I recently made my first $200 on Instagram! $225 to be exact. I could not believe that I actually made money from a social media account. This may not sound like much, but this is HUGE for me! Never in a million years did I ever think I would make a cent from being on Instagram.
I am not a famous blogger or influencer. I have a tiny blog + Instagram account so I thought “why would I ever make money?” I’m still very new to the blogging world so I was shocked when I found out I could make ANY money from my online efforts. Being able to make money from my blog and social media channels has become important to me because it helps support Simply Amanda and keep it going.
I love reading income reports from famous, successful bloggers because they are super inspiring. They push me to learn more about how I can grow and establish my blog. But I never see income reports or stories about small bloggers making a small income. All these reports have outrageous numbers which can be discouraging to those of us just starting out and because of this, I’ve decided to share my blogging + social media journey here!
Now how exactly did I make $225 on Instagram? (major update: I’ve now earned $445 in total from Social Native!)
The answer is sponsored posts.
I’ve had the opportunity to share posts with a few different brands in the last couple of months. It has been amazing being able to collaborate with these brands to make beautiful images for my Instagram page. And the $225 I earned was cash, NOT including free products sent to me by these brands. Along with the money I earned, I received $340 worth of free items. Talk about a major win!
Where To Find Sponsored Posts: Social Native
There are many different networks you can work with to get sponsored posts on Instagram, but not all are created equal. I’ve joined quite a few, but being a new blogger — so far I have had success with only one.
And that is Social Native. Social Native connects brands and content creators to collaborate and make compelling images for Instagram!
- Related: Why You Need To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others On Social Media
How can I join Social Native?
You can join by heading over to Social Native and signing up with your information. It’ll ask you for your name and social media accounts. Make sure you fill everything out so that they can match you to the best campaigns. Sometimes Social Native sends out unique invite links that you can join through, but I signed up directly through the content creator section of their website and landed my first campaign shortly after that.
How does Social Native work?
When you log in on Social Native, you have a dashboard where you can see both open and closed campaigns. You can request invites to campaigns or they can send you a campaign invite to your email. Requesting an invite yourself does not guarantee a spot in the campaign.
After you request an invite, Social Native will search for open spots for you. If there’s a spot, they’ll send you an email letting you know you’re in! If not, you will receive a notification saying the campaign has filled up. Then if Social Native picks you, they will check a few things to make sure you are eligible:
- Brand safety: no swearing, sexual images, drug use, or other illegal/inappropriate activity.
- Authenticity: no non-genuine followers or spam activity.
- Content quality: well-lit, high-resolution photos and videos.
Once you’ve secured and accepted your spot, all that’s left to do is create content that meets the campaign guidelines. Social Native will give you dates and times for you to post and you’ll just post your image during that posting window. They will also provide hashtags that you need to use. Lastly, you’ll submit your image via your Social Native dashboard.
They will review and confirm that your post meets the guidelines, and then you’ll be on your way to getting paid. For all the campaigns I’ve been a part of, you need to have the photo up for 14 days. After the 14 days, Social Native will confirm you still have it up and then send over the payment. It’s really easy and they usually send payments through PayPal which is super safe.
If you get accepted to a campaign, it will show you exactly what’s in it for you from payment all the way down to what products you will be receiving. You can decline the campaign at any time should you decide you can no longer post for it.
When it comes to Social Native, there’s not really any follower requirements. It’s all about engagement which is great for smaller accounts. When you participate in your first campaign, you’ll have access to the Analytics tab of your account where you will be able to track the engagement of your campaign posts.
You can view how many likes and comments they’ve received along with the % engagement and how much money you’ve earned in total. This is a great tool to monitor my account’s engagement since my Instagram is not a business profile.
Haven’t decided yet if Social Native is right for you?
It’s 100% free and you have nothing to lose from joining (And no, this is not a paid post and there are no referral links!) They were the first ones to give me a shot when it came to social media sponsored posts so I highly recommend trying it at least once.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when working on sponsored posts:
1. Stay true to yourself
It’s important to keep in mind staying true to yourself and your audience. Do not request invites to campaigns for random things you would never normally post about just because of the money. You will lose your followers’ trust over a simply paid gig as an influencer.
Think wisely about what posts you want to participate in and make sure to work with brands that fit your theme + aesthetic.
2. Meet FTC Guidelines
This is huge. You need to make sure you meet guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission. They require you to display that your post is a sponsored or an ad. Social Native will provide you the exact hashtags you need to include to make sure you meet these guidelines, so pay attention to the rules they give you!
3. Space out your posts
Lastly, don’t go overboard on sponsored posts. I don’t know about you, but I hate when accounts post back to back ads and sponsored posts. I’ve seen some pages where 7 out of 10 posts are ads. Major turn off.
I did not follow that account for very long when I realized this. Don’t do too many in a row. You could lose your followers’ trust from this as well. The main thing you want to do is build relationships with your audience. You don’t want to look disingenuous by going crazy on sponsored posts. Take it slow and be picky about which posts you want to do.
Is Social Native legit? (PLEASE READ!)
Ever since first writing this post, I’ve received countless emails and messages asking if Social Native is really legit and whether it’s safe to enter your Instagram credentials to log in. I am constantly answering this question over and over again…
So I decided I’d dispel the rumors and set the record straight.
Social Native is 100% legit and there are absolutely NO privacy concerns for linking your Instagram account to the platform.
I have never had any problems whatsoever with Social Native and they have never scammed me in the last year that I’ve been working with them.
I did use my Instagram credentials to sign up and log in and have NEVER had any security issues from doing this after working for them for over a year.
Social Native does not store any passwords and simply uses it to track your engagement rate on the campaigns (which is pretty reasonable!) This is my direct personal experience but at the end of the day, it’s about what you’re comfortable doing.
As for payment, I have always received payment 100% on time from Social Native during the timeframe they specify. It gets deposited directly into my Paypal. If you’re a bit skeptical about payments, I’ve included some screenshots below.
Since publishing this blog post in July 2017, I’ve earned $445 at the time of this update (May 2018.)
And that’s a wrap!
I love Social Native so much! I’ve always loved photography and creating gorgeous images for both my blog and social media, but I never planned on making any kind of income from my Instagram account. It won’t make you rich, but it’s perfect side money to help sustain your blog or for your personal expenses.
It’s the perfect start if you want to someday be a major influencer or blogger.