Gabrielle Grace

Turn Instagram into InstaCash

Believe it or not, sometimes, all those selfies and food porn can pay off.

Marketing on Instagram offers social media enthusiasts and brandsnobs alike the opportunity to have a side hustle where they get paid to post pretty pictures and acquire free stuff.

Instagram “influencers,” as the industry calls them, team up with businesses to promote brands or products on the image-sharing platform. These promotions come in the form of photos, hashtags, and captions. Compensation varies depending on the brand, the scope of the project, and the influencer’s ability to negotiate. Some brands pay between $5 and $10 per thousand followers, others offer $100 per 100 followers, and some pay only in free swag.

The Instagram brand promotion business is a large one. Companies across all industries combined spend between $1 billion and $1.5 billion per year on sponsoring content on the platform.

Has your interest been piqued yet? Here are some ways you could profit from your Instagram posts.


Proactively reach out to brands you like and want to work with.

While many businesses directly reach out to influencers for help in promoting their content, bloggers can also be proactive and let brands know they would like to work with them. To do this you can do the research, find the right contacts, and apply directly to the brands you want to work with, or as a simple alternative apply to join an influencer marketing platform that does this work for you. Influencer platforms like BrandSnob work by helping connect brands to the right influencers, which makes the job of letting people know you are available for work that much easier.

“Join the world’s most influential.”

Be warned, though, that the application process to become a brand influencer can be competitive. The team over at BrandSnob accept only a fraction of influencers who express interest to “Join the world’s most influential.” BrandSnob generally sees hundreds of interested influencers apply every day, but only accept influencers that have a strong engaged following and fit into the industries they work with…namely being fashion, beauty, fitness, swimwear, luxury and photography.

Alexandra Burimova


Produce consistent and stylish content.

Remember that Instagram is an image sharing platform. Your photo feed is essentially a social media “portfolio,” which brands use to determine whether or not you are the right fit for their campaign or brand. A good Instagram presence means consistent, tasteful photo posts and captions. The bigger your Instagram portfolio, the better.

Emma Simmons

Brands also look for influencers whose Instagram style matches that of the brand.

Brands will consider many things when looking for a suitable influencer. What does their content look like? Does their feed has beautiful, original photos? Is their style of content what we’re looking for to reflect our brand? What’s their follower number and engagement rate?


Don’t place all your eggs in one basket

Nurture a strong presence on other social media sites. Influencer and author of the book ‘The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users’, Peg Fitzpatrick, emphasises in her blog the importance of maintaining an “active” and “professional” social media presence. This is imperative across all platforms, especially LinkedIn. Peg notes that all brands and agencies that she has worked with and talked to check LinkedIn to find out more about people before working with them.


Build it and they will follow.

The number of followers that brands require their influencers to have varies from brand to brand, and campaign to campaign, but most brands generally require that their influencers have at least 5,000 followers. BrandSnob tends to select influencers who have at least 10,000. With that being said, make sure you’re not buying any of your followers. Instagram’s terms of use prohibit people from buying or exchanging followers, and the app regularly makes both automatic and manual sweeps to locate and block spambots.

For users with larger followings, the process of becoming an influencer can be a fairly smooth one. Most of the time a brand will contact you wanting to promote their product, event or show. On platforms such as BrandSnob, only brands can reach out to influencers and agents. Most influencers will have rates that they pay in addition to sending you the product.

The more established Instagrammers can charge for their individual posts. Some influencers claim to rarely promote products for free anymore.

Danielle Bernstein, the fashion blogger behind @weworewhat, which has 1.1 million followers, reported to Harper’s Bazaar that she charges anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000 for a single branded Instagram post.


Take unpaid until you can get paid.

So you’ve had no luck finding gigs as a paid influencer? There’s another way to get compensated for your stylish Instagram posts. Bloggers can apply to be unpaid “brand ambassadors,” to whom brands send freebies for promotion.

For example, Skinny Bee Tea has a brand ambassador program, through which they send bloggers a 14-day detox package to promote on their social media accounts. Many other small brands offer similar programs.

The process for unpaid brand ambassadorships is the same as for paid influencers, but the odds of getting accepted to be an unpaid brand ambassador tend to be far more favourable. Kristen Zahodne, owner of Skinny Bee Tea, says she receives two to eight applications per month and accepts about one-third of them into the ambassador program.

Think your content is worthy of a brand’s cash or freebies? Let’s see what you’ve got, good luck, and most of all have fun!

Michele Maturo & Andrew Anthony

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