Instagram started as an image-only-based network, but has now expanded its functionality to include 15-second videos to trump rival Vine, which offers 7-second videos. This gives you a great way to market the areas of your business that will help you make money online. In this guide, we’re going to skip the basics of setting up an Instagram account and instead dive into the ways you can increase your earnings by growing your mailing list, selling products, offering services, promoting books, promoting webinars, and marketing affiliate products via Instagram.
(By the way, you may also be interested in our guides to making money on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, iPhone/Android, and with display ad networks; you can subscribe to our newsletter to receive new monetization guides as we publish them.)
Note that links on Instagram aren’t clickable, but they will be if you share your Instagram posts to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. For those viewing your post on their Instagram app, make the link memorable (http://bit.ly/free15tips vs. http://bit.ly/dlI03Cl) and make sure the target squeeze / landing page is mobile optimized with a responsive design. Keep this in mind throughout the post as many will link to the specific thing you are working on — mailing list squeeze pages, product landing pages etc.
Another reason to keep your links short and memorable? You’re going to manually have to enter them into the image / video description on your mobile phone.
Grow Your Mailing List
First, let’s start with growing your mailing list. For all of these tips, make sure you include a customized squeeze page for your mailing list that matches the image / video that you share on Instagram.
- Promote your latest lead magnet using images or video. For example, if you’re giving away an e-book, share a screenshot of the cover. If you’ve created an educational video, share a 15-second highlight of that video.
- Create a personal message inviting people to subscribe. Use the 15-second video recording to create a video greeting for potential subscribers telling them why they should join your mailing list.
- Do you get replies from happy subscribers? Ask if you can use their replies as testimonials for your list, then create an image that has the best part of their reply, name, and website. Share it on Instagram.
- Leak some stats and tips from your lead magnet as images. These should be teaser quotes that will make people want to subscribe to learn more.
- Take a screenshot of your best looking opt-in form and tell people why they want to subscribe in the description for the image.
Do you sell physical or digital products? Here are some ways to promote them on Instagram.
- Run a pre-launch on Instagram with teaser photos and videos of your new product. Get people intrigued enough that they are dying to know what you are launching. Increase the hype by adding on a customized product hashtag.
- Create 15-second commercials for your product. Specifically make sure you can highlight the best parts of your product and get a shortened website URL into the 15 seconds.
- Do you have video testimonials from customers? Mash up the best 15 seconds of those testimonials and share them as Instagram video.
- Create collages of photos from fans who share photos of them using your products with a particular hashtag.
- Turn your customer Instagram photos into an album on your website. (Get their permission first, of course.) Show potential customers how happy people are with your products, and it will increase the likelihood of a sale.
Instagram offers lots of ways to promote your service-based business, whether you are a Web designer or accountant. Here are some tips.
- Turn your Instagram into a portfolio of work you have done for clients. It can be a screenshot of a graphic design, shots from your latest wedding, you reading a letter from a satisfied customer on video, or similar.
- Follow your target customers and critique their work. A product designer could easily follow big brands and share some feedback about their latest product packaging. You never know where this could lead.
- Create a commercial for your services. Specifically make sure you can make a description of a problem and how your service can solve it fit into 15 seconds.
- Invite your target customers to submit a photo that represents a particular problem they are having using a unique hashtag. Turn it into contest where you give a free 30-minute consultation. The winner will likely want to buy services from you, and the ones who don’t win will be interested in the same.
- Create images with testimonials from clients as part of your social proof.
If you have authored a book on Amazon or just give away a book as a lead magnet, these tips can help you get more exposure, sales, and downloads.
- Screenshot your five-star reviews and share a snippet of them with a link to your book. It allows you to brag about your book using someone else’s words.
- Create images with quotes from the book, or share images directly from the book. Go with the parts that will get potential readers most interested in buying.
- Create images with questions that can be answered by parts of the book. Include a page number as an additional bonus to get people excited about buying and finding the answer.
- Share a screenshot of any special sales or discounts for your book as they happen.
- Get a video from your book signings to boost credibility and authority for yourself as an author.
A webinar is a great way to sell products, as the conversion rate is significantly higher than email blasts and sales pages alone. The more people in attendance, the better. Here are some tips to promote your webinar on Instagram.
- Create a 15-second preview video for your webinar, preferably with the main presenter but, if not, then record the host getting people excited about it.
- Send reminder graphics about the date of the webinar. Also create a graphic to show the webinar is live.
- If you’ve received great feedback about previous webinars, turn them into image testimonials to share before your upcoming webinar.
- If you have more than one speaker (such as a Google+ hangout), then get their head shots and collect them into a collage.
- Share an image that represents something that only attendees will receive for free, like a sneak into the product you are selling on the webinar.
Increase Affiliate Products Sales
As an affiliate marketer, here are some ways you can use Instagram to boost affiliate sales. Note that you have two options for sharing links with any of these posts: links to a review you have written for an affiliate product, or actual affiliate links. If you do include affiliate links, they must be noted as such.
- Show genuine enthusiasm for a product you purchased and are an affiliate for. Use multiple image and video updates to get your followers excited about purchasing.
- Share images and videos that show results for a particular affiliate product. Nothing drives people to want to learn more about a particular product than seeing people who have gained measured results.
- Create 15-second review videos that encourage people to click through to your review to learn more.
- If you have followers who are interested in making money online, share your referral link so that they can become affiliates under you for second tier commissions. Use a screenshot of your latest affiliate commissions to attract them to the program.
- Promote a bonus if people buy through your affiliate link. Create an image or 15-second commercial for your bonus.
You may not think much of Instagram beyond people posting pictures of their lunch, pets, and kids. But with the right followers and messages, Instagram can be a hotbed in your quest to make money online.