Focusing on a specific niche can help you make even more money on Instagram, once you get the basics down. One particularly lucrative option is fashion and if you understand how to start a fashion blog, you’re really in business.
According to a study by influencer marketing platform Traackr, there were more than double the number of fashion influencers in 2019 as there were beauty influencers. Fashion is the most active sector on Instagram, leading food by nearly 2 to 1.
Getting a piece of the payout can be tricky, especially if you’re new to the platform or don’t have a large following. But if you’re already an active fashion blogger (or an aspiring one), you could monetize your Instagram account pretty easily by selling space on your feed to brands looking to collaborate with influencers. You can also make money from your blog (if you don’t already) by utilizing ad platforms like Google AdSense and including affiliate links.
And if you pair up your fashion blog and Instagram account to offer more holistic marketing campaigns, you could make even more.
To learn how to get started, let’s take a look at some successful fashion bloggers turned Instagram influencers for some inspiration on starting a fashion blog and Instagram feed.
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Fashion blogger Julie Sarinana first started her blog, Sincerely Jules, in 2009 while she was in college. What started as a creative outlet to offset the stress of schoolwork and tests, turned into a full-time gig as her follower count kept climbing.
Today, Sarinana has a whopping 5.7 million followers on Instagram, and has worked with numerous well-known brands such as Billabong, Free People and Victoria’s Secret.
In fact, Sarinana worked with Billabong on a collaboration that, according to Forbes, was the most successful in Billabong women’s apparel history. It sold at more than 185 retailers and sold 50% of the inventory in the first week. It was so successful that Billabong and Sarinana launched a second global collaboration with even more available items than the first.
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Jules Sarinana isn’t the only successful blogger/influencer/designer out there. Another big name in the industry is Wendy Nguyen, founder of the blog Wendy’s Lookbook. After aging out of the foster system, Wendy knew she wanted to do big things, which led her to the University of California at Berkeley where she earned a degree in psychology.
Nguyen first garnered a following on her YouTube channel with a video called “25 Ways to Wear a Scarf.” Soon after, she started her blog while also volunteering to help high-school age juvenile offenders graduate.
Today, @wendyslookbook has 1.2 million Instagram followers. Wendy has partnered with big names like Bulgari, Ann Taylor and even Walmart Fashion. Like Jules Sarinana, Nguyen has built her own following and empire that pays her to partner with different fashion brands.
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The Blonde Salad
Another big name to look at when determining how to start a fashion blog is Chiara Ferragni. The Italian entrepreneur started her fashion blog, The Blonde Salad, in 2009. Just two years later, she won accolades from New York Magazine and Teen Vogue for her blog posts, which by this time were garnering millions of views every month.
Chiara Ferragni has a whopping 23.3 million followers on her Instagram account, @chiaraferragni, as of April 2021. She has partnered with brands like Bulgari, Superga footwear and Lancome.
Ready to start monetizing your own Instagram account? Follow these tips to get started and hopefully you’ll follow in their footsteps.
How to Make Money on Instagram
Depending on your following, you could make anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands from influencer marketing on Instagram. Top fashion bloggers and influencers like Sarinana, Nguyen, Ferragni can demand top dollar for their posts, but you can still get a piece of the pie even if you don’t have millions of Instagram followers.
Making money on Instagram might sound like an ideal job, but it’s not something you can jump into if you’re not active on the platform.
Before you can start asking for free swag and money in exchange for posts, you need to build up your following organically. That means searching for and following users who frequently post about fashion and are in your target audience, and being an active commenter on their posts so they will return the favor.
Building up an Instagram following can take time. Use hashtags to your advantage. Create a post publishing schedule and stick to it. Make sure you post regularly and make sure your posts are things people want to look at. Share tips and other content that your followers want to see.
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 outfit photos and be sure to interact with your audience.
Until you have a dedicated following for your content, you won’t likely find many brands who are willing to partner with you on sponsored posts. To get your name out there, start tagging small to medium brands in your posts when you are wearing their clothing. Once you get your follower count up, it’ll be easier to approach them to discuss a partnership if you’ve proven that you’re a loyal customer rather than just someone looking to make a quick buck.
Don’t Buy Your Followers
As you may already know, you can pay money to boost your followers on social media platforms, including Instagram. According to HubSpot, there are a bunch of services that charge as little as $10 for 1,000 followers. If you’re looking to build up your profile, it may be tempting to spend that money rather than the time it takes to build it up organically.
You run the risk of getting banned from Instagram entirely if the platform realizes that you’ve paid for your followers. Don’t do it.
Fake followers aren’t going to provide the engagement you need if you’re to start charging for sponsored posts. The number of followers you have is only one metric brands are interested in; if you have 10,000 followers but only a few interactions on each post, you’re not going to get much traction as an influencer.
Price Your Posts
Before you start approaching brands about collaboration opportunities, you need to know what to charge.
Since influencer marketing is so big these days, there are a few platforms that can help you get started. Influence, for example, has a free rate map that shows you what existing influencers charge based on their number of Instagram followers, their average post engagement rate and their location.
Perfect Your Pitch
Fashion brands are approached all the time by wannabe influencers looking to form a partnership. You need to make sure your content and pitch stand out against your competition.
Using a platform like Influence, you can search by brand or hashtag to see what existing branded content is out there. Once you know what the brands are looking for in their influencers, you can curate your posts to match their audience and style. When making a pitch to a new brand, you can use your existing posts as examples of what you can do with a paid partnership.
Use an Agent
When you’re starting out, using a platform like Traackr or Influence can help you find your first customers and determine what you should charge. But as your follower count grows, it’s a good idea to hire an agent who can advocate for you and negotiate on your behalf.
Paying for an agent will eat into your earnings as an influencer, so make sure it’s worth taking this step before signing any agreements.
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.
Ohio-based Catherine Hiles is a British writer and editor living and working in the U.S. She has a degree in communications from the University of Chester in the U.K. and writes about finance, cars, pet ownership and parenting.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.