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Travel. Fitness. And Everything in Between.

How to Travel and Earn from Instagram

It wasn’t that long ago that I got laid off from my corporate 9-5 desk job.

For six years, I went to work and waited until I accrued enough vacation days to travel far and away, fulfilling experiences and checking off places to visit on my bucket list. Today, this little platform called Instagram has allowed me to live a fantasy that I didn’t think was possible: travel while earning income at the same time.

But the process was definitely not overnight.

I was already posting travel photos before I even knew I was going to start a travel blog Instagram. It just got to a certain point where my travel pictures started snowball by attracting followers little by little, to the point where I started getting gigs from different brands.

In this article, I will show you how to approach brands for possible collaboration or sponsorships, how to create an online brand, growing your audience, and other ways you can start becoming an online entrepreneur while traveling the world!

Best office view!

How do you get sponsored on Instagram

One of the sure ways of monetizing Instagram is to get sponsored by brands. With enough following and engagement with your followers, you can definitely approach brands and start a conversation if your followers are aligned with theirs.

For those just starting out, a collaboration between brands and influencers usually start out as a “non-paid” collaboration. This means that once you’ve contacted the brand and agreed on the partnership, they typically provide something for free in exchange for making a post (or two) on your social media accounts.

In the travel industry, this is most prevalent in contacting hotels and airlines where they usually provide complimentary lodging or airline tickets. With that said, it’s often a lot more challenging to get a paying gig in the travel sector compared to other industries, unless your following is in the millions.

How we monetize our Instagram accounts

But before you start contacting brands, you need to prepare a media kit, which is a document that details key statistics on your blog or Instagram page. In the blogging and influencer world, the type of information that is usually laid out on media kits is the type of audience, age range, location, blog traffic or number of followers, or other previous collaborations you’ve had with other brands.

Creating an Online Brand

Having a solid online brand gives you an edge when you get to the point of monetizing your Instagram, either through paid collaboration or using Instagram to promote products or services through affiliate marketing or drop shipping.

But what are the critical elements of creating your online brand?

If you are shooting to gain a following in the travel industry, there are three elements that you need to focus on to capture the attention of brands and new followers alike: content and voice.

I’ll break it down below:

1) Content
Content means your photography and video.

Considering Instagram is a highly visual platform, your brand image will be defined by the quality and style of your photography and videos. As you’ve most probably seen with popular travel pages on Instagram, they have a very distinct style in their photography and videos that makes the overall look of their feed look polish and “branded.”

The way they create this mood in their feed could be their photography techniques or style, or sets of filter that is used on every photo or video.

Sidenote: it’s also essential, especially nowadays, to explore going “off-brand.” People are very much interested in getting to know the person behind the account that they are following. Luckily for us, Instagram stories have become a platform where you can go “off-brand” and share a little bit more of your personality and connect to your audience on a different level.

2) Voice
When talking about “voice” in regards to branding on Instagram, this mostly refers to the distinct expression of your brand through words, which are mostly the captions for each of your content.

When trying to find your brand’s voice, think of how you want to be perceived, i.e., personality (playful, cheeky, or serious), or in vocabulary (plain and straightforward vs. rich and poetic).

Once you have your brand all figured out, brands would be able to determine if you share a similar target audience and if a collaboration would be a good fit.

Grow your Audience on Instagram

Once you’ve defined your branding on Instagram, it’s time to focus on posting consistent content and using the right hashtags to attract new followers.

Back when Instagram implemented any algorithm changes, it was a lot more simple to gain followers by having one of your content show up on the “explore” page, where users can directly see similar material to the ones they are following.

Nowadays, it’s a lot more difficult considering the algorithm changes have made it a lot more competitive to show up on the explore page.

We recently tried this method by Gary V., where you select 9 popular hashtags and 9 popular accounts, and leave meaning comments and engage in discussions on their posts.

By doing so, you are taking part in a community and could eventually show up in the comments section, just like below:

Considering that this post is part of the “9 most popular post” of a hashtag or 9 most popular account in your niche, your username could easily be seen by people who are also engaging in the post, thus giving you exposure to users who are interested in your niche.

How much money do Instagram Influencers Make

One of the most common questions thrown around, how much do Instagram influencers make.

