How I Make Money with Instagram (and even landed a job)

It's time to dish the dirt. I keep writing and raving on about Instagram and how it could change your business (and life), without actually telling you how it changed mine. I hinted a little at my personal Instagram story last week when I shared how you can find your target audience on Instagram, but it's time to dig a little deeper. 

It's time to share my Instagram story, how I've been able to make money on Instagram (and even landed a job), and just why I love Instagram so much.

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My Instagram Story

In case you missed it, I have a travel blog in addition to this one. With this travel blog I also have an Instagram, which is where @FjordsandBeaches comes in. 

It was originally @LisaKhaleesi (any fellow Game of Thrones fans here?), back when I considered it my 'personal' account. I would post selfies from nights out, ruin them with the Valencia filter, and was genuinely happy when I would get over 30 likes on a photo.

Boy, how times have changed.

At some point in 2015, I decided to rename my account, and start growing it. This was about the same time as I started taking my blog more seriously. I started scouring the internet for Instagram tips and hacks, and read ALL the 'how I grew my Instagram to XX followers' posts I could find on Pinterest.

I remember pitching a hotel at the end of 2015, when I excitedly had 900 Instagram followers. Their Marketing Manager was the sweetest, and offered some food discounts and some harsh advice; you need to get more followers.

I knew she was right.

I kept reading, studying, trying and failing. My account slowly grew, but it was at snail pace. 

It literally took me 1,5 years to get to 10k. Defining my target audience had a lot to do with it, but I also started creating my own tactics and strategies. 

Eventually, I realised that so many bloggers and influencers sharing how they got their followers weren't sharing all their tactics, and keeping many of their strategies secret.

(Side note: I can't stand this, which is why I try to stay as transparent as possible, for example by sharing my #1 hashtag strategy here!)

Once I developed my own strategies, and started becoming more confident with my 'Insta Game', the results came in.

I discovered my love for social media, and especially Instagram, and applied for a position as a contracting Social Media Manager with a consulting company building marketing and social media strategies. In their application questions, they asked for a gif describing yourself.

I sent them this one.

 I'm serious.

I'm serious.

After an interview and another round of questions, I got the job. I was ecstatic! I was going to get to try out my newly discovered tactics on other accounts, and couldn't wait!

Their reason for hiring me over the other 60 candidates? 

My Instagram.

I 'only' had 6000 followers at the time. This may not be a crazy high number, but my strategies were still paying off.

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Simultaneously as I developed my tactics, I started thinking of how I could monetise my Instagram. I had already been sent some free products thanks to my travel blog and general following, but I wasn't really considering it a direct way to monetise Instagram.

So I started joining influencer platforms.

Influencer platforms are online communities where you create a profile, link up your Instagram, and pray to got that you get picked first for a campaign. 

Kind of.

Once you are all set up on one of these platforms (for example Inzpire, Cooperatize and Peersway), there isn't much more for you to do until you get contacted by a brand that wants to work with you.

Except continue working your ass off on your Instagram account!

I kept growing my account, and in June 2017 I finally hit that magic number that included a 'k'. It had then been 3 months since I had an Instagram 'epiphany' during a seminar by the talented @PolkadotPassport, and I started pouring my soul into the platform. 

It took me 3 months to get 4000 followers on Instagram.

From then on, it took me 5 months to reach 20k! 

And at some point in between, brands started noticing my hard work. I was offered to work with several brands, and even turned down a $500 gift card to an amazing clothing brand (to quote Janet Newenham; exposure won't pay my rent).

I'm nowhere done with my road to Instagram Magic, but I'm super excited about where it has taken me so far, and getting to share it with you. If you are looking to grow your Instagram and start monetising it yourself, some of my posts may help.

My Number 1 Hashtag Hack for Growing your Instagram

How to Find your Target Audience on Instagram

How to use Instagram Live to Grow your Instagram

How to Increase your Engagement and Build a Community on Instagram

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