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How young professionals are making money on Instagram

How young professionals are making money on Instagram

Though you may use it to scroll through photos of vacations, lunches, and other people’s dogs, the truth is that Instagram is a hub for business and commerce for those who capitalize on it. 

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The internet is a business. Personal websites have replaced résumés, and the way that people work, buy, sell and commute has all changed radically because of its increasing accessibility. For bloggers and “influencers,” making money on social media is pretty straightforward. Once you build a following, you advertise. You are paid to promote products, in the same way that celebrities do on billboards. Now, the billboard is your newsfeed. 

On the other hand, bloggers make money through advertisements that are embedded on their website pages. You’ve probably noticed these as you’ve frequented through different sites. In other cases, companies even commission “sponsored content,” or personally crafted articles and photoshoots shared on their behalf. A lot of those viewers are generated from social media. The more eyes on a page, the more advertisers pay to have their products and businesses on there. 

But that’s not the only way to start profiting from your social media pages. For professionals such as photographers, entrepreneurs and realtors, it’s all about building clientele. 

Stephen Boyd, a Lancaster-based real estate agent, has made a name for himself as The Local Insight, documenting life in a bustling city, and gaining clientele from around the country. He says that he gets about 40 to 50 percent of his business from people he connects with on Instagram. He explains that it’s about building a relationship-based clientele, and offering them something of value, something they would want to scroll past each day. 

“When I got into real estate I realized people were spending a lot of time on social media and I saw some other businesses capitalize on that, both locally and nationally, and I studied they were doing,” Stephen said. “To me, your Instagram is a way to showcase yourself and provide value and grow a natural, organic advertising platform. You have to create content that will make people want to be there.”

From that point, you can start converting followers into clients. “Think about it this way: everything you do is being automatically sent to however many followers you have. That’s the best advertising there is.” 

Amanda Rush, who opened her brick-and-mortar salon in downtown Lancaster in late 2017, said that Instagram connections were essential to building her business, which is now booked out for weeks if not months at a time. “When I opened Anthology, I was new to the area and had zero clients,” she explained. “Instagram was the only realistic way to get my marketing started. I started by posting quality images targeting the clientele that I was looking for. I followed local businesses and people from the area to start the buzz. This was important to make connections get my name out there.”

She explained that 80 percent of her clientele has found her through Instagram, and only 20 percent was through referrals.

Madeline Otto, a local photographer, has a similar story. She says it’s been “essential” to her business, and that 75 percent of her clients come from her Instagram. “As a wedding photographer, it’s a way for me to display my work, as well as who I am as a person. The latter being just as important,” she said. “I run my business in the way that I try to build personal relationships with all my couples. “That starts with social media. I try to be myself and show that to couples. I want people to feel like they know me, and to like my personality. You can be a great photographer and have a horrible personality and it just won’t work. It’s so important to be yourself on social media and to connect with your couples/potential couples in a real way!”

No matter what profession you’re in, business acumen means you look toward where the trends are, and you put your time and energy there. These are just a few young people who are doing it successfully, but there’s really no job or field — from construction to restaurants to writing — that couldn’t be transformed by some well-curated, targeted and consistent social media posts.

By: Brianna Wiest

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