I’ll break it down to three levels of Instagrammers, which basically determines their usual rates for each post they do for brands.

1) Micro-influencers

These are every Instagram users who typically have a following between 1,000 and 50,000 followers.

The current rate for standard Instagram micro-influencer is usually $100 per 10k followers, which translates to .01 per follower.

2) Macro-influencers

For macro-influencers, who usually have a following of 50k- 1M followers, the rates are typically negotiated between the influencer and the brand.

There really isn’t a standard one-size fit all rate. There are different factors to consider such as engagement rate, client budget, and other specifics regarding the campaign that determine the final rate a macro-influencer can charge.

I’ve seen Instagrammers who have over 200K followers and charge starting from $2000 per post.

3) Celebrities

This a whole different level of a brand collaborating with a celebrity (ahem, the Kylie Jenners of the world).

But brands typically pay MINIMUM six-figures per post for celebrities who have massive following such as the Kardashians.

Other ways to make money on Instagram even if you don’t have a big following

You still want to earn money on Instagram but do not have the following of a Kardashian or a Kylie Jenner?

No problem!

Many online entrepreneurs today are cashing in on promoting offers or selling products by running ads on Instagram (and Facebook). These social media advertising platforms are so powerful that it can target very specific audiences and different niches, allowing you to be able to sell or promote whatever products or offers to the right customer.

Being able to use the power of social media is definitely one of the ways on how to make money on Instagram and/or Facebook while traveling.

As long as you know how to use the advertising platform of Facebook and Instagram, you can quickly launch campaigns selling and/promoting offers anywhere in the world!

And the best part: you don’t need hundreds and thousands or millions of followers to do so!

The Traveler’s Playbook – our blueprint on how we earn and travel the world and started an online business using Instagram and Facebook.

How to make money on social media with affiliate marketing and drop shipping

There are billions and billions of active users on Instagram and Facebook, who are engaged on the platforms more so than ever.

And this is the opportunity that is waiting for those who are looking to quit their 9-5 and travel wherever they want because they can earn money online.

For those who left their traditional 9-5 and pursued the laptop lifestyle, many started off with affiliate marketing and/or drop shipping.

These two business model allows you to work from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a good WiFi connection.

For myself, I started launching affiliate marketing campaigns for a client, where I learned and seen first hand the potential to be making six-figure a month just by launching the right product and targeting the right people on Facebook.

The income potential is enormous once you find the right product or offer. And the best part, you DO NOT need SUBSTANTIAL capital to start an affiliate marketing or drop shipping business!

A. What is affiliate marketing

In plain English, affiliate marketing is a process of earning a commission by promoting somebody’s products or services online.

Basically, if somebody clicks on the link you are promoting and took action, through a purchase or something simple like giving their email, you will receive a commission through that affiliate link.

Signing up for these programs are for free.

The affiliate links are unique to you and you only. These links contain the affiliate ID that is used by the affiliate programs to track if the sales are coming from you.

Generally, when people are exploring and researching the idea of making money online, they decide whether to pursue affiliate marketing or drop shipping.

The payout depends on the offers your promote and the industry you are in. But as an example, you can get a payout of $8.50 for every item that is purchased. Now think about it, how many users are out there on Instagram and Facebook?

Billions

As long as you know how to target those billions of people through their interests, that $8.50 can add up rather QUICKLY!

B. What is Drop Shipping

Drop shipping is essentially having your own online store. But the appeal of drop shipping is you don’t have to carry any inventory at all!

This is how it works:

1) You research a niche and product that is popular in that niche
2) Once you’ve done your research, you contact a supplier (most likely suppliers in China) and negotiate to price.
3) You open an online store (most likely Shopify).
4) You put the items in your Shopify store
5) Launch ads on Facebook and Instagram
6) Once somebody orders, the supplier will directly handle the shipment to your customer!
7) $$$

The key with a successful drop shipping store is knowing your product is a hot seller and could potentially go viral AND knowing how to launch Facebook and Instagram campaigns.

I’ve seen people in their early 20’s making $100K a month solely on drop shipping. The return on investment is insane once you find a winning product!

Conclusion

There you have it!

If you’ve been thinking on how to leverage your social media (mostly Instagram and Facebook) to earn while traveling the world, I hope this article is a great reference when you are doing your research!

This is how I was able to start traveling using Instagram (and launching Facebook ad campaigns), so I hope I was able to share something valuable for you to pursue the same!

But keep in mind that not everything happened overnight! With enough dedication, hustle, and a positive attitude, you are very well on your way!

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24 Comments

  1. Heya are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to
    the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any html coding
    knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • It’s wordpress 😀

  2. I haven’t started monetizing my blog or social media presence yet. I like the idea of affiliate marketing but I worry that it can easily overwhelm a post. But there are some great ideas here that I’d like to implement. Thanks!

    • As long as the affiliate links do not come off as spammy – it totally works!

  3. These are some good tips about monetizing Instagram for beginners. As a more experienced blogger that has been on Instagram, even I learned a few new things. You sure provided some useful information in this post. Thank you for sharing this awesome article and keep up the great work

    • Thank you, Daniel!

  4. Great tips! I’ve just recently started working with brands, so this post was really helpful and well-timed. Congrats on your success post- 9-5 job. It is fun to live in a time where there are so many fun opportunities to make a living doing what we enjoy!

    • Thank you, Leah! Congrats on the brand collabs!

  5. Some really awesome and practical tips! Loved how concise your media kit was and that you included just the recent collabs over there. I had been struggling so much to get noticed on instagram that I literally gave up, but guess will give the 9*9 engagement model a try for a month or so and see if anything changes. Thanks for the advice 🙂

    • Don’t give up on the gram! It takes time in the beginning but it’ll pay off in the end!

  6. I have always wanted to know how to approach on this journey, and have always been confused. Thanks that you have shared some great tips here. It will be helpful for people who wants to get rid of their regular jobs. This is a great opportunity to live a life of your dreams, actually.

    • Thanks Shreya! You can do it!

  7. Influencer marketing has indeed a huge income potential but I haven’t tried collaborating with a brand yet on Instagram. Your tips are surely helpful. I’ll try it out.I’ll look into drop shipping too. I’be been hearing a lot about that lately.

    • Drop shipping is a great opportunity for starting an online business!

  8. I’m a late starter on Instagram, just a bit over a year. I heard it’s hard to gain followers because of the algorithm, but the 9*9 looks worth a try. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences on this.

  9. Thank you for these insightful tips. I particularly like the one on developing a voice on IG; this is something I’m working on. I’m toying with the idea of drop shipping, it sounds interesting!

  10. That’s an incredible insight into IG. I really struggle a lot with IG. It really isn’t easy to get that massive following. I shuttle between giving up on IG and keeping on pushing it! Thanks for the tips. I’m gonna try a bit more.

  11. Super useful information! Loving that you are living the life and helping others too! Drop shipping definitely sounds like a great business opportunity, have you given it a go?

  12. You have always been so good at branding, and your branding tips here are on point!! Love your media kit and how it aligns so well with your overall brand. And glad to see you are still killing the IG game as always!!

  13. I am also earning from my Instagram through sponsored posts and collaborations, and sometimes a few ex-deals with brands that I like. Currently, I don’t focus on it much because I am just enjoying it (and I don’t need to drive more money). But yeah being offered for all-expense trip in exchange of Instagram posts is a huge YES!

  14. I’d love to get offered an all expenses paid trip in exchange for some Instagram posts, but I just don’t think I’m ready for that yet. Good to have a list of action points to start working on though.

  15. I had very hard luck on Instagram and earning through it sounds me like a nightmare. But reading your useful tips makes me confident and will now follow some of your tips. I never thought of drop shipping but would not work on it. Thanks for sharing some useful tips.

  16. Oh! This is very helpful. I had been thinking about how I can maximize my IG. I have around 1k+ followers and to be honest, I am not so sure what to do with it. Thus, I am not really posting regularly. It simply has no purpose or direction. Thank you for sharing this post. Interested to learn more about affiliate marketing.

  17. Saving these post as I would love to improve my insta-game. Especially the tip on posting consistent content. This is something that I just cannot seem to get into as I still can’t seem to get to grips with how to really make use of the platform. There are so many valuable tips in your post that I think I will return often here as I am just about to go through a bit of a ‘brand-rebrand’.

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