Instagram is definitely one of the most popular social networks in today’s world. More importantly, Instagram is one of the best new business platforms in the world. If you have a business that is run off of personality, this is the place to be. People are looking for new things to entertain and inform them all the time here, and you can monetize those things about yourself.

Also, you know you need a side hustle in 2019. The rent is due, and those stagnant wages that you get from the day job just don’t cut it anymore. Here’s what you need to know about how to monetize your Instagram and grow your side hustle in 2018.

First, you must understand the basics about the platform.

Everything on Instagram is based around your “following.” What is your following? Basically, this is the number of people that follow you – it is very conveniently placed right on the top of your profile page so you can see it easily.

This number is more than an ego boost. It tells potential investors in your brand how many people they can potentially reach. When people click that “follow” button, they are saying to you, “I trust you enough to look at what you are doing online, or you entertain me enough that I will look at what you are doing online. As I look at what you are doing, I will automatically take in anything that is around you.”

Brands are more than willing to pay as long as they can be one of those things that is around you while you are informing or entertaining your audience on Instagram.

Second, you have to learn how to target an audience and engage that audience on an ongoing basis.

Having a high number of followers is the first step, but it is not the only thing that you need to accomplish. Once you have followers in the high five or low six digits, you can begin to organize the data that you will receive from the analytics platform. You may actually not need this many followers depending on the industry that you are in. Take a look at top performers in your industry to see the profiles that you are competing against. Your follower numbers should be in range of these people before you begin to take your profile seriously as a part-time or full-time job.

Once you begin to and eyes your data, you will be able to see what kind of person is naturally attracted to your content. When you understand this, you become a de facto marketer that can provide very important information to brands that are looking to advertise with social influencers. You do not need to understand the advanced lingo of marketing, but it is definitely good to know the difference between demographics and psychographics. You should understand the general online habits of the people who follow you.

Make sure that you can communicate basic information about your audience to any brands that may begin asking about you. Although you may solicit attention from these brands, they will probably begin to find you if your follower count is high enough. Let’s take a look at what they do in the next step about growing your side hustle in 2018.

Once you have a bead on your audience, it is time to try to monetize Instagram. The main way that people do this is to accept brand offers from people and brands that are looking to leverage the audience that you have cultivated. These brands will probably be products that are in some way related to the content that you produce. For instance, if most of your Instagram is about gaming, then you will probably receive offers from gaming companies. If you tend to post photos about your self in the gym, then you will probably begin to receive offers from supplement companies or athletic companies.

So how exactly do you create passive income from this?

Keep in mind that the posts you make on Instagram stay up as long as you want them to. This is advertising that goes far beyond the limitations of traditional TV and radio. Advertisers who want to go with those traditional avenues have to pay for certain amount of time on the platform. When it comes to online platforms like your Instagram profile, the time is indefinite. Your brand partners receive ongoing advertisements that last forever and sit there in the face of your audience 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Knowing this, you must understand exactly how much leverage you are giving your brand partners. The way that you create passive income is to negotiate good contracts with them. Because they are receiving ongoing advertisement as long as your profile stays up, you should receive a piece of the action in an ongoing way as well. Many companies will attempt to give you upfront payments as well. If they are big enough, you can definitely take those. This is another way to monetize Instagram. Everyone’s strategy is different, and you may want to incorporate both of them depending on the kind of profile you have.

Your job at this point is to continue to build your profile. However, you also have a new job – building relationships with your brand partners. If you do this, you may receive more lucrative deals down the road. You become a de facto marketer for the company with a built-in audience that you can use for outreach anytime you want. This is a very powerful tool. You need to understand how to expand on this tool once you have the basics of your profile and brand relationships worked out.

You should definitely use the power of your other social media profiles to expand on the power of your Instagram. Although there is probably overlap between your Instagram profile and your other online profiles, there are some audience members who do not overlap. You want them to come to the platform that you have monetized. Put up a short add on your other social media profiles asking people over to your main profile every so often.

Finally, you can use your newfound fame and money to expand your brand and the off-line world as well. Start attending industry events to see what else you can get for the profile that you have. If you meet people face-to-face, they will become much more interested in your personality. Why? Because you are showing it off to them in person – there is no way that it can be fake. Authenticity is key if you want to grow your hustle in 2018.

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