways to create wealth on Instagram that will never be listed on any website, message board, or book. In some scenarios – if not most – the best way to make money on any platform is to do something no one else is doing. This allows you to take control of any market from the start and monopolize any niche through creativity. When you do something that no one else has done before, you have access to incredible profits – if the idea can catch fire.
If you think about it, just about every method of monetization has been “creative” at some point. Discovering a new way to monetize your followers is obviously something I cannot spoon feed you, you have to discover it on your own. However, I can give you tips that I have used in the past to help me break down creative barriers.
Find a product or service that will appeal to your followers. Then find a creative way to distribute it to your audience. While this may seem like an obvious way to go, many promotions, giveaways, and new monetization methods start this way. For example, Kylie Jenner has done this with a unique mobile application that streams premium content to her followers. Many of her fans are incredibly interested in her personal life, so she shares her “free” content on social media and her premium content through the official Kylie Jenner app. In fact, most of Kylie’s sisters do the same. She is delivering a product while delighting her fans in a unique way.
NOTE: You do not have to create a specific product to creatively monetize. There are many interesting and unique ways to monetize your fans using the first three methods listed above!
Find ways to get other people to sell your products. When you find a product or service that would work well for your followers, explore the possibility of finding others to sell it for you! By finding affiliates to sell to your followers, you take a lot of the headache out of monetizing just your audience – you also open up the possibility of selling to your follower’s audience as well!
Typically, affiliation works best when you have created the product or service yourself. This is currently being done by many Instagrammers in the form of online nutrition supplement sales, for example. Many supplement companies sponsor affiliates, typically Instagram fitness celebrities, to sell their products through the use of promo codes and discount codes. These codes allow companies to track the sales of individual affiliates. This allows companies to focus more on product development instead of their social media presence. Not only are supplement companies doing this, but so are clothing companies, beauty/makeup companies, sports companies, and more.
Use Instagram as a tool to promote other revenue streams. If you have an already established brand, then creating content via Instagram usually only funnels to your main brand; however, if you don’t have a pre-existing brand before Instagram, then you have many opportunities for additional monetary growth outside of Instagram. If you can build an audience on Instagram, then you can funnel that audience to other outlets that you create.
For example, if you have a large Instagram account that consists mostly of videos, then many of your followers may be interested in a YouTube channel of your content. You can create a YouTube channel, fill it with content, and then use YouTube’s ad network to make money from each ad view.
This works great with websites too! For example, if you have a large Instagram account in the fashion niche, you can create a fashion blog related to your Instagram content and earn money from the ads on your website. Not to mention, this also gives you a great opportunity to sell other things to your followers through your blog! The possibilities are endless!
Regardless of how you choose to monetize, being creative will allow you to stand out from the competition in a unique, memorable way that your followers will appreciate. If you want to stand out from the competition, you can’t do the same thing they’re doing!
Being creative isn’t for everyone. Not everyone is creative, but those who are will have a unique advantage over those who aren’t. Finding a way to creatively monetize your Instagram account can be the difference between making $100 a day and $1,000 a day.
• There are many different ways to monetize your Instagram account. Don’t get stuck on what’s most popular in your niche. Go ahead and explore all the different options; there might be a better way out there!
• Be persistent! Remember that the results you hope for may not happen right away. Keep building your brand and focus on what you can improve. There is always room for improvement!
• If you gained your following through gray-hat growth methods, you need to be extremely careful about how you monetize. Instagram may have secretly flagged your account.
• Do not monetize too early. You do not want to turn off your followers. Fewer people will follow you if they see that you are already monetizing.