Monetizing your Instagram is a big topic of interest for many Bloggers, Content Creators and Influencers out there today. If you’re in the influencer world, the ultimate goal is often to leverage your audience and reach to start monetizing your Instagram. Why wouldn’t you? Instagram marketing is a massive industry with an even larger value. Believe it or not, Influencer Worth is expected to be a $10 billion industry by 2020 according to some experts. Despite what we know about the money to be made on Instagram, we know very little about how to start monetizing your Instagram as an influencer. There are so many questions surrounding this topic with answers that aren’t so set-in-stone. When do you start earning pay? How do you start? How much do you charge? In this article, we’ll be clearing up some of the unknowns about monetizing your Instagram and helping you guys to navigate the move from unpaid to paid posting.
Monetizing Your Instagram
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact time or an exact number for when to start monetizing your Instagram. It seems most influencers and bloggers start earning money for their posts once they are in the 25k to 30k range. With that being said, everyone starts earning per post at different points in their growth. For example, an influencer with 18k and amazing engagement might receive paid offers before someone with 21k and below average engagement.
Sometimes the timing for monetizing your Instagram becomes more apparent with the collaboration opportunities that come your way. At a certain point in your growth, brands will begin asking you for your rates or will begin offering payment for x number of posts or stories. That’s not to say that you can’t know your worth and ask for compensation before brands do. Never be afraid to ask for compensation. The worst thing that could happen is they say no and then you can still proceed forward with a collaboration on a gifting basis. All opportunities are opportunities for relationship-building.
Fees & Rate Cards
Honestly, when it comes to fees and rate cards for monetizing your Instagram, there is no one right answer. Your fee should reflect your reach, engagement and content quality, but should be within reason. Industry trends and averages will also affect the value of Instagram marketing, so while fees would seem like a stable thing, that’s not always the case.
When figuring out how much to charge, we suggest using a value estimator tool. These calculators look at your profile and statistics, and determines an appropriate price-per-post for your engagement. These calculators are relatively easy to find with a quick google search and are usually free of charge to use.
If you don’t already have one, we recommend creating a rate card if you’re looking to start monetizing your Instagram. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but we suggest branding your rate card and clearly listing out each service you offer, along with prices or price ranges. If you offer YouTube videos, list it; if you offer paid Instagram stories, list it. Be sure to also list anything that you offer that other influencers might not. Being different and offering more services as an influencer gives the brand more opportunities to collaborate with you and gives you a leg up on your competition.
Approaching the Topic
As an influencer, it might feel a little awkward to approach the topic of payment with a brand, but if you want to be successful in monetizing your Instagram it’s important to break through that. I think it’s important to recognize that feeling, but understand that at a certain point, the work you do to capture great content for a brand, in addition to the value add of advertising to your audience will necessitate payment. Some of the time, this topic will be brought up by the brand and you’ll have the easy job of sending along your rate card and leaving it in the brand’s hands to agree. Other times, brands will specify in their outreach or in the contract that the collaboration is on a “gifting basis,” which means that you’ll receive no other payment besides the items they give you to shoot. When it’s not specified, don’t be afraid to kindly ask a brand if they have a budget for payment. You can always leave the question it as is, or help to justify the means by sharing your media kit, statistics or explaining that the costs will help to (for example) pay the photographer for high quality photos.
Expectations & Realities
It’s definitely a hit-or-miss thing when asking for payment from a brand, and it doesn’t always go the way you’d expect it to. It’s helpful to set expectations before heading into a situation so you’re never caught off guard. When monetizing your Instagram you should know before going into it that:
- Brands might say no. That might seem like a given, but don’t let it bend you out of shape when it happens. The brand is definitely interested in working with you in capacity, so worst case scenario, you still get to work with the brand you want to and enjoy the benefit of gifted product. In our experience, most brands are incredibly kind when discussing this topic, so don’t be afraid to ask!
- Brands will most likely ask for statistics and Instagram Analytics screenshots. When you request payment for your work, fully expect to have to prove your worth to a brand. The brand managers will have to justify using a part of their advertising budget on you to their bosses, and they do so with your statistics and Instagram analytics. Be sure that you have the numbers to back up your ask before doing so!
- Payment is always quick. In our experience, it takes a little bit longer for brands to pay out from their advertising budgets for a collaboration. It can take weeks after your post went live to see compensation for it, but that one of those situations where it just is what it is. Be patient and always wait a considerable amount of time before reaching out to a brand about payment. You’d never want to come off too pushy, especially when it comes to money.
- Be prepared for brands to ask for options! When it comes to unpaid posts, brands typically don’t ask for content approval. However, when a brand is paying for the content, they like to see options and typically ask for both edited and unedited versions of the photos so it can be adapted to fit their own feed’s aesthetic.
In short, when it comes to monetizing your Instagram, we encourage you to be bold, know your worth and be prepared to back yourself up. You’d be surprised by how many brands are willing to pay you to post if you can show your worth in real numbers and statistics. You’ll never know if you don’t try! Just be sure to ask a reasonable amount and be flexible to industry trends/fluctuations. Be sure to comment below if you have additional advice to add or want to share success stories with us! And if monetizing your Instagram is a goal for 2019, checkout more of our Instagram tips on the Wolf Blog to help take you to the next level!