How to make money on Instagram with less than 10K followers


Instagram tips

Getting to 10,000 followers is a big milestone. But even if you have (way) less followers than that, you can still make money on Instagram! If you have a smaller following, you can make money in many of the same ways established influencers do, just on a smaller scale. 

If you’re creative, resourceful, and dedicated, you’ll find there are plenty of ways to make money on Instagram with less than 10,000 followers. You might not be raking in $1,000 per post yet, but you can still make great money and turn your account into a profitable side business.

Here’s what you need to know about making money on Instagram with less than 10,000 followers.

The micro (or nano) influencer advantage

Human emoji inside a circle

What if having less than 10k followers was a strength? That’s right — you aren’t just an aspiring creator. Depending on how many followers you have, you’re a micro-influencer or nano-influencer, and you’re actually in major demand! 

In the early days of influencer marketing, 10k followers was like the entry point. That’s what you needed to be considered an influencer at all!

But times have changed. Nano-influencers (between 1k and 5k followers) and micro-influencers (with between 5k and 10k) are considered by many to be the next wave of influencer marketing.

As a smaller influencer, you have a lot of value to offer brands. Not only are you likely to charge a more accessible rate, but you might have even more trust and engagement with your highly niche community. 

Simply put, nano-influencers feel less like celebrities, and more like real people who love their niche and content. What’s not to like about that? 

Here’s a few ways to embrace your nano-influencer status and start making money on Instagram! 

You might be interested in: 5 golden rules for creators to be irresistible to brands

Check out nano-influencer platforms

As a smaller influencer, you don’t need to wait around for brands to find you. There are plenty of platforms popping up designed to connect brands with the perfect micro-influencers for them! 

Here are three great options to get you started: 

  • Heartbeat - typically 300 followers and up, but the most important metric is engagement 
  • Peersway - 1k followers and up 
  • indaHash - 700 engaged followers and up 

Make a media kit

color scheme and typography

A media kit is similar to a pitch deck. It’s an appealing, well-designed document you can share with brands to promote yourself for partnerships and collabs. 

As a smaller influencer, brands might not be reaching out to you, so you need to be strategic about reaching out to them. A media kit is your chance to sell yourself and what value you can offer the brand.

Your media kit should include sections such as, 'About me', 'About my audience', 'Analytics', 'Price rates', and more. To get the full lowdown on creating a winning media kit, check out our guide.

Target smaller companies for partnerships 

Smaller influencer, smaller company — it’s a match made in heaven! 

Look out for smaller companies that are just getting started, then pitch a potential brand partnership to them. Your rates are likely within reach for these smaller companies, so if they’re well-aligned with your niche, these could be rewarding, ongoing relationships that help both of you establish your brands.

There are different ways you can work with brands. Whitelisting, for example, is when you give a brand permission to use your account to post their marketing content. These posts aren't shown to your own followers - the brand promotes them to new audiences that are similar to your own. It's win-win: you earn money and have your account shown to new audiences.

Another common method for working with brands is affiliate marketing. This allows you to organically place brands' products within your own content, and when you generate a sale, you receive a commission. Marketplaces like Amazon Associates, ClickBank, and FlexOffers are good options for getting started with affiliate marketing.

For more insights into working with brands, read our definitive guide.

Don’t forget about e-commerce

Example of commerce on Instagram

You don’t need to be Kylie Jenner to make money selling products on Instagram, but you can get some inspiration from her! What’s the ‘Kylie Lip Kit’ of your unique niche and identity? 

If you’re on Instagram to promote your art or original products, this idea is a no-brainer. But you can also try creating beautiful merch, downloadable products, or even drop-shipping items that make sense for your niche and audience! 

To get more eyes on the products you’re selling, try investing a bit of money into boosting your product posts. This could be a great way to both close sales and grow your following. 

Creator meets entrepreneur

Are you making money — even a little bit — on Instagram? Congratulations, you’re a business owner! 

If your Instagram account is generating revenue, that means it’s a valuable business asset. Savvy entrepreneurs protect their assets - that’s why Notch is launching the very first Instagram insurance, to protect Instagram creators against devastating income loss from hacks. 

Learn about how you can protect your Instagram business with Notch today

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