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Here's How You Can Build a Business on Instagram Instagram announced in November 2017 that there exist more than 25 million businesses on the platform

By Mathew J Maniyamkott

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Instagram users liked 4.2 billion posts per day when the user count was 500 million. Come 2018, it has more than 800 million users and you can guess the sheer number of likes it would be receiving every day. With the addition of Instagram's Story feature, users can put out their life story to their followers and thanks to its popularity and 20+ features, more than 300 million people post a story every day.

Instagram announced in November 2017 that there exist more than 25 million businesses on the platform. A survey by GlobalWebIndex says that a third of the Instagrammers have purchased something on their mobile phones, this is all the more reason for you to start selling on Instagram.

This article will concentrate on how you can earn a living with Instagram and Entrepreneur India has interviewed two businesses on Instagram with different business models. Here are some of the ways in which you can use your Instagram account to make money:

Sponsored Posts with brands:

If you have a sizeable following on Instagram, especially in a particular niche, you can tie up with brands to promote their products. In turn, the brands will either pay you in cash or kind based on the kind of arrangement you have. For brands, it is an easy way to capitalize on your following while for you it is a good way to earn money just with a shout-out. Your Instagram account needs to have a lot of followers for it to gain the attention of brands.

Is there a particular number of followers you need to monetize your account? Not necessarily. Even those with four or five thousand followers can make quite an impact for brands if your followers are from a particular sub-niche.

Use Influencer Marketplaces to find brands to work with:

Brands will find you easily if you have a lot of followers, but if that is not the case, the onus is in your hands to do the hard work of finding brands. If yours is an Instagram account that is mainly based around fitness, then search for brands that either sell services or products based on fitness. There are marketplaces that act as a liaison between you and brands which helps you score sponsored gigs. Some of the influencer marketplaces you can use are: Grapevine, Shoutcart, Crowd Tap, BuzzWeb, Famebit and so on.

Sell your own products:

A lot of Instagrammers make truckloads of money by selling their own products. It is a good platform to sell digital products, physical goods, coffee mugs, T-Shirts, ebooks, design templates and many more. This is probably one of the easiest ways to jump into the bandwagon of entrepreneurship as spending money on ads to sponsor your posts will also let you know if there is a market for it based on the reactions from the targeted audience.

Nilesh Jain and Abhinandan Jain started "Monkstory', a brand on Instagram that sells vegan apparels. The duo invested 15 lakhs into the company and realized that Instagram gave 60% more visitors than other platforms. Today, they sell more than 1200 products and net a revenue of 25 lakhs every month. With an ad spend of 3500 rupees per day on Instagram, the returns have been spectacular. Monkstory sells shoes, bags, wallets, sunglasses, bow ties and card holders. With more than 14,000 followers, the team of eight including the co-founders have made a flourishing business with the help of Instagram.

Become an affiliate:

An influencer's job would be to spread the word about a brand while an affiliate's job is to make more sales. For each sale that happens through the affiliate link, commission is paid out to the Instagrammer. Using promo codes is a good option to identify how many sales have come through from the influencer.

If you have trouble reaching out to companies that have affiliate programs, then use marketplaces that have affiliate programs. Amazon's affiliate program is the most popular of them as it has almost all products that are available and they are a reliable brand to work with. Some of the other affiliate programs that are popular are ClickBank, RewardStyle and Rakuten LinkShare- to name a few. Use a URL shortener like bit.ly as affiliate links are usually long and thus not pleasing to the eyes.

Create a huge following and sell your own products:

By building a huge volume of followers who follow your posts, you have built up a base to sell your own products on Instagram. This is exactly what Nikhil Harihar did on Instagram. He started selling bike stickers and exhaust wraps on OLX and Facebook groups. After discovering Instagram, he started posting high resolution pictures of bikes on "bikersoul', his Instagram account. The page rapidly grew and there was even a fan who tattooed the logo of BikerSoul on his calf muscle.

The page has more than 1 lakh followers now and has sold close to 10,000 products. Started with an initial investment of five thousand rupees which was spent on buying raw materials, Nikhil's long-term goal is to authorize more offline stores to sell BikerSoul's products, especially cafes both within and outside the country. "Reaching half a million followers within the next year and a half is something I dream about too", adds Nikhil. He uses the proceeds from the account to fund Lyphe, his startup which helps interaction between patients and doctors for a nominal fee.

Conclusion:

If you have an online business that sells products or services, have a niche account or are just planning to start out, try any of the strategies we have explained above. If you put consistent efforts, then there are high chances that you will strike gold on the platform given its increasing popularity and multiple channels and methods to become successful. If you want to level up, invest in courses that teach you how to be a pro at Instagram. You can also become an Instagram Business Consultant if you have a proven track record of helping businesses scale up their Instagram account as a lot of businesses want to solidify their presence on the platform. There are a variety of monetization options once you start doing well on the platform.

Mathew J Maniyamkott

Freelancer, Entrepreneur India

I write about startups, entrepreneurship and productivity at various portals. I help companies grow their business with Content Marketing by bringing in more leads and with branding efforts. Have interviewed more than 200+ entrepreneurs and am on the lookout for more such interactions. 

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