We’ve looked at how to make money on Instagram before, but focusing on a specific niche can help you make even more. One particularly lucrative option is fashion, where designers and brands spend over $1 billion a year sponsoring Instagram posts, according to Harper’s Bazaar.
Fashion blogger Danielle Bernstein has more than one million followers on Instagram. The 22-year-old uses her popular blog, We Wore What, to woo sponsors, who pay up to $15,000 for a single Instagram post.
Yes, you read that correctly. $15,000 for one post.
Ready to build your own fashionable Instagram empire? Here’s a look at Bernstein’s business, and how you could follow her lead to earn a piece of that $1 billion.
Earning Six Figures for Instagram Posts
Though Bernstein declined to tell Harper’s her exact income, she did say that last year she earned in the “mid-six figures” from her Instagram posts. She told the magazine, “Let’s just say it’s more than I could have ever imagined as a 22-year-old.”
And that payday doesn’t even include the perks that come along with the fashion blogging lifestyle. In addition to the sponsorship fees, well-known fashion bloggers with lots of followers often receive tons of free clothing and accessories from brands that hope to be featured on their social media feeds.
How Bernstein Makes Money
Bernstein’s 700-odd Instagram posts include everything from her at a baseball game clad in jeans, a T-shirt and a backwards ball cap to a bearded man in an unbuttoned shirt sitting on a couch with a pillow casually resting on his chest. She posts regularly, and the fashions and styles she showcases get a lot of attention. What are the secrets to her success?
She Has One Million Followers
The biggest factor in your Instagram success is the number of followers you have, since brands pay for views and the number of eyes that will see your posts.
An Instagrammer with a few hundred or thousand followers can charge $500 to $5,000 per post, according to Harper’s, but when you get to the six-million-follower range, you can earn between $20,000 and $100,000 for a single post.
She Negotiates Exclusives
“Everything’s negotiable,” Bernstein told Harper’s. She has no problem negotiating exclusives with certain brands.
Sometimes they will request that no competitors be featured within the same shot; for example, you couldn’t wear a Nike tank top with a pair of lululemon shorts. Other times, brands may ask that a certain competitor or two not appear on her Instagram feed in a designated time frame, such as a week after their post.
These exclusive deals help advertisers get the word out about their apparel and accessories, but they also help Bernstein cash in. If they want her to exclude their competition from her site for any period of time, they’ll have to pay a premium.
She Works With Agents
When you’re negotiating complex terms with many different clients, it’s always helpful to have a professional in the mix. That’s why Bernstein goes through Next Talent, a modeling agency, to help her with her business. The agency helps her find clients, lay out her prices and negotiate a variety of deals, such as long-term arrangements and sets of posts.
When you have a team behind you, it’s easier to focus on the part of the business that you excel at: modeling the duds and capturing them on camera.
How to Make Money on Instagram
So you have your Instagram feed up and running, you’re the style maven of your neighborhood and you can’t wait to get some free samples and have the cash start rolling in. If you’re a fashionista looking to cash in on your Instagram feed, what’s the best way to get started?
Fill a Niche
Fashion Instagrammers are hot right now, and brands are willing to shell out for placement on top feeds. To stand out among the crowd, find a broadly appealing niche and fill it.
Be sure to do your research. If you’re hoping to make a huge dent in a market that’s already highly saturated, it may be your best bet to reconsider or instead focus on a sub-niche. For example, Instagram is packed with beauty bloggers, but you might want to consider specializing in a sub-niche such as nail art. This can be tricky because you want a niche appealing enough to attract a devoted audience, but not so broad that you disappear among the crowd. See what’s already out there before committing to anything.
The first step to Instagram success is to get followers — a lot of them. Every follower you gain is more money in your pocket.
How do you find followers? By treating your Instagram as the business it is. Create a post schedule and stick to it. Make sure you post regularly and make sure your posts are things people want to look at.
Taking a great photo is key, especially if you want to bring sponsors into the mix. If you take stellar shots and share them with the world, a brand is a lot more likely to want to recruit you to help them promote their brand than if you snap a dull and blurry image. Create visually appealing and interesting images, and be sure to interact with your audience.
Get an Agent
When you’re in the upper echelon of Instagram-land, sometimes you need someone who can advocate for you, bring you clients and help you negotiate the legalese that comes along with the business. Especially in the world of fashion, having someone on your side can be crucial. Consider working with an agency that will represent your needs and help your business grow.
Get Media Attention
The more attention you have, the more followers you can gain and the more appealing you are to potential sponsors. If you can think of a way to get some positive press (say, sponsoring a charity event), go for it! If a journalist contacts you for an interview, be available.
Or, better yet, reach out to journalists and tell your story. Help a Reporter Out is a great resource to help you connect with journalists in need of sources.
Your Turn: Have you built an income stream from your Instagram account? We’d love to hear your tips!
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.