Making money on Instagram can be tough and no individual or company does it in exactly the same way, but what is the best way?

How to make money on Instagram in 2019

What are the benefits?

One of the more obvious reason would be the money, however there are a variety of other reasons as to why you’d do this; a key one being its’ longevity. Unless you stop posting and engaging with your audience all together, it’s very unlikely that people will stop engaging with it completely. It’s also great because it’s another channel for you to push new products to your consumers!

A key to being on Instagram and using hashtags is that it allows you to inspire organic conversation; word of mouth is undoubtedly by far the best form of advertising, and native social media content is a great way to generate conversation around your brand. Using hashtags will allow you to better target niche’s and sell your product/service directly to the people who’d want to buy it!

How do I do it in 2019?

A fairly common way to make money off of Instagram is brand deals; Influencers will approach a brand (or vice versa depending on the size of their following/engagement and the brand) and they will negotiate the terms by which a promotion takes place!

This process also varies depending on what platform you’re looking at e.g. it’s easier to set loose requirements for a photo than for a live stream/video! Bar this, the underlying theme is that an influencer is being paid to post about something specific, or make content associated with a specific topic!

The amount you can ask for is usually dictated by the level of engagement you have, so as long as you can keep this us and your following is growing, you’re on to a winner!

Another way this can be done is through affiliate links; these are where a brand will give an influencer/influential account a code/link where people can get a reduction in price for goods. This is great for both the account and the Business as it will drive sales, but also when chosen accurately, heightens the influencers’ standing in their niche.

Company side, a slightly less direct approach but nevertheless successful, is just to drive engagement, this’ll bring attention to your brand and as we stated previously, it’ll drive word of mouth promotion.

The secret way to generate engagement

You can use hashtags in a variety of ways in the processes mentioned above; you can use them to analyze what your ideal customer is talking about/engaging with online. There are a few ways by which you can do this; one being going on the most popular hashtag relevant to you which you can find in feed or in the explore page, and then look at the top 9 posts and make note of the hashtags on those posts, and then do that for each hashtag you come across until you’re satisfied you have enough!

You can also make your own hashtags to help you understand how people are reacting to a product/campaign, and can help to measure ROI depending on the purpose of the campaign! As with anything in Marketing, calculating ROI is nothing more than an estimation, albeit a calculated one, but more so with influencer as it’s still a relatively new form of communicating with consumers! But with the right tools, there’s no reason why your brand can’t run a successful influencer campaign using hashtags!

So i think it’s safe to say we’ve established that hashtags are a handy tool when marketing a brand, but it’s important to establish which one’s best match your target audience!

How do I find out what they are?

We narrowed it down to 3 methods. We will be exploring the two current methods for hashtag research before introducing our time saving solution.

Method 1 – Competitor analysis

This is by far the most time consuming hashtag research method. Go through your direct competitors and establish what hashtags they use. You should evaluate which posts you’re analyzing have the highest level of engagement, and look at the hashtags for the posts where the engagement may not be as high; are they the same/different?

Engagement is really important when looking at all this content because although reach is important as is audience it’s important to make sure people are interacting with it and it’s also a good metric for calculating ROI. Once you’ve done this, click on those hashtags and review the top 9 posts for the hashtag. Look at who likes the photos; are these people your current audience? Are they the people you want to be targeting? If the answer is yes then you have found a good hashtag for you to use. Repeat this process over until you have a large library of hashtags you can refer to for your different posts.

Method review:
Time: 2/10
Results: 6/10
Scalability: 3/10

Method 2 – The staircase strategy

Another method when going through which hashtags to choose, is to use the “staircase strategy”. Start by picking 10 hashtags that have a lower average amount of likes then you do, and then 10 hashtags that have a similar amount of engagement to you on their top performing posts. Finally pick 10 hashtags that have much higher engagement than you on their top performing posts.

This method works by making you easily rank on the smaller hashtags. This sends positive signals about your post to the Instagram algorithm. Often, you will “Climb the staircase” and soon rank on the medium sized hashtags before eventually climbing that final step and ranking on the hashtags that have a much higher engagement than you on their top performing posts.

Method review:
Time: 6/10
Results: 4-7/10 (depending on how relevant the hashtags you choose are)
Scalability: 6/10

How we do our hashtags research?

We initially where using a mixture of the two methods developed above. This problem was that it was too time consuming and although we could make educated guesses, we never truly knew wether or not we were reaching our target audience.

We hired data scientists to develop a hashtag research tool that outputs the most relevant hashtags for your posts by analyzing:

  1. What hashtags are often used together in top performing posts
  2. What hashtags share the same audience and engagers

On top of that, we wanted to be able to filter the searches so we could still apply the stair case method. When searching we are able to filter by size of hashtags and average engagement on their top posts.

Method review
Time: 10/10
Results: 8/10
Scalability: 9/10

Conclusion

Instagram can without a doubt be a very lucrative channel of making money online. What you need to focus on first is on the strategy that you are going to employ in order to kick off your Instagram business. Then it’s time to put in the work and time to build the audience and reach the levels of engagement that will ultimately earn you a living, by doing what you want – being on Instagram!

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