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How to monetize your social media following

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1. Treat every follower like a real person
People think that they need a big following to grow their Instagram, but that is not true,” Pena says. “You can monetize any Instagram account with a hundred followers. It all comes down to building relationships.”

He says it’s easy to get lost in the numbers in marketing. Instead of focusing solely on conversion rates and percentages, also try to remember every follower is a person and not just a number.

“If you treat every single follower that you get — even with a small following — as a real person, you will make more money,” Pena says.

2. Discover what your followers are struggling with
One of the most underrated features on Instagram right now is the poll feature in stories.

Pena uses it for any future offer or sale. For example, a business selling camping supplies can poll followers to find out what they struggle with most in camping. The answers will carve the path on what type of content to create and offers to promote, like how to easily set up a campsite or links to purchase specific gear, Pena suggests.

He says, “People will literally tell you their pain point … It’s a lot easier when you actually ask people and they just give you the feedback.”

Once you have an idea of what people want, or what their struggles are, you can create valuable content and offer valuable products.

3. Start with market research
Pena explains that whichever market you’re in, there’s likely already a business with a successful Instagram. A great way to start marketing on social media is by modeling your presence after those who are already successful in your market.

“See the top competitors, see the top influencers in the niche and then see what content they’re posting … what times they’re posting, what calls to action are they doing,” Pena says.

He adds, “Then you’re able to see not only what content works, how to talk to your audience, what copy to use, but on top of that, you’re also literally creating the distribution network that you’re later on going to utilize.”

4. Leverage your following’s value once it grows
Once you’ve monetized and seen growth on social media, you can leverage it to reach more users. Pena describes an Instagram following as an asset whose value increases as time progresses.

He says if “you have 10,000 followers or 100,000 followers today, you can then use that and get influencers to promote your products and services for free in exchange to get promoted on your page.”

For more advice about social media marketing, watch Pena’s entire interview in the video above.

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