Making Money On Instagram: Advice for Digital Nomads


Instagram’s Sponsored Post feature allows advertisers to pay to have their commercial images show up in feeds. However, ...

Making Money On Instagram: Advice for Digital Nomads

In 2014, Citigroup released a report indicating that Instagram, the social media and photo-sharing app, is worth $35 billion. The company’s sponsored post feature might have contributed to its value. With brands such as Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, General Electric, Lexus, Levi’s®, Macy’s, Michael Kors, PayPal and Starwood creating accounts on Instagram, ad revenue increases. And some of these brands are seeking Instagram Brand Ambassadors. That’s where you, the digital nomad, comes in.

All About Brand Ambassadors

Instagram’s Sponsored Post feature allows advertisers to pay to have their commercial images show up in feeds. However, some companies are taking a different approach: They are paying Instagram Influencers to post images of their products. If you have made a name for yourself on social media – especially on Instagram – they might be looking for you!

I Wanna’ Be An Influencer: Tell Me How!

Although this post is about Instagram, you need to look at the big picture. Brand managers are seeking out social media celebrities. That means that:

  1. You you must build a following among multiple social media networks.
  2. Your posts, and your audience, must align with the personality of the specific brand.

An article in Forbes Magazine details the specific “must-do’s” for social media influencers:

  • Join social media groups related to the specific brand.
  • Identify the thought leaders of your subject matter. Follow them, and engage with them on social media.
  • Write daily, thought-provoking posts about your subject. Research the keywords most likely to draw a recruiter’s attention.

Becoming a Brand Ambassador on Instagram: A Step-By-Step Approach

  1. Purchase a Smartphone with a high resolution camera. Here is CNET’s review of the top camera phones of 2015.
  2. Learn more about taking photos with your Smartphone.
  3. Set up your Instagram account.
  4. Explore the cool Instagram photo-editing features. Use them to create engaging, outside-the-box images.
  5. Post images targeted toward a specific brand.
  6. Add hashtags. Research your targeted brand, and caption your photos with relevant hashtags.
  7. Build your following. The best way to do this is to like and follow other Instagram users. Especially those in harmony with your desired brand.

Snapfluence For Brand Ambassadors

Snapfluence is an online company that connects brands with popular Instagram users. ‘Popular” is the operative word. In most cases, we’re talking about more that one thousand Instagram followers. But it’s not just about the numbers. Snapfluence looks at your compatibility with at least one of the brands they work with, as well as your regular interaction with the community. For example, if you want to be a brand ambassador for a company that targets Millennials, you photos of senior citizens – no matter how inspiring – will not get you hired.

Once Snapfluence accepts you as an ambassador, they will match you with a brand whose product or service aligns with your hobbies and lifestyle. Brand managers can then contact your for single or ongoing campaigns. Each campaign has its own set of hashtags, which must accompany your photos. Depending on the client, you might receive monetary compensation or free products.

For example, Michael O’Neal, or @MoNeal on Instagram, is a brand ambassador for Nike. The athletic gear mega-giant sent him on an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii, where he participated in a five-mile run. During his stay, he produced Instagram photos and added hashtags to promote Nike products. O’Neal told Venture Beat that he was not obligated to produce any specific number of images, and that Nike gave him a “fair bit of creative license.”

Some, like Choice Hotels, offer a tempting combination of swag and cash. Their campaign, which unfortunately ended on May 29th, was called “The Ultimate People Person.” It required the lucky candidate to travel across the US, take photos at different Choice Hotels, add hashtags and post them on Instagram. As if that was not enough, the gig paid $20,000, with the possibility of a bonus.

Even without the money, the free travel across the country is a sweet deal for any self-respecting digital nomad. There’s more where that came from. Set up a Google Alert for “Instagram contests,” and keep your eyes, and your email open.

This post was penned by...

Lisa Marie Mercer

From the heart of New York City, to the hill towns of Italy, to the ski towns of Colorado, to the beach towns of coastal Uruguay, Lisa Marie Mercer has journeyed across the globe, often stopping to stay a few months or a few years. A widely-published writer, she covers topics such as travel, expat living, health and fitness, skiing, social media, Latin America and startup entrepreneurs.

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