What's your end goal when it comes to growing your Instagram account?
If you're here, you're likely interested in Instagram growth – but why?
For some, it just feels good to get that dopamine hit when "likes" go from 0 to 100, or when your account finally goes from 9,999 followers to the coveted 10k.
If you're interested in more than just the vanity metrics of Instagram – AKA turning your followers into customers or sales – then read on, friend.
Let's be real.
When it comes to the state of social media today, I think we're all past the point of wanting followers just for the sake of it. I mean, what's the point?
Like when I see people promoting their methods to gain a gazillion followers, I feel bad for those who buy into their "magic" ways.
What good is a bunch of random followers if they don't care about your product or service? They won't have any effect on your bottom line or sales.
Now, shifting your focus to gaining *targeted* followers is key. People who care about what you have to offer, and are willing to join your mailing list or shop your product is THE GOAL.
Which would you choose?
Imagine this: you've worked hard for years to grow your Instagram account to 20,000 followers and you wake up one day to find Instagram shut down. Or your account is gone. Whatever the reason, if your account dies today, what are you left with? A whole lotta nothing.
Second scenario: you grow your Instagram account to 10,000 followers where 10% of them turn into customers on your website.
If Instagram were to shut down and you lost all your followers, you're STILL left with 1,000 happy and dedicated customers who you can continue to communicate with (and sell to).
Which scenario sounds good to you?
Alright, so if you're still with me here on the importance of growing a targeted community of followers, AND you're interested in the monetization methods of Instagram, let's dive in.
1. Become an influencer.
You might be thinking, easier said than done!
And I don't disagree with you. Becoming an influencer is a goal for many, but few reach this point.
I'm not gonna lie, growing your account to the point that you're considered ~influential~ takes consistency, dedication and time.
(P.S. taking shortcuts by purchasing followers or likes is a big no-no as both methods hurt your engagement, and brands can see right through this.)
Once you're at the point where your account is showing a healthy number of engaged followers (by the way, there's no "golden rule" number here as brands also work with "microinfluencers" in the range of 10k-100k followers), you can start monetizing your account through sponsored posts.
You're likely familiar with sponsored posts, where a brand or product is featured in the image and caption. The goal is to keep the caption conversational and not spammy-sounding.
Before jumping into this world, you'll want to get familiar with the advertising regulations according to your country. In the U.S., for example, it's federal law to disclose if a post is sponsored. I'm no lawyer, and you can read all about it straight from the FTC, but it's generally sufficient to make the disclosure prominent by using hashtags such as #ad or #sponsored.
Depending on your account's numbers, you could make anywhere from $50-$1,000 (/the sky's the limit) for a sponsored post. And oftentimes, these deals with larger brands turn into partnership agreements where you're promoting the brand more than once and on a larger scale. For your wallet, this means a bigger payout too.
Kickstart Your Instagram's Growth!
2. Driving sales through the link in your bio.
There's a popular misconception that posting on Instagram automagically means you're making money straight from the app. This isn't necessarily the case. You gotta be prepared to play the long game.
But who might this scenario be true for? Etsy shops. Ecommerce sites. Any marketplace that sells easy-to-buy, lower-ticket itms.
Who might this be very unlikely for? Bloggers selling e-products. Freelancers selling services. Coaches selling $1,000 programs. Thought leaders selling top-level courses.
So for most blogs and businesses, you'll need to get people *off* the Instagram app and onto your homepage, landing page or opt-in page via the link in your bio.
In this case, they say "the money is in the list." If you're at this stage with your blog or business, you'll want to leverage the traffic to your Instagram profile to grow your mailing list.
From there, you'll communicate with your prospects via email. This could be to introduce them to your products or services, or even just to gauge what "problem" they have that your business can solve for them (this is handy information to gather even before you have a product or service to sell).
Overtime, you'll see sales come in through your efforts of a) growing your account by attracting targeted, ideal customers and b) turning those followers into customers by giving unique offerings through the link in your bio